The Travel Slut's Top 10 tips about the Punta Cana International Airport:
1. Upon arrival, you will have have to run a gauntlet or get your photo taken with 2 Dominican women in costume. The photo will then be available at a kiosk inside the terminal after clearing security and your photo will be listed by date and flight #. The cost is $7.00 U.S. and a fairly nice souvenir.
2. After you get your photo you will be required to purchase a $10.00 U.S. tourist card before entering immigration.
3. There are no jetways at this airport which is comprised on buildings made of thatched huts (or palapas).
Therefore, if you exit your plane in the rain, you will get wet walking to the terminal unless you carry a poncho or umbrella.
4.Look for package deals to Punta Cana first, then look for airfare only deals. I booked a $16.00 U.S. round-trip flight on Spirit Air via their email notices.
5. There is so much construction between the resorts and the airport that plan accordingly to leave at a time where you will not be rushed at the airport.
6. If Terminal 1 is your departure location, and it is too hot for you in the open air waiting area, simply step into the air-conditioned bar-lounge next to the Wendy's counter and order a drink. The drinks are not expensive considering bottled water or soda will cost $3.00 U.S. inside the terminal
7. If you do not want to use the bar, then simply walk over to Terminal 2 via the walkway. Terminal 2 is closed and air conditioned and much nicer/newer than 1.
8. Terminal 2 has more shops, including duty-free and some restaurants.
9. Terminal 1 has only a small snack shop, Wendy's hamburger stand and a pizza stand. They are located at the top of the ramp.
10. Prior to departure, you will have to pay a $20.00 U.S. departure fee tax. Be sure to check your airline documents to see if the tax has been pre-paid, otherwise, you will be stopped before boarding.
Within villages and small towns, you can walk. Most places are within walking distance. If you're tired or don't feel like walking you can get a local to take you on a motorbike (they usually charge a small fee for that). Other than that, you can take the bus from town to town. In bigger towns and cities, there are busses and vans.
Don't expect luxury....our coach didn't have a door, you regulary see motorbikes with 3 people on, you'll always get asked if you want a motorbike instead of a taxi (I wouldn't recommend this one bit!!)....& as for the cars.....
Definitely an eye opener!!!
Most of your major airlines fly into the Dominican Republic, American, Delta & U.S. Airways. The tricky part here is scheduling that flight. If you live anywhere in the U.S. beside's the southern states, plan on taking an extra day of vacation. For some reason most flights out of the States for the Dominican Republic don't leave until very late in the afternoon or evening & arrive at your connecting destination, whether it be Atlanta, Miami or Dallas until late in the evening. Your connecting flight leaving for the Dominican Republic will then be the following late morning or early afternoon, if your lucky. So best book a hotel at your connection. If your lucky & don't mind a little fanagling, including picking up your luggage at your connection and making multiple flight plans, you might be able to book a flight to those departing cities such as Miami, Atlanta or Dallas very early in the morning, hopefully arriving at those destinations early enough to take a departing flight out to the Dominican Republic.
This is one amazing place for driving...There must be rules but I don't think they told anybody about them. One of our tour guides say that many people drive while drinking. Being the 24th of Dec. we passed a truck with a barrel in the back and everyone had a beer in hand. I could not drive here. Only the brave.......
I did not see a single accident.....
There are different types of transportation in the DR.
If you want to travel inside a small town, like Sosua, Puerto Plata and Cabarete, you can take a "motoconcho". They are everywhere. It usually costs 10 to 20 pesos.
To travel between cities or inside bigger cities like Santiago and santo Domingo, you have the "carros publicos" (public cars), which are regular cars where they put at least 7 people (4 in the back). So if you sit in front, don't be surprised if someone wants to get in front to sit next to you, it's completely normal. If you don't agree, you can pay for both seats.
Travelling between Sosua and Puerto Plata will cost you about 25 pesos durong the day, and 30 at night. These cars stop wherever they see someone waiting on the road. In Sopsua, they leave from the Texaco gas station. On one side of the road they go to cabarete and Rio SanJuan, on the other side, they go to Puerto Plata. You can also pay for the whole car if you want. But you will have to negociate the price with the driver. It's cheaper than a taxi!
Then you have the guaguas which are usually small buses. These buses travel further than the public cars. They are also cheaper, but it's hard to know the real price when you're a tourist. They can also put a lot of people inside thoses buses (they get full very quickly).
If you want to travel far, between two cities, I recommend Caribe Tours or Metro. These are normal buses, like we see in Europe or the US. There are other companies, but they are not present in the whole country. Caribe Tours will take you from Sosua to Santiago and Santo Domingo for example. But don't forget to bring a sweater, the air conditioning can be very cold!!!!
to travel around DR yu have to use organised tours.
several options are offered to yu when yu arrive at the resort, and everyday they take yu to visit a town or other points of interest.
of course those tours are taken by bus in land or by boat if u choose to go to an island with other tourists. amazing tours and wonderfull sites that u can visit, if you go there not only for the resting thing.
Most resorts are far from the airport. And most travel packages already included the transfer from the airport to the resort, usually in a comfortable air-conditioned van or bus.
For traveling around during the stay, we also used some kind of buses: one was very touristy and bright coloured (see the photo) and there was merengue playing loudly - this was an organized tour.
Some other day we decided to visit a local city (actually the capital city of San Juan Province, which is Higuey) and used public transportation. Some say that usually it isn’t recommended to leave the resort on your own, but we had no problem at all. Public buses are very cheap, but take a long time to get to destination as there seems to be no rush or stress in local people to be in schedule. It is all much laid back, which feels so good on holiday time.
One of the best ways to access some beaches, do some diving or visit some other spot is by boat.
There are several kinds of boat in Dominican Republic, particularly on the organized tours. I made 3 boat trips: all different from each other, varying from an almost artesian boat to a bigger one that transported lots of people on two decks.
I got the idea that is easy to find locals with motor boats that for some euros or dollars will “drive” you around.
When sailing/traveling by boat don't forget to use a very high spf.
I traveled to Dominican Republic by plane. When we landed (at the Punta Caña International Airport), we walked through the airplanes to the main building. I must say that I was surprised at the sight of the airport - the roof is made of palm trees leaves and there are no walls in some spaces, such as the lounge. Apart from this, we collected our luggage - all luggage were orderly displayed on the floor and each passenger picked his. At this point there are people trying to help you carry the luggage in order to receive a tip.
On our way back to Portugal, we waited for our flight at the lounge (the flight was late). There are no screens showing the flights. They announce them loud in (bad) English. Sometimes it occurred to me that I might my “call"!
national airline, good one by the way, you can go to any airport in the country. They have regular flights from Herrera to Puerto Principe and from Santiago (DR) to Santiago de Cuba. Great service!! specialized on charter flights all around the Caribbean and central america.
being at Punta Cana, going to Isla saona, is the must do activity tip.
a tourist bus travels from Bavaro beach, where i was, to Bahyahibe, and there, a small launch boat, takes you to the island.
all the way tipical south american scenes to snapshot and really a trip to remember.
Have the rental car ready in advance to be ready at the airport. It's the best way to explore the area. Watch though, they drive like maniacs down there...huge potholes, speeding, and driving on whichever side of the road that's in better condition.
There are numerous car-rental agencies in Santo Domingo, and traffic proceeds on the right. You must be at least 25 years old to rent a car, and you'll need a valid driver's license from your home country or an international driving permit
Yeah... dont be surprised if you find FOUR people in one of these... i really dont suggest you traveling around the city in one of these, unless you're with a Dominican person who's also taking the ride with you (in the same motorcicle or in another one, its ok).. it costs around 20 pesos de ride to wherever you want
Stayed here for annual holiday in October 2001. First time in carribean and definately not the last....more
Myself and my girlfriend spent 7 miserable days here. We pads for reserve rooms , top of the line...more
I stayed here on a recent business trip in the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo. This 6 room hotel...more