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Once you arrive in the Dominican Republic, you're all set to begin the real traveling: exploring everything the country has to offer, from incredible natural diversity to intriguing urban life. Taxis are a great way for vacationers to get around the island without missing a second of the scenery.
Taxis in the Dominican Republic are as unique as the country itself. The vehicles may range from newer models complete with air-conditioning to large publicos, a type of bus-taxi hybrid. When selecting a taxi, steer clear of the private cars you may find waiting outside airports, docks, and hotels. Instead, look for a well-marked car and then ask to see the driver's ID card. Do not accept a ride from an unlicensed operator.
When you arrive in the Dominican Republic, reference the following list of cab operators. You can put in a call to one of these companies and a cab will usually come to get you within five minutes. These companies want your business and will work to accommodate your needs. If you ask for an English-speaking driver, or an air conditioned vehicle, they will typically do their best to oblige.
|Apollo Taxi||Santo Domingo||809-537-0000|
|Tecni Taxi||Puerto Plata||809-320-7621|
Perhaps the most challenging part of taking a cab will be determining your fare. For starters, all cabs in the Dominican Republic are unmetered, which makes speaking with your driver and negotiate a fare before you actually get in very important. Many popular destinations will be covered by a rate table that can be found in airports or some larger hotels. If your trip is not included on these tables, you will need to make arrangements with your driver.
Make a point of agreeing upon a currency, as well, since both U.S. dollars and Dominican pesos are accepted. Bear in mind that drivers are not always able to provide change, especially for foreign currency.
One local taxi company provides the following guidelines for figuring out a fare:
Prepare to spend RD$45 just for sitting down, and anticipate a rate of RD$5 for every kilometer. (This equals about RD$8 per mile.) Remember, however, that since there are no meters in the taxis, your driver will be the one to determine how far you have traveled at the end of your trip.
If you would rather have an absolute standard, offer your driver a rate of RD$100 per hour. This may require a bit of negotiation, but most operators will be happy to establish an hourly rate, which can make it easier to estimate your fare.
Take a look at the chart below for a hint of what you can expect to pay when you take a cab:
|Las Americas Airport||Santo Domingo||1000 pesos|
|Las Americas Airport||Boca Chica||600 pesos|
|Santo Domingo||Boca Chica||1200 pesos|
The U.S. dollar and the Dominican peso have no fixed exchange rate, so check the rates immediately before departing for your trip. Generally, $1(USD) will be worth between RD$30 and RD$40.
It is also important to note that is legal for children to ride on their parents lap rather than in a car seat or booster seat in a taxi. If you don't feel comfortable with this, remember to bring your own safety seat from home. Another important fact to be aware of is a recent string of crimes against tourists getting into cabs. Local criminals have a habit of reaching in open windows and snatching purses and bags then taking. As you should be in any unfamiliar situation, keep your guard up so the chances of this happening to you is slim.
Caro publicos are another option for travelers. These cars resemble regular taxis, but have specified posted routes like buses. Each car will fill to capacity and will pick up and drop off passengers at any point. You may tell the driver your stop when you get in, or simply point it out and give a yell when you near your destination. Publicos are generally less expensive than traditional taxis, averaging around RD$10 per passenger. Drivers require exact change, so be sure to have a variety of cash denominations on hand.
Taxis are very appealing to travelers who would rather enjoy the view than struggle with maps and unfamiliar driving procedures. Although taxis can be somewhat pricey, the opportunity to sit back and take in the beauty of the Dominican Republic is one that many vacationers find priceless.
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