6 types of transportation can you expect in Punta Cana: Guagua, Buses, Motoconchos, Shuttles, Taxis, and Uber. Mapquest driving directions at Punta Cana!
Guagua is the Dominican word for a bus, a maxi van, a route taxi, or anything that fits between 10 and 50 people. Buses tend to be crowded, so there aren't as many seats as there are in a maxi van or route taxi. Buses with more than 50 seats are usually called "autobus" or "guagua grande," but sometimes the word "guagua" is used for those too. It's perfectly safe to use a guagua to get around Punta Cana, but you'll be close to the locals and have very little room for your luggage, legs, or anything else you want to bring with you. The routes that guaguas take in Bavaro and Punta Cana are different, and I'll explain how they work below.
In the Dominican Republic, guaguas make up 95% of all public transportation, but you might also find real buses in the area. This is especially true on the main route from Higuey to Bavaro, which goes through Verón. These buses are comfortable, have air conditioning, and are big. Some of them are even better than what you're used to in your home country because they were just brought in from Asia. Buses in Punta Cana are just as cheap and safe as guaguas. They are the best way to get around Punta Cana and Bavaro using public transportation.
These are the same buses that go from Higuey or Punta Cana to Santo Domingo.
*3. Motoconchos *
Motoconchos are the best and cheapest way to get around Punta Cana if you just want a quick ride or if your destination is not served by a public bus. A motoconcho is just a motorcycle taxi that can carry one or two people. In Bavaro and Punta Cana, these kinds of taxis are at every corner, and rides usually cost between $2 and $3 USD, depending on how far you go. Since traffic in the Dominican Republic is (quite literally) hit-or-miss, I wouldn't recommend long rides on motoconchos, whose safety is, to put it mildly, questionable. But if the driver is careful, you can ride these "special taxis" without any trouble. I've been on dozens or even hundreds of motoconchos so far, and nothing bad has happened.
If you are staying longer in Punta Cana and need more than one ride, you should try to find a reliable motoconcho and get his phone number and/or WhatsApp. When you use someone's services more often, you usually get better prices.
If you are on vacation in Punta Cana and don't want to deal with this adventure and these special rules while driving in Bavaro, just take a taxi. They can be found at every hotel, the airport, and other major access points like malls, supermarkets, Punta Cana bus stations, and restaurants. As long as they are part of a taxi association, they are perfectly safe. In the Dominican Republic, taxi crime does not happen like it does in many other Latin American countries. Taxis are by far the most expensive way to get around in Punta Cana, costing anywhere from 20 USD and up (see below for more information).
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So, if you are trying to figure out how to get around Punta Cana, you can also think about using Uber. Uber is a pretty new service in Punta Cana. It didn't start until late 2020, and the taxi association and Uber got into a fight over it. Back then, the taxi association did something that was pretty stupid. Also, they haven't changed their prices at all since then, even though Uber's prices are usually about one-third of what the official taxis charge.
Even though the problems with the taxi association aren't completely fixed yet, Uber pick-ups in Punta Cana are working much better now. Even though pick-ups at the airport and in a few all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana might still cause minor problems (which is why it is recommended to prebook your Punta Cana airport transfer). Uber is a great way to get around Punta Cana these days, and it works most of the time, but it's best not to depend on it too much.
The shared shuttle is a mix of a taxi and a guagua. On the one hand, you might share the shuttle with people you don't know, but on the other, it goes straight from point A to point B without making too many stops.