What’s the best way to get around and explore beyond the resorts in Punta Cana?
That depends on the type of traveler you are and the experience you’d like to have on your vacation.
Our short answer: The best way to see Punta Cana is by mixing it up. Explore beaches, visit shops and local restaurants on foot or taking a taxi if staying at a resort. Book a few tours for some attractions and regions, and rent a car for a few specific day trips. More below for more details.
If you’d like to venture out of the resort, mingle with the locals, do a little shopping, and eat at local restaurants, resorts in Bavaro may be the best choice, particularly Cortesito and Bibijagua area. Bavaro beach is long, giving you access to various local shopping areas, bars, restaurants easily accessible from the beach.
By Tour Company
Booking a tour with a reputable company is the best option for tourists wishing to enjoy attractions and activities without any worries or planning. Yes, you will pay more, however, you don’t have to worry about the logistics of driving.
- li>Most tours include transportation on the fee, they pick you up and drop you off at your resort or you can take a taxi to the meeting location and you can just focus on your enjoying your day.
- If you’re traveling with a big family or group, pick up the phone or write an e-mail and negotiate a special rate for a tour specifically tailored for your group.
- Have a special request, need special care? Just ask. Most local tour/charter companies are happy to get your business and will often go out of their way to make you happy.
Renting a car can be a wonderful way to explore a destination. If you’re an adventurer, patient, don’t sweat the small stuff and have good defensive driver skills, you can drive in the Dominican Republic. If you’re traveling with a family or group, driving to some attractions and regions is the most cost-effective mode of transportation.
There are car rental agencies at the Punta Cana Airport and you may also request help at your hotel for booking at car rental.
- You may use your driver’s license in the Dominican Republic if you’re 25 or older.
- Book a car rental in advance to get the best rates and secure a car, especially during high season and holiday weeks/weekends. Consider paying for optional insurance to cover any damage or accidents.
- Taxis are prevalent at the airport, resorts, shopping and tourist areas.
- Fares are negotiable, before getting in the vehicle, ask the price, make your offer and agree on the rate.
- Drivers typically take dollars and Euros and are happy to accept them since they exchange them when $RD pesos are higher.
- A 20-minute taxi ride costs about $40.
- Resort concierge will be happy to call a taxi for you.
Buses in Punta Cana are mainly used by locals to and from work in resort areas. It is the least expensive form of transportation. For tourists taking the bus may be difficult since the schedules are not reliable and bus stops are not clearly marked.
A bus worth taking is Expreso Bavaro, making regular trips daily to and from Santo Domingo. It is a nice air-conditioned comfortable (coach) bus. You may consider staying in Santo Domingo for one night since the trip takes three hours one way. Cost is $RD 400 / $8 US Dollars.
If you’re using the bus, see the following tips:
- Carry small bills to pay for the bus ride.
- if you speak a little Spanish ask a local for help with the bus.
- The concierge at your hotel may be able to help you with information on nearby bus stops.
- Visit official Expreso Bavaro for more information (Spanish).
Motoconchos / Moto Taxis
If you want a true local transportation experience, get a Motoconcho ride (if you dare). Motoconchos are taxi motorcycles, both locals and tourists use their services, best for short distances in the tourist area. Before you hop on a motoconcho keep the following in mind and ride at your own risk. The cost starts at $2.
- Look for drivers wearing an orange vest.
- You may be riding without a helmet, which increases your risk of injury.
- Consider taking a taxi ride or the bus instead for your safety.
Roads in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The official Punta Cana area is easy to drive, with nice roads. Locals tend to drive better around the airport area all the way to Cap Cana. Once you get outside of Punta Cana, the roads get busier and erratic for US, Canada, and European standards. Stop signs are more like take a quick look and go, speed limits are ignored, and motorcycles seem to take ownership of the roads, crossing in every way possible. What you may consider rude or reckless, is a normal way of life on the road in the Dominican Republic. Be alert when driving in the Dominican Republic.