The usual way to get around to near- and medium distance destinations on the Samana Peninsula is the motoconcho, a sort of motorcycle taxi. They fit up to two people on the backseat and off you go. Doesn`t live up to western safety standards but locals assured me that accidents are rare. Some haggling skill is required.
The new highway Santo Domingo-Samaná and v.v.
Disclaimer: I read about this highway on one of the local papers and since I don't know anyone who can confirm this for me or haven't used it, use it as a guide and be prepared.
This highway will reduce the travel time between Santo Domingo and Samaná to 1.5-2 hours, as opposed to 4-5 hours as it is now going via Cotuí or San Francisco de Macorís. It's a highway with 3 (yes, you read it right) toll booths and you have to pay them on the way there AND back. The first one is on Las Américas highway, the second one at the highway's km 18 and the last one at a place called La Reforma. The prices are as follows:
- Motorbikes: FREE in all 3 booths
- Cars and similar vehicles (vehículos livianos): 40 pesos (first), 130 pesos (second), 155 pesos (third).
- Microbuses and minibuses: 260 pesos (second), no price info about the other 2 booths
- 2-axle trucks and buses (camiones de 2 ejes y autobuses): 100 pesos (first), 260 pesos (second), 320 pesos (third)
- 3-axle (or more axle) trucks (camiones de 3 ejes o más): 150 pesos (first), 480 pesos (second), 590 pesos (third).
The highway ends about half an hour from Samaná city, in a place called Rincón de Molinillos. From there you should take a right to go to Samaná or a left to go to Nagua.Related to:
- Road Trip
Sites for BUS/guagua information
I cannot say whether the information is up to date, but these sites seem useful. I used them recently, February, 2011, in planning a trip that I have not yet taken. I have read that the A/C may be turned up high, so have a wrap handy. A hat often helps, too, on chilly buses.
There is reportedly excellent bus service from Santo Domingo, and probably from Santiago, by Caribe Tours. Check the site for other departure and destination locations. Reserve at the site. www.caribetours.com.do/site/portada/
Click Entrar. click Obten información
There are schedules for buses & guaguas at
www.horariodebuses.com OR http://thebusschedule.com
Either one gets you to the same site.
Start Page: “Welcome to thebusschedule.com, the online bus schedule for Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Balearic Islands. The online schedule includes bus, train and boat connections between more then 2900 places for your travel in the following countries. All time tables are also available by cell phone.”
Click on the flag and name of the country you are interested in.
At the country site English, Spanish, French and several other languages may also be chosen.
List your start and destination. Replace the current time and date with the departure time you wish to check. You will get the bus schedule for one or two departures. Click on "Earlier” or “Later” to see more. Often with a few clicks you can see that the bus leaves every hour or every 15 minutes or at some other regular intervals.
The times are on a 24 hour schedule, so 1:00pm is 13:00, 2:00pm is 14:00, etc.
Try entering 23:00 and then moving down the schedule, using the “Later” button, to see the time for the first bus the next morning.
Caritos Publicos - See "Warnings"
Please see my detailed tip regarding 'caritos publicos' in the warnings/dangers section. For the right person, these public taxis can provide a cheap and efficient means of traveling around cities in the DR. For the wrong person, riding in caritos publicos may prove an uncomfortable or even frightening experience, with the added risk of being stranded, lost, ripped off, or put in physical danger.
Call a taxi dispatcher if you are ever in doubt!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
This rental car company was the cheapest for me since I'm between the ages of 21 and 25. Other American car companies charge people under 25 large insurance fees.
I do have complaints (which will be listed under warnings), however, if I had to do it all over again I would definitely still rent a car from this company.Related to:
Santo Domingo-Punta Cana/Bávaro by public bus
This tip is for those of you who want to go to Punta Cana or Bávaro by public means and would rather not to spend a lot of money renting a car or calling a cab.
Take a minibus to Higüey at Parque Enriquillo, Santo Domingo. These buses are express buses but might stop to drop off or pick up passengers a few times along the road, they're comfortable enough for the trip and usually have a/c. When you come to Higüey, go to the Friusa bus terminal (Sitrabupu) and take one of their buses. All buses coming to Bávaro from Higuey go around all the hotels.
Buses from Santo Domingo to Higuey run every 15 minutes at peak times (8am - 6pm) and every 30 mins in off-peak times (6am - 8am, 6pm-8pm) and vice versa from Higuey to Santo Domingo (first bus leaves at 4.30 am)
From Bavaro to Higuey/and from Higuey to Bavaro, buses run every 15-20 minutes from Friusa bus terminal (Sitrabapu) next to Politur police station. After 10pm, service is around once every hour.
Of course, to visit Santo Domingo from Punta Cana or Bávaro you do this the other way around.
I haven't been to Punta Cana but I got this info from reliable sources.Related to:
- Budget Travel
For being such a small country, we do have a lot of international airports that connect us with a lot of cities in Europe, North, Central and South America and the Caribbean either by regular flights or charter services.
- Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas (SDQ) in Santo Domingo.
- Aeropuerto Internacional del Cibao (STI) in Santiago.
- Aeropuerto Internacional de Gregorio Luperón (POP): in Sosúa, Puerto Plata province.
- Aeropuerto Internacional de Punta Cana (PUJ)
- Aeropuerto Internacional de La Romana (LRM).
- Aeropuerto Internacional El Catey (AZS) in Samaná.
- Aeropuerto Internacional La Isabela in Santo Domingo.
- Aeropuerto Internacional Arroyo Barril (EPS) in Samaná.
Awfully most of the flyghts from Italy to Dominican Republic are charters, it means that you are not free to change the day of departure.
Taxis are not that cheap, we moved with local busses and had the best fun, you just stop near other persosns that look like waiting to go somewhere and, when a minibus comes there is always someone standing at the door shouting the destination, tell him where you are going and if the bus goes in your way, just enter.Prices are something different any time ofcourse, a good idea is sitting with a near a local and asking him how much you should pay, they'll say the truth.Related to:
In the DR its OK to Drink and Drive!!
The Dominican Republic is a blast! We had a great time in Santo Domingo. We visited Christopher Columbus' castle and went to a cool bar down in a cave. It was called, "La Cueva". Very cool!!!
The traffic is just nuts, but if you can get past that, the DR has much to offer.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
"hitchhiking" on mopeds
The whole time I was in the Dominican Republic I hitchhiked with guys that had mopeds. It's the local way and as a broke, single girl it worked out well for me because the guys that would give me rides would make sure no one else bothered me...at least until they were out of site.Related to:
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- Women's Travel
Caribe Tours and Metro are the biggest bus lines that travel across the country. They both have air conditioned, comfortable buses. They used to serve wafers and coffee before but I don't know if they still do nowadays. Competitive prices.
Some routes will make a few stops on the places where most people travel to.
There are more "informal" buses, minibuses, that travel back and forth between most cities. They're cheaper than Caribe Tours and Metro but they're not as comfortable. There's 2 kinds of these: those who are "express" and those who will stop wherever a passenger winks at them to stop or wherever someone is getting off. Those minibuses have a guy that stands on the exit, called "cobrador" and his job is to collect the fare. On the stop-basically-everywhere minibuses they'll hang half his body outside the door and yell the route they're traveling. They signal the driver by knocking on the bus once or twice.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Taxi Service to Use
If you need assistance with a taxi in Santo Domingo (such as arranging one ahead of time to pick you up at the airport, contact Radhames Soto. His typical location is at Parque Colon in Zona Colonia. When he drove us, he used a nice, large van that was in good condition. He is polite and professional and speaks English. He was, by far, the best taxi driver we used and, if I had it to do all over again, I'd hire him for all of our transportation needs. (Make sure to find out the appropriate price ahead of time, because you'll need to bargain a bit to get the right price. I expect you could hire him for an entire day.)
Phone numbers are listed in the Contact area. (Dialing is the same as if it were a U.S. number). You can also likely find him at the park. His taxi is marked with an official seal.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
- Road Trip
The Guagua is more or less the local bus system. They are privately run and mostly old, and they squish up to 20 people into a 12-seater, but it's a fast and cheap (and fun) way to get around. Last time I checked it was 5 Pesos for 30 kilometers. That'll take you e.g. from Cabarete to Puerto Plata.
The worst choice: Iberia
Never ever again with Iberia. Nowhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We flight from Madrid to Santo Domingo. Very uncomfortable seats. It could be ok for a short flight, but for 8 hours! No good food, no good service (rude, unfriendly, helpless, etc.), no tv, no etc... Always late, or cancelled.
If from Europe, choose something else, for ex. Air Europa, or a charter from London.
Motoconcho on North Shore DR
My brother and I took our familes (9 total, many children) in 1999. We are riders and had no problems. I think it could be dangerous espeacialy for non rider that get esaily freeked out by agressive driving. My expirence was a good one but I would not want to be responcible for somone taking this risk. We thought it was preety neat to jump a quick ride so cheap.
On our vacations we take some risk, however; we always do our utmost to reduce exposure to foolish danger. So we talk to the taxi driver before setting off... We check the water for depth and for rocks before we jump of a waterfall. We use common sence as to water flow and recognize danger when we see it. I love adventure and my motto is "I'd rather be a live chicken than a dead duck)" so be careful and live a little. Time and unforseen occurances befall us all........Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
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