Transportation in Punta Cana
Taxis in Punta Cana operate on fixed rates, in accordance with an officially approved price list. For fares in and around Bavaro and Punta Cana expect to pay around US$12 per person, although for very short journeys they could be as little as $5.
All major hotels have a taxi stand outside their main front area, and tend to deal with one particular firm, with which they have a contract. You could insist on one of your choice, and ask the porter to call them directly. The major local taxi companies are Beron Taxi and Siutratural identified by stickers in the windows of the cars and the colour of the driver's shirts (beige for the first and pink for the other). These taxi firms are reputed to be safe and reliable.
Taxis do not have meters. Therefore, you should check first with the hotel the approximate cost of any journey, and then confirm it with the driver before leaving. Waiting time is negotiated if you want to keep one driver all day- it might cost around US$25 on top of the cumulative cost of the completed trips).
A different, and sometimes more convenient way of moving about is the water-taxi. They are more expensive than land taxis (expect to pay upward of $10 and as much as $50, depending on the distance and number of people). You can approach and negotiate with the skippers right on the beach, or make arrangements through the hotel's beach staff.
Water-taxis are ideal where there are some beaches with no road access, and to visit shopping areas by the waterfront. Some restaurants offer to collect their customers from the resorts using this means of transport.
Be prepared for some splashing and insist on wearing a life-vest, which all boats must carry, by law.
Local buses, known as “Guaguas” in the Dominican Republic, are often old battered mini-vans that run specified routes without a fixed timetable or set stops. They can be hailed anywhere, along the route. However, in the Punta Cana area, instead, you tend to find vehicles of the US school-bus type. Hand over the fare (somewhere between 15 and 50 pesos) to the conductor as you enter; do not expect a ticket as they do not exist.
At certain times of the day they can get very crowded and especially the guaguas will pack passengers way beyond their normal capacity in very hot and uncomfortable conditions.
For longer journeys, between larger urban areas, there is choice between two types of buses: calientes (meaning hot) and expresos. As the names suggest, there is no air conditioning in the former, which you get in the latter. The expresos also give you assigned seats and are generally in a better maintained state. Even though they are more expensive, the fare from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, for example, is only around US$10.
From the Bavaro area, they leave from the bus station at Avenida Estados Unidos parallel to the main dual-carriageway Boulevard Turistico del Este, and next to the Tourist Police post.
If you want to travel even cheaper, and get a thrill in the process, motoconchos (motor bikes taxis) will whisk you from place to place in a fast (and dangerous) way. To minimize the risks involved choose drivers wearing an orange vest. They belong to a local association, which regulates their trade, insisting on safety standards. A ride in the Punta Cana area will cost usually between US$2 and $4 per person; yes! as they are known to carry as many as 5 passengers!!! After dark, expect to pay double. Agree the fare before you set off.