How to get to/from Santo Domingo's Las Americas airport cheaply
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Oct 9, 2012 9:47 AM Last Post By: ronin28
Oct 4, 2012 9:45 AM
How to get to/from Santo Domingo's Las Americas airport cheaplyThis information is something that few people want you to know. Certainly, the taxi mafia isn't keen on it being printed. Bourgeois tourists who fear being around local people will also tell you public transportation is too dangerous anyplace in the world. After all, they read it and Grandma warned them, too. Travel guidebooks that once were geared to backpackers now seem bent on getting people to spend the most amount of money. Hotels will tell you to only use their car service. etc. But the fact is, you can get to or from the airport to/from central Santo Domingo for 70 Pesos (less than $2 US) quickly and in air conditioned comfort. (Well, SOME of the vans are air conditioned)
When you arrive at SDQ, go upstairs. By the way, the global currency exchange booths that you first see upon arrival give rip off rates....if you arrive during regular banking hours, there are two banks...look around before changing money. If stuck with the Global exchange booths, change only a small amount till you can get to a bank.
If you stand outside on the upper level where cars first come in, you may see a van loading up with airport employees. This Gua Gua takes passengers for 70 Pesos. Some go to Santo Domingo north of Parque Enriquillo, others go to Boca Chica. I have never waited long, even on Sunday. Upon return to the airport go to the Gua Gua terminal in Santo Domingo for Boca Chica...it is a couple of blocks north of Parque Enriquillo. The ride is as quick as a taxi as the vans don't stop much between the city and the airport and take the express road. People get on with packages but I think this way is best if you are light on luggage.
I am posting this for the benefit of anyone interested. If you are afraid to mix with Dominicans, I am not stopping you from getting your private car (LOL, we all know taxi drivers never rob people! ) but please don't write to me with your fears. Lock yourself in the toilet of your mega resort only coming out to sample the "real Dominican flavor" of your $30 hotel lunch. I don't travel that way. I am sorry to sneer...to each his/her own... but I am SICK of these types sneering at anyone who needs to save money. If you don't want a cost saving way to the airport, this topic isn't for you. Thanks.
Oct 4, 2012 10:03 AM
Oct 4, 2012 12:20 PM
2Thanks, mg. I posted this since I have been unable to find this out from any other source than a friend who lives in Santo Domingo. Not from Lonely Planet, not from DR1 on line. I used this way four times without any difficulty and saved over $100 US on the four taxi rides I would have been stuck taking. I walked from the last stop to the Zona Colonial. Everyone on the van was nice, the conductor even helped me with a bag.
When other forums on other countries offer advice on a bus to the airport it is met with "oh, my God, someone (with dark skin) will rob you" "Really, a BUS?" from clueless tourist types who think the Hilton is a budget hotel and paying $4 US for 15 minutes of internet at the airport is a great deal. (the current price at SDQ!) . I wanted to head off this nonsense here by writing if a cheap trip isn't for you, this topic isn't geared for you.
Oct 5, 2012 1:56 PM
Oct 5, 2012 5:27 PM
4Fantastic info Roberto, and I couldn't agree more with your sentiments about the snooty, clueless tourist types. And seriously - this is about more than just a "need" to save money! I'm certainly financially better-off than when I first started traveling, but still believe: if anything is good enough for the local people, it's damn-well good enough for me, too!
Oct 5, 2012 6:14 PM
Oct 6, 2012 4:51 AM
6Perhaps you should ask Lonely Planet why this needed info has not been provided until now. But to answer your questions, the van terminates at a parada...it is a bus and you get to your final destination if the stop isn't it. Although twice the driver offered to take me there for a bit more money. I walked instead.
As for what happens in the other direction (?): they take you to the airport terminal.
If your wife doesn't want to use the bus/van, that is fine with me. You can drive her or maybe give her cab fare or whatever. This topic is for people who want or need to use public transportation to the airport.
Oct 6, 2012 4:52 AM
7PS to Jose....I love you man! I am always pleased when someone who provides so much useful travel info likes a post of mine.
( and I do believe the Dominican Republic as well as other destinations have quite a bit of what I call apartheid tourism..... the herding of gringoes into walled compounds that ensure they stay away from any local people who aren't servants and spend loads of money. Fear, racism and loathing play a part. My method of getting to the airport is cost saving but also a small step in breaking down that wall. And I am certainly not saying if someone likes taking a taxi it must be racism....to each his or her own. I just think it is remarkable that taking public transportation to the airport is totally denied by travel sites in English including DR1)
Oct 6, 2012 6:43 AM
Oct 7, 2012 7:14 AM
9RobertoGustavo, i tried to send you PM but you don't accept messages on this forum...So I'm posting it here...Could you help me and answer these questions ? Thx.
"Hello, I go to Dominican Republic 20th october to learn spanish and have fun. I come for few months. before I will find place to stay longer, I need to travel around DR a bit...I land in Punta Cana, I plan to buy motorbike somewhere quickly and ride around DR... I will probably buy it in Santo Domingo, leave this city, travel to Santiago, Puerta Plata and Samana....
i have questions:
1. How much are the cheapest hotels in there ? Are they safe or I will have burglar around 8 pm in my room ;-) ? What is reasonable price to pay for hotel and have reasonable security and wi fi signal ? I would look mostly for hotels up to 600 pesos...Are they safe ;] ?
2. What place would you recommend me for staying, going to school/course and learning spanish language ? I heard good things about Santiago de los Caballeros city... How about Puerta Plata area ? I'm not into drinking and hookers, but I'm into "normal" Dominican girls/ girlfriend :)
3. Were you walking in the evening/ after dusk in DR ? Did you feel safe ?
Oct 7, 2012 4:32 PM
10Gracias por 'los props' Roberto ~
#9; I'm not Roberto...and never had need for Spanish schools in RD, but can highly recommend Santiago as a place to practice/interact with locals, and the city does have several universities.
Best hotel for cheap rates, safety and security is Hotel Colonial just a few short blocks from el Parque en el Centro.
jajaja..."normal" Dominicanas. Have stayed out late walking around in la capital, Santiago, and basically anywhere I cared to go...never with any problems or concerns. Then again, that's just me.
Oct 7, 2012 5:32 PM
11I would second what Jose says.
I have never felt in dire danger going out at night in the DR (although I didn't care much for the corner where one hotel was situated). Never had anything stolen from my room. I would speak to other people at the place you are staying and get their take on walking around after dark. Do not ask hotel employees who might get a kick back from calling a taxi driver. One place I stayed at, I found out nothing happened to anyone walking around at night except by a lonely section nearby...so I stayed away from that section. Bring a small flashlight as power failures are common.
Outside of Santo Domingo, I have found nice places to stay for about 800 pesos. For example, the Hotel Cacique in Barahona. For that price, I had a/c and wi fi (they also have a computer for guests). They also have free drinking water and the place is very clean with a nice cheerful staff.
I am not promoting a business, it is just to give you an example.
Since you want to save money, go with an idea of these type of places beforehand. In Puerto Plata, Sam's (Hotel Castilla) is a nice atmospheric hang out and very cheap...but the room I saw was VERY basic and not for everyone. There is a guesthouse around the corner (I think it is called the Hotel Atlantico) run by a lovely woman where I had a room (a/c but rather worn) for $20 US a night.
Note that if you want to bring a visitor to your room, the policy on this varies from hotel to hotel. A small family run place that has bible verses in the lobby might not warm to the idea, but many other places may allow it if your visitor looks presentable. Still others will allow it if your visitor looks like she gives change from 500 pesos and is missing part of her outfit. A friend of mine asks up front but I shy away from that lest the clerk think I plan to have an army up to see me. However if it is very important to you that you can have a new girlfriend visit without a hassle or extra charge, you might want to ask the policy beforehand
Oct 7, 2012 10:54 PM
Oct 8, 2012 4:07 AM
13So you will be looking for a place that offers long term rates. Some budget hotels will be glad to do that. You may be able to find a room in someone's house that offers a bit of privacy,too. I don't know if you speak much Spanish or not, but in Puerto Plata "Sam's Bar and Restaurant" downtown at the Hotel Castilla is a place where many of the customers are English speaking ex-pats. The three or so times I ate there, people struck up a conversation in English. Dominicans who speak English also hang out there. It is the type of bar where people know one another and if you mention you need a room there is a good chance someone will say "Oh, Miguel has rooms for rent, he comes in about 5...oh, wait, I have his phone number". The food is good and cheap, too. There is a hotel upstairs that is very cheap and maybe you will find it acceptable.
Oct 8, 2012 6:39 AM
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