Navigating the cities can be challenging for parents (particularly if you are using a stroller) and exhausting for children as they are hectic and not very stroller friendly. If you can manage it try to bring a stroller and a baby carrier/sling if you are going to be travelling around and sightseeing. Also, bring a fold away high chair and travel changing mat if you will be travelling outside of your resort as you may find it difficult to find restaurants with high chairs and changing facilities.
Child safety seats are not common, even in private cars, and are almost unheard of in taxis or buses. You could opt to bring your own child safety seat and most airlines will carry two items of baby equipment free of charge.
Options for getting around the country include bus service, ‘gua-guas’ (pronounced “Gwa-Gwas”: small battered vans or trucks that serve as a collective taxi running fixed routes that are very cheap but can also be very overloaded), domestic air flights and charter air service.
There is no rail system in the country. Most towns and cities have regularly scheduled bus service, if not by one of the big bus companies, then by gua-gua. The bus lines are most often simple, independently run operations, usually only connecting two cities within a region (Southwest, East, North) or between one city and the capital (with stops made for any towns on the route). Because of the geography of the country, to get from one region of the country to another you have to go through the capital.
Guagua comfort can range from air conditioned with leather seats to a bit worn down with open window air breeze cooling. Traveling with guaguas is generally safe. You can also hop on mid way if you know where to stand on the route and gesture the driver; tell the conductor your destination and he’ll tell you where to get off and how to switch guaguas; sometimes you’ll have to ride across town to another bus station. Prices are modest, around 100-150 pesos for a 1-2 hour ride. Since most guaguas are minibusses, you might have to stow your luggage on a seat; in this case you might have to pay a fee for the occupied seat. Larger routes get serviced by normal sized buses with a separate storage compartment. Be aware that guaguas stop operating at dusk. Plan your trip with enough slack that you will be able to catch your last guagua when the sun is still up. The guagua network is organic and does not require you to go through the capital; you might have to change several times though, as guaguas usually only connect two major cities.
Long haul bus services across the country are comfortable and a good value. The buses are clean, air conditioned (bring sweater), usually play a VHS movie, and are pretty inexpensive, costing no more than $300 pesos one way cross-country (less than $10).
Taxi services are available but potentially dangerous when dealing with unlicensed drivers. In all cases, it’s a good idea to go with a licensed driver and negotiate a price for your destination before you leave. Good drivers are often easy to identify by licenses worn around the neck, uniforms, and clean air conditioned vehicles. When calling a taxi company, you will be given a number to verify your driver. When being picked up, make sure your driver gives you the right number as ‘false pickups’ are often a prelude to robbery.
Another way to get out and about is to book an excursion with one of the many representatives at most local hotels and resorts.
Cars may be rented through Hertz, Avis, Prestige Car Rentals or other agencies in Santo Domingo and other major cities.Gasoline/ petrol is expensive. Road conditions on most major highways are roughly similar to road conditions in the United States and western Europe. However, potholes and rough spots are not rapidly repaired and drivers must be aware that there are a significant number of rough spots even on some major highways.
Be aware of pedestrians who cross poorly-lit streets and highways in the evening and night time hours. Lack of head/tail lights on cars and especially motorcycles is also not unusual and with motorcycles this makes them extremely hard to spot.