If you want to know how to get around Punta Cana by bus this article is for you. I own an apartment in Punta Cana and recently found myself with my car in the shop for an extended period of time, the buses were my truest friends during this period!
I just thought this would be helpful for any of you who are looking to get around Punta Cana without renting a car. I’ll also cover bus options to get to and out of Punta Cana (e.g. Santo Domingo). I hope you find this post useful.
Getting around in Punta Cana without a car can be a bit tricky, you basically have four options:
Walking is a great way to get to know the nooks and crannies of the area you’re staying but there are really two areas in Punta Cana where walking is really an option, El Cortecito and Los Corales in Bavaro.
Taxis can take you anywhere you want but even a short ride can cost you 25 dollars.
Moto-taxis is pretty much self-explanatory, it’s a motorcycle taxi. When you’re walking around in Punta Cana you’ll notice pretty much any motorcycle driver that passes by your side will signal you for a ride.
A moto-taxi ride can cost you anywhere from 100 to 150 pesos ($2 to $3) depending on the distance. This is a great option for short distances but riding a motorcycle can be dangerous and this is why I prefer the bus to get around in Punta Cana.
Local bus routes in Punta Cana
There are several bus routes that cover most of Punta Cana, Bavaro, Verón, Friusa, and Miches.
There are also designated stops where you can wait for the bus but they will stop to pick you up wherever you are (on their route). Just wait on the side of the road where the lane goes in the direction you want to go and signal any passing bus.
There are two people working inside the bus, the driver and the conductor in charge of collecting the bus fare.
Before boarding the bus tell the conductor your destination and he’ll tell you if the bus stops there or not. Basically, if it’s on their route they’ll stop wherever you ask them to
You might be used to the buses only stopping at designated stops but in Punta Cana think of the bus more like a door to door car service.
As I said before, there are different routes and it can be challenging for you as a visitor to know where exactly each bus goes, that’s why telling the conductor your destination before boarding is a great way to avoid any misunderstandings.
Let’s say you’re staying at an Airbnb in El Cortecito and you want to go to Jumbo supermarket in Downtown mall.
|First of all, ask in which direction is Jumbo if you don’t already know.|
|Second, wait for a local bus to pass by. Remember to wait on the correct side of the sidewalk where the traffic lane goes in the direction of Jumbo.|
|When the bus arrives tell the conductor you’re going to Jumbo, he’ll let you know if that bus stops at Jumbo.|
|Get in, sit down and when the conductor asks you for the fare pay him.|
|If you don’t know where Jumbo is or can’t even recognize it just tell the conductor to let you know when to get off, he’ll be happy to help.|
The regular Punta Cana bus fare is 40 DOP ($1 if you pay in dollars with exact change). This is the price you’re most likely to pay on any bus trip while moving around Punta Cana and Bavaro.
The bus service in Punta Cana is provided by a transportation syndicate and is not very formalized. The service is reliable but in terms of schedule is not dependable. In the best of days, a bus will come by every 15 minutes or so but on occasions, I’ve waited up to 40 minutes for the bus to arrive.
The more time you spend in Punta Cana the more you’ll get to know the bus system, where the connecting points of different routes are (buses are more frequent on these points) and how to combine more than one route to get to your destination faster.
It might sound complicated but once you take your first one you’ll feel comfortable enough to keep taking the bus from then on.
Cruce de Verón (Veron’s crossing)
This is the old entrance to Bavaro, it’s still the entrance to Bavaro but now the newest highway connects with Bavaro as well. Almost every bus in and out of Bavaro and Punta Cana pass through this crossing. This crossing is not very near to any major hotel.
Entrance to Cabeza de Toro
This crossing point connects the Cabeza de Toro bus route with others that go to El Cortecito, Downtown Punta Cana, and most Bavaro hotels. You’ll use this crossing if taking a bus to or from one of the following hotels:
- Dreams Palm Beach
- Be Live Collection
- Natura Park
- BlueBay Punta Cana
SITRABAPU’s Bavaro station
This is the main bus hub, located in Bavaro Punta Cana near the Cruce de Friusa (Friusa Crossing). If you take a bus here you can reach most hotels in the Cortecito and Bavaro areas as well as take the bus to Santo Domingo.
Hotels with bus stops
If you’re staying at any of the following hotels you’re in luck because the local bus stops right in front of the hotel entrance.
- TRS Turquesa
- Presidential Suites
- Vista Sol
- NOW Larimar
- Secrets Royal Beach
- Meliá hotels (Beach Resort, The Level, The Reserve at Paradisus)
- Lopesan Costa Bávaro
- Barceló hotels (Bavaro Palace, Bavaro Beach)
Punta Cana bus to Santo Domingo
There is only one bus route from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo and it’s the Expreso Bávaro (Bavaro Express). It takes approximately 3 hours to get to Santo Domingo on the Bavaro Express bus.
This bus departs Punta Cana from two stations, bus station 1 and bus station 2. The bus that departs from station 1 makes a stop in station 2 to pick up the passengers that purchased their tickets there. It takes the bus about 20 minutes to reach station 2 after it departs from station 1.
Bavaro Express schedule
The bus departs from Punta Cana to the capital, Santo Domingo, six times a day, three times in the morning and three in the afternoon.
The price for a one-way ticket to Santo Domingo is DOP$ 400. The ticket has to be bought in person at the bus station, it cannot be bought online nor in advance. (for up to date pricing visit their website)
I recommend getting to the station about 40 minutes before the departure time (they recommend 1 hour), especially for the first and last bus of the day.
On their website, they claim that they’re working on a way to sell tickets in advance to make planning your trip easier. I don’t know if that includes an online option, I hope it does!
You can only buy one-way tickets (no roundtrips) so you have to be there in person to buy your tickets both ways.
According to the Bavaro Express website once the bus enters the Santo Domingo area you can ask the conductor to let you off anywhere. However, there are also predetermined stops the bus makes if there are any passengers on board that want to get off there. These stops are:
- Bus station 2 in Bavaro
- San Pedro de Macorís
- Shell gas station in Boca Chica
- Andrés de Boca Chica terminal
- Santo Domingo airport (AILA)
- Samana highway
- Juan Carlos bridge
- San Vicente de Paul avenue
- Sabana Larga
- José Fabrea and 27 de Febrero Avenue corner
- Mexico avenue and José Martí corner
- Santo Domingo bus station 2
- Santo Domingo bus station 1 (final stop)
Bavaro Express tips
- Save the ticket given to you by the cashier. The bus conductor will ask you for it on the bus at some point after departure, if you don’t have it, you will have to pay the fare again or get off the bus.
- There is room for luggage on the compartment underneath. You will be given a ticket that matches the number on your luggage to avoid confusion.
- It gets cold on the bus so bring a sweater
- Seats recline more than they should so a good idea is to take a seat on the front row to avoid having your leg space reduced by the person in front of you. You should also check with the person behind you to see if you are not inconveniencing them.
Punta Cana bus from Santo Domingo
One of the most common questions we get is how to get from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana on a bus. Well, you guessed it, the only way is Bavaro Express!
All the instructions to take the Bavaro Express bus FROM Punta Cana apply to taking the bus TO Punta Cana. You have to be there in person about 40 minutes before the departure time to buy your ticket. The price is also the same (DOP$ 400).
In Santo Domingo, there are also two stations to board the express, one in the city center and one at Parque Enriquillo. The bus departs station 1 and stops at station 2 before leaving for Punta Cana. The ride lasts approximately 3 hours.
My final thoughts
Riding a bus in Punta Cana is my opinion the best and cheapest way to get around. It may not be the most comfortable but it is an experience in and of itself.
It’s a great way to mingle with locals as they go about their everyday life and even meet other tourists and ex-pats living in Punta Cana.
Don’t count on the buses to be on time, take that into account when planning at what time you need to be where you’re going.
Avoid taking taxis unless cost is not a worry.
Moto-taxis are very convenient for shorter distances or if the bus is taking too long to arrive but it’s a little more dangerous.
If you’re planning to leave your resort and venture into town, and you’re not doing it as part of an excursion (click here to see my list of the 10 best excursions in Punta Cana for this year), riding the bus is the best and safest way to get around in Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
Safe travels! 🙂