Santo Domingo

By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?

Do you need a car in Santo Domingo > Should you rent a car in Santo Domingo Dominican Republic > Santo Domingo ( SDQ )

In stark contrast to many of the resort areas around the northern side of the Dominican Republic, the capital Santo Domingo really isn’t the sort of place where a hire car is either necessary or useful. After the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, Santo Domingo was the second city amongst the islands of the Caribbean to develop an urban mass transit system, and the network now has two lines forming a cross -shaped network.

Do you need a car in Santo Domingo? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo?

Santo Domingo Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 181 - of which 116 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Generally, for a vacation based in the city of Santo Domingo itself, there isn’t really much point in renting a car. This is very much in contrast with the beach resort destinations elsewhere in the Dominican Republic.
  • A hire car may be useful if you are staying elsewhere – for example if you rent a car at the airport in Santo Domingo, but you are actually staing in Punta Cana or Puerto Plata.
  • Local public transit, including the metro, is more geared up towards serving commuters, and perhaps tourists who are staying right in the centre of the city. It’s not so much use if you are staying in resorts outside the centre.

Why not? Visiting Santo Domingo without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Santo Domingo public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • The Santo Domingo metro system might generally be a lot more useful for commuters than it is for tourists, but there are still a lot of hotels built alongside some of the city’s major highways which also have good access to this network.
  • Santo Domingo also has a good network of urban buses, and it’s the natural focal point of long distance services covering all major urban areas in the Dominican Republic.
  • Although Santo Domingo is very much a vibrant and business focused city, as opposed to being somewhere that really concentrates on packaged tourism, it’s also still served by a wide range of local, regional and long haul flights, including daily services to and from the Spanish capital Madrid. This means that there is also quite a strong chance that you might be arriving into the airport in Santo Domingo, but still actually planning on heading to tourist resorts which are closer to other holiday airports like Puerto Plata or Punta Cana, or onto other islands in the Caribbean.
  • If this is the case, then, you might still find a hire car is useful, although there might also be resort transfers provided direct from the airport. If you are planning on spending a week in Santo Domingo, then this is also the sort of destination where you might want to look into car hire offers based on renting for a couple of days, rather than for the whole length of your holiday, although your hotel should also be able to put you in touch with private tour operators.
  • Santo Domingo can also serve as a useful transfer point for the independent traveller who wants to get between Europe or major cities in the US and Canada and smaller Caribbean islands which don’t have direct flight links. If you are just in Santo Domingo in transit, and maybe want to stay for a few days to get to see a bit of the interior of the Dominican Republic, you will probably still find that buses and local taxis are adequate for this.

Santo Domingo car hire summary – unlike other parts of the Dominican Republic, there’s really no need to get a hire car in Santo Domingo, but it might well be worth looking into a partial rental for some of your stay.


Car rental in - Santo Domingo Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Santo Domingo?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Santo Domingo if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Santo Domingo if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Santo Domingo if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


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Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Santo Domingo?

Have you driven in Santo Domingo? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo?
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