Renting a car is another transportation option but we do not recommend it at all. Driving is not easy, especially if you are not familiar with the island and the way Dominicans drive.
You have to be very alert and pay close attention when driving. Many of the Dominican drivers do not follow the usual road usage rules. Driving can be very difficult as many routes are not marked and some roads can be very treacherous. Another reason for not driving is that when you drive you may miss many interesting things happening in the street as your eyes will always need to be focused intently on the road ahead, behind, and on both sides.
The other alternative forms of public transportation in Dominican Republic.
Public cars also called carros publicos, carritos or derechos are public taxis and usually cost $15 to $25 pesos (5/11) (prices have been going up as the gas prices raise).
In Santo Domingo these cars will have either a green or a yellow top and will sometimes work on alternate days of the week. An official public car should have an official ID (either hanging from the mirror or on the visor) with a picture and ID number of the driver.
The cars usually have signs (similar to taxi signs) on the roof or door of the car, stating on which route or road they travel. They all have a specific route they travel. They drive the main roads, stopping wherever passengers want to get in or out.
If you stand at the side of the road they will honk as they drive towards you and usually point their finger in the direction they are going. You can signal with a short wave down beside your leg for them to stop or shake your head no and they will pass by. If they are full they will drive right by you. If they are not full they will stop and you can hop on in.
You can let the driver know where you want to get out by telling them your destination or by simply tapping their shoulder / pointing to indicate where. Say “Déjeme” for “Let me out”, “Dónde pueda” to tell them to stop “wherever you can” to let you out. Say “En la esquina” for them to “Stop at the next corner”.
This is not the most comfortable form of transportation but it is very inexpensive. You will be sat on, poked, squeezed into a small, usually not comfy car. 4 passengers in the back, 3 in the front. You need to get out and let others in and out as needed.
I highly recommend not taking this form of transportation in the night.
At first this is a confusing form of travel. But when you understand the routs and pricing it can be a very interesting way to get around. A real Dominican experience.
The guagua is another cheap form of Dominican transportation. A good way to get around but only if you can understand the system.
The routes are usually posted someplace outside the van. The driver’s assistant, or Cobrador (fare collector), will be hanging out of a window or side door waving to see if they should stop. Trying to solicit a passerby to ride. Some even fight over a fare.
These vans are usually in very poor condition and you never know what you could be sitting next to on your ride. They hold as many people they can fit, maybe a chicken or two, and anything else that someone can get through the door.
There are no official stops or schedules that they follow. They will stop anywhere along their route, dropping off and picking up passengers. When the route ends there will be another to pick you up and take you farther in your quest. Just ask and usually the drivers assistant and the people taking a ride are very helpful.
The cost for this mode of transportation can start at about $20 (1/14) pesos. Make sure to have the correct change as drivers usually do not give change.
Motoconchos are yet another form of public transportation for persons who are a little braver. They can take you directly to your destination. You will see many of these motor bikes carrying as many people as they can possibly fit. They also carry every item you could imagine, chickens, pigs, refrigerators and I have even seen one towing a car.
A motoconcho is a very inexpensive way to get around locally. Cost can be from $30 (1/08) pesos and up, depending on how far you want to go and if it is day or night.
Most motoconcho drivers will wear a yellow safety vest that states they are official drivers. They do not offer helmets. This mode of transportation can be a little dangerous as these brave drivers weave in and out of traffic trying to get to their destinations with not having to wait in the lines of cars. But, if you want to get around the campos or smaller towns this form or transportation is very fast and easy.
The smaller towns usually have moto taxis on all major street corners.
To read about helpful transportation tips.
Important phone numbers to take with you when you travel.
To read a funny story about Dominican Drivers written by DR Gringa
Taxis can be found on most city streets. A taxi does not have any certain color or car type although there are some yellow cabs now in service. Most will have a small yellow taxi light on top of the car or a plack in the front window.
You can usually get a taxi within the city of Santo Domingo for about $160 to $200 pesos (prices have been going up as the gas prices raise). Try to have the correct change, especially if you are paying in foreign monies as drivers usually do not have change.
The best way to get a good price on a taxi is to call one of the major taxi services instead of using the ones on the streets or in front of hotels. Always ask the price first and if your not happy call a local company to pick you up.
If you’re at a hotel you may need to walk to the front if your getting a non-hotel affiliated taxi. If you’re in a restaurant or local business and need a taxi most will call one for you.
The safest night time travel is by a taxi direct to your destination. One thing that you should try to remember, for safety’s sake, is to ask the driver for his taxi number and remember it or write it down. If he does not have a number you may not want to take the ride. If you have the taxi number and there is any problem you will be able to give the driver information to the proper authorities. Also, if you know the person he will be more likely to go out of his way to make sure you are safe.
There are taxis available at all the major airports and their prices are usually posted. (2012-from Santo Domingo International Airport to Santo Domingo the ride is about $800 pesos). Their prices are usually the average going rate. Make sure to always agree on a price BEFORE you get into the car. If possible write down what the driver says so you can show it to him later if he decided to change his mind.
Santo Domingo Taxi Services
If you are coming to Santo Domingo write these numbers down and take them with you so you can call your own taxi and get the best rates.
There are many taxi services from which to choose. Check the telephone directory for taxis in Santo Domingo or your area or ask your hotel or friends to see what taxi is best in your location.
*JC Taxi – (1) 829-246-4471 more information for JC Taxi in the Hot Spots! Directory.