Cabs can be found from almost anywhere downtown and lined up at the beaches and tourist sites on the other end of the island. As with many taxi drivers, confirm the rate before getting into the vehicle. We found the rates very reasonable, with drivers asking for $5 or 540 Pecos to go from our hotel (near North Beach) to Garrafon Park located at the other side of the island. We paid $3 to ride from downtown to Playa Lancheros.
We enjoyed one particular cab ride. After walking around in the heat of the day, we flagged a cab. Ah, air conditioning. The friendly driver was quick to ask questions: where are you from, how long will you be on the island? He hoped we would talk with him. He learned to speak English by talking with tourists, striving to be bilingual which would ensure work opportunities. We responded to his questions. Learning our hometown is Kansas City, he immediately asked about Royals’ baseball and George Brett. We discussed the sport with his asking me for the correct pronunciation when needed. My wife then shared the story of our being on the island for my birthday and the cab driver extended his congratulations to me. My wife continued, asking the driver to teach us Spanish for “He is 50 years old.” The driver laughed and asked me to repeat after him, “Tengo cincuenta años.” I muttered the Spanish while my wife and the driver laughed. I glared at my wife who continued to giggle at my distress. The driver quickly commented that fifty is quite young and the correct phrase is “Tengo solamente cincuenta años.” Better. I gave the taxi driver a nice tip.
Probably the favorite means for tourist travel is the golf cart. These easy to drive vehicles can be rented from numerous locations on the island, mostly ranging $45 for 24 hours. They can also be leased for smaller blocks of time, but at higher rates. We joined some other tourists and rode on the back seat of their vehicle, viewing the island one day. With a maximum speed of 30mph and the numerous speed bumps in the roads, travel was comfortable and easy. My wife kept the camcorder rolling as we rode along the shoreline and the video came out pretty good.
These scooters could also be rented for $30 by the day or lesser rates by the hour. We saw people riding single seaters and two seaters. We noticed island residents drove these vehicles with confidence and ease. As many as four of five people would be piled on a moped, all holding on to each other or the driver as they navigated their way around the island. With faster speeds than a golf cart, drivers of these smaller vehicles passed the carts even with oncoming traffic.
The few that we saw for rental were in such terrible condition that I wondered if they would make it down the block. We saw a sign in one rental company sternly warning to lock the bike as to prevent loss. We thought about a bicycle ride, but decided it would be too much work and worry.
There are busses that cover the circumference of the island. The cost is just a few Pecos to ride in an opened air type vehicle. Bus stops are designated and easy to find. The bus drove by our hotel several times a day with easy options for us to jump on. But we did not ride a bus, preferring another means of transportation.
Our favorite mode of “getting around” was walking. With the hotel located just a few blocks from downtown and North Beach only 90 seconds away, we walked to most of our destinations. Walking is relaxing and we were not in rush. We saw more people and more of the island as we spent time slowly going from place to place. I would work up just enough of a thirst to stop at the small grocery stores and buy a cold beer. I was able to find the store with the coldest drinks (on Lopez Mateos Street down from the Post Office) and try different brands of beer.
We managed the cobblestone streets while wearing flip-flops and used the sidewalks when strolling downtown. My wife had challenges with the graveled section outside our hotel. She slipped and fell the first full day, scrapping her hands and elbows. I lovingly helped her up and cleaned off the dirt and gravel. Extending my kindness, I refrained from any comments about her having a second drink on the beach which may have lead to inability to walk. Then the next morning, my wife slipped again in the very same spot. I caught her on the way down, preventing further injury or embarrassment. I sheepishly acknowledged my original thoughts and told her that it must be her leather bottomed sandals causing the slippage. I wrapped my arm around her whenever we walked over that section of gravel.