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    Car Hire in the Dominican Republic - The Best of the Caribbean

    With its verdant valleys, pounding waterfalls, sun-baked deserts and palm-fringed coastline, the Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean's most geographically diverse destinations. A country of natural splendour and surprising contrasts, visitors flock there for its postcard-perfect beaches, luxury resorts and one of the most solid tourism infrastructures in the region. Topping the list of the island's most popular beach resorts are Puerto Plata, La Romana and Punta Cana, particularly the latter whose white sands and emerald-green waters are the nearest thing to a tropical beach paradise.

    Full of colonial charm, the capital Santo Domingo is brimming with evocative Spanish architecture, especially in and around the central Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone) and the Calle El Conde, a lovely pedestrianised area and the city's most popular spot for al fresco dining. Santo Domingo is the place where Christopher Columbus first landed when he discovered the New World at the end of the 15th century, subsequently making the city his home. Take a stroll through the park named after him - Parque Colón (Columbus Park) - to soak up some of Santo Domingo's special atmosphere before visiting the city's impressive 16th-century cathedral which still maintains many of its original features.

    In the Dominican Republic you can enjoy whale-watching on the Samaná Peninsula, hiking in the Jaragua National Park, mountain biking in the Dominican Alps, snorkelling in the coral reefs of Puerto Plata, white-water rafting in Jarabacoa and some of the most dramatic panoramic views from the top of the 10,164-foot Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Caribbean.

    Getting far off the beaten track with a car hire in the Dominican Republic means you can get to the parts many of the millions of sun and beach-orientated tourists never reach. Incorporating the Ruta Panoramica (Panoramic Route), the road between and Puerto Plata and Santiago de los Caballeros in the north is awash with cacao estates, gushing waterfalls, eco-lodges and small mountain villages ensuring a riveting ride with a succession of photo opportunites along the way. Please consult our Dominican Republic Driving Information for tips and practical advice on touring the island safely by car.

    Auto Europe is an international travel company with over sixty-five years' experience in the heart of the vehicle rental industry. Our competitive rates cater for millions of happy customers every year and we currently offer more than 24,000 convenient pick-up and drop-off points in over 180 different countries. By collaborating with all the top car hire providers worldwide, we are able to offer a diverse selection of car categories and locations, including railway stations, airports and popular downtown areas. Booking with Auto Europe is a guarantee of quality, so when you rent a car in the Dominican Republic online with us you can rest assured that your vehicle will be the most modern and reliable available on the market, plus we'll be with you every step of the way before, during and after your journey. Contact our award-winning reservation specialists on +441233225114 if you require any help whatsoever with your holiday plans in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and every other part of this beautiful Caribbean island.

    What are the most important driving rules in the Dominican Republic?

    • In the Dominican Republic, cars drive on the right side of the road and pass on the left.

    • The use of seat belts is mandatory for both the driver and any passengers.

    • In the Dominican Republic, the allowable blood alcohol level is just 0.10%.

    • The use of a mobile phone while driving is prohibited unless you use a hands-free system.

    • Tolls are charged on all of the motorways out of Santo Domingo.

    • Petrol stations are few and far between in rural areas, so it's best to fill your tank whenever you get the chance.

    • The speed limits when driving in the Dominican Republic are 40kph (25mph) in built up areas, 80kph (50mph) outside urban areas and 120kph (75mph) on motorways.

    What to do in the Dominican Republic

    The Dominican Republic offers the very best of the Caribbean in one single destination, with outstanding scenery, mouth-watering cuisine and some of the world's best beaches. There's plenty of outdoor appeal, which is why a car hire in the Dominican Republic is the most practical and convenient way of making the most of your time on the island.

    • Santo Domingo: A visit to Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic and the oldest city in the New World, is a trip down memory lane. With its old cobblestone streets and carefully-restored churches and houses, it exudes all the magnificence of Spain's empire of the 16th century. Don't miss the Zona Colonial, very much the tourist hub of the city with several top attractions, most notably the Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses) showcasing centuries of the country's history and culture and the famous Catedral Primada de América, the first cathedral built in the Americas.

    • Botanic Garden: Located in the city's picturesque northern suburb of Arroyo Hondo, Santo Domingo's excellent 450-acre Botanic Garden is the perfect place to relax after all the city sightseeing is done. It features all the natural wealth you would expect from a tropical island in the Caribbean, including palms, a Japanese garden and three hundred different species of orchid.

    • Amber World Museum: This fascinating museum in the heart of downtown Santo Domingo features an unparalleled collection of amber from all over the world. Many of the exhibits are prehistoric and the museum portrays the development of amber mining in the Dominican Republic from the very early days to the current value it offers to the science and art industries. Visitors can purchase souvenir jewellery made from amber, larimar and other semi-precious stones for friends and family back home.

    • National Pantheon: Another of Santo Domingo's tourist highlights is the magnificent Panteón Nacional, originally built as a church in the first half of the 18th century. Converted into the national mausoleum in 1956, it honours the country's most illustrious people. Its splendid interior contains marble tombs, exquisite stone arches, an impressive Gothic-style chandelier and an ornately painted ceiling.

    • Punta Cana: The Dominican Republic's number one beach resort is without doubt Punta Cana, right on the island's eastern tip. With its endless expanse of white sandy beaches embroidered by the most translucent waters to be found in the whole of the Caribbean, it's the ideal place to recharge the batteries, enjoy some fresh fish and seafood and enjoy some swimming and/or watersports such as snorkelling and para-sailing, etc.

    • La Isabela Bay: The story of the European colonization of the Americas can be traced right to this very spot. This idyllic and very characteristic Caribbean bay portrays the story of Christopher Columbus' first settlement, along with other attractions such as some of the island's most pristine beaches, most notably Playa Isabela and Punta Rucia Beach.

    Road trips with my car hire in the Dominican Republic

    The ultimate Caribbean adventure is to book a car rental in the Dominican Republic and tour the island at leisure. There's much to see besides all the tropical scenery, including old Spanish colonial towns and villages plus the Caribbean's highest mountain.

    Located in the heart of the country at 530 metres above sea level, the enchanting mountain town of Jarabacoa is the perfect destination for a day-trip away from the capital. Located in the Central Mountain Range in the valley of La Vega, it is surrounded by four major rivers (the Yaque del Norte, Jimenoa, Guanajuma and Baiguate) and some of the most spectacular secenery in the Caribbean.

    Another must for those looking for the best places to go with their car hire in the Dominican Republic is the Samaná Peninsula. For whale-watching, quite simply there's no better place in the world. Every year, thousands of humpback whales congregate off the Peninsula de Samaná on the island's north-east coast to mate and multiply, providing one of the most awe-inspiring natural sights on the planet.

    The country's second city, Santiago (full name Santiago de los Caballeros), boomed in the days of tobacco production, filling it with an abundance of colonial splendour and numerous historic monuments. Founded by Bartholomew, brother of Christopher Columbus in 1562, its must-see attractions include the Don Tomás Morel Folk Museum, House of Arts, Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration of the Republic and San Luis Fortress.

    Just two hours' drive from the capital lies Constanza, a charming country town in the mountain range affectionately known as the Dominican Alps. Surrounded by lush, green meadows and crystal-clear rivers, the town has many attractions such as the iconic Aguas Blancas (White Waters) Waterfall and gives good access to Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean.

    How old do I have to be to rent a car in the Dominican Republic?

    In some cases you'll be able to book your low-cost car hire in the Dominican Republic with Auto Europe if you are 18 years old, but please note that some suppliers set the minimum age limit a bit higher and will not rent a car to drivers under the age of 21. In any case, you will probably be required to pay a Young Driver Surcharge, which is paid on top of the daily car hire rate and is a locally-charged fee. For more info, please consult our page young driver fee for clients under the age of 25.

    Do I need to pay tolls when driving my car rental in the Dominican Republic?

    Yes. Most of the motorways are tolled, such as the main routes from Santo Domingo to Boca Chica and Santo Domingo to Bávaro. Tolls vary according to how far you travel and it is suggested that you carry some small change in Dominican pesos with you, although American dollars are accepted.

    A bit of history

    The Dominican Republic's recorded history can be traced back to 600 AD when the island's sole occupants were the indigenous Taino tribe. On the arrival Christopher Columbus in 1492, it became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas with Santo Domingo as Spain's first capital in the New World. Following 300 years of of Spanish colonization, the Dominican Republic was granted independence in 1821. The savage War of Independence followed in 1844, after which the island was briefly ruled by the United States from 1916–1924, followed by a relatively tranquil and prosperous six-year period under the leader, Horacio Vásquez Lajara. The Dominican Republic later found itself under the control of dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina who ruled the country until 1961. The civil war of 1965 was the country's last significant period of strife, after which it moved steadily towards a representative democracy and the welcome period of calm the islanders enjoy today.

    What is the currency in the Dominican Republic?

    Denoted by the symbol $ or sometimes RD$, the Dominican Peso is the officially recognized currency in the Dominican Republic and the only legal tender for all monetary actions, although the US dollar is also widely accepted, especially in the main tourist areas.

    What time zone is the Dominican Republic in?

    The Dominican Republic is in the Atlantic Standard Time (AST) time zone, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time with no daylight-saving.

    Which are the most common words and phrases in the Dominican Republic?

    Hello - Hola
    Thank you - Gracias
    Do you speak English - ¿Habla inglés?
    How much is this? - ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?
    Do you accept credit cards? - ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédidto?
    Where can I change money? - ¿Dónde puedo cambiar dinero?
    I don't understand - No comprendo
    Excuse me - Perdone
    Call a doctor! - iLlame a un médico!
    Call an ambulance! - iLlame una ambulancia!
    Which way is it to...? - ¿Por dónde se va a...?
    How far is it to...? - ¿Cuántos kilométros hay de aqui a...?

    Electricity - Do I need a power adapter in the Dominican Republic?

    Power plugs and sockets in the Dominican Republic are of type A and B with a standard voltage of 110 volts and a standard frequency of 60 Hz.

    Do I need a visa to travel to the Dominican Republic?

    No. British Citizens travelling to the Dominican Republic for tourism purposes do not require a visa. On arrival, travellers are normally granted a 30-day stay. It's important to always carry at least a photocopy of your passport, a copy of your entry stamp and proof of onward or return travel so that you can produce them if required to do so by the local authorities. Should you need to contact the UK consulate office for assistance during your travels, please see below for the location of the British Embassy in Santo Domingo;

    British Embassy in Santo Domingo
    Ave 27 de Febrero No 233,
    Edificio Corominas Pepin, Santo Doingo
    Telephone: +1 (809) 472 7111
    Opening hours: Monday through Thursday: 9am-4pm (1pm Friday). Closed on weekends.

    Useful links

    Dominican Republic Tourist Board