Is Uber an alternative to regular taxis in South America?

“Fuera Uber!!!”(“Uber Get Out!”), this is one of the first things I’ve noticed on Ezeiza airport, near Buenos Aires. A large message was written on the prepaid taxi booth. Unfortunately, Uber is not available at this location and I had to pay a lot more money for getting to Buenos Aires City Center.

In general, due to constant legal ambiguity, Uber is not allowed at the airports. You could eventually, schedule a Uber ride by choosing a pickup place outside of the airport. However, you need an internet connection and sometimes you can’t even find cars in these locations.

You can take a Uber car from downtown to the airport, though. In my opinion, this is how you get the most benefits out of this service.

Taxi drivers protesting against Uber in Argentina
Taxi drivers protesting against Uber in Argentina – photo: Xinhua

Why use it?

First of all, this is not a sponsored article. I’m just sharing my personal experience and trying to offer some useful tips for other travelers.

You’ve probably read a lot of unpleasant stories about taxi drivers, especially the ones about ripping tourists. There are many places around the world where you need to haggle to get a decent price or convince them to turn on the taximeter.

I’ve personally been in many situations where I had to haggle or argue with taxi drivers that didn’t want to put the meter on. They’re definitely not my favorite kind of people.

Beside this, you need to take in consideration safety, too. Our Earth has many places with a bad reputation, where even taxis can be dangerous. In this case, the alternatives are usually the prepaid taxis, which cost more of course.

Schedule airport transfer for your 5 AM flight

Like I said, Uber can be a good alternative for transferring to airport from downtown. It’s not my first option, though. Depending on the place and time, you may find cheaper good alternatives.

If decent public transportation is available and you’re not carrying a lot of baggage, then going by train, metro or bus can be preferable to Uber. In my opinion, Uber is mostly an alternative to regular taxis and prepaid transfers.

That being said, I’ve personally tested the app on a few occasions in South America. I did this in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, and Montevideo. The largest amount I’ve paid was less or equal to the one of a regular taxi. In some cases was as low as half of the regular taxi price.

The most benefits I’ve got were by using the “schedule ride” option for my early morning flights. Although they don’t guaranty you will necessary have a car, they say they are doing everything possible to make sure a car is available at your location on the scheduled time.

The overall experience was great, it saved me a lot of headache and money.

Is Uber safe?

I was checking out from my hotel in Montevideo, Uruguay and the guy at the desk asked me if I want a taxi. He wasn’t very pleased and looked very intrigued when I told him I’m waiting for my Uber. He then tried to convince me that Uber is not safe because it’s not regulated by the state.

Now my question to you is, does the fact a taxi driver has a license makes him turn the meter on? Most of the crazy taxi stories you hear about are referring to licensed taxi drivers.

I would feel way more secure knowing that my ride is being tracked and somebody knows my route and the driver, as it is with Uber.


Overall, based on my personal experience, I recommend Uber as a viable option for transportation. It may not always be the best option, but it’s something worth considering.

Uber – Good Alternative to Taxi in South America
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