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Driving in the Dominican Republic

Burlington, Vermont
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Driving in the Dominican Republic

I refered to this forum in making my plans to travel in the D.R. I am really glad that I was not scared away from driving by all the entries warning against it! Driving in general was fine. We found the roads very good, and having a car allowed us to explore on our own and find some very cool and friendly spots. We rented a car from Hertz at the Las Americas airport and drove to Las Terrenas on the Samana penninsula. The only difficulty we had was finding the highway that crosses the island from Santo Domingo to Samana. After several passes, we finally found it. DO NOT get on the "expressway" road leaving the airport. You have to be on what I would call the service road that runs alongside the expressway. Heading towards Santo Domingo very shortly after leaving the airport you will see a toll gate on the expressway, but you will not have to pay the toll because you are on the service road. Almost immediately look for a small green sign the says "Samana" on the right. Once you are on that road you are golden! There is a big, new, bright gas station shortly after getting on the highway that has the best smoked ribs I've ever eaten. We drove to Coson, near Las Terrenas after dark (since we lost so much time getting lost) without incident. Be advised, you need about 1000 pesos in tolls to get all the way to Samana.

We also drove the local roads around Samana without problem. The roads are all in pretty good shape and the main road is beautiful and modern. There seem to be a million motorcycles zooming everywhere, so you have to pay close attention to them as well as the trucks passing around the curves at high speed. It just makes it more exciting!!

Sosua, Dominican...
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for Puerto Plata, Sosua, Dominican Republic
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1. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Glad you did well.

BObK

sussex
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2. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Driving in The Dominican Republic is fine , however not for the faint hearted or inexperienced driver.

Having just completed a ten day 2,000 km journey

The following advice may be of assistance

1/ Learn some Spanish.

You will become lost at some stage and the ability to communicate will reduce your stress level

2/ Buy the best & most recent Road map available. The maps provided by the rental companies did not have the latest new roads . Road Signage is sometimes non existent or confusing

3/ Rent a 4x4 , we're not talking a jimney here , CRV or Rav 4 is the minimum size . The road humps are large and not very well marked. The unmade roads, of which there are many, are difficult and treacherous when it is raining

4/ Tyres . ensure the vehicle is fitted with tyres AT LEAST 3mm depth , over 4 mm is preferable

under that and you will have a puncture. Check the spare and that there are tools to be able to change a wheel

5/ Driving at night: ok in towns, Outside built up areas , except for the new Auto pistas , it is not advised . You will not see the humps , the missing manhole covers, motorbikes without lights , and vehicles without brake lights.

6/ Do not be surprised by the speed of the traffic or the fact that the double Yellow , no overtaking lines are treated only as an indication of where the centre of the road is. Expect the unexpected appearance of pedestrians & motorbikes ( usually carrying 3 people)

It is a great country and in the main the people are friendly & helpful.

Have a great drive , I did!

sussex
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3. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Some useful advice

London, United...
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4. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Excellent advice TJM - finding that road to Samana is a real pain. We missed it and could only turn round on the way in to Santo Domingo (and then missed the other exit on the way to the airport!).

nyc
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5. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Good report on your experience. Road signage is not that good. Another thing to watch out for when driving is road grade changes thru the curves. Theres a part on the way to las galeras that is extremely dangerous when doing over 20 mph. My car was almost on 2 wheels. I dont see a 4x4 necessary, but do stay away from the Cherry car. Very underpowered and small.

Silver Spring...
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for Dominican Republic
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6. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Glad to hear it went well. The sign to the Toll Road is soooo easy to miss. I've done it several times. And yes for daytime driving the road to LT is great. And you do NOT need a 4x4, years ago it was helpful, no longer needed.

I will still caution those who read this and get the idea that driving here is a picnic. It is not.

One accident can ruin your vacation and you may spend the bulk of it in detention or paying out a huge sum of money to the "victim". You as a tourist are guilty 99% of the time in the eyes of the victims. Your back home insurance or credit card do nothing for you, zero. You are on your own, you and your wallet.

Fort Walton Beach...
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7. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

I'm glad that you didn't have any problems, but I would not suggest driving in the DR on vacation. It's not necessarily the roads or the ability to navigate as it is the other drivers. As an American, we make certain assumptions about what other drivers will do, which are just not correct there. For example, people pass you on the left all the time, even if you are trying to turn left. As RV429 mentioned, the law there is that if you are in an accident, the driver goes to jail and then fault is determined later. With the cost of hiring a private driver soooo cheap, I don't think I would risk it personally. Plus, you get to have all the Presidente you want without worry :)

Sosua, Dominican...
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for Puerto Plata, Sosua, Dominican Republic
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8. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Candace S is giving everyone GOOD advice.

BObK

toronto
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9. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

"Cost of hiring a private driver sooo cheap" Where would I enquire about this?

toronto
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10. Re: Driving in the Dominican Republic

Re: Private driver. Should have said, going to Las Terrrenas.