Uber Coverage is Spotty in Costa Rica

Covid related driving restrictions have made it very difficult to find Ubers outside of San Jose.

In the most popular tourist destinations drivers are few and far between – frequently there are none.  Expanded coverage was announced in April 2019 but the pandemic of 2020 set things back and as of the 2021 high travel season over 3/4 of the country remains outside the official operating zone.

90% or more of the drivers are concentrated in the megalopolis surrounding the capital San José.

Since they are common around San  José  it might seem like an Uber from the airport would be a good option but it can be complicated by police and belligerent taxi drivers (see details).

“No Cars Available”

Ride shares (as well as cell signal to request one) are uncommon/non-existent around many national parks, adventure tour locations (zip-lines, rafting, hanging bridges, waterfall rappelling etc.), ecolodges, beaches or vacation rental homes.

In pre-pandemic 2020 we did a totally random and arbitrary sampling in 7 popular tourist spots including Manuel Antonio, and Arenal/La Fortuna found 6 rides available in 33 attempts at various times of day over five weeks.  There was never an Uber Black available.  It’s gotten ten times more difficult since then.

Other travelers have told us that when rides are available from towns like La Fortuna to the hanging bridges or other popular attractions you must be certain to make round trip arrangements ahead of time or risk being stuck because there’s no cell signal and/or no return rides available.

Using the “schedule ride” feature is not advisable since it’s only a soft schedule and Uber warns that your ride will be cancelled if no driver is found within ten minutes of your requested time.  Then you’re stuck at the [insert name of attraction] with no ride and no cell signal…

In cities around the world ride sharing is increasing pollution (studies show Uber has increased total urban miles driven by 25% or more) and serving as fiendishly clever mechanism for funneling money to the wealthy but it is safe, convenient and cheap temporarily – investment capital is hemorrhaging a billion a year and IPOs mean stockholders who demand returns so prices may rise quickly in the coming years after the competition (taxis and buses) has been squeezed out.

In Costa Rica Uber and other alternative taxi services are still searching for a way to fit in and recently risks to Uber and Lyft riders in paradise have escalated.


Long Distance Uber Advice for Passengers and Drivers

Uber makes setting up long distance drivers easy for drivers and passengers, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

The Best Way to Do Long Distance Ride Shares

The Best Way to Do Long Distance Ride Shares

In a nutshell, it’s all about what you do to prepare for the ride more so than what you do on the actual trip.

Preparing is key to having the best possible experience.

However, there are different approaches to how you would do that.

Advice For Passengers

  • Schedule up to 30 days in advance
  • Contact your driver as soon as they confirm to make sure that they’re comfortable traveling the long distance
  • Make sure you have snacks and drinks. Any stops/side trips can slow your trip down.

Advice For Drivers

  • Don’t take a trip length that you’re not comfortable with. If you do it by accident, you can still cancel ahead of time.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is gassed up and in order before starting a long trip.

Latest News

Book Today Your First Long Distance Uber Ride!

The rideshare company is the popular choice for many travelers. Uber rideshare long trips are really advantageous over other popular modes of transportation. They are affordable, convenient, and safe. When using Uber you can rest assured that you will be in good hands.

6. Can I Do Uber In Another State?

Uber can go out of state. But what does it actually mean? You can request a ride with a destination in another state but Uber drivers cannot pick you up in another state.

Basically drivers can only pick up passengers in their state.

If you move to another state, you will probably need to update your Uber driver account with other mandatory documents such as in-state driver license and insurance.

As for the pickup radius, theoretically there is not a limit on the pick up radius. However, drivers do not get paid for the drive to your pickup location and often they decline rides with a far pickup spot.

Related Article: Can I Order DoorDash For Someone Else

How to figure out the cost per mile

If you are trying to figure out how much your trip will cost per mile, it is extremely to easy to do this with the Uber app.

Simply enter in your destination details and then select the type of Uber ride that you will be using (UberX, UberXL, etc.)

Click on the type of Uber fare you are interested and you should see an information circle next to the words “Affordable, every day rides.”

Go ahead and click on that and you will see the co

Go ahead and click on that and you will see the complete breakdown of your fare.

This is an estimate of your fare so it could differ slightly at the time that you complete the ride based on things like tolls or surcharges.

It may also change based on the length, duration, or route if your trip ends up changing.

However it is a good estimate and you can check the per mile charge is pretty easily.

As mentioned above, you will see a minimum fare per mile and also a fixed booking fee per mile.

Typically, the fixed booking fee per mile will be substantially less than the minimum fare per mile.

For example, in the UberX example that I took from Arizona the charge per mile was one dollar for the minimum fare and the charge per mile for the booking fee was five cents.

Related: What is Uber VIP?

What Are Uber Driver Requirements?

As long as you can pass Uber’s background check, you shouldn’t find it difficult to become an Uber driver (unless your city imposes some difficult requirements of its own).

Install the Uber app on your smartphone and create an account on Uber, including the bank account into which your earnings will be paid.

When you’re ready to start picking up passengers, tell the Uber app that you’re going online. Then wait.

Before long, the app will notify you about a passenger requesting a ride and show you a map with the passenger’s GPS coordinates. You pick up the passenger and take the person to his or her destination. Aware that the passenger can rate you afterward, you do your best to make the passenger feel welcome, comfortable, and satisfied.

Make sure you understand clearly where your pick up location is to avoid late arrivals

You just keep repeating this process, being notified about passengers and taking them to their destinations, until you’re done for the day. Then you tell the Uber app that you’re going offline. You can rate your passengers on their behavior.

Uber will deposit the money that you’ve earned into your bank account.

How Uber Commission and Fees Work

It’s not that difficult to understand the way Uber fees and commissions work.

For instance, when it comes to fees, the passengers are the ones who have to pay a booking fee, as well as per minute and mile fee for their ride. After the ride, you as a driver would be paid the majority of the fare you made. And you only get “the majority” and not all of it because Uber is going to get their cut, respectively the “Service Fee”.

More than 25%

The amount that Uber says it charges their drivers is 25%, but it actually takes a little more than that from their earnings. This is all due to the fact that some additional fees are taken by rideshare companies, resulting in a higher percentage for the cut.

In the past, Uber drivers had to drive around 2.36 miles to make $10 before fees, but nowadays, the prices were lowered by Uber. As a result, a driver will have to drive 4.71 miles to make the same amount of cash.


Also, there is the booking fee and a safe rides fee for every Uber ride, which is between $1 and $3. These fees vary by city, but the driver cannot actually see these in their bank account, as this goes directly to Uber.

So, the commission taken by Uber is higher if the ride fare is lower, meaning the rideshare drivers would make less. So, in the end, even if Uber claims to take 25% of its drivers, it will actually take up to 42.75%. If you are doing short rides, then it won’t be too profitable for you.

>> Read More: Loans for Uber Drivers

Wrapping Up

Uber is one of the most effective ride-sharing services around, and there’s a reason.

It’s convenient, safe, and cheaper than traditional options.

Follow these tips to book a long-distance Uber, and you’ll have a fantastic experience.


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