Planning to move to Punta Cana or just to come for vacations and want to explore the country, do yourself a favour and rent a car or a scooter! There is no public transportation and the taxi isn’t cheap. Some resorts offer the shuttle bus transport to the airport and closest beach. But you always have to book the shuttle in advance and depend on their schedule.
For the adventurous souls I definitely recommend to rent a car even though might be challenging driving in Dominican Republic, especially in the night. There are no rules in traffic and they drive sometimes on the wrong side of the road or without front or rear lights on during the night. However, when we decided to move to Punta Cana we have thought everything is set for our new home destination. Arrived at the airport at midnight after 14 hours flight we were happy to pick up our car and hit the road to our accommodation. Sadly, our plans were a bit changed when the car rental agent asked us to pay an extra insurance TPL (Third Party Liability) as our credit card covers only the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance.
The TPL is usually between $15-$25 a day depends on the car type. We made a booking for a KIA at $800/month with the insurance covered by the credit card. In the end they could only offer us the car for $1,600 which we couldn’t accept. All the car rentals at the airport: Alamo, National, Budget and Sixt asked for similar amount. In the end, disappointed we have decided to take a taxi. Imagine only, if you travel with kids and have to deal with this whole situation.
As a tourist driving in the Caribbean you are seen in traffic as a “golden mine” by the locals. They can easily identify your rental car and know you have a rental car with full coverage insurance. For them an wilful accident will cover the service for their car. Yes, you did hear well! Majority of the locals here don’t have a car insurance but the tourists have to take either the CDW car insurance or TPL (Third party Liability). If your Credit Card already covers the insurance CDW then is mandatory to purchase the TPL. Some people here say is good to have TPL insurance as in case of accident with severe injury and damage they can send you to jail during the investigation which can take days. I don’t wish anyone to get through such a hassle.
Expect to pay around $75/day full coverage per day for a small car like KiA and $180/day for Ford Explorer. Before you drive away check the car thoroughly to make sure all the damages are registered.
I have heard many terrifying stories about the way car dealers try to obtain as much money from tourists. This is sick and no one deserves to lose time and patience especially on their holidays.
I wish you all safe travels without any incidents! Still be vigilant…:)
Do you have any similar experience to share with us? Please write down below.