We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
16 posts
21 reviews
Save Topic
Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

We arrive 3/9 to Gran Bahia Principe Ambar and decided to rent a car ($126/wk!) instead of get herded like cattle on a bus.

Looking for suggestions on where to go to snorkel/dive, if there are general ferries/boats to Sanoa or Catalina Islands, etc - or if we *HAVE* to book a tour group to get there...?


Punta Cana Mike's Private Dominican Adventure
Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Bus Tours
HorsePlay Punta Cana
Private Tours, Horseback Riding Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
Dos Bananas
Boat Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Eco Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours
141 replies to this topic
Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
5,880 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

If it is your first time in the area, you will see why no one ever suggests renting a car. Put it this way, stop signs are decorations. Police might not be on the up and up, and you don't want to be in an accident for fears of "what comes next". Take a cab, $40 each way, and spring for the snorkel tours, or ask your resort's aqatic centre for other snorkel outtings....

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
2,018 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

Driving laws are more of a suggestion.

Your insurance will probably NOT cover you in the DR.

Honestly unless you have a death wish I would not suggest driving in the DR.

Ellicott City MD
Level Contributor
2,906 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

We have been to Jamaica, St Lucia, Mexico, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. We have experienced all day excursions, transfers, bus trips etc. in all of these locations.

That being said....5 trips to Punta Cana and I would never dream of renting a car. Biggest vehicle wins. Thats it. No real rules of the road that I have witnessed and The DR is listed as one of the most dangerous places to drive a vehicle.

Not to mention, if you are in a serious accident where fault cannot be established, both parties are detained until the whole thing can be sorted out.

Use the cabs. Bahia is pretty central so cab fares wont be outrageous. Most locations are a set price and they know where they're going.

Much safer....

Morristown, New...
Level Contributor
8,142 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

I'm still not sure I would want or need to rent a car while on vacation in Punta Cana, but last time I was there (a year ago already), I did notice that the traffic seemed to have calmed considerably, over my previous visits, to the degree that I, myself, thought that renting a car would be a reasonable option for my next visit.... so that I could venture outside of the tourist areas. Just make sure your insurance is up to date and that you'll be covered, and you're good to go. Remember, as someone mentioned above, that traffic rules are more suggestions... so drive ultra defensively... don't expect the other drivers to do what you think they will or should..

Be safe and have fun.

Townsend, MA
Destination Expert
for Curacao
Level Contributor
2,047 posts
138 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

We are pretty agressive Boston drivers and we would never rent a car in Punta Cana. No signs - street or resort. Traffic rules ignored. Right=of-way? Fugggetaboudit. We took a cab ride from Cat Royal to Hard Rock and I was saying Hail Marys the entire time - I got out and kissed the ground when we arrived. Passing with oncoming traffic, running people off the road, turning into traffice without even tapping the brakes. Not to mention the motor scooters with 3 or 4 people on them. Do they even issue driver's licenses in the DR?

Now we have driven all over the Caribbean - St Kitts ,Barbados, St. Martin ,Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Bahama, Nassau, St Croix and probably a few others - we even drove the road to Hana LOL - but never ever in the DR.

Level Contributor
33 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

SKin AZ, just got back a week ago from the Gran Bahia in Punta Cana. We took a taxi both ways, or at least I think we did. I had my eyes closed the entire time. Firs time my husband has ever said he had to close his eyes a couple of time. He said we almost hit at least 2 scooters and passed other cars with oncoming traffic that had to pull over to let us by. You seriously will be taking your life and that of your passengers into your own hands. Please forget about renting a car and hire a taxi, only $38 to the Bahia and worth every penny.

Fernie, Canada
Level Contributor
170 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

You are renting a car, wow I thought I liked adventure. Please put a video camera in the window and if you survive post the video. I usually just hire a man and car for the day, cheap just make sure he has A/C.

Staten Island, New...
Level Contributor
508 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?


It all depends on what kind of "driving style" you are accustmed to...If you are fine driving in Manhattan (NYC), SF (downtown) or some Euro destinations (namely Rome and Paris), you will be just fine! However (with a capital H), if you are a nice, suburban type of driver---fuggetaboutit!!!

Edited: 02 March 2012, 15:21
Delray Beach...
Level Contributor
335 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

I can see why some people say to never rent a car in DR. It looks scary at first to say the least. But once you get in your car and hit the road, its really not that bad once you get going and keep an eye out.

You just got to be careful. Real careful. Traffic laws do not apply. The bigger car does win and expect motorcycles to come in the road in every possible direction.

At the end of the day, it all about what you want from your vacation. You can go to PC and never leave the resort. Or you can venture out in a tour or two. But for me, nothing beats the freedom of having your own car if what you want is explore beyond what's shown to the tourist.

So yes, its dangerous driving, but its no India or places like that shown on TV. Just keep your eyes open and you will be alright!

Erieau, Canada
Destination Expert
for Punta Cana
Level Contributor
15,198 posts
93 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?

You have to be kidding, I have been there 40+ times and I will not rent a car or even consider it.

Reply to: Punta Cana - anyone rent a car..?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted