Home of one of the island's most popular beaches, Puerto Plata is one of the more affordable resort communities in the Dominican Republic. The town is centrally located, which makes it a great destination for tourists who like exploring as much of their vacation spot as possible, while those looking for peace and quiet can easily get that as well. The type of getaway you're hoping for will inform the decisions you make regarding which mode of transportation works best for you here.
Air planes, private yachts, and cruise ships are the three main ways that tourists travel to the Dominican Republic from abroad. Air Travel as always been the most popular way to get to Puerto Plata specifically, but there is a cruise port in town, and its coastal location makes sailing a feasible option as well.
Thanks to the hectic nature of driving in this area, it is not highly recommended that tourists rent a car during their stay in Puerto Plata. Still, it remains a possibility for those who need a private vehicle, or feel confident in their ability to drive in a foreign country. For those who will heed the warning and skip a rental, options include taxis and buses as well as the lesser known motoconchos and carro publicos.
Home to the Ocean World Marina Puerto Plata is an official port of entry in the Dominican Republic. This means that those with plans to sail their private or chartered yacht to the island can do so without having to first stop somewhere else around the country to gain clearance. Click here to learn everything involved in this process.
Puerto Plata is home to one of the six ports used by cruise ships in the Dominican Republic. This means cruisers can look for a cruise of the Caribbean with Puerto Plata on the itinerary, and make a point to book it so that they can spend a shore day exploring this town. Project plans are in the works to make the port more tourist friendly, but for now, cruisers can easily walk to the center of the city from the port, or use any of the ground transportation options listed below to get around and see the sites.
...zip around town on a scooter...
Most tourists who are staying in all-inclusive resorts will find little need for a rental car, and will choose to zip around town on a scooter rented from the front desk their hotel when they want to do a bit of exploring. Renting a full-sized car does remain an option, so long as you have a valid driver's license, a passport, and you are over the age of 21. Find out more about rentals in Puerto Plata here.
A taxi in Puerto Plata usually comes in the form of a six passenger minivan and features rates by the vehicle rather than per person. You'll find that there are no meters in these vehicles and that each individual taxi operator in the area sets their own rates. This means negotiating is an option. When you get into the vehicle, make sure you discuss the cost of your ride with your driver, and if you don't feel like you've been given a fair price, let him or her know what you were expecting to pay. In general, taxi rides in the Dominican Republic tend to be cheaper than in the United States and Canada, and you will likely spend less than $10(USD) to get to most places in town. Clicking here will bring you to further details about taxis in Puerto Plata.
Perhaps the least expensive way to get around town is the motoconcho which translates to moto-taxi – that is, a motorcycle used as a taxi. These bikes usually comfortably fit the driver and two additional passengers, but it is not uncommon to see up to four passengers squeezed on the back. These bikes offer quick trips from place to place, but no helmets are available. You'll want to negotiate the price before you take off, but $0.50(USD) per person is the norm.
Intercity buses are available throughout the Dominican Republic, typically in large coach buses that are comfortable, clean, and air conditioned. There have been reports recently that the bus set to travel between Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata, however, is a little less comfortable than some of the other routes. Identical trips are offered by Caribe Express and Metro Buses. Caribe Express picks passengers up at the corner of José Eugenio Conjas, Plaza Caribe in Santo Domingo, while Metro Buses does so at Calle 16 de Agosto. Trips take off throughout the day between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and it takes a total of three and a half hours with a stop in Santiago. Depending on the current rate of exchange it costs between $5 and $6(USD) per person.
In town is a system of buses called guagas. These are vans that operate just as a typical city bus would with set routes and stops throughout main areas of town from sun up to sun down. The cost is under $1(USD) per person.
Mainly used by locals, but available for tourists, carro publicos are basically public taxis. They run on set routes throughout the day but will stop to pick up and drop off passengers wherever there is need rather than making predetermined stops. Drivers will continue to pick up passengers as long as there is room, which means you'll likely be squeezing in with a group of people you've never met before. The price of under $1(USD) per ride makes up for the inconvenience.
The great thing about a vacation in Puerto Plata is that it can accommodate just about every type of traveler. Whether you're adventurous, curious, or in need of a mental re-boot, you'll find what you need here. This includes a wide variety of transportation options that will assist in setting the tone for the getaway of our dreams.
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