Driving in SD

Ok, here is something I need to wrap my head around - driving in Santo Domingo. Or IF I should drive in Santo Domingo. Driving is risky enough in Las Terrenas; but I hear it is treacherous in SD. Then again I here many things are "treacherous" in Dom Rep when that is not necessarily true. Denise and I will need to take trips into SD for furniture, car servicing, things like that. I have driven in LT with no issue, and I am generally an alert, defensive minded, driver. Even so I have blurted to Denise "WE ARE PARKING OUR CAR OFF THE TOLL ROAD AND UBERING IN TO THE CITY....THAT'S JUST ALL THERE IS TO IT!!!"

So, should I be this concerned about it?

I live and work and drive in SD.  It can be dangerous here especially when you don't know where you are going!  It also depends what day of the week and time of day you are driving!  Oh yes, also if it's raining!

Best days to drive here are Saturday and Sunday!!!

Worse days Friday and Monday!!!

First time you might want to park and uber or get a driver. If you want a driver I can get you one!  I also have a place to park if you need it.

I always had a dislike driving into the city when I was first living north of the capital, but the more I got used to it and the road network, the easier it became.

Familiarity is important. Signage is poor as are road markings and then you add in Dominican driving and you need to be hyper alert in unfamiliar situations.

The more you understand Dominicans driving in urban areas and the more you know the road network in Santo Domingo the easier it gets.

You say driving in Las Terrenas is easy. It is actually less challenging because you can't drive quickly in the narrow streets and have plenty of time to react. But get it wrong and you will have a moto driver angry with you.

If you are going to live in DR you need to start shedding inhibitions driving anywhere.

So plan a trip into the city say on a Saturday or Sunday morning when traffic coming in on Autopista Las Americas is lightest as planner says. It gets hectic Sunday afternoon as weekend tripper drive home and that will extend to the Samana Highway. Also plan where you intend to go and stay and look at and memeorize the route. Google maps are good but they will not tell you where temporary traffic measures (cones) are in place on 27th Febrero for example. Sunday is a good day to drive around the city before mid afternoon when things pick up.

My advice is do it. Drive down early Saturday, stay overnight and explore a bit Sunday and go shopping before heading back to LT Sunday pm. If you decide a return mid week start the journey mid morning or afternoon. The easy way out is along the Malecon over the floating bridge and along Av. Espana onto Autopista las Americas and this would also be a way in if you choose Zona Colonial to stay.

I drive daily and everywhere in SD now but try to avoid the traffic jambs which are worst in the business district.

Have you tried driving through Nagua yet? Take a trip to Cabrera and step by step you see a bit more traffic and how to negotiate it. I actually consider driving on the North Coast as more dangerous than Santo Domingo because the drivers are less exposed to challenges and develop lesser skills and so lack the strong defensive skils one learns in the capital.

Thank you both! Just the feedback I was looking for. We may Uber in the first time, them on the second trip plan our route and time it appropriately. I agree the drivers in LT are pretty lackadaisical, so a bit more dangerous. Gotta keep your head on a swivel!  :blink:

I drive to the hotel and UBER from there...
very cheap in SD....and you avoid parking hassles

Yes I've seen a few suggestions, to park at the airport lot and Uber in, or there are some large stores right off the toll road with secure parking.

No there are no large stores near there and the airport is too far out. Uber cannot pick you up from there.  I will private message you.

Find your hotel and drive there on a weekend ideally as has been suggested.

It really is easy to get to a hotel in Zona Colonial (but many do not have on site parking) and on the Malecon. You can then use a taxi or your own vehicle at your leisure.

Drive into town on Las Americas highway until the end of the bridge over the Ozama and before the fllyover and turn right curve down and right onto the road that leads to the Malecon past the ferry term. And from there you either enter Zona Colonial or continue and drive into your Malecon hotel.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Santo+Domingo/[at]18.4871499,-69.8859488,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8eaf89f1107ea5ab:0xd6c587b82715c164!8m2!3d18.4860575!4d-69.9312117

By the way to join Autopista Las Americas from the Samana highway by turning right onto the parallel two way road and after about a mile there is an entry onto the highway just past a garage (sigma). You will see the highway entry on Google earth by zoomimg in.

https://www.google.com/maps/[at]18.4608178,-69.7350932,1313m/data=!3m1!1e3

On the way home you leave your Malecon hotel or Zona Colonial onto the Malecon heading east and over the floating bridge (puente flotante), turn right and stay right and onto Av, Espana and that leads onto the Autopista Las Americas and your turn to the Samana highway is at km 19 and well signed.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Santo+Domingo/[at]18.4789179,-69.8835992,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8eaf89f1107ea5ab:0xd6c587b82715c164!8m2!3d18.4860575!4d-69.9312117

Going to your hotel later in the day works too -- when the SD traffic is leaving town

Some hotels have onsite parking - most offer offsite

DO NOT leave it on the street overnight

Well, I tend to obsess about planning things, especially if I am unsure (i.e. winging it is not in my vocab). Sounds like if plan our trip into town we shouldn't have a problem. Thanks, this is great information. Lennox I'll have to save your post so I have some detail.

Dave

Just use WAZE.... it takes you that route

Noted...we are big fans of Waze.

When I take a taxi going to Las Americas from my place at the west end of the Malecon, that is the route. Coming back there are basically 3 taxi operator options to get onto the Malecon from the Autopista, but two involve exits before the tunnel and bridge and whilst easy involve a couple of awkwards turns which aren't obvious unless you know them.

Nice to know a route planner likes the suggestions. In heavy traffic there are queues across the bridge and backing up to well before the tunnel. And after the tunnel you must move over to right lane soonest as there may be temporary traffic cones in play.

I drove to and around SD innJanury and agree Waze is best. Even took us around a PN check !  I also agre driving here is an adventure but the only way to get good at it is meet it head on, figuratively!
I worry more about adjusting when I go back to the States now than about driving here!

RockyM :

Ok, here is something I need to wrap my head around - driving in Santo Domingo. Or IF I should drive in Santo Domingo. Driving is risky enough in Las Terrenas; but I hear it is treacherous in SD. Then again I here many things are "treacherous" in Dom Rep when that is not necessarily true. Denise and I will need to take trips into SD for furniture, car servicing, things like that. I have driven in LT with no issue, and I am generally an alert, defensive minded, driver. Even so I have blurted to Denise "WE ARE PARKING OUR CAR OFF THE TOLL ROAD AND UBERING IN TO THE CITY....THAT'S JUST ALL THERE IS TO IT!!!"

So, should I be this concerned about it?

To drive in Sundays in Santo Domingo es easy if you do not feel confortable with the bad driving and trafic in SD, you can start going Sunday untill feel ready to drive anytime.

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