Getting there & away
Santo Domingo has no central bus terminal. Instead, the country’s two main bus companies – Caribe Tours (809-221-4422; www.caribetours.com.do; cnr Av 27 de Febrero & Av Leopoldo Navarro) and Metro (809-227-0101; www.metroserviciosturisticos.com; Calle Francisco Prats Ramírez) – have individual depots west of the Zona Colonial. Caribe Tours has the most departures, and covers more of the smaller towns than Metro does.
Both lines use large, comfortable and fairly modern passenger buses; some even have TVs and screen movies. Air-conditioning on both lines is sometimes turned up to uncomfortable levels. In any case, all but a few destinations are less than four hours from Santo Domingo.
It’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm the schedule and ticket price, and always arrive at least 30 minutes before the stated departure time. Both bus lines also publish brochures (available at all terminals) with up-to-date schedules and fares, plus the address and telephone number of their terminals throughout the country – handy if you’ll be taking the bus often.
Expreso Santo Domingo Bávaro (in Santo Domingo 809-682-9670, in Bávaro 809-552-0771; cnr Juan Sánchez Ruiz & Av Máximo Gómez) has a direct 1st-class service between the capital and Bávaro, with a stop in La Romana. Departure times in both directions are 7am, 10am, 2pm and 4pm (US$9, four hours).
There also are four 2nd-class bus depots near Parque Enriquillo in the Zona Colonial. All buses make numerous stops en route. Because the buses tend to be small, there can be a scrum for seats, especially for destinations with one to a few departures a day. Caliente, literally ‘hot’ buses, refer to those generally without air-con; expreso buses stop less often. Destinations include the following:
Baní (US$2.75, 1½ hours, every 15 minutes, 5am to 10pm)
Boca Chica (caliente/expreso US$1/1.25, 45 minutes, caliente every 15 minutes, expreso hourly, 6am to 8pm)
Higüey (caliente/expreso US$4.25/5, 2½ hours, caliente every 20 minutes, expreso hourly, 6am to 7pm)
Juan Dolio (US$2.10, one hour, every 30 minutes, 6am to 9:30pm)
La Romana (caliente/expreso US$2.75/4, two hours, caliente every 20 minutes, expreso hourly, 5am to 9pm)
Las Galeras (US$8, six hours, daily between 11:30am and 12:30pm depending on when bus arrives from Las Galeras)
Puerto Plata (US$5.25, 4½ hours, take any Sosúa bus)
San Cristóbal (US$1.40, 45 minutes, every 15 to 30 minutes, 6am to 10pm)
San Pedro de Macorís (US$2.30, one hour, every 30 minutes, 6am to 9:30pm)
Santiago (US$2.80, 2½ hours, take any Sosúa bus)
Sosúa (US$5.65, five hours, nine departures from 6:30am to 3:30pm)
To get to Haiti, Capital Coach Line (809-530-8266; www.capitalcoachline.com; Av 27 de Febrero 455), Caribe Tours and Terra Bus (809-531-0383; Plaza Lama, cnr Av 27 de Febrero & Av Winston Churchill) offer daily bus services to Port-au-Prince. Capital Coach Line has one departure daily at 10am, and Caribe and Terra at 11am and 11:30am respectively. All three use comfortable, air-con buses, and the trip takes from six to nine hours and costs US$40; that said, Capital and Caribe are more reliable and recommended. If possible, reserve at least two days in advance as the buses are frequently full.
Numerous international and domestic car-rental companies have more than one office in Santo Domingo proper and at Las Américas International Airport – the majority have a booth in a small building just across the street from the arrivals exit. All are open daily roughly from 7am to 6pm in Santo Domingo (sometimes later) and from 7am to 11:30pm at the airport.
Recommend car-rental companies:
Advantage Rent-a-Car (809-549-0536; Las Américas International Airport)
Avis Central Santo Domingo (809-535-7191; cnr Av Abraham Lincoln & Av Sarasota); Airport (809-549-0468)
Budget Santo Domingo (809-566-6666; cnr Av John F Kennedy & Av Lope de Vega); Airport (809-549-0351)
Dollar Central Santo Domingo (809-221-7368; Av Independencia 366); Airport (809-549-0738)
Europcar Central Santo Domingo (809-688-2121; Av Independencia 354); Airport (809-549-0942)
Hertz Central Santo Domingo (809-221-5333; Av José Ma Heredia 1); Airport (809-549-0454)
National/Alamo Central Santo Domingo (809-221-0805; Av Independencia at Máximo Gómez); Airport (809-549-8303)
Nelly Rent-a-Car (809-549-0505; Las Américas International Airport)
Thrifty (809-549-0930; Las Américas International Airport)
The DR’s only international ferry service, Ferries del Caribe (in Santo Domingo 809-688-4400, in Santiago 809-724-8771, in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 787-832-4400, in San Juan, Puerto Rico 787-725-2643), connects Santo Domingo with Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. The ticket office and boarding area are on Av del Puerto opposite Fortaleza Ozama in the Zona Colonial. The ferry departs Santo Domingo at 8pm on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and returns from Mayagüez at 8pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The trip takes 12 hours and costs around US$129/189 one way/return in an airplane-style seat, or around US$182/311 (single/double) one way per person or US$295/474 (single/double) return in a private cabin with an exterior window.
Santo Domingo has two airports: the main one, Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas (SDQ; 809-549-0081), is 22km east of the city. The smaller Aeropuerto Internacional La Isabela Dr Joaquin Balaguer (JBQ, aka Higuero;809-567-3900), north of the city, handles mostly domestic carriers and air taxi companies. Aerodomca (809-826-4141/4242), Caribair (809-542-6688) and Take Off (809-552-1333; www.takeoffweb.com) service both airports.
Most international flights come into and depart from Las Américas. The major carriers:
Air Canada (809-541-2929; Av Gustavo Mejía Ricart 54)
Air France Central Santo Domingo (809-686-8432; Plaza El Faro, Av Máximo Gómez 15); Airport (809-549-0311) The city branch shares its office with KLM.
American Airlines Zona Colonial (809-542-5151; Calle El Conde); Airport (809-549-0043)
Continental Airlines Airport (809-549-0757); Central Santo Domingo (809-221-2222; www.renaissancehotels.com; Renaissance Jaragua Hotel, Av George Washington 367)
Copa (reservations 809-549-2672, airport 809-472-2672)
Delta (809-200-9191; Plaza Comercial Acropolis Center, cnr Av Winston Churchill & Andres Julio Aybar)
Iberia Santo Domingo (809-686-9191; Av Lope de Vega 63); Airport (809-549-0205)
Jet Blue (809-549-1793) Located at the airport.
LanChile (809-689-2221; Av George Washington 353)
Lufthansa/Condor (809-689-9625; Av George Washington 353)
US Airways Santo Domingo (809-540-0505; Av Gustavo Mejía Ricart 54); Airport (809-549-0165)