Traffic in Dominican Republic

Hello everyone,

Which city or area do you live in in Dominican Republic, and how do you find the traffic?

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands?

Is there a rush hour in your city? What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can?

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in Dominican Republic?

What is parking availability and cost like?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Driving here is not for the faint of heart.  It is always in the top 2 or 3 most dangerous places in the world to drive.  This year we maintained our number 2 status in UN nations.
My wife describes it as a live video game.  I tell folks (tourists mostly) that you need a set of eyes on each side of your head (total 4 sides), a neck that swivels 360 degrees and the reflexes of a 14 year old on a game boy.  Or imagine driving at rush hour in Rome with a blindfold on :)

Really there are very few traffic laws that are enforced on any kind or regular basis.  Stop signs and stop lights are merely suggestions.  Traffic is chaotic at best especially in the bigger cities at major intersections.

Most local vehicles could not pass the simplest of inspections and most drive with out a license or insurance

As a gringo Expat living here you need to be very careful and "play" by the rules.

When we are back in the US my wife is constantly saying..."what are you doing?  You are driving like  you are in the Dominican Republic"  :) 

Oh and parking.   Anyplace your car sort of fits is a good parking spot :)

Bob K

If you enjoy advnture, are aggresive, have huevos of steel, a sence of humor & a surfeit of patience you will love driving here. I won't drive in the two big cities but have explored the island on my V-Star motorcycle. That is for me, the way to see the island.  Have very, very good insurance if you decide to drive here.

I live in the capital  city,  where  about 5 million people live or more.  Seems daily they are all on the road at the same time.

Rush hour starts at  6:30 am and runs till 9:30 then again from  11 to  3 pm and then again  from  4:30 to 8 pm or so.

Except friday - rush hour starts at  6:30 am and ends at  8:30 pm.

Except if it rains then it goes till 2 hours after the rain stops.

It is faster to take the Metro Subway here than it is to try to drive most days.

There are few rules that are enforced. Except if you are a gringo then we get stopped.

It is not for the weak stomachs or those who drive cautiously.  Don't try it. 

If you are outside the cities it is a bit better but still every man for himself!

Dominicans face to face, are usually friendly and pleasant. Behind the wheel or handlebars, they morph into beasts !! We call it the "Ley de la mas grande " I live outside Jarabacoa. It is much worse when the wealthy come to their second homes on weekends and holidaze !

Another thing to consider when driving in DR, whatever happens in case of an accident it will be your fault!  if you're toddling down the road driving safely and sensibly and an utterly drunk Dom with no licence, insurance etc smashes into you - Yep its your damn fault Gringo.
And soon, said Drunk plus assorted family members, lawyers , etc be queuing up to take El Gringo to the cleaners !

Not always true. Perhaps in the tourist zones that is the case. I had a drunk on a motorcycle hit me head on at 10:30 in the morning. Fortunately, I was going slow and he ended up underneath my Landcruiser ! The witnesses made him give me the 200 pesos he had in his pocket. I have lived and worked here off and on for 34 years, and have never encountered what you are mentioning. Again, I have never lived or spent much time in coastal tourist zones. I have heard the stories, but it has never happened to me personally.

Yes that happens mostly in the tourist zones.  I too had an accident a couple years ago - motorcycle hit me head on. I was cleared completely by the fiscal.

But I also know way too many stories where expats were hung out to dry. Remember if you are driving past your tourist visa with NO  Dominican license then whatever happens will be your fault

True story.  A friend had parked (legally) and went to lunch at a restaurant.  He watched as s moto ran into the back of his car. The Moto driver demanded money to fix his bike.  My friend told him to bug off.  Well the moto driver got lawyer and took my friend to court where he was told to pay the moto driver for damages and court costs.  Flabbergasted he asked the judge why and he was told that if did not park there (legal or not) then his car would not have been hit by the can you argue with that logic??????

Bob K

Hi. Sorry for the delay. Traffic is not bad in Punta Cana or any of the surrounding cities. But can get a little tricky in Santo Domingo, rush-hour usually about 30 minutes delay.

When do you plan on coming?

Punta cana is too small and broadly laid out to have much traffic.  That is fortunate. Also not much of a town as such either.

Bob I had a friend parked on the Malecon in Puerto Plata. 2 motos drove straight into her. She had to leave the country as they came after her for ridiculous amounts of money. She didnt have her license Nd so was at fault.

A 30 minute rush hour delay would be a good day! Sadly here not the usual.

I have spent 30 minutes at a traffic light in SD.
You could not pay me enough money to drive there.  Cabs are just fine

Bob K

I used to love to go there 30 years ago ! I stay far away ..... I miss the Restaurants😵

Restaurants, shopping, museums, theater, people watching etc etc

Best time here is easter week, everyone leaves for the beach!!!

Easter week now that is funny and so true
Still a nice place to visit and spend time but not to drive.
Bob K

Yes - from my limited experience - drive in (best on a Sat or Sun, find your hotel, then walk or take a taxi (a decent one - there is a choice) then depart on a Sat or Sun or well after afternoon rush hour.....

Easier and cheaper to take the bus and then use the cabs or walk. In the Zona Colonial with a hotel there you can basically walk the entire district.

Bob K

Yes. Take the bus -  i prefer Metro. Then use Uber or taxis. My preferred taxi is Apollo here in the capital.

The  colonial zone is a beautiful place to visit. Lots of history, museums, churches, forts etc. Endless choice of restaurants and clubs for night time. Shopping is limited and tourist priced. 

For shopoing jump in an Uber and go to Agora Mall!

Metro ! When I was a Peace Corps volunteer here 35 years ago, they were the ultimate. Out of our budget ! We would watch them sail by from our chicken bus with envy, when the Autopista Duarte was still just a dangerous 2 lane road !  It used to take over 9 hours to get to Santo Domingo from Rio Limpio outside Loma de Cabrera. Thanx for that Metro memory !

Wow!!!  I remember the trips from puerto Plata all the way to Punta Cana.  I drove and it was NUTS.  Metro is far better most of the time.......LOL

The only thing in Punta Cana back then was Sugar Cane ! And Club Med.

I am with you ! I used to drive a 911 ambulance in NYC and I am scared to drive especially on the Roures. Who wants to be driving behind a car with 10 mattresses !

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