Many kinds of ground transportation are offered in the Dominican Republic. Below is a description of the most popular choices, which can be a funny adventure for those who try it for the first time!
A Motoconcho is a motor taxi that provides a taste of authentic Dominican transportation. Found all over the Dominican Republic, motoconchos are the best way to cover short distances and are found at many shopping malls, hotel entrances, gathering places, and at street corners. Motoconcho drivers beep their horn or pull over near potential customers in order to offer a ride, and they usually agree to wait for return fares. Fares range from 50-100 RDS (US$1,50-3,00) per passenger for short rides of several kilometres, so they are quite inexpensive. It is recommended that passengers have the correct payment amount ready, and to pay the driver on arrival. A reflector vest and helmet is used to identify a motoconcho driver, but these forms of identification are not always used; they also do not offer a helmet to passengers as it is not mandatory. Sometimes motoconcho taxis carry three, four, even five passengers at one time; and sometimes they carry the most amazing things, such as washing machines and refrigerators!
Guaguas are privately owned mini-vans or mini-buses and are used as public transportation within cities and towns. Are ideal for short trips without luggage. Because there are no set timetables and no bus stops, they will stop anyplace where someone waves for the guagua to stop. In addition to the driver, there is a fare collector called cobrador: As there are no tickets, he simply collects money, but also hangs out of the window or the open side door, trying to attract the attention of potential riders. Guaguas are not air-conditioned and can become quite crowded during rush hour traffic. Sometimes people have to stand, and it's not unusual for livestock to join passengers: this makes for a true Dominican Republic travel adventure.
Carros publicos are privately owned cars that are generally not air-conditioned and are older model cars. They usually follow a specific route on the main roads, and the route is usually indicated on a sign on the roof of the car, just like a taxi. They only stop when a passenger wants to get in or to disembark. Like the Guaguas, carros publicos can become very crowded, sometimes with three people plus the driver in the front seat, and four people in the back seat. Still, this is a very popular form of transportation in Santo Domingo, the capital city, and other main cities, like Puerto Plata.
Buses are air-conditioned, have comfortable seats, and are used for long-distance travel. Bus travel is affordable and popular. Because of the cold temperature inside the bus, it is advisable to carry a sweater. In the Dominican Republic there are several bus companies: Expreso Bavaro connects areas on the eastern coast, while Caribe Tours and Metro Tours link Santo Domingo with the other major cities.
Visit their websites for routes and prices: Caribe Tours, Metro Tours.
Expreso Bavaro is located in Bavaro close to Politur station. Contact telephone +1 809 682 9670.
Rent-a-car Driving in the Dominican Republic is a memorable and unique experience. Driving slowly and with caution is recommended, since rules are not often observed by drivers. When driving, it is also recommended to always signal clearly before making any changes. It is advisable to rent a 4x4 vehicle because often the roads are not well-maintained, and especially if you plan to visit the Samana Peninsula, where the most secluded beaches are only accessible by car or on foot. If you visit the country with your children, you may know there are no laws concerning child car seats. Click here to see rental car companies available.
- It is advisable to find out the fare at the hotel before starting a bus, guagua or motoconcho trip, then confirm the fare with the driver before boarding.
- It is also advisable to have the correct amount to pay the fare, as the driver might be unwilling to make change.