Many people coming to the Dominican Republic choose to stay at one Hotel on one beach. Which is nice but you don’t get a very good feel of the island. If you have time (at least a couple weeks) it’s nice to explore the island some. You have two choices in doing this, one is to rent a car. This is pretty expensive and your nerves will be shot after a couple hours of trying to navigate through one of the cities. The second way is to use the public transportation.

This takes a little getting used to and a bit of knowledge beforehand really helps. There are several forms of transportation here Tour buses, Guaguas (public cars or vans), Motor conchos (guys on motor cycles) and Taxi’s. 

1) Tour Buses: These are large busses that seat around 60 or more people. They travel between the major cities. There are several different companies that you can choose from but they are all rather similar in both price and features so it is easier to just pick the one that is closest to you. You will find them to be pretty comfortable, air conditioned, many have TVs so you have something to watch if you don’t feel like looking out the window.

If you have large bags you can put them under the bus, they only open these compartments at the major stops so your stuff is pretty safe. Smaller items, backpacks, packages etc can be stored in overhead compartments when you get in the bus, rather similar to an airplane.   You first buy your ticket at the station and sometime along the ride you will be asked for this. You can find more information on our Dominican Republic Tour Buses page

2) Guaguas, public cars and small busses and vans: All of these have set routes, usually between the smaller towns and the larger towns, but they also give rides between locations in the larger towns. Typically when I want to get somewhere I’ve not been before I ask a local how to get to my location. Lets say I’m going to a small nearby town. I will be directed to a place where there will be many cars parked and waiting to give people rides. In a future post I will give a little more information on how to identify these cars.

These will be small cars like a Toyota Corrola, expect the driver to pack 4 people in the back seat and at least two more including himself in the front seat. They pack these things tight, and no matter how big the people inside are they will try to reach this maximum number.    The fares are set, so if you get into a marked public car you do not have to worry about being cheated on the price, usually it is around 50 Pesos, but it can be less if you do not plan on going all the way to his final destination.     They pick up new passengers along the way so, if you are on the road going to your destination put your hand out as one goes past and if there is room they will pick you up.

3) Motor Conchos (Guys on motorcycles): These guys are everywhere, but you will usually find more of them near the public squares, parks, and areas where the Guaguas will drop you off. They will take you pretty much any where you want to go, will fit 2-3 passengers on the back of their bike (you and one or two others in your party, not strangers). They are a little more expensive than the Guaguas but are very convenient if you don’t feel like walking, they also know where everything is in town so they can get you there fast.

4) Taxis: This is the most expensive but, also the most convenient. You will see the usual Taxi light on the top of their car and it is marked on that light as a “Taxi”. They will take you anywhere you want to go for a price, including between cities. A 20 minute ride between cities will cost as much as 30 US Dollars instead of the 50 pesos (about 1.5 US Dollars) when you take a Guagua.

Well, that’s a starting point. In future posts I’ll go into detail on each of these methods of transportation and when to use them.