Car rental in the Dominican Republic solves a huge number of issues. It adds a level of mobility to your journey that is not even close to being achieved by public transport. From this article you will learn everything you need. I will tell you about all the points, difficulties that you may encounter and dispel all doubts.
When you read this article to the end, you should not have a single question regarding car rental in the Dominican Republic. Well, I think so :).
Table of contents:
- Car rental in the Dominican Republic: general points and rules of rental companies
- Where to rent a car in the Dominican Republic, in Punta Cana, in Santo Domingo and other cities: possible options
- Car rental prices and petrol prices. Everything you need to know about gas stations in the country.
- The full coverage, super insurance and deposit
- Traffic rules in the Dominican Republic, toll roads, parking and driving culture.
Car rental in the Dominican Republic: general points and rules of rental companies
Below is a list of facts that apply to the entire country and all companies of car rental in the Dominican Republic. This is convenient, since the rules are the same for everyone.
- Roads in the country are of good quality. Especially toll highways. There are some features, but more on that in the article about traffic rules and roads. The link will be below.
- There are a lot of police on the roads, but they don’t stop just like that. And when tourists are stopped in rental cars, their attitude is excellent. No hint of corruption and extortion of a couple of bucks, such as Tanzania. And where is the best vacation: in Tanzania, Zanzibar or in the Dominican Republic, read the link.
- The closer you are to the Republic of Haiti, the more police posts and checks on the roads. This is for security purposes and to prevent illegal migration.
- The vast majority of the rental cars in the Dominican Republic are gasoline cars with an automatic transmission. I don’t even know if you can find a manual transmission here. Probably possible, but you have to try.
Rental company rules
- You receive any car with a full tank, and return it with a full one.
- There are no mileage limits, daytime or otherwise.
- Payment for car rental in the Dominican Republic is almost always in US dollars and a deposit in the same currency. If you wish, you will pay in pesos, but for sure all documents will be in USD. No need to change money in the bank in advance.
- A single package of documents: passport, driving license, credit card for deposit
It is important to know:Two types of rental cars in the Dominican Republic are popular: economy, such as Kia Rio, and also huge cars like Ford Explorer or Chevrolet Tahoe with a 6.2l engine :). It happens that you are offered such a car at the price of an economy, since there is no economy and you are upgraded for free. Do not agree, this is a tricky move. Such a car has a petrol consumption of 25 liters on the highway. And you will read about the prices of gasoline.
Dominican Republic is the first country after the USA, where there are quite a lot of fans of huge cars and pickups. Most of the country sincerely believe that only a pack of juice can be 2 liters, and the engine of a car should be at least 6 liters :).
Another important point can be said about the intensity of traffic. In all cities of the country and even small villages, traffic intensity is high. Santo Domingo is generally almost always in traffic jams, not like in New York, of course, but nonetheless. But if you go outside of any city, then the traffic is very low. Drive comfortably.
Where to rent a car in the Dominican Republic?
There are only 3 real options. I will try to describe the pros and cons of each. Since we have been living here for quite a long time, we don’t have our own car, so we rented it 30 times for different periods. And there are subtleties here.
- Book in advance on the website of the aggregator or the rental company itself. In this paragraph, we are talking about international, large, global distributors with a good reputation.
- On the spot on the day of the rental at the office of the rental company. We are also talking about big players in international car rental.
- Also on the spot in small local rental companies.
Attention:Never, even if it is very cheap, do not contact the car rental company “Dollar”, even through aggregators. Spoil your mood, all your plans, and you can get poor on a little money. We rented a car from them three times, and all three times there were problems. All three times it was very cheap. The biggest problem is when you pre-booked a car, made prepayment, they confirmed, you come to the office and there are no available cars. And the manager is sitting, blinking, “there is no car, sorry”. It is useless to argue here – the car will not appear. Their rating on all websites speaks for themselves.
In advance on the website of international aggregators
This option has many advantages, but there are also disadvantages. More on that below.
- Traveler safety. In case of any failure of the rental company, the aggregator protects your rental and your money until the end of the rental period. Large aggregators have a strict selection of rental companies. There are no scammers there.
Good to know:Who does not know, an aggregator is an intermediary who searches, compares prices and offers rental services through many rental companies at once. In order for a rental company to work with aggregators, it must meet a number of requirements. This greatly improves the quality of the services provided.
- This is an ideal option for those who have a travel route planned in advance and you know where you will be in a week, two, and so on.
- If you book several months in advance, there are often discounts. And the rental price is very good.
- High loyalty to customers and transparency of all actions, including the return of a car. No one will find fault with the floor visible scratch on the wing.
- Lots of offices around the country. The ability to take in one city, rent in another.
- Excellent roadside assistance 24/7 in case of emergency.
- Recently, they began to accept a deposit in cash, cash and return immediately after the delivery of the car. Therefore, the presence of a card is no longer critical.
- The biggest disadvantage is that you are booking a car class and not a specific car. Even if you chose KIA Rio, for example. Then in the office they can give you a VW Polo. We booked a hatchback once, it was important for us, but they gave us a sedan. And this is a standard situation.
- But if you chose auto gasoline at an automatic transmission, then you should know that gasoline at an automatic transmission will be given to you. Everything is clear here. The car will be of the same class and the same level of equipment.
I wrote about the free upgrade above. This happens in the Dominican Republic, so be careful. Free car upgrades are not always good.
In the office in any large well-known rental company
This option is ideal for those who do not have a long-term plan. Today we decided to go to the insanely beautiful beaches of the Samana Peninsula or you need a car to get to Duarte Peak – then this option is for you. The benefits are the same as above. But there is one serious disadvantage, even two:
- In the high season, you may encounter the fact that there are no free cars. This applies to remote car rental offices or in small towns. As a rule, there is always a car at the airport.
- There may not be an economy class car. And you will be offered something like the Chevrolet Tahoe, which are popular here. But if with advance booking, the upgrade will be free, then in this case you will have to pay for it.
Below are links to two world leaders in car rental. I recommend looking both there and there, and booking where it is cheaper or more convenient. Both resources are reliable and protect you and your booking. In case of any problems, the round-the-clock call center will help to solve them:
- DiscoveryCar – the most popular car rental aggregator in the Dominican Republic. High customer rating.
- EconomyBookings – their main competitor in the Dominican Republic. Often cheaper, but not always.
At local car rental companies
This option is suitable for those who also do not have a plan and do not have a deposit card. And you decided to rent a car today. This option has its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros:
- The car will be delivered directly to the hotel.
- A minimum of bureaucratic procedures and delays.
- Often you don’t even need a card to block a deposit. Just leave a deposit of $ 400 in cash, return the car in the same condition, and they return the deposit to you.
- You can bargain, but still the price is unlikely to be lower than the international large companies.
- You are booking a specific car, not a class.
Of the cons:
- These are very small local companies, literally with 1 or 2 offices.
- You cannot rent a car elsewhere.
- Not clear pricing
- As a rule, you conduct a dialogue with the owner himself. And he needs to earn money. Therefore, loyalty is lower here. They can pick on any scratches. Be very careful when receiving a car.
- In case something happens on the road, waiting for a help for a very long time.
This option is convenient for those who do not have a card for a deposit, but have cash. And also who does not plan to travel far from their place of accommodation.
It is important to know:It doesn’t matter which option you choose. Always buy full insurance, or full coverage. Why, will be later.
The largest selection of rental companies and rental cars in the Dominican Republic for tourists is:
- Airport in Punta Cana
- In the capital in Santo Domingo
- At Las Americas airport
- Puerto Plata
Car rental in the Dominican Republic: the price and cost of gasoline
The point is not big but important. On the links that were above, you can open sites and see car rental options.
Useful information:The average price or economy class rental cars in the Dominican Republic with necessary insurance is about $35-45 per day.
If you rent a car in the Dominican Republic without full insurance, the price will be almost two times lower, about $25 per day. But such a company is hard to find.
The standard price for renting a car in the Dominican Republic for 10 days is $400, more or less. But do not forget to add toll roads and gasoline here. By the way, in case of early booking there are great discounts. We once rented a car for 10 days for $210 with insurance. What is just a great price for car rental in the Dominican Republic
About gasoline and gas stations in the Dominican Republic
At the gas stations of the country you can find 4 types of fuel:
- Gasoline Normal or Gasolin Regular are the same
- Gasoline Premium
- Diesel Normal or Regular
- Diesel Premium – I don’t know how it differs except for the price. There is no winter here, and the temperature does not fall below 15 degrees Celsius throughout the year even at night.
All rental cars are petrol (gasoline in the Dominican Republic), with the exception of a small percentage of diesel ones.
I always fill my car with Gasoline Normal.
It is important to know:All fuel prices in the country are the same at any gas station, the difference is small. The quality is the same as well. Nobody dilutes the fuel. You can fill up at any gas station.
Personally, I like the Texaco gas stations. One of the largest networks in the country. There are in every city and village.
Another important point:At all gas stations in the country there is a guard with a weapon. And yet, you don’t even have to get out of the car, since it’s forbidden to refuel yourself in the Dominican Republic. Each column has a refiller. We drove up, opened the window, said what kind of gasoline and how much. Pay him. Some accept cards, some don’t. But as a rule, more often they accept.
The price of gasoline in the Dominican Republic
Read about prices for all categories of goods, for products, excursions, accommodation, attractions in a large article: prices of the Dominican Republic.
Below is a photo of prices from gas stations. What is important to know from this: at all gas stations in the country, the price of gasoline in the Dominican Republic in pesos per gallon. Dominican gallon = US gallon = 3.79 liters.
- Gasolin Regular – 280 pesos/gallon or 72 pesos/liter or $1.3/liter. Gasoline in the Dominican Republic is not cheap, despite the fact that oil is produced here
- Gasolin Premium – 290 pesos/gallon or 78 pesos/liter or $1.4/liter
- Diesel Normal – 210 pesos/gallon or 60 pesos/liter or $1.03/liter
- Diesel Premium – 220 pesos/gallon or 62 pesos/liter or $1.05/liter
Car rental in the Dominican Republic: insurance and deposit
This topic is tricky, especially if you’ve never dealt with it before. I will explain everything as clearly as possible. Because the topic of insurance and deposit in general is the same all over the world and this information will be useful.
I will give the information in summary:
- All rental cars in the Dominican Republic always come with basic insurance. It works in the following cases:
- Damage in an accident if you are not at fault
- Natural disasters: for example, a hurricane and a tree fell on a car
- In these cases, basic insurance will work, which is always included in the price of the car. You don’t need to pay extra for it
All rental companies, all aggregators, without exception, will offer you to purchase full coverage. It may also be called:
- Super insurance
- Full coverage
- Super cover
- Full protection
- You know, it’s all the same, just a different translation.
In the Dominican Republic, full protection costs an average of $10-15 per day for an economy class car. When I wrote above about the average rental price of $40, this was already taking into account the purchase of full coverage.
What is the difference between full insurance and basic insurance? Below are the points to which it applies:
- Flat tyre or broken car glass
- Lost the keys
- Something messed up the interior
- Got into an accident where you are to blame
- Car body damage: for example, someone scratched the car in the parking lot, or drove backwards and hooked the flower bed a little
If you do not have full insurance, then in these cases you will have to pay the full cost of the damage caused.
Important:In general, it looks like this. If you rent a car with full insurance, your only task is to return it at the right time and then the deposit will be returned to you in full. If there is no full coverage, then if the glass is broken, the type is punctured, you will still pay for the damage.
And here is another huge pros in favor of buying full insurance.
A deposit that will be blocked on your card or made in cash when getting an economy class rental car in the Dominican Republic averages from 600 to 1000 USD. Sometimes even 1200 and 1400 dollars. This is a lot and not everyone has that kind of money.
If you do not buy full insurance, then in order to get the entire deposit back, you need to return it in the same condition. Then the deposit will be returned to your card in full within 10 days. It depends on your bank.
You can also understand the rental company, they give the car, this is an expensive property, to strangers. And they want to be as safe as possible.
If you bought full insurance, then you don’t have to worry about the deposit. For the rental company, your deposit in this case is a guarantee that you will not leave the car in the field, but will return it back. And any damage you have is included in the insurance.
Therefore, decide for yourself whether you need full insurance or not. But I always take it, and I don’t even consider it as an additional expense, I just immediately include it in the price and in the travel budget.
Car rental in the Dominican Republic: about traffic rules, toll roads, driving culture
This is a big topic for another article. For details about all the points, read the link: traffic rules and roads of the Dominican Republic.
I can be very brief on two points:
- Whoever writes about the driving style in the Dominican Republic, the drivers here are no worse than in New York, and in terms of driving culture, they can even be better
- Traffic rules are intuitive to us, with some exceptions
- Roads throughout the country are very good, with a few exceptions.
- Right-hand traffic, like ours
There are a lot of horror stories on the Internet about roads and drivers. In fact, everything is not so bad. Read the article, the link above, everything is detailed there.
But read everything about taxi in the Dominican Republic here.
In conclusion: today, car rental in the Dominican Republic is a easy and affordable way to get around. Due to underdeveloped public transport, as well as a large number of cool sights where you can’t get there by bus, car rental is almost the only option. It saves a lot of time and money on expensive taxis.
Enjoy your car rental and without force majeure situations!
Good afternoon. Tell me, if you book a car in the location of Hotel Casa De Campo, but stay in another hotel in La Romana, then it will not be possible to get to the territory of the Casa De Campo hotel by taxi?
Alex, probably yes. This is a closed area, entry / entry only for those who live there. But if you really want to, you can write to the agency where you plan to rent a car – they will tell you for sure.
Do I need an international driver’s license?
Oleg, our driver’s license is enough in the form of a plastic card where all the fields are duplicated in English
Good afternoon, can you tell me a cheap transfer from Punta Cana to Boca Chica??
Oleg, good afternoon.
All links at the end of the article
Hello, if there was an accident, there is compulsory insurance (standard), what are the next steps?
Andrey, good afternoon. No matter what kind of insurance is full or basic, the first thing you always call the rental company immediately. Any company has round-the-clock support for such cases. And then they already tell you a plan of action, call the police and everything you need.
Hello. I wonder if it is possible to leave Euro as a deposit for car rental? And will the same Euros (bills) be returned back when the car is returned?
Ildar, good afternoon. I think you can, the question will be at what rate they will recalculate the deposit amount for you, maybe even 1 to 1 :). And if you leave a deposit in cash, they will pack it right in front of you in an envelope and, together with the contract, in a safe. Technically, when you return the car, even your banknotes will be returned to you. So almost everywhere.
Thanks for the informative articles. A lot of useful information. I would like to share a little story and get your opinion. We rented a car with friends and on the second day on the highway near the turn to Hard Rock in Punta Cana we were stopped, running out onto the road, two of them were on the policemen. In the bushes they had an ordinary motorcycle (enduro). In their hands they had a radar, which probably no one has been using in France for 10 years. And they, without showing the numbers on the radar itself, began to explain in their native language, writing it down in Google translator on the phone, saying that we exceeded the speed limit by 37 km/h. Like, instead of the prescribed 60, we drove 97.
Since we literally just arrived, we didn’t really read anything about the rules, the strictness to comply with these rules, we ourselves didn’t know how much the real speed was (there was an elementary stupor when we saw the police), and there was also no desire to argue with them and waste our rest time , we decided to accept a fine of 2700 pesos and pay it on the spot.
Not to say that a lot of money, but not small. We do not feel sorry for money, we will be smarter. Now we carefully look at the signs and the roadside, because various kinds of posts can often be seen on the tracks (including those with radars in their hands). Especially towards the capital. I would like to know the real amounts of fines for speed, and which police officers have the right to issue them. It even seems to us that it could be some kind of road workers or something. Painfully, they did not look like real policemen. Only the form is real. And this handheld radar
Alexander, this is the first time I have encountered such a situation as you describe. My opinion is that this is a scam. Advice, always in any such incomprehensible case, especially with a language barrier and if there is any suspicion: try not to hand over documents and drivers license, hold it in your hands and just show it. Smile and say that you drove without exceeding and you are sure of it, you can just repeat the same thing and that’s it.
And most importantly, it’s impossible to explain even banal things, you can always call your rental company, they always leave a number for various situations, explain the situation and say that you don’t plan to pay, because you didn’t exceed the speed limit. And they will almost always tell you a real plan of action.
You can always get in the car. Close and say call the boss, we’ll wait, but you’re wasting time, it’s unpleasant. Well, there is a tourist police everywhere, and all the locals in the Dominican Republic are afraid of her, she is always on the side of the tourist, well, if he is right of course. You can also mention these two words and say call them here, if this is a scam, then after the words “tourist police” they should admit defeat and let you go. Well, that’s what I would do, I guess. ))