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  1. #1
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    Default women tourist driving in DR

    Myself and 5 other female friends (we'll all in the early 50's) will be staying a week at the Ocean Blue Sand Resort in Punta Cana, we want to rent a car and drive throughout the island, I have read it is a 3 hr trip to Santa Domingo, and my question is, is the safe for us to drive around the island during the day only,,,,or if you advice against it, what type of transportation can take us to Santa Domingo..we will be there starting Feb 12 for 7 days, and are the resorts around ours withing walking distance,,

  2. #2
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    You can walk to a few of the resorts, probably easier along the beach, but you wont be able to access other resorts as the wristbands of the guests, identify them as belonging to that particular resort. I wouldnt advise walking on the roads to the nearby resorts. (no real sidewalks to speak of).
    There are express buses that run 4 times daily to the Capital from Bavaro, approximately 4hours each way, departing 7am, 10am, 2pm and 4pm so you may want to overnight it in Santo Domingo to maximize your time there (although you only have 7 days, but it is worth a visit for sure!) . Enjoy!
    Also, since this is unfamiliar terrain for you, I strongly advise even the most experienced driver from renting a car in DR...the driving is not for the faint-hearted and no real rules of the road to speak of, so sit back, relax and let someone else stay focused on the road!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by drloca
    Also, since this is unfamiliar terrain for you, I strongly advise even the most experienced driver from renting a car in DR...the driving is not for the faint-hearted and no real rules of the road to speak of, so sit back, relax and let someone else stay focused on the road!
    I strongly back that up. The road to Santo Domingo is not easy, the biggest danger being other drivers. If you want to go to Santo Domingo, I recommend you either take the bus or find a local driver who for a rate will take you there and around. By Express Bus, the ride is at least 4 hours until the main bus stop, by car it can be a bit less if you know the way. You might want to plan staying over for the night to be able to have more time in the city and not come back in the dark.

    Have fun!

  4. #4
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    I have driven extensively in Canada and the United States but the only driving I do in the Dominican Republic is the 2 kms to the golf course and back!
    My hubby, who learned to drive in Rome, Italy does all the rest of the driving.
    I might note that I was a chauffeur of a stretch limousine running 330 km. trips to the airport in Toronto - sun, rain or snow- however I leave the DR driving to those who have lots of practise driving where there are no real rules, stoplights and stop signs are mostly ignored, potholes are big enough for a bus and many on the roads at night or on weekends are intoxicated!

  5. #5
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    My goodness! In the three posts that answered you, you have received the most auspicious and absolutely precise and correct of our advice.

    Please take it and use the bus. There are a bunch of really nice boutique hotels in Santo Domingo that will accomodate you and your friends. There are also some very nice hotels (Jaragua, V Centenerario and the Hilton) that will be a marvelous change from the All-Inclusives at the beach.

    Santo Domingo is a whole other world..

    Since the is a BIG island, I am going to suggest that you plan another trip..down the line..and make the North Coast your base..

    From there you can visit a lot more of the Island without losing q half a day travelling.

    Have fun!!

    HB

  6. #6
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    Good advice from HB.

    DR is a LARGE island when it comes to driving, and roads are not always funny, and finally other drivers are not funny at all.
    CaribeTours, the bus company, is comfortable, prices are good and schedules are just fine.

    Relax and enjoy your holiday instead of being stressed out by driving crazy, long distances.

  7. #7
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    Default We are all on the same page here

    OP

    Truly, we are not trying to scare you for no reason. However we are trying to discourage you from your desire to drive in this country. As said and noted by many posters that live here. Do not drive here!

    The roadways here are horrendous. The rain at times is so torrential there is zero visibility. There are animals such as horses, donkeys and cows that break away from their farms and wander freely onto the highways. Yes, there are many, many intoxicated people driving crazily on the roadways. God forbid if you are to drive through the mountain roads there are absolutely no guardrails. There are areas where the roads have been washed away from mudslides and there is no barriers or signs to warn you. The elevations are thousands of feet and during the night or even day the fog can set in leaving no visibility.

    Please, please take heed and hire an experienced driver to drive you or use the tour buses. Sit back and enjoy your vacation!!! Have fun!

  8. #8
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    Default I second the motion!

    Have a great trip, and as the others and more savvy folks here have told you ... forget about driving. It is deceiving.

    While we refer to it as "driving" in the RD, and it ocasionally looks like driving as you know it, in reality, it is more like navigating a HUM-V through enemy fire and land mines, after five shots of strong expresso and no sleep.

    Now, are you still interested?

    I am no granny driver. I HAVE driven in Italy, and Moscow, and around lake Como, and in the alps, and the entire coast of Spain and France.

    That said, I would never recommend "driving in the RD" to anyone visiting the RD for their first hundered times. Especially if you do not speak Spanish fluently and do not look like a local.

    Save your adrenaline for activities with a bigger payoff!

    Among other unexpected surprises, try this one on ... imagine a local hitting your vehicle, and you pay for their damage! It is too crazy.

    The upside of paying someone to do the driving is that YOU can enjoy the FANTASTIC scenery. Please do just that and make sure your first impressions and memories of the RD are all positive ones.

  9. #9
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    5 women in their 50's......is it safe for everyone else? ha ha ha

    as azb would say...I make joke

    but seriously there are so many things to consider there....for one I didnt think the road from santo domingo was bad at all. I remember it being a very good road.

    that said they have an agressive way of driving down there. But out on the open road you would be fine. It is in the city where traffic is intense and people cut you off , and ther eare sooo many motorcycles buzzing around, that it could be daunting. I seriously think the worst part would be driving in the capitol itself, But it is likely if you flew into the airport outside the capitol , you would not have to drive into there! almost every car you see has a dozen dents for a reason!!!!!!! The other thing is that if you break down with your car, the logistics of getting you fixed up and back on the road is a nightmare. I bet many would try to help you, but it would like the janitor in the hospital trying to help with your brain surgery...hell say " i saw them do it before, you just do something like this" ha ha ha ha.

    all in all if you know how to drive defensively, and stick to driving during the day...it isnt really that bad. you can always park the car at night and take a cab then. If you do rent try to get some pointers. Like the biggest vehicle always has the right of way...honk when you pass a motorcycle... because they have been trained to expect that honk....if you dont , you are messing up their system, and he may just make a turn right in front of you.
    slow down at all lights... the green light you have means nothing to the people coming the other way that have a red light....at best it means for them to slow down only!!!!!!!

    but seriously the cost of a large vehicle that can comfortable handle 5 women will so much that the cost of the taxi to wait hand and foot for you all day will seem more reasonable... and you dont have to worry about insurance or someone banging your fender.

    take the bus to your resort area... then hire a driver with a van locally.................once you see the area and how things work and how people drive.... you may be in abetter position to decide if you want to rent then next time....

    bob

  10. #10
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    Oh, and I forgot to add, "NO AMBULANCES."

    Please don't get me wrong, the RD is a wonderful place. Just leave the driving to locals; it is a very delicate cross between finely choreographed ballet, dodging bullets in that HUM-V, and extraordinary "luck", for lack of a better word. The locals manage it just fine, but they have years of practice in the subtle intracacies of driving as we know it in the RD.

    With 4 friend, I would definitely rent a taxi and driver for the day. Plus - he will likely make a fun and nice tour guide.

    ENJOY!!!!!!!!

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