Should I rent a car?
The Dominican Republic has the most modern road infrastructure in the Caribbean, with excellent highways leading to and linking major tourist destinations. That being said, driving in the DR is known to be nerve-wracking; you must drive defensively and keep an eye out constantly for other drivers, motorbikes, pedestrians, cows, and other potential road companions and intruders. Driving out to the countryside is less stressful than in the big cities, though once you are in the villages, you should look out for potential road obstacles. You should be experienced, with preferable prior experience driving in big cities like New York, or driving in the Caribbean.
Avoid speeding, and don’t drive at night at all costs–lighting is often poor and nonexistent, which brings opportunities for car accidents and crime.
There are tourist destinations where having your own car is easier because there is so much to see. For example, if you are traveling the north coast from Montecristi to Puerto Plata or to Cabrera, or to the beaches of Samaná, renting a car will allow you to stop and see the sights along the way. On the east coast, having a car allows for more affordable exploration of the popular tourist areas of La Romana, Bávaro, Punta Cana, and Cap Cana. The southwest of the Dominican Republic–from Barahona to Pedernales–is one of the most beautiful and untouched regions in the country, where public transportation is limited. Having a car will help you save time and money, particularly to well-known, distant sights such as Bahía de Las Águilas. The beaches and attractions surrounding the major destinations will be more accessible and affordable to you with a rental car.
For Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata cities, however, it is best to rely on the vast network of taxis, including UBER. You can get a taxi by calling a 24-hr dispatch taxi company. Most offer a fixed rate of approximately US$5 one-way for most in-city destinations.