If you’re looking to get from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, this is the article you need to read. We explain all the different options for getting from Punta Canas’ resorts or the International Airport to Santo Domingo, either to the town center (the Colonial Zone) or the airport (in case you’re planning your vacation in Punta Cana but fly out of Santo Domingo). We compare the public busses from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo with other means of transport, among them private transfers, shared shuttles, rental cars or taxis.
This article is about the options for transportation from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo. If you’re looking for more information in the other direction, check out this article about transportation from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana.
If you’re looking for transfers from Punta Cana International Airport, continue reading here.
If you’re looking for transfers from Santo Domingo International Airport, continue reading here.
Quick overview: Punta Cana to Santo Domingo
I know this is a long text here on Punta Cana Travel Blog with all the options in getting from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, particularly as I am explaining all the different ways in getting to both important areas in Santo Domingo (Colonial Zone and Santo Domingo Airport) from both important areas in Punta Cana (resorts and from Punta Cana International Airport).
If you don’t want to read about all the small differences in transportation and are just looking for quick information, here are the best options of getting from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo:
From Punta Cana to Santo Domingo:
– by shared excursions: check the best tour from Punta Cana here*
– by private excursion: check the best private excursion to Santo Domingo here*
– by private transportation: check the best transfer here*
– by shuttle: check the best-shared shuttle here*
– by bus: check bus times further below in this article
Getting from the resort in Punta Cana to Santo Domingo’s city (visiting for a day)
Most people who are looking in getting from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo are doing so because they want to visit the historic center of the city, the beautiful and unique Zona Colonial. Even though it is worth spending a night and two days in Santo Domingo’s colonial zone, a day trip from Punta Cana is also well worth it.
Guided Excursion from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo
If you just want to visit Santo Domingo for a day, a guided excursion from Punta Cana is your best bet, particularly as this means you don’t have to organize anything, can enjoy having a driver and take advantage of the knowledge of your guide. You get a good overview of the Colonial Zone incl. historic information and have some free time to stroll around and buy local souvenirs at lower prices than in Punta Cana. Furthermore, most tours include some additional sights outside of the Colonial Zone, such as the Faro Colón or the national park Los Trés Ojós.
Most tours from Punta Cana start quite early, but as you get picked up right at your accommodation, you can have a little nap on the bus if it is too early for you. 😉
Check out the following excursions if you are interested in a fully guided experience.
Note that it is still a 3-hour drive from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, hence it will be a long day with a lot of time in the bus, especially as you have to add some breaks and other resort pick-ups to this time. Still, a Santo Domingo excursion from Punta Cana* is the best way to explore the Colonial Zone if you don’t want to spend a night in the city. If you want to avoid wasting time waiting for or picking up other people, you can also book a private tour from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo*. Especially when you’re 4 persons or more, this ends up with nearly the same price compared to when booking a group trip with other passengers.
Private Transfer from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo
When heading from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, a private transfer is the quickest way of getting there. Depending on the traffic (try to avoid the rush hour in Santo Domingo from 7 am to 9 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm), you will need around 2.5 hours to reach the Colonial Zone. You get picked up right in your all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. Prices vary between 150 and 180 USD.
For your return transfer from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana check out the separate article here or negotiate directly with the driver/company if they can wait for you in the city and bring you back to Punta Cana.
Public Transport from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo
Public transport is a great option to get from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo on a budget. However, if you are visiting Santo Domingo just for a day, I would rather recommend you to stay a night in the Colonial Zone as you otherwise spend more time on the bus than seeing the actual sights of Santo Domingo.
The bus from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo leaves at 5:30 am, 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm from Friusa and approx. 20 minutes later from Cruce de Verón. Make sure to buy your ticket at least 30 minutes before and note that they can sell out in advance. It is not possible to buy tickets for the Punta Cana – Santo Domingo bus online.
To get from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo by public bus, you first need to get to the main bus stations of Bavaro Express respectively APTPRA, either in Friusa or in Verón. You have three transportation options to do so: a motorcycle taxi, local guagua or an ordinary taxi.
The best is if you read this article about the public transport system in Punta Cana to see if your accommodation is served by local transport and connected with Friusa or Verón.
As a general guideline, you can orientate yourself as following:
For all hotels and resorts located in Cap Cana (Secrets Cap Cana, Eden Roc, Hyatt, Sanctuary, TRS Cap Cana, Ancora, etc.): the only option to go to the bus station is by an ordinary taxi.
For all hotels and resorts located in Cabeza de Toro (Jewel Palm Beach, Dreams Flora, Serenade, Radisson BLU, Catalonia, etc.): you can take an ordinary taxi or a motorcycle taxi to Friusa or the local guagua to reach Verón. Get out at the Bavaro Express bus station. You can also call an Uber in Punta Cana, even though the coverage in Cabeza de Toro is not always perfect.
For all hotels and resorts located in the main Bavaro area (Barceló, Lopesan, Melía, Paradisus Palma Real, Secrets and Dreams Royal Beach, whala Bavaro, Impressive, Vista Sol, Presidential Suites, Palladium, Occidental Punta Cana): you can take the local guagua (or a motorcycle taxi or an ordinary taxi) from your main hotel entrance (or close to it – ask the local staff about directions or drop me a comment at the bottom of this post) to Friusa. Alternatively, it is easy to call an Uber from those hotels to get to the station for the Punta Cana – Santo Domingo bus.
For all hotels and resorts located along Arena Blanca (Princess Resorts (Grand Bavaro Princess, Punta Cana Princess, Tropical & Caribe Deluxe Princess), Paradisus Punta Cana, Ocean Blue & Sands, VIK Hotel Arena Blanca): take a motorcycle taxi, an ordinary taxi or an Uber to get from your all-inclusive resort to Friusa.
For all hotels and resorts located along Arena Gorda and in Macao (Iberostar, RIU, Bahía Principe, Majestic, Royalton, Hard Rock, Dreams Macao): take a motorcycle taxi, an ordinary taxi or an Uber to get from your all-inclusive resort to Friusa.
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For all hotels and resorts located in Uvero Alto: take the local guagua and head to Higuey. From Higuey, take the APTPRA express bus to Santo Domingo, which will drop you at Parque Enriquillo in Santo Domingo, the same location as the Bavaro Express bus.
Once you are in Friusa or Verón, buy your ticket (the price for the bus from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo is 450 DOP) and board the bus. It is an air-conditioned bus, so take a sweater if you quickly become cold. The journey is around 3 hours and you will get dropped off at Avenida Mexico south of Parque Enriquillo. You can walk from here to the Colonial Zone (approx. 15 minutes), but the area is a bit rough. Alternatively, you can take a motorcycle taxi, ordinary taxi or an Uber in Santo Domingo from here for a quick hop. Another option is to either get out one station before (which is always called out “with connections to Zona Colonial”, even though it is not the best stop for this area) and take a taxi from there or head until the end in Gazcue, a quieter residential area.
I always get out at Avenida Mexico and walk down to the Colonial Zone.
Shared Shuttle from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo
If the bus is too complicated and/or time-consuming for you but private transportation from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo too time-consuming, a shared shuttle with other travelers might be the best combination of both worlds. They pick you up from your resort, combine your trip with other passengers and drop you off in Santo Domingo. Those shuttles are usually only booked for tourists, carried out by professional transportation companies and don’t stop along the road, hence they are super safe.
Currently (as of May 2023), there are no shared shuttles from Punta Canas’ resorts to Santo Domingo’s city center. However, you can check and contact this service* (which initially starts at Punta Cana International Airport) if they might be able to pick you up from your resort.
Rental Car from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo
I would not recommend a rental car to get from Punta Cana to the city of Santo Domingo as the traffic inside the capital of the Dominican Republic tend to be horrendous, especially when you are not used to driving in Latin American cities. Furthermore, you won’t need a car once in Santo Domingo, as the Colonial Zone is fully walkable and all other journeys are best done by Uber or taxi.
Getting from the resort in Punta Cana to Santo Domingo’s airport (Las Américas)
Private Transfer to Santo Domingo Airport
If for whatever reason your flight happens to leave from Santo Domingo Airport instead of Punta Cana, you can easily book private transportation to get from your all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana to Santo Domingos Las Américas Airport. The journey will take you around 2.5 hours and will set you back at approx. 150-200 USD per vehicle.
Public Transport to Santo Domingo Airport
When going by public transport from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo’s Airport, the same explications as in the section above apply. Head from your accommodation to the Bavaro Express/APTPRA bus stations at Friusa or Verón and take the direct express bus from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, which leaves 7 times daily at 5:30 am, 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm. For the busses in the other direction, check the article about transportation from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana.
When boarding the bus, simply tell the assistant of the driver that you would like to get out at Santo Domingo Airport, which is the first bus stop after leaving Boca Chica (a beach town in the suburbs of Santo Domingo). They will drop you at the junction to Las Américas Airport, where it`s just a 1.5-mile and 100-200 Peso motorcycle taxi ride to the airport. If you travel with luggage, get a local cab for the quick hop to the airport.
It is probably not the most comfortable way especially when traveling with luggage, but the entire journey from your resort to the airport just costs you around 10 to 15 USD per person and should take you around 3.5-4 hours including waiting time.
Shared Shuttle to Santo Domingo Airport
If you are figuring out how to get from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo Airport on a cheap but still comfortable way, shared airport shuttles might be your best means of transportation. If you book in advance with the link below, you will get picked up in your all-inclusive resort and dropped off at Santo Domingo Airport.
Currently (May 2023), those shuttles start already at 26 USD per way per person, hence it is not much more expensive than the bus from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo – and it is much more comfortable as it includes the pick-up right at your resort. Check out the options for shuttle transportation from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo’s Las Américas Airport here*.
Rental Car to Santo Domingo Airport
It doesn’t pay off to rent a car just for your way from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, as the one-way fee the rental companies are charging would pass any savings compared to other means of transportation.
However, if you anyway have a rental car in Punta Cana (check here if it is worth to rent one) and would like to go to the airport in Santo Domingo, this is absolutely possible. It is an easy 2.5-hour drive over well-maintained highways and usually, you can drop the car right at the airport.
Just remember that you have to pay tolls when using the highway from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo Airport (currently, as of May 2023, 260 DOP, which equals approx. 5 USD), hence it is recommended to keep a few Dominican Peso when heading to the airport.
Getting from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo (city centre and Colonial Zone)
Private Transfer from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo’s city center
If you are about to arrive at Punta Cana International Airport but would like to go to Santo Domingo, there are also several private transfer companies available. A transfer to the city center of Santo Domingo is around 2.5 hours and 150-180 USD per way.
Here* you can check live availability and prices from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo.
Public Transport from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo’s city center
Leaving Punta Cana Airport by public transport is not the easiest task as you can read here in my Punta Cana Airport Transportation Guide. Going to Santo Domingo doesn’t make it easier and especially when arriving in the late afternoon or evening, it will require an extra night in the area of Punta Cana.
First, you have to get a local minivan from the airport to Verón. Just leave the airport walking to the main road and wait on a little bus shelter. If not sure how to find it, check out the public transport section at my Punta Cana Airport Transfer Guide.
Once in Verón, get out at “Cruce de Verón”. You have two options here. If in time for one of the Bavaro Express busses (check departure times for the Punta Cana to Santo Domingo bus above), simply buy a ticket and wait for the next bus, which will bring you directly to the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. Your flight shouldn’t arrive later than 2 pm to be able to use this option (if all goes well).
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The other option is to take another local guagua from Verón to Higuey. Get out at the last stop, the APTPRA bus station. From here, you can take a direct express bus to Santo Domingo. The last one leaves around 8 pm, so your flight shouldn’t arrive later than 4.30 pm to be able to use this option.
Both options, Bavaro Express and APTPRA will bring you right into the center of Santo Domingo, where you can head to your final destination.
This journey including the small local minivans will take you at least 4.5 hours, so make sure to plan plenty of time. Express bus tickets cost less than 10 USD per person.
In case you need to overnight at Cruce de Verón or Friusa because you are arriving late or have missed the last bus, you find a list of suitable accommodation options close to the bus station here*.
Shared Shuttle from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo’s city center
Instead of taking public transportation, a shared shuttle might be a better option when it comes to traveling the Dominican Republic on a budget, as it offers a more attractive combination of price and time. Shared shuttles are leaving right from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo, so you are considerably quicker. On the other side, they are much cheaper than a private transfer. You just have to book them in advance, so check out the options linked here*. The transfer from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo will take you around 3 hours.
When booking those shuttles from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, it is important to check where the shuttle will drop you as most Punta Cana shuttles only head to the airports of Punta Cana and Santo Domingo. However, currently, there is one shuttle from Punta Cana that also drops you in the city (you can book this shuttle here*), hence it is a perfect option if you want to visit the Colonial Zone or enjoy some other of the unique things to do in Santo Domingo.
Rental Car from Punta Cana Airport to Santo Domingo’s city center
If arriving in the Dominican Republic and heading towards Santo Domingo, I would not recommend a rental car. Traffic in the capital city is chaotic. Especially when arriving for the first time in the country, it is not easy to get through. Therefore, choose one of the options above for your peace of mind.
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Author, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.