How to travel to Dominican Republic - Expat Perspective

Published: 11 Feb at 11 AM
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Filed: Getting There,Dominican Republic

Local Expert Series: How to get to Dominican Republic by Lindsay de Feliz

As it is an island, the usual way to reach the Dominican Republic is by air, although several cruise companies do call in at either Santo Domingo, La Romana in the south east and Samaná in the north east. There is also a car and passenger ferry service which sails from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. The journey takes around 13 hours and travels overnight, but it has been known to go out of service for six months or so at a time, so it is always worth checking if it is still running on their website

Traveling to Dominican Republic
Traveling to Dominican Republic
If you are flying to the Dominican Republic, you have a choice of several different airports. Remember it is a very big country, and journey times from one part of the country to another can take a very long time, especially as not all of the roads are good, so it is worth checking which airport is nearest to where you want to be. The Dominican Republic actually has nine international airports with a variety of scheduled and charter services, and in addition there are domestic shuttles between the various main airports. The busiest airport in the country is Punta Cana (POP) in the east, which has charter flights from all over the world, as well as some scheduled flights from the US, Europe and the UK - You need to use this airport if you are flying to the main tourist resorts in Punta Cana, Bavaro or La Romana and Bayahibe. Recently there has been a new highway built which has cut the time down to the capital, Santo Domingo to 2 hours, so POP airport can also be used to get to the capital if you want to use a charter flight.

The main airport in the country for schedule flights is Las Americas (SDQ), which is to the east of Santo Domingo. There are direct flights from many cities in the USA, Canda and the UK, and Europe with flying time from New York being around 4 hours, and London around 8 hours. There are very few if any charter flights into SDQ, and travel time into the centre of the city is around 30 minutes by cab.

Be warned if you want to take internal flights from SDQ in that there is a second airport in Santo Domingo, on the west side. It was formerly called La Isabela but has been renamed Dr Joaquim Balaguer (JBQ). It is mainly used for inter Caribbean flights with Caribair and domestic shuttles. You may think you have booked an air transfer from Santo Domingo (SDQ) but most likely it will be from La Isabela and it will take you at least an hour if not two to get there by road.
If you are travelling to the north of the island, to Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete, you will need to fly into Gregorio Luperón airport (POP). It is basically a tourist airport with some schedule flights from the US but mainly charter flights from Canada, UK and Europe. And for those wanting the Samaná peninsula in the north east, including Las Terrenas, they have built a new airport, President Juan Bosch (AZS). It has flights from Canada and Europe and Jetblue have just started flying there from the US.

The country has two other international airports, one in La Romana in the east, which operates mainly in the winter months and one in Santiago, the second largest city in the centre of the country

Most airports are owned by Aerodom, apart from those which are private and whose url’s are listed in the article.

Once you arrive in the country, in order to get to where you need to be you will need a taxi as there is an agreement that no public transport is allowed onto the airport property. Taxi rates are usually fixed, but make sure that you check the price before getting in. Car hire is available at all airports, but it is wise to book in advance and check that you have adequate insurance. Be warned that driving in the Dominican Republic is not for the faint hearted.

About the author

Local ExpertLindsay de Feliz was born, raised and educated in the UK, where she worked as a marketing lecturer and was Marketing Director for various financial service companies. She then decided to follow her dreams and travel the world as a scuba diving instructor, ending up in the Dominican Republic. She fell in love with the country and its people, eventually met and married a Dominican and has been living there for the last 11 years working as a writer, translator and marketing consultant. Lindsay currently lives in the middle of nowhere in the Dominican Republic with her family, four dogs and seven cats and writes a blog about the Dominican Republic and daily life. Her book about her adventures in the DR, “What about your saucepans?” is available from Amazon now (see link below).

If you have anything to add about your own experience relating to this article, or perhaps have a question for Lindsay please leave her a comment below!
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Lindsay De Feliz wrote 7 years ago:

Glad you enjoyed it Vinnie.

Vinnie wrote 7 years ago:

Best advice, you seem to have reserved at the last, to get ourselves insured for any eventuality while driving! But overall a very good blog for those who would want to spend their next vacation here. A very good and detailed description on how to reach Dominican Republic and commute there. Many thanks!

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