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 )
Car: Do you need a car in 2? No car: Is it worth hiring a car in 2? Slider: Should you rent a car in 2? Should you rent a car in 2?

Santo Domingo car hire quick facts

Cheapest rate for one week Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

155

 #182/300

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €

140

 76/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 181 - of which 116 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

64

%

75/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Santo Domingo public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.

30%

#156/300

  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score {coming shortly}

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.

--%

#---/300

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Santo Domingo good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score {coming shortly}

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Santo Domingo

--%

#---/300

Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Santo Domingo", "is it worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Santo Domingo?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

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

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Santo Domingo?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Santo Domingo? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Santo Domingo as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


Why should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

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?


  • 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

What is public transport like in Santo Domingo? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in Santo Domingo?


  • 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.

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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?

Do you need a car in Santo Domingo? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:


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