Many people are concerned about the roads and conditions under which they must travel from Punta Cana or Bayahibe to tour
on a day trip. It is a popular tour and one that is safe, particularly when traveling with a group and when acting under the dictates of good sense.
The worst of the road conditions are in the area between Punta Cana and Higuey. The main road beyond the resort area is smoother and wider though the shoulders are still often non-existent and part of a lane may disappear without notice. It is not recommended that a tourist with no experience driving Dominican roads should rent a car.
There will likely be a rest stop at the Basilica in Higuey (
Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia
), constructed between 1954 and 1971 at the site where the Virgin of La Altagracia appeared in an orange tree. Your next views will be 45 minutes later when Highway 4 becomes Highway 3 at the Bayahibe junction. Highway 3 will be the road that will take you all the way to Santo Domingo offering glimpses of the Caribbean Sea as soon as you pass Bayahibe.
Four rivers will be crossed: the
at La Romana being the first and most famous. You will also pass through the outskirts of
San Pedro de Macoris
, then later driving past
as you approach the capital.
Once at the José Francisco Peña Gómez Airport (more commonly referred to as
Las Americas Airport
), you are still 30 minutes from the city of Santo Domingo (situate on a peninsula in the Caribbean).
Within the city of Santo Domingo there are a number of pockets that are considered highlights of the city and you should find the tour that suits your interests bests. One may be more historical, another visiting
Los Tres Ojos
(in spite of the name, actually four cave ponds), the
, an emphasis on shopping, or many other areas of focus; but all will concentrate a part of time on the
. This is the area where the
meets the Caribbean and the site of the oldest city in the Americas. The oldest cathedral in the Americas and many Columbus sites are found here as well.
From Bayahibe or Punta Cana, it will be a full day trip. Approximately 3 hours on each end to drive from Punta Cana and about 2 hours from Bayahibe.
I have some pictures of the drive and the city of Santo Domingo at