Driving in the DR - thinking of renting



Does anyone have any experience renting a car in the DR?

The information that I have received seems to suggest that the best way to get around the country is either by bus, taxi, or motoconcho. However, because renting cars is a very comfortable experience for me, my inclination is to get a rental car on my next visit.

What are the potential liabilities associated with car rentals in the DR compared to the US?

If the car is damaged or stolen, what is your potential exposure. It seems that some roads in the country are in pretty bad shape. Driving habits are different, with different behaviors and responses depending on the time of day and month, location, and traffic. Also, handling the police is quite a different situation than in the US. Given that these are substantial considerations, I am trying to determine if renting would possibly be a mistake.

What is the best strategy for developing driving skills in the DR?

I have been renting cars in the US about once a week for the past year. It has been a very good experience. You get a different, late model car every week that someone else has to worry about when you are finished (I only do this with the weekend specials, so the cost is very affordable). However, since my experience driving in the DR is nil, it is a concern that maybe, initially, my driving should be limited to certain times of the day, and locations.

Any help on this is appreciated.


Ask "Tom"...he's used National...

I'll let our board users answer your questions. Also take a look in the archives, you will find many posts relating to this topic.

From our experience, National seems to offer the best overall package, they may not be the cheapest, but they have the best reputation for car quality, reliability and service. At the end of the day, thats worth more than the few dollars you may save going somewhere else.

You can also ask your questions to "National" directly. Their General Manager is Sr. Elso Payamps. Email: nationalcar.dr@grupoambar.com


Toby, I have rented many, many cars, trucks and 4x4's during my visits to the DR. Some I've had problems with and some not. Just like here in the states. I think DR1 is correct. If you rent from a reputable firm your chances of having any problems are decreased. Check your car over carefully before leaving the agency. After leaving, if you have any problems return it right away for another vehicle. While driving drive like you would in the states. To me, aggressive behavior leads to aggressive behavior. Treat people with respect and drive with respect and you will have no problems. Don't EVER take your eyes off the road, however. People, animals, rocks or vegetation may be on the road at any time. If you are in the mountains some potential for road washouts are likely. Be careful driving at night as all the above mentioned still apply but road glare and lack of lighting caused additional concern. The only problems I have ever had with the police is in Santa Domingo. I got stopped 4 times within one hour. For nothing other than money. The last cop that stopped me I gave a credit card to. I said why don't you just run my card so I can get through your damn city. Obviously I was kidding and did not let him keep the card. Out of Santa Domingo, I just drive by the cops when they ask me to pull over. They have never given chase.


Re: Police taking bribes

The police in the DR have for many years asked for $5-10 pesos as they randomly stop cars and motorcycles. They tell you it is to get a coke, beer or lunch. Their bosses send them out to collect money and if none is brought back they were sent to an area with less traffic and less of an opportunity to augment their own salaries. Last spring the new police chief came out publically about stopping this practice and when I left last June the police were not stopping cars like they had for many years. I wondered how long it would last and maybe it is happening again. Many dominicans drive without licenses or insurance and they happyly give the pesos to the police to avoid other problems. If you are stopped due to a violation the police still take $100 pesos to let you go without taking your license or having your vehicle detained at the police station. Because of low salaries this practice is generally accepted by the local population. If you get stopped, act like you don't speak Spanish and often times they let you go.

Ronald Heyne

Don?t drive at night!!!


driving in the DR is still quite different from driving in the USA. Take your time to get used to it.

But: Never drive at night!!!!!!!!!!!

In this case night means the time from sunset to dawn. Make sure you get back before sunset because at that time the roads are still crowded with people, animals and all kinds of (unlighted) vehicles.

I lost a good friend last month in a car accident at night, she had many years of experience in driving in the DR. Also last month two young man died in front of our DR house driving a motorcycle. Both accidents happened when crashing into an unlighted truck on a main road.

Never drive at night!!!!!!!!!!!