The town of Samana itself is not terribly large, and its main tourism draw (whale watching) does not require that tourists be in possession of a car. The greater Samana area, however, is so large that if you'd like to see all the sites, renting a car will likely be the best choice for you.
The most popular type of vehicle to rent in Samana is a sports utility vehicle. In general, they are better equipped to handle the rugged roads of some of the area's more important natural attractions because they come equipped with four-wheel drive and good suspension. Your best bet is to ask for a Jeep. You shouldn't have trouble getting your hands on one since most rental agencies are well-stocked with them.
You'll spend at least $50(USD) a day, including the highly recommended optional insurance, to rent a car here, though visiting during the height of tourist season, renting a larger vehicle, and requesting one that is automatic will up the price and you could quickly find yourself spending $125(USD) a day.
Most tourists end up picking their vehicle up at the airport when they arrive, especially those who have booked their rental as part of an air fare/hotel/car rental package. Others will spend a few days relaxing in their resort before taking the time to sight-see, and won't have use for a rental until then. These people will find plenty of options in town, and can even request that the vehicle be delivered to them at their hotel. To rent a car here, you'll need to be over the age of 21 (and often over 23), have a driver's license, and show your passport. Be aware that you may also be required to pay a deposit, which may place a hold of up to $500(USD) on your credit card until the vehicle is returned to the rental agency.
is the one rental service we have information on. Reach them at (809) 538-2124, or visit them on Marina Avenue just outside the heart of Samana.
As you can see below, rates vary with the season. The lowest rates are usually only available from the least expensive agencies during the slowest times of the year. The high rates are what you may be quoted during the busiest time of year.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 25.00||$ 40.00|
|Compact Car||$ 27.00||$ 42.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 45.00||$ 80.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 70.00||$ 125.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 125.00||$ 245.00|
|Compact Car||$ 155.00||$ 270.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 295.00||$ 525.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 455.00||$ 805.00|
Depending on where in Samana you are, you'll encounter a number of different road conditions. The major highways and more populous areas have paved roads that are well kept and smooth to drive on, while paved roads that are riddled with pot holes and cracks are more common. In the more rural areas, you'll often encounter paths that are made of dirt, gravel, or sand that serve as roads and can be very difficult to manage. Roads here are improving each year, but you'll still encounter plenty of rugged areas and it is best to be prepared.
... be careful not to drive at night...
Speed limits, when they are posted, are noted in kilometers per hour, but driving is done on the right side of the road. In fact, most of the driving laws mimic those you'll find in the United States, such as the fact that seat belts are mandatory.
Local drivers can be aggressive and like to use their horns to communicate. Do not become intimidated by this. Just focus on driving as safely as you can and ignore the outside negativity. Do keep your eyes peeled for livestock and pedestrians as they can often be found wandering the streets, and be careful not to drive at night unless it is absolutely necessary. There are no street lights and some local drivers don't have headlights on their cars.
Make sure to fill up your gas tank before you head out on long trips, and be sure to bring the appropriate child safety seats with you if you are traveling with children.
If you have what it takes to get behind the wheel in a foreign country, then renting a car in Samana might just be for you. Take the time to become familiar with local rules of the road and if you even meet the qualifications for renting before you go, and by the time you arrive you should have no trouble exploring all that the area has to offer.
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