Rental car vs bus/guaguas

lara05

New member
Dec 17, 2018
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Hello forum,

So nice to stumble across this forum and thank you in advance for any help.

I've read a few of the threads about traveling within DR, but not sure what's still relevant from 2014-2017.

I'm flying into SDQ in Feb for 8 days and am looking forward to spending 2 days in Santo Domingo, 5 days in Samana/Las Galeras/Las Terrenas, and then back to SDQ area to fly out. I had a nice road trip in Puerto Rico in 2016 and thought I'd drive this route in DR. Reading more about traveling there though, I'm on the fence about renting a car or taking local transport.

Any personal suggestions/preferences? Is the bus to Samana from Sto Domingo still at Plaza Lama? I have only a couple of scheduled activities that I don't want to miss (boat tour to see the whales and accommodation reservations) but otherwise can be patient and wait for transport... Also, I speak Spanish fluently so I hope that might help if I go the public transport route. Thanks! :)
 

Cdn_Gringo

Gold
Apr 29, 2014
7,364
337
83
The majority of the threads about driving here in the DR are still germane. Not much has changed. The roads are not very well maintained. Driving in the dark is dangerous. Lots of weird things in the middle of the road such as people, farm animals, piles of rocks. Sometimes parts of the road are missing.

Vehicles are often encountered that are in a serious state of disrepair. Many vehicles do not having functioning brake lights or any working tail lights at all. Other driver's actions can be unpredictable - stopping in the middle of the road, turning without signalling, passing on the right, passing on curves, turning a two lane road into a three lane road, excessive speed etc.

Motorcycles are like killer bees on steroids, they are buzzing all over the place, and expect you to avoid hitting them.

If you are slow and careful, and your head is always checking all directions, you can drive here, but after a few hours into a long trip, some question that decision.
 

william webster

Platinum
Jan 16, 2009
23,813
678
113
All true - but the toll road to Samana is one of - if not the best in the country and quite uncrowded.

Still - daytime trip...

If you want the 'cultural' experience of a bus trip.... fine - I've done it & it's comfortable
You want to drive.. stop and explore... get there faster....you rent
 

ctrob

Silver
Nov 9, 2006
5,216
309
83
The majority of the threads about driving here in the DR are still germane. Not much has changed. The roads are not very well maintained. Driving in the dark is dangerous. Lots of weird things in the middle of the road such as people, farm animals, piles of rocks. Sometimes parts of the road are missing.

Vehicles are often encountered that are in a serious state of disrepair. Many vehicles do not having functioning brake lights or any working tail lights at all. Other driver's actions can be unpredictable - stopping in the middle of the road, turning without signalling, passing on the right, passing on curves, turning a two lane road into a three lane road, excessive speed etc.

Motorcycles are like killer bees on steroids, they are buzzing all over the place, and expect you to avoid hitting them.
.
But don't worry, missing manhole covers are always adequately marked for your safety.

 

cavok

Silver
Jun 16, 2014
4,537
433
83
Take the bus - less stress, less hassle, and you'll be able to enjoy the ride and scenery more without having to concentrate on driving.

There is good, cheap local transportation and plenty of private taxis where you would be hard pressed to spend more than the cost of a rental car for the day.
 

lara05

New member
Dec 17, 2018
8
0
0
Thanks so much, everyone, for your comments. I did read the thread about the Sto Domingo to Las T trip. Very helpful.

I'm leaning more "cultural" - I think that will give me a great experience and keep everyone safe!