Santo Domingo to Puerta Plata - Safety questions

Oct 15, 2018
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How safe is it to drive for a tourist from Santo Domingo to Puerta Plata?
I’m Asian, traveling with friends (Hispanic descent) but you can clearly see we are not from here. My question is will police stop us? Are car robberies common?

What about bus. How reliable are these?

Recommendations welcome.
 

irishpaddy

Bronze
Sep 3, 2013
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drive with confidence as if you own the place ......if stopped by the police ....you don't know any Spanish ...just smile and smile
 

cavok

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Jun 16, 2014
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Car robberies are not common, but they do happen. Do not make the trip at night. Buses are clean, cheap, comfortable, and run on regular schedules. You'll be fine. Enjoy your trip.
 

cavok

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Jun 16, 2014
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I'd say less dangerous than both, and I've been to both numerous times. Just use good common sense and you'll be fine.
 

cavok

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Since you're in a group, when you go to a restaurant, make sure to check your tab carefully. A lot of places like to "pad" the bill with a couple extra drinks, add it up wrong, and a couple in Puerto Plata had "switcheroo menus" - one when you order and another with different(higher) prices when you don't think the bill looks right. If you're in a bar or disco with a ot of chicas - watch your pockets! This is probably the worst you have to worry about. Gringo beware!
 

Dr_Taylor

New member
Oct 18, 2017
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How safe is it to drive for a tourist from Santo Domingo to Puerta Plata?
I’m Asian, traveling with friends (Hispanic descent) but you can clearly see we are not from here. My question is will police stop us? Are car robberies common?

What about bus. How reliable are these?

Recommendations welcome.
I make the trip once a year or so by car, and never experienced any difficulties. When stopped in a roadblock, I only speak English. As I understand it, the bus runs are fine.
 
Oct 15, 2018
7
0
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I make the trip once a year or so by car, and never experienced any difficulties. When stopped in a roadblock, I only speak English. As I understand it, the bus runs are fine.

What do you mean by stopped in a road block?

And is there a high way that connect both cities? Or you you go on small road from city to city?
 

CristoRey

Welcome To Wonderland
Apr 1, 2014
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Thanks for the feedback.

How dangerous would you compare the DR to Mexico or Brazil?

Not as dangerous. Don't get involved with vices like drugs, too much alcohol
or prostitution and you should be just fine. Come looking for trouble in down
here in Wonderland and trouble you will find. Avoid the PN (Policia National)
at all cost. They are a well organized gang of thugs who can ruin your vacation
very easily. I strongly recommend you travel by bus http://www.caribetours.com.do/viajes
They are cheap, safe and fast.
 

josh2203

Bronze
Dec 5, 2013
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What do you mean by stopped in a road block?

And is there a high way that connect both cities? Or you you go on small road from city to city?

Cannot comment on the road block part, as I have never seen one (driven years between the two places), so I'd assume they don't happen very often, unless there is a huelga.

From Santo Domingo, you take the Autopista Duarte (nro 1), entering to Santiago, you can bypass the city via the Circunvalacion Norte (highway with 4 lanes also), then continue back with Autopista Joaquin Balaguer (also the nro 1) up until Navarrete, from where you have to turn right, and the rest of the trip to Puerto Plata is a two-lane street which is currently not in a very good shape... I've seen others mentioning other routes from Santiago to Puerto Plata, but won't comment on those as I've never used them, but always the Navarrete-Puerto Plata route.

I've driven countless times even at midnight, and while it's definitely not that fun, in my opinion, if you have no other options, it's feasible. The only part that I currently really dislike is exactly that two-lane road between Navarrete and Puerto Plata, which has partly unusable markings, part of the road is destroyed due to weather or construction, part of the asphalt is also missing and there are quite a few potholes, so unless you know the street well, I would hesitate taking that part in dark. I've done it, and nothing bad happened, but I did not really enjoy that...
 

TropicalPaul

Bronze
Sep 3, 2013
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I would strongly advise using the bus. If you have an accident of any kind (on the most dangerous roads in the world which we have here), then even if it is not your fault, as a foreigner you will be held responsible. If a kid on a motorbike without a helmet who is drunk crashes into you and dies, then best of luck getting out of the country.

The buses are air-conditioned, have WiFi, cheap, reliable and safe. As someone has said above, if you need to rent a vehicle, you can do this in Puerto Plata. If they have Uber there, I wouldn't bother, it's way easier to buzz around in Uber than to rent a vehicle.
 

Cdn_Gringo

Gold
Apr 29, 2014
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As others have already said, take either the Metro or the Caribe Tours bus. Caribe tours departs every hour and Metro every few hours. Those not familiar with driving here should leave the driving to Dominicans. You and your gang can talk, gawk out the windows at people doing bizarre things and for the duration of the trip, thank the deity of your choice for not choosing to drive yourself.
 

cavok

Silver
Jun 16, 2014
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Driving here is not recommended for a "newbie". Too many idiots and potholes on the roads. No need for a car in Pto. Plata either. Plenty of cheap taxis everywhere. Forget the car.
 

hammerdown

Bronze
Apr 29, 2005
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Cannot comment on the road block part, as I have never seen one (driven years between the two places), so I'd assume they don't happen very often, unless there is a huelga.

From Santo Domingo, you take the Autopista Duarte (nro 1), entering to Santiago, you can bypass the city via the Circunvalacion Norte (highway with 4 lanes also), then continue back with Autopista Joaquin Balaguer (also the nro 1) up until Navarrete, from where you have to turn right, and the rest of the trip to Puerto Plata is a two-lane street which is currently not in a very good shape... I've seen others mentioning other routes from Santiago to Puerto Plata, but won't comment on those as I've never used them, but always the Navarrete-Puerto Plata route.

I've driven countless times even at midnight, and while it's definitely not that fun, in my opinion, if you have no other options, it's feasible. The only part that I currently really dislike is exactly that two-lane road between Navarrete and Puerto Plata, which has partly unusable markings, part of the road is destroyed due to weather or construction, part of the asphalt is also missing and there are quite a few potholes, so unless you know the street well, I would hesitate taking that part in dark. I've done it, and nothing bad happened, but I did not really enjoy that...

Why not take the toll highway to Samana and take the coastal highway to POP....quicker as there is no need to cross through Santo Domingo and a way nicer drive for the scenery....

My thoughts not yours.....