Public transport in the Dominican Republic or how to get around the country. The question that interests most tourists. It’s good when there is an opportunity to rent a car, but if it is not. And you can travel around the Dominican Republic only by public transport. I’ll show you how it works here.
Table of contents:
In this article, we will not consider options for movement within the city. There are only two big cities in the country. And inside the city it is most convenient to move by taxi or motoconcho. Or in the case of Santo Domingo by metro. The link is a large overview article of the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Public transport in the Dominican Republic: types and general points
I often say that public transport in the country is poorly developed. This is both true and not true at the same time. Let me explain. On the one hand, if you want you can get to the most remote village of the Dominican Republic by public transport. But on the other hand, you can do it in a couple of days with a huge number of transfers. Direct regular bus service is available only between major cities. And everything else is a chaotic network of local minibuses without a schedule and clear routes.
As you already understood, to move around the country you need to use:
- Shuttle Buses
- Local minibus GuaGua
- Of course, you can also take a taxi and motoconcho, but more on that in the article about taxi in the Dominican Republic.
It is important to know:The Dominican Republic has very good roads. Throughout the country, with a few exceptions, asphalt is of excellent quality everywhere. And if your path lies through toll highways, then even by bus you can get across half the country quite quickly.
Read about roads, traffic rules and how locals drive in a separate article.
Transport of the Dominican Republic: everything about buses
There is no railway in the Dominican Republic, or rather, there is, but the entire length is about 100 km and is not used for passenger transportation. Air transportation across the country is also not developed due to the small area of the country. There is no river transport here. In fact, only roads remain.
All major cities and resorts of the Dominican Republic are interconnected by good regular bus service.
Good to know:For example, Punta Cana and Bavaro, the country’s largest resort, is connected to the capital of the Dominican Republic by a regular bus route. 5-6 bus trips daily. Three hours and you are in Santo Domingo.
All interregional buses of the Dominican Republic are modern and comfortable. TVs, toilets, comfortable seats, air conditioners – all this is on the buses that run between major cities. Many even have WiFi.
There are three major bus carriers in the Dominican Republic:
- Bavaro Express. Its buses run only from the Punta Cana region to the capital.
- Caribe Tours
- and Metro.
Follow the links to find current routes, timetables to the cities you need.
Prices are approximately the same for buses of different companies. For example, a ticket from Bavaro to Santo Domingo costs about $7-8. From Santo Domingo to the Samana Peninsula is also about $ 8-9.
Tickets cannot be purchased online in advance. You need to arrive an hour and a half before departure and buy at the box office. Or, if the stop is intermediate, then buy from the driver.
The network of small GuaGua minibuses is highly developed in the Dominican Republic. What you need to know about it:
- The correct name for this mode of transport is GUAGUAS.
- These are minibuses, usually up to 20-25 people with a capacity.
- Unlike bus companies, each minibus has its own owner and he travels along the route as he wants 🙂
- The schedule is not about GuaGua. Of course, the locals know where and when the minibus they need should appear. But here an hour late is not even a delay at all.
- Of the pros: it’s cheap, the trip costs $ 1-2. GuaGua also has a huge number of routes throughout the country. If you have conversational Spanish, then you can take it almost to the most remote village.
- Of the main disadvantages: there are no long routes connecting long distances.
For understanding:From Bayahibe beach in La Romano we got GuaGua to the town of Sosua. It seems like not far, only about 450 km. And they are both large cities. But we got GuaGua for 14 hours with 4 transfers. One drops us off at the bus stop and tells us to wait for the next minibus. The minibus we need arrives only after 2.5 hours. We are on the bus for another hour, and again the transfer is repeated according to the previous scheme.
What is the most important thing to know about GuaGua. You can ride them anywhere, but you need to ask and communicate. Drivers will always tell you where they will take you, and what you need to transfer to next bus, and sometimes they will take you by the hand and hand them over to the next driver.
Read the article about the language in the Dominican Republic. If you speak at least basic Spanish, it will be much easier. English is not spoken or understood in the Dominican Republic. Communication only in Spanish
Public transport in the Dominican Republic: tips for tourists
There is only one main advice: it is easier, more convenient, faster and more comfortable to drive around the Dominican Republic by rental car. But not everyone has driver’s license, money, desire. Therefore, you have to go by public transport, and here are a few points:
- Yes, regular buses are more expensive, but if there is a bus route in the direction you need, it is better to choose it.
- Even if there is no bus to your destination city, but there is somewhere nearby, it is better to take the bus. And then the last short segment to get by GuaGua.
- I recommend using GuaGua only for short distances up to 30-50 km between nearby towns. And then check in advance how often they go and with what frequency, at least approximately.
- In GuaGua, the most thankless thing is to wait. It is not clear how long to wait for the next one, and if it goes full, then wait again.
- Be sure to have small money with you. Dominican is the place where the drivers really do not like to give change, especially to tourists. Usually they say no change or pretend they have forgotten.
In conclusion: public transport in the Dominican Republic is developed rather poorly. But if you need to travel the whole country, from one small town to another small town, then you will definitely run into logistical difficulties. There will be no problems if you want to get to the capital, as well as major cities of the country such as Puerto Plato, Punta Cana, Santiago.
Short transfers and convenient routes for you when traveling in the Dominican Republic!
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental in Dominican (cheaper – only by bus):
- Discovery Cars – a largest international resource
- Hotels and apartments all over the country: Booking
- Vacation packages:
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- GYG – more than 150 tours (whales tours)
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card with internet in Dominican
- Taxi and transfers from Dominican airports: Intui.Travel