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.
- 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.
- 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.