Journey through the Dominican Republic by car: advice for tourists

    Renting a car in the Dominican Republic is easy. For this you need only a passport, a driver's license and a major credit card.

    Read more about this in our article

    In this material, we will talk about the most interesting places where tourists would rarely go on foot.

    But before you go, you need familiarize yourself with the peculiarities of driving on Dominican roads.

    journey through the Dominicana

     

    Here are the most important facts you need to know when traveling around the Dominican Republic by auto:

    • In the Dominican Republic, there is a rather relaxed attitude toward the rules of the road. Local residents often pay no attention to traffic signs or to other vehicles.
    • In the Dominican Republic there are few traffic lights, but there are speed bumps everywhere.
    • Often, minor violations of the rules are ignored by the road service patrols. However, this is for the local population. For foreign drivers, the rules may be enforced.
    • Most often they are fined for not fastening the seatbelt and talking on the phone while driving.
    • Keep in mind that patrolmen of the road service (AMET) have no right to collect a fine on the spot. They must write out a ticket which will need to be paid at the bank.
    • With regard to transporting children - there are no clear rules and this is left to the discretion of the parents.
    • Traveling by motor bike is very common in the Dominican Republic but you will need to be very careful because divers can be reckless and often ignore the rules.
    • Also, we advise you to stay alert because fraud on the roads is a frequent occurrence. Do not bring valuable things with you and try not to display any money. It is best just to keep a few bills for small expenses in the glove compartment of the car.
    • Dominicans are very fond of signaling while driving however these signals can sometimes just mean that he is greeting an acquaintance.
    • Local drivers often neglect to signal when turning. Sometimes, the blinker is broken. Sometimes a Dominican driver will simply wave his hand in the direction he is going to turn.
    • Many roads are poorly lit so drivers will use their high-beam headlights at night.
    • If traffic is heavy, Dominicans often drive on the shoulder.
    • Among the most frequent violators of traffic rules are:

    - motorcycles
    - women
    - drivers of local minibuses (gua gua)

    • In the countryside, gas stations are few and far between so, on long trips, refuel the car at any opportunity.
    • On village roads, pets and even children can suddenly jump out into the road, so in these areas, drive slowly and attentively.
    • The hierarchy on Dominican roads is based on the size of the vehicle. The larger vehicle has the right of way.
    • At some parking spaces, local "volunteers" will offer to look after your car for a small fee. We advise not to disregard this offer.
    • At busy intersections in large cities, you can meet beggars asking for money and sellers of various knick-knacks and sweets.

    Now that we have pointed out the main features of the Dominican roads and drivers, we can proceed to the most interesting part of driving - the routes.

     

    SO, WHERE TO GO BY AUTOMOBILE?

    It may be better to visit the popular Dominican attractions on an excursion. But if you are driving, we can advise you of places to go where tourists are rare guests.

    When planning your itinerary, it is bet to concentrate on one region. Don’t try to see the whole island in 1-2 days – it’s just not enough time.

    If you still decide to go to the capital on your own and not with an excursion, then plan for an all day trip. Indeed, Santo Domingo is the first European city built on the American continent. And believe me - it is something to see!

    Read more: The top tour in the Dominican Republic

    But besides the well known and popular tourist places, there is, in the Dominican Republic, a huge number of remote and picturesque corners which must be seen if you enjoy travelling independently.
    So, let's go!

    CENTRAL DOMINICANA

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    The central part of Dominican Republic is an area of clean fresh mountain air, pine forests, fast rivers, powerful waterfalls and the Cordillera ridges. It is best to begin getting acquainted with this part of the country in the town of Jarabacoa, the city of endless spring. In addition to the fact that tropical flowers bloom and blossom all year round in Jarabacoa, the place also attracts fans of extreme and ecotourism.

    We advise you to visit one of the local ranches in order to travel by horseback down to a waterfall, take a walk through plantations of exotic fruits, or go rafting on one of the fast rivers.

    Be sure to have dinner in the restaurant "Hammock of God" - the views from the terrace are truly divine!

    If you have enough time, be sure to visit Duarte Peak - the highest point in the Caribbean. The height of this mountain is 10,500 feet and the route to the peak is 14 miles one way. The top of the mountain is crowned by a bust of the national hero - Juan Pablo Duarte. And words can't describe the views from the mountain.

    Not far from Jarabacoa is the picturesque and fertile valley - Constanta. Strawberries, raspberries, all kinds of vegetables and even flowers grow here. It is not for nothing is Constanta called Dominican Switzerland.

    When traveling through Central Dominican Republic, do not miss the opportunity to visit the cultural capital of the country - the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. This glorious city was founded in the late 16th century. In addition to all sorts of architectural attractions, the city has a Cigar Museum and the Santiago Cultural Center located in a building with a glass dome.

    NORTHERN DOMINICANA

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    The largest city on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic is Puerto Plata. The name is poetically translated as "Silver Gate". This place is called the "amber coast" because it is in the northern Cordillera that the largest deposits of Dominican amber are located. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you visit the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata and other attractions of this wonderful city:

    • Ancient fortress - Fortaleza de San Felipe
    • Malecon
    • Church of San Felipe
    • Brugal Rum Factory

    Be sure to climb Mount Isabel de Torres where you can enjoy stunning views of the city and the coast. The only funicular railway in the Dominican Republic will take you to a mountain topped by a statue of Christ (a small copy of the Brazilian original).

    Just 30 minutes from the historic city of Puerto Plata are 2 small boarding resorts - Sosua and Cabarete. There will surely appeal to fans of surfing and vibrant nightlife.

    Also, the northern coast is famous for such sights as:

    • Samana Bay
    • Cayo Paraiso Island
    • 27 waterfalls

    To cover all these places, you should plan for a trip of a few days.

    SOUTH-WEST DOMINICANA

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    We advise all lovers of exotic places, as well as those who would like to observe landscapes typical of Mexico and other parts of South America, to visit South-western part of the Dominican Republic.

    The south-west is the most arid region of the Dominican Republic which strongly affects the appearance of nature. Here all kinds of thorny bushes and cactus groves grow. Iguanas and other reptiles also live here.

    If you head southwest from Punta Cana, then your path will lie along the southern coast. On the way, you will pass Santo Domingo but we advise you not to stop in the capital. Save it for another day. It will take a lot of time although it is not a long distance.

    Also you will pass a small village Bani. It is famous for its yearly mango festival where you can sample more than 30 varieties of this fragrant fruit.

    Undoubtedly, the most important sight of the south-western region is the famous salt lake of Enriquillo. In addition to being the largest body of water in the Dominican Republic, it is also located 140 feet below sea level. The landscapes around Enriquillo are absolutely fantastic. And there live the only predator of the Dominican Republic - the large American crocodile.

    Right in the middle of the lake there is a real sanctuary, located on the island of Cabritos. In addition to crocodiles, the reserve hosts many other reptiles, as well as more than 100 species of birds. So if you are not afraid of toothy predators, you can visit this secluded place in the company of a local guide.

    In this area there is another picturesque place - Laguna de Oviedo (Lake Oblivion). This is another salt lake, surrounded by thick mangroves. Here live pink flamingos and rare iguanas-rhinoceroses.

    When traveling in the south-west of the Dominican Republic, be sure to visit Eagle Bay - Bahia de las Aguilas.

    Getting there is not easy, but it is worth the effort. One of the best secluded beaches with white sand awaits you, as well as fantastic views that open up from the cape to Eagle Bay. We gave only a brief list of amazing and picturesque places of the Dominican Republic. Write to us - and we will help you to rent a car as well as select optimal travel routes.

    All the best to you fellow traveler!

    Republica.Pro

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