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Dominican Republic road trip (7-8 days)

Saona Island (Dominican Republic)1. INTRODUCTION

Hey travelers! After travelling around the Dominican Republic for 8 days, I want to share with you the rute we did and some pieces of advice about the country (driving, road conditions, tolls, etc.)!

Hope the info is useful!

 

2. ROAD TRIP AROUND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (8 DAYS)

  1. Day 1: Punta Cana International Airport > Bayahibe.
  2. Day 2: Saona Island tour.
  3. Day 3: Drive to Las Terrenas (north of the island; ≈ 3 h from Bayahibe) and stay there.
  4. Day 4: Playa Bonita and relax by the hotel area.
  5. Day 5: Salto del Limón tour (waterfall) and drive back south to La Romana (≈ 3 h).
  6. Day 6: Visit to the Cave of Wonders and rest of the day in Punta Cana.
  7. Day 7: Tour from Punta Cana: horseback riding, cigar making, zip-lining, lunch, fresh cocoa and mamajuana sampling.
  8. Day 8: Relax in Punta Cana (presents and gifts) and way back to the airport.

 

3. DRIVING IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (ROADS CONDITIONS, RENTAL CAR AND TOLLS)

After reading hundreds of comments about how dangerous it is driving in the Dominican Republic (even from the own country embasy) I can conclude that:

  1. The main highways are safe to drive and they are in a good shape (at least number 3 and number 7).
  2. Driving inside towns is real chaotic. When you drive through a town you get to experience the real chaotic dominican driving. No rules (for real), dangerous driving, tons of crazy bikes… make sure to have your eyes wide open and look both forward and back all the time. You are less likely to have an accident if you are cautious. If you are a nervous driver, I would try to avoid driving through towns if you can.
  3. The rental car was fine. We read dozens of comments about how the rental car companies didn’t have a car at the reservation time, how they overcharged every costumer and other awful things. In our personal experience, everything was alright (the only two problems we had were: not having the car full of gas as reserved and a wheel that needed a little bit of air. Not a big hassle after what we were expecting). Make sure to take pictures of everything.
  4. They will overcharge you at the tolls if you don’t have dominican pesos. This was the only thing that annoyed me during the trip: people trying to overcharge us all the time. Tolls unfortunately weren’t an exception. If you plan to drive around the DR, make sure you have pesos with you, so you don’t experience the hassle of having a bad exchange rate (I’m a native spanish speaker and they gave me a hard time so I can’t imagine how they treat english speakers…). If you have pesos with you, there won’t be any problem as they have the prices in big signs before passing through the toll. 😉

 

4. ANY QUESTION?

And that would be everything for now! If you have any question about the trip or the country, just leave a comment! 😎

 

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Javier

PhD in Education. From Spain. Living everywhere. Passionate about learning and sharing. Welcome to Learner Trip!

2 Comments

  1. Hi. I am planning to do the exact same route but the other way around as I will be coming from Cap-Haitien to Puerto Plata then depart from Punta Cana. How much did you pay for the car rental including the different location drop off? Also, did you buy full insurance or used your credit card insurance? What car did you rent and how did you manage the drive / parking inside SD or PP?
    Thanks

    • Hi Y4Traveller!

      1) We dropped off the rental car in the same location (Punta Cana), so I can’t help you with that.

      2) It’s that kind of country where you want to buy full insurance 😅. (*) About the credit card insurances, read your particular conditions. Some don’t even cover any damage related with rental cars.

      3) We rented a Chevrolet Aveo Sedan through Thrifty.

      4) We didn’t go to Santo Domingo. About Punta Cana, the main road is OK, but once you get into smaller roads, expect the crazy dominican driving style.

      5) Parking was really easy for us. Lots of free spots everywhere in the island.

      You’re welcome! Be safe and enjoy this beautiful country!

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