Exploring the Dominican Republic by Hire Car
Many tourists go to the Dominican Republic and only get to know their hotel. They spend the holiday weeks on the beach and used exclusively the all-inclusive offer.
That’s a shame, because there is a lot to discover in the Dominican Republic. Best on your own with a hire car. We reveal what you need to look out for.
Receiving the hire car
Most travelers arrive in the Dominican Republic via the airports of Punta Cana, Samaná, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo. When renting your car, make sure your rental agency is located in the airport or very close by.
Because if he has his office at some distance from the airport, you may have to wait for a shuttle before you can pick up your hire car after a long trip.
Choosing the right car
The road network in the Dominican Republic is quite well developed. Nevertheless, you should rather go for a smaller car to easily get a parking space especially in the cities with a car.
If you also want to travel in the sometimes impassable interior, a vehicle with four-wheel drive is the best choice. When booking, be sure to choose a hire car with air conditioning. Then even driving in the heat will be a pleasure.
As robberies are a regular occurrence in the Domincan Republic, you should always lock your hire car while driving. Also, don’t leave any valuables in the car and, if possible, park it in a guarded car park.
Starting the journey right
Take your time to get used to the tropical climate, the time difference and the sometimes adventurous driving style of the locals. Drive only short distances for the first few days and save the long drives for the end of your hire car trip.
As it can get very dangerous on the roads of the Domincan Republic at night, always plan your drive so that you reach your destination before nightfall.
Hire car prices
Cars for hire in the Domincan Republic are not cheap. It is best to think carefully about when you need the hire car and on which days you just want to lie on the beach.
You can usually get the cheapest deals if you book well in advance of your trip and use our handy price comparison tool.
Dominican Republic Hire Car Price Comparison
Insuring the car properly
In the turbulent road traffic of the Dominican Republic, an accident can happen quickly with an unfamiliar hire car. Protect yourself and book a hire car with fully comprehensive insurance without deductible.
If people are injured in an accident, it quickly becomes very expensive. Therefore, make sure that the sum insured of the liability of your rental company is at least one million euros. If the coverage amount does not seem sufficient, you can provide additional protection with a traveller policy.
Consult with your insurance company and make sure your traveler’s policy covers the Dominican Republic. As the tyres on hire cars in the Dominican Republic sometimes leave a lot to be desired, you should also take out additional glass and tyre insurance. Hire cars are often stolen in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, insure yourself against theft as well.
You must be 21 years old to hire car from virtually all hire car companies in the Domincan Republic. And drivers under 25 are often charged an additional fee. Study your rental company’s terms and conditions carefully before renting.
The often adventurous road traffic in the Dominican Republic will take up all your attention. You’ll be glad to have at least a navigation device to show you the way.
You must always reserve these and other accessories separately with your hire car company. Order in good time. Then you can be relatively sure that your equipment will be available when you take over the car.
Not all staff at rental stations in the Dominican Republic have good foreign language skills. If you write down the phone number of your rental company’s headquarters in the Dominican Republic, you have a good chance of speaking to an employee there who speaks English well enough to mediate.
If you’re really going for the Dominican Republic adventure, you’ll be doing a lot of mileage in a hire car. So book a car right away with all the miles free.
Study the rental terms and make sure you book with a rental company where you pick up the car with a full tank of gas and return it with a full tank. This is the most transparent solution for both rental company and renter.
Be sure to find out before you rent if your rental company just blocks the deposit due on your credit card. After all, if the money is collected, it may take longer for the rental company to transfer the money back.
Customer Satisfaction Hire Car
Some customers are not satisfied with the exterior condition of the vehicles. Get scratches and dents confirmed in writing by your rental company.
Keep the record safe so that when you return the car, you can prove that it was not you who caused the damage. Some customers also complain that there was an attempt to sell additional insurance on the spot. Make sure that the car is well insured when you book it.
And then refuse to sign any further insurance policies on the spot. If your rental company refuses to hand over the car under these circumstances, you should get it confirmed in writing that you have taken out the insurance against your will. This is the only way you have a chance of being reimbursed.
Safety hire car
Some hire cars in the Domincan Republic are not very well maintained. Before your first trip, check all the lights on the vehicle. Also check the oil level, coolant and tread of the tires.
Look to see if there are any first-aid kits in the car. And do a little brake test in the parking lot of the rental company. At the first gas station, you should also test the air pressure of the tires.
Dominican Republic Traffic Rules
The Dominican Republic has a well-developed road network, but animals on the roadway and deep potholes must still be expected on the secondary roads. Night drives over land should be avoided if possible. If they are necessary, it is essential to watch out for unlit vehicles.
An international driving licence is essential and should not be older than 90 days.
A promille limit of 0.5 applies in the Dominican Republic.
Vary greatly from city to city. However, payments to officers should only be made after noting the badge number, this could cut the fine in half.
Other than that, similar traffic rules apply as in Europe. However, the rules are not always followed on the roads of the island. It is therefore highly recommended to pay attention to a defensive, anticipatory driving. It is not uncommon for those involved in an accident to be arrested by the police, but it is still essential to call the police in the event of an accident.
As many drivers are often uninsured or underinsured, the risk of a possible hit and run is very high. Within built-up areas there is a speed limit of 35 km/h; on country roads 60 km/h and on motorways you may speed 100 km/h.
Suggestion for a trip by hire car
Santo Domingo: Pulsating Metropolis
Start your trip in Santo Domingo. In the capital of the Dominican Republic, you’ll experience Caribbean life in concentrated form.
Santo Domingo is a city of millions, with beauty in only a few places. Avoid the wildly sprawling suburbs and try to reach the Zona Colonal as purposefully as possible.
Here you can take a relaxed stroll and get a taste of the colonial past. Visit the monument honoring Christopher Columbus in the Parque de Colón. The cathedral is also located in this square. It was the first cathedral in the New World and was completed around 1540.
After visiting the church, it’s a good idea to stroll through the old quarter, then sit down at a café. Order a glass of rum or an ice-cold beer and watch the hustle and bustle. The Caribbean joie de vivre will quickly take hold of you. Let the road trip begin.
Azua: Journey to the Past
The next day, we set off. Azua, one of the oldest towns in the Americas is the first destination you will reach in a little over two and a half hours. The first inhabitants settled here as early as 1504. Again and again, the city was the victim of raids.
First came the pirates, and when the inhabitants decided to move the town further inland, you were often the victim of Haitian raids. Today, Azua is a tranquil little town. Stroll the streets and admire the colourful wooden houses around Parque Central.
Barahona: The dream beach awaits
Barahona is the next destination of the trip. For the journey you need just under two hours. You are now finally leaving the well-trodden tourist paths. This part of the country is little travelled. The city of Barahona has no cultural superlatives to offer.
Many houses are dilapidated and so the place makes a somewhat dreary impression. However, the beaches nearby are worth the long drive. Visit the Playa San Rafael. The dreamlike beach, lined with dense forest, is very lonely. With a little luck, you will be the only bather and can feel like Columbus when he discovered the Dominican Republic.
Lay down in the sand, let the water lap your feet and enjoy the tranquility. We also have a special hotel tip for you. The Casa Bonita offers beautiful rooms, a pool, restaurant and bar, and priceless views of the Caribbean Sea.
Isla Cabritos: Discover nature
The road trip now takes you inland. The largest inland lake of the Antilles, Lago Enriquillo, awaits you. You will reach it after about an hour and a half drive. Visit Isla Cabritos, which lies in the middle of the lake. Admire the diverse bird life.
You might even get lucky and see one of the crocodiles in the wild. After visiting the island, an overnight stay in La Descubierta is a good idea. The Hotel Iguana offers simple rooms and a restaurant. During your meal, you can then plan the next stops on your road trip at your leisure.
With a little sense of adventure, the Dominican Republic is easy to travel by hire car. And only with a hire car you can get to destinations beyond the tourist trails and get to know the authentic Dominican Republic. With our practical price comparison you will always find a suitable car at a good price.