One of the oldest villages on the island, Bonao is not visited by people in to the crowded beach scene or the busy nightlife. Instead, it is nature lovers and spiritualists who are attracted to the peaceful setting. As you begin planning your getaway, keep in mind that Bonao is set in the mountains, a fact which may have an effect on which form of transportation you choose to use the most.
No matter how you choose to get to Bonao, there will be several legs of your journey. The nearest airport, cruise port, and port of entry are all a decent distance away, so whether you fly, cruise, or sail, it will be just the first stop along the way.
Along with the typical rental cars, taxis, and buses that most tourists are used to finding, there are also a few transportation options that you may not have even heard of previously including motoconchos and carro publicos.
The closest airport to Bonao is about 90 minutes away in Santo Domingo, the (SDQ). This airport serves as one of the gateways to the Santo Domingo for international travelers who will find it easy to book flights from major air hubs around the world, especially from the United States and the Caribbean. After arriving, renting a car and driving to Bonao is the obvious choice, but there is also a bus that travels to town called a guagua. You can learn more about buses below, and click here to read Bonao Air Travel for a complete guide to making air travel your transportation method of choice for getting to the island.
Just because Bonao is miles away from the coast it doesn't mean those with the skills or desire to sail to the island should reconsider. It simply means they will have to leave their vessel docked at a marina and travel by land to town. If you're planning a sailing adventure, your first stop will be at an official port of entry. The marina in Boca Chica may be your best option, but you can also stop in Punta Cana, Casa de Campo, or .
As you approach, make sure to sail your yellow "Q" flag. Upon arrival, you'll meet with a customs official who will want all the paperwork for your boat, a list of the ship's stores, the crew manifesto, and passports and another form of identification for each person on board. You'll also be required to pay the current fees for a cruising permit and any marina fees. Once clearance has been issued, you can find a place to dock your boat and then drive to Bonao.
Bonao is not necessarily a popular destination for tourists who cruise to the Dominican Republic, but tourists who have a day to explore the area while the cruise ship is docked at one of the the six ports (Barahona, La Romana, Manzanillo, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, and Santo Domingo) can easily do so by either renting a car or taking the bus. Most of the major cruise lines sail to the island, but you can begin your planning by taking a look at the chart below which lists all of the cruise lines which are known to regularly stop in the Dominican Republic as part of a Caribbean cruise.
Due to the mountainous nature of the region, it is recommended that tourists visiting this area make sure to request a vehicle with four-wheel drive and good suspension. This is because the infrastructure of the area has not been very well built up yet, and you'll likely be driving on many unpaved roads as you explore all of the most important sites. Fortunately, sports utility vehicles here are not hard to come by, but you will have to plan on paying over $100(USD) a day in order to get one. Other things to be aware of: you'll need to be at least 21 to rent, plus have your passport and a valid driver's license in order to drive. Everything you need to know about renting a car in Bonao can be found here.
Despite being regulated by the government, taxis in Bonao are not metered and rates are not set by the government. Instead, each company is able to set their own rates. This can make it difficult to predict how much you'll spend to get from one spot to another, but if you find a company you like, you can continue to call them to pick you up whenever you need a ride. Find out more about taxis in Bonao here.
If you're in need of a short, quick ride and you're traveling solo or in a pair, you may consider hiring a motoconcho rather than a typical taxi. The motoconcho is a motorcycle taxi. Young men in the area earn extra money by offering rides on their personal motorcycles, charging less than $1(USD) per person. Rates double after dark, and no helmets are provided.
When you stay in Bonao you'll have access to two different types of buses. The first is a guagua which is a local set of minivans and buses that travel around on set routes offering rides throughout town. The second option is a more comfortable coach bus that makes its way across the Dominican Republic stopping in major towns along the way.
Carro publicos are another type of transportation to consider. They fall somewhere in between taxis and buses both with regards to how they operate and how much they charge. Publicos are typically five passenger cars or vans that run on set routes, but don't have set stops. This means they'll pick up anyone in need of a ride and drop them off anywhere they need to be let off – so long as it is on their route. These vehicles are not private, so you'll pack in with a few strangers, but the cost of the ride is under $1(USD) per person, so most people agree it is worth the lack of privacy.
Due to the location of the town and the nature of the terrain, planning your transportation to Bonao make take a bit of extra work. After reviewing your options, and considering how you'll spend your days, you be a little more prepared to make decisions when the time to book your transportation finally comes.
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.