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Kindly help save my vacation! :(

Philadelphia...
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Kindly help save my vacation! :(

Hola!

I have been laboriously planning a nine-day trip to the Dominican Republic. My boyfriend and I booked it on a whim when we got a really cheap deal on a three-day stay at an all-inclusive in La Romana. Although I need some warmth and relaxation, I didn't want to go all the way to another country and stay in a resort the whole time, so we're flying into Santo Domino six days before our resort reservation in order to have time to explore that country's beauty and experience its vibrant culture. We love music, dancing, history, hiking, snorkeling, and outdoor adventures -- so I was really excited to plan a trip that encompassed all those things.

My plan was to spend 2-3 days in hostels in Santo Domingo, then rent a cheap car, go white-water rafting in Jarabacoa, volunteer at an orphange in Puerto Plata, check out Sosua or Caberete, then do a day at Los Haitises Parque Nacional before returning to Santo Domingo to drop off the car before taking a shuttle to the resort the next day.

I was totally in love with this plan and SO excited about this trip, but then I read on these forums that it's not a good idea to rent a car.

But if we don't rent a car, getting between all these places is going to be much less pleasant and much more stressful/crowded/hot. We'll definitely have to cut down on the amount of places we visit -- especially the nature activities that aren't in a major city.

I'm so disappointed! I really liked the itinerary I came up with and the flexibility it gave us. Other background: My boyfriend Dan is a good, experienced driver who has lived in Cuba. His Spanish is pretty good, mine is okay.

What do you guys think? Should we still rent a car? We're both fully insured in the US and have credit cards that offer some coverage. If not, should I scrap our plan or is it still achievable with local transit?

Thanks so much!!

Silver Spring...
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for Dominican Republic
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1. Re: Kindly help save my vacation! :(

Your itinerary calls for a lot of travelling. You'll be spending a lot of time on the road. I never recommend driving in the D.R., especially to first timers. While the main roads are in good shape right now the side roads are not, drivers are crazy, at nights and weekends way too many drunks on the road and if you have an accident You are at fault. Your home insurance is not going to help if you have an accident. You will need to take out "full" insurance on a rental which costs more than the car rental. Alamo has economy cars for $22/day plus about $32/day in Insurance. The gas for your trip would be around $100 more or less.

So if you've eliminated La Romana (a great place) then a few days in SD at a cheap hotel then a Caribe tours bus to Jarabacoa for rafting, then a Caribe tours bus to Santiago and on to Puerto Plata/Sosua. With this amount of travelling you have very little time left and no easy transport to get to Los Haitese Park. Eliminating Cabarete and Los Haites makes it much easier for you to take the bus, enjly SD, Jarabacoa, PP and Sosua and save a lot of time and money.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 16 November 2012, 19:33
Sosua, Dominican...
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for Puerto Plata, Sosua, Dominican Republic
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2. Re: Kindly help save my vacation! :(

RV is correct on the driving. He did forget to mention that with your car insurance make sure it includes "casa de Conductore". If you are in an accident here everyone goes to jail until they can sort it out. This may mean a day or three in a Dominican Jail (think Falcon and the Snowman). With Casa de Conductore you are sent to a hotel in Santo Domingo or Santiago (2* at best) till they can figure out that it is your fault. That is right no matter what the circumstances are you as the gringo/tourist will be at fault.

Secondly you do need to trip your want list as what you have planned out will take 2 weeks or more to do comfortably. It is a big country

BObK

north carolina
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3. Re: Kindly help save my vacation! :(

Good advise from both rv and bob. My personal suggestion for an itinerary would be either 1. Land at SDQ (i assume) and taxi to the capital for a couple of days and then either bus to Jarabacoa or Las Terrenas for a couple of days and then bus and taxi back to La Romana for the remainder, or 2. Do the resort first and with 7 extra days do the capital and one other choice before retuning to SDQ. Just a suggestion and some Spanish would help greatly :) good luck and happy travels, B

4. Re: Kindly help save my vacation! :(

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