Getting around Las Terrenas

We are considering a move to Las Terrenas with our two young children. Everything I have read about the roads and traffic etc in the Dominican Republic has me terrified though! Highest accident rate, going to jail if in an accident etc etc Is it the same in Las Terrenas specifically? I don’t want my children on an ATV or a motorbike so what options are open to me? I have an electric bike I could bring with me with a bench on the back for my two kids but is that going to be just as dangerous to ride on the roads with? Is it really inadvisable to drive around town? How safe is it to walk around? Could my kids walk safely to school say? Golf cart? What’s best? What do other families do?

If you are just driving around town do what most do and that is drive two wheels or quads. The roads are narrow in much of the town and there are plenty of speed bumps so you really can't drive that fast in the town. Added to which the main roads operate on a one way system.

Here is one video of an expat leaving home and driving into the mall by the cemetery in the centre of town by the beach at a quiet time. As you near the end of the video you will see quads parked along the road and believe me there are plenty there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn49FcaL-rU

stoned or drunk, using your cell phone & not paying attention you will be in deep shi*t anywhere in  the world  IIt isn't  huge city fraught with grid lock traffic.  The truth requires you to come & experience it yourself.  Not everyone likes kumquats ,come to try it yourself.  I have found that people who always complain will seldom, if ever, satisfied.  Keep posting and letting all  share your adventures.

Thanks for responding! I don’t plan on getting stoned or drunk myself. I’m worried about dying at the hands of those on the road who do!! Is it common practice there?

Lennoxnev: Thanks for your response - and the video 👍🏽

No less, no more....than anywhere else.  Exercise caution, especially during the holidays.  The overwhelming majority of accidents, injuries and deaths are with young  local  men between the ages of 15 to 29.  If you have ever driven a lot in big congested cities, you will be fine.  If not, just be careful & you'll soon become more comfortable with erratic drivers.  Come on & jump in,... the water is fine!

Thanks! You’ve certainly made me feel better about this. Everything else looks wonderful to me. I’m just a worry wart when it comes to driving with my kids. I wasn’t this way before kids but they’ve changed me 😂😂

In and around Las Terrenas it is the motorbikes, scooters and quads that will unnerve you at first. A car simply cannot move as quickly as them around town so you will be surrounded both sides by passing smaller vehicles on the one way main roads. The beach roads are narrow especially now along to Punta Popi after storm erosion, but traffic is very slow. You will adapt quickly. Driving around Samana is probably as uncrowded as it gets in tourist zones. However, the road over the hills to Sanchez is quite challenging if you are in a rush. Plenty of bends and traffic trying to avoid the excellent but expensive toll road to El Catey. The roads to Limon and on to Samana are straightforward and generally very quiet.

It shouldn't take long to settle in an excellent non commercial laid back resort area with a European feel and a lack of hassle. Your kids will love the rarely crowded beaches.

Kids  You will be grandparents & still worry. It is just nature.  Kids have this amazing ability to adapt to new things in their life that we can never match.  They   have that ability to change how you view things.  Once we recognize that. things become so much simpler.  Let them eat their "Peck of dirt" & try to not stifle their growing couriosity, it is the foundation of life.  No one ever said it would be a piece of cake.   I just nibble at a cookie now & then.

Thanks for the detailed response. You are making me feel much better about it all. Appreciate it!

Was on the north coast for 9 days in the beginning of December and this was the first time I rented a car in this country. Probably my 11th visit.  Not going to lie. In the past I never drove anything more than a golf cart there (back when they were still legal). Main reason being I was scared due to all the stories of the corrupt police shakedowns of gringos. In the past I have used taxis, paid locals who weren't taxis, taken publicos, rode on motos, even tried Uber a few times. This last trip I wanted to move around a lot more at any time that I wanted. Really the only inexpensive way to have total freedom to do it for me was to rent. I found a reasonable rental company who came highly recommended by several people and I took a chance.  9 day rental fully insured with $0 deductible cost me about $300 and I spent a grand total of 1100 pesos ($22) on gas for the whole trip. The car was a total POS. But they even gave me free airport pickup and drop off.  Was there an adjustment period for driving in this country???? Ummmmm yeah. But the only way to get over the fear is to drive through it, literally.  Best advice I can give with my limited experience in this matter is don't drink and drive, stay away from as far away from drugs as you can (not just when driving but the entire time you are here), wear a seatbelt, obey traffic signals and signs, keep your head on a swivel and be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, and last of all you will probably want to be a little more aggressive than you are used to because otherwise you will be stuck waiting to pull out/turn/pass people etc. No one will wait for you let you in. It's kinda like driving in NYC but times 10 plus 100 of motos all over the place. The motos were honestly what I was worried about most. That's I think where a lot of the vehicle death numbers are so inflated if I'm not mistaken, but I would say 98% of those guys really know what they are doing. I honestly have a great admiration and respect for the motos. I had to be careful because watching them at times to me was almost mesmerizing. It's like an art, the way they flow in and out of traffic on medians, down  center lanes, one second on your rear the next second in front of you squeezing through a space you think there's no way they can fit. Mind you they do this sometimes with anywhere from 1-3 passengers or hauling massive objects like mattresses and furniture that make your jaw drop the first time you see it. I know to most of you expats living there it's probably just everyday life for you now but damn it to me it's still amazing to watch every time I see it.

THANK YOU!!  A great honest post.  It should go a long way to reducing the fears about driving here.  There have been many fearful posts questioning the hazards of driving here.  You hit all the points most mentioned. You have done the island a service, thank you again.

Thanks tinker.  I also forgot to mention that I noticed different times of day will definitely have different experiences. What you will see at 3:00am around Puerto Plata and at 3:00pm will be a totally different. I even took a cruise through the malecon on Sunday night somehow managed to find a parking place and grab a bite to eat with some friends around midnight.

Thanks so much for your detailed response!  I have seen some amazing things on the road in Zimbabwe too but there are not that many motorbikes there so that is not something I’ve ever had to contend with really. I’ve also driven in NYC many times but again, not much of a motorbike city! I’m feeling much more confident about it all though - having ‘spoken’ to you all. Thanks!

Taint the horror show so often portrayed,  Forty years on many islands have shown me the nitty- gritty as so perfectly described by Gringojake.

👍🏽👍🏽

listen i do not know much about las terrenas but i;ve rented a car       in sosua  now for my 4 week vacations  for 2 to 4 weeks   been all the way up to samana  and through the country side with no problems ; you must pay very close attention to the road  and people on moto conchos  plus going around on curves as some people take the straightest line coming toward you ; so yes u must exercise extra caution but I seldom drive at night due to road hazards plus it seems everyone here drives with their bright lights on no matter where they are ; its just like they have never learned common courtesy ; but next time  i come i;ll rent a jeep for about 3 days and install my o wn extra driving led lights that put out  and nearly 8,000 lumens and if some dirt bag does not lower their high beams i;ll put my on and blind him momentarily  as i go by him ; maybe then he;ll learn to keep those high beams off approaching traffic ;its like one resident there told me as far as dominican drivers go its like they just got off their donkeys and upgraded to a car and not follow road courtesy;  so drive during the day you;ll be ok ; like there many expats with cars and they are not going to jail for driving infractions

i agree with you about rental car ; there are the exceptional few that will  let you in  making a left turn going opposite up the road which is nice but not too often ; and yes one needs to exercise caution even  at traffic lights cause the odd moto or car will run a light ; maybe not too often in big cities like puerto plata but in sosua with only 2 lights it happens alot ; especially at night ; O.K Motors  is a good place to rent a car good rates for long terms  plus with the extra $3.00 perday you get 0 deductible ; the owner i believe is dutch and they treat you really good and will pick u  up at airport and drop you off ;if you pay cash there is a 5% discount ;  just remember that in the dominican especially around sosua the cops are looking for gringos with no seat belts on ; its just a scam the way i look at it; they take your car to the compound and u have to pay the fine at the bank then come back for your car with the receipt most times they stop those also moto conchos for no helmets on friday  or cars too for no seat belts cause they know the bank is closed saturday so now they have your car for the weekend and now you have to pay extra for storage ; now I've been told if you get pulled over is to put a 500 to 1000 peso note with your driver's license and they will let you go; but if you not speeding  and wearing seat belts u be ok the next thing is going through a yellow light they consider this a no ;no

LED lights are now illegal here so don't go that route. Grin and bear the high beams. Better still, don't drive at night.

Thanks for the extra info and suggestions 😊

We've been here for a month with our kids 3 and 5 years old. We've taught them to walk in a line with us and to pay attention to what we're doing. They've adapted very quickly and have had few issues. We've traveled on everything from mototaxi's to normal taxi's and had no issue. The people here drive a little out of control but nothing like you'd find in say India or some place like that. Don't worry, come check it out yourself and make your own judgement calls. Nothing will replace your own experience. In ours, it's fine if you and your kids pay attention.

Hi
I red that Cabrera is better choice Nd closer to airport it is in the middle correct me if m wrong

Thanks for your input. Much appreciated 😊

Cabrera is about an hour form el Catey airport and 1hr 20min or so from POP

Just over 2 hrs to SDQ

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