The opposite of what you'd expect from a Caribbean getaway, Jarabacoa rests cozily in the foothills of Cordillera Central and is where many of the Dominican Republic's well-to-do crowd chooses to build their summer homes. The town is located inland, so getting to the beach takes a bit of planning, which means you'll have to figure out your transportation well in advance to ensure you can do all of the things on your "To Do" list.
Just because Jarabacoa is located inland, it doesn't mean sailing or cruising is out of the question, it just means it will take a bit more work to get there. Still, for now flying remains the most popular way to get to this quiet town.
Whether you're an independent minded traveler or prefer to let a local who knows what they're doing help you get around as much as possible, there are a variety of options available to get you where you need to go in Jarabacoa. These include rental cars, taxis, motoconchos, buses, and carro publicos.
Although it is not as close to Jarabacoa as many tourists would like, the airport servicing the town is one of the best on the island. Dominican Republic (STI) opened in 2002 and serves as not only the third largest airport in the Dominican Republic, but one of the most modern in the region. Its popularity continues to grow, and predictions are that it will soon be the second busiest on the island. Commercial flights are available from the United States and the Caribbean currently, though those traveling from Europe and Canada may have to make connections or arrangements for a private charter if they are hoping for direct flight. Read on here . . .
The fact that Jarabacoa is landlocked shouldn't discourage avid sailors from planning the adventure of their life. It simply means a little driving will be necessary to get to their accommodations once they dock their boat. Your first step will be to find an official port of entry where you can meet with customs and gain clearance. You can do so in Boca Chica, Casa de Campo, , Punta Cana, and Santo Domingo.
Sailing to the island you'll need to fly your yellow "Q" flag, and make sure that all of the appropriate paperwork is readily available. This will include a passport and secondary form of identification for each passenger aboard, a list of the ship's stores, and all of the official paperwork regarding the ownership of the boat. After the customs official has reviewed all of these documents, collected payment, and given you the all-clear, you'll be free to sail on and find anchorage.
Due to its location in the center of the island, it can be hard to plan a trip to Jarabacoa on a shore day, but not impossible. If you do decide to try and make it work, you have the option of choosing a cruise that will dock at one of six different locations around the coast: Barahona, La Romana, Manzanillo, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, and Santo Domingo. Puerto Plata is will likely be the closest option, while La Romana will place you farthest away.
The cost of renting a car in Jarabacoa depends on a number of factors including the type of vehicle you request, the amount of insurance coverage you get, where you rent from, and even the time of year that you visit. That's why the estimate of $30 to $125(USD) a day is such a broad number. In addition to having that amount of money available on your credit card, you'll likely be asked to place a deposit of several hundred dollars on your credit card to be returned to you when you return the vehicle. There is a lot to learn about renting a car here, and you can read about it all by clicking here.
Because they are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, local taxis always stand at the ready; able to pick tourists up at a moment's notice and take them where they need to go for a reasonable rate. Though the cost will vary depending on which taxi operator you hire, you can expect to spend no less than $4.50(USD) to get anywhere in town. If you'd like to hire a taxi driver to take you on a tour of Jarabacoa or on a drive to a nearby city, you can call in advance to set that up and get a quote so you know how much you'll spend. Find out more about taxis in this town by clicking here.
If you're in need of a short ride and don't want to pay full taxi fare, you can consider hopping on the back of a montoconcho, which is a taxi on two wheels. Local motorcyclists offer rides to tourists for about $0.50(USD) per person and one or two people can ride comfortably –though some drivers have been known to try and squeeze up to four riders on the back. Note that this service is best for very short drives and helmets are not available.
Buses are a great way to get around not only Jarabacoa but from different cities throughout the Dominican Republic. Guaguas offer local rides. They are actually minivans or minibuses that are privately owned and offer rides on set routes throughout town for $1(USD) or less per person. These vehicles are not always very well maintained, and rarely have air conditioning, but the low price and friendly faces make up for the body issues.
Caribe Tours and Metro Buses, meanwhile, offer transportation around the entirety of the island on luxury regular sized buses with comfortable seating and air conditioning so good that it is recommended you bring a jacket. You'll pay about $10(USD) per 150 miles traveled on average, though this isn't an exact science. You can contact Caribe Tours at 809-221-4422 and Metro Buses at 809-227-0101 for the most current schedule and prices.
One final form of transportation available in Jarabacoa is the carro publico also called the publico, which is a public car that acts as a mix between buses and taxis. They are typically five passenger vans that pick up passengers along a route that they drive back and forth on from sun up to sun down. Drivers always want to have as many passengers as possible in the car, so you'll likely ride with people you've never met before. The price is usually under $1(USD) a person, which makes it easier to forgive the lack of privacy. Though the routes are set, the stops are not, so if you see a publico on the street, you can wave it down on the spot, then ask to get off whenever you get to your destination.
There is a lot to consider as you begin planning your getaway to Jarabacoa, and transportation is one of the most important aspects. As you learn about what is available to you, you'll quickly be able to pinpoint not only which options work best with your plans and what you feel most comfortable with. The more you find out, the better off you'll be.
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