The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular countries in the western hemisphere to go on vacation. It is known for its beautiful beaches and lovely all-inclusive resorts.
Before the pandemic, the Dominican Republic averaged about 7.55 million tourists annually.
One of the many resorts in Punta Cana is Bahia Principe Esmeralda. It is an amazing, family-oriented resort that is located in Punta Cana.
However, some people still prefer to fly to Santo Domingo for the Dominican Republic because of the size of the city, the availability of flights, or simply because the prices are a lot better flying into SDQ over PUJ. From the Santo Domingo Airport to Bahia Principe Esmeralda is not too far away, but somebody traveling to the country for the first time may be intimidated to find their own ground transportation.
So, what options do you have for Santo Domingo Airport transport? Is the further distance from Punta Cana worth flying in there?
This is how to get to Bahia Principe Esmeralda from Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ).
Where Is Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ)?
So, one of the first questions that you should ask before booking is where this airport is. Well, it is near the Dominican Republic city known as Santo Domingo. This airport alone had over 4.1 million arrivals in 2019.
It is safe to say that a lot of people fly into this city. This is because it is the largest city in the country. Santo Domingo has a population of over 2.2 million people. That is almost double the population of the second city on that list.
The city is located in the southern half of the country along the Caribbean coast. The city attracts a lot of tourists for its historically significant sites, population size, and its location on the coast.
As for the actual airport, this is about 20 miles east of Santo Domingo's city center. It is in Punta Caucedo and it takes less than 30 minutes to get to the city center from there.
However, the airport is almost a 2-hour drive from Punta Cana.
Where Is Bahia Principe Esmeralda?
The next part you need to be aware of is where is Bahia Principe Esmeralda located. Well, it is located in Punta Cana, which is one of the most popular beach resort towns in the Dominican Republic.
The resort is right along the Caribbean coast, with guests having quick access to the ocean. In the first seven months of 2022, Punta Cana had nearly 2.5 million visitors to their beach town.
Bahia Principe Esmeralda is one of many all-inclusive resorts in that area. A Bahia Principe resort with a focus on luxury, enjoy all the benefits of staying at Bahia Principe while indulging in amazing food options and top-shelf liquors.
Rideshare Options From the Santo Domingo Airport
So, something that you may consider is using a company such as Uber to get you to your destination. There are a few problems with this idea from Santo Domingo.
The first is that you are going to pay a premium to sit in an average car. Because this journey is nearly 2.5 hours, it is not going to come nearly as cheap as just getting a ride into Santo Domingo. Many Ubers also reject the longer trips like these since after Uber deducts their commission, the driver is barely left with enough to cover gas and tolls
You will have to sit for a long time in somebody's own personal vehicle. Most Ubers use very small, compact vehicles. Great on gas efficiency but not the most comfortable ride.
Also, Uber is something that is generally more difficult to book in advance. You are relying on a driver being available on the spot and they could potentially cancel at any time. With a long journey like this, do you really want to change your travel schedule on that?
Also, Uber does not have the same freedom to operate in the Dominican Republic as drivers do in the United States.
The local taxi organization tends to control that transportation business, so it makes it much more difficult for Uber drivers to get to their passengers. This is especially the case at airports, with Uber drivers there having to pretend that they are picking up a friend at times.
For those reasons, it is not recommended that you go this route.
Renting a Car From the Airport
Another option that you could go with is renting a car from Santo Domingo Airport and then driving yourself. You may be thinking, the drive is only two hours, what is the big deal?
Some travelers do prefer to be more independent and drive themselves to a destination. However, you need to take into consideration the safety factors of going this route.
When renting a car, you are responsible for all of the damages that could happen to it. That means that you are risking paying damages to the car rental company if something were to happen. Seeing how crazy driving is in the Dominican Republic is better learned in the passenger seat.
In the Dominican Republic, this is a very real possibility. Along with the theft risk above, it is possible that you crash the car because of the road conditions. These are not known to be up to the standards of North American and European countries, so keep that in mind before going this route.
To avoid the stress of possible theft or car damage, it is not recommended to go this route.
Taking a Taxi From the Airport
Another option that you have from the airport is to take a local taxi. From Santo Domingo, this is not exactly going to be a cheap option. You could be looking at a bill for a couple of hundred dollars to sit in a stuffy taxi. A taxi at the airport could charge anywhere from 170-200 + USD for up to 5 people.
Many taxi drivers are also professionals when it comes to Santo Domingo and might not be as knowledgeable as a driver originally from Punta Cana, this could make the trip longer due to a lack of knowledge of the best routes in Punta Cana. This, coupled with many taxi drivers not knowing a language other than Spanish makes for the 2-hour long drive longer than it should be.
Taking a Shuttle From the Airport
Along with a taxi, a shuttle is another form of transportation that is available near the airport. These are usually vans or minibusses that accommodate multiple groups of people heading to the same place at the same time. In most instances, shuttles tend to fit about 10-12 people.
This can be a great option if you are looking to get to Punta Cana in the cheapest way possible. Because you are traveling with a bigger group, they are going to take some of the costs away from you. So, you can get to your destination at a fraction of the price of a taxi.
The only catch with this is that it tends to be tighter quarters when traveling in a shuttle. That means a lot of people are sharing limited space. Arranging a shared transfer from the Santo Domingo Airport to anywhere in Punta Cana is also easier said than done, very few companies offer this option and many times have to cancel due to a lack of enough clients taking this route. It can also mean a less comfortable ride for you that is going to take multiple hours. And, last but not least, the extra time is taken to wait for all those who have booked to arrive and find the van could have you waiting for up to 2 hours before heading out.
Private Transportation Options
Besides the options above, there are plenty of good private transportation options to get to Bahia Principe Esmeralda. Here are some that you can consider.
Private Mini Van
If you are in a small party for this trip and are looking to keep things simple, you may want to consider a private minivan for your trip. These can fit anywhere from 1-6 people, depending on the size of the vehicle that you need.
This can be better than relying on a taxi because you have a fixed price guaranteed before you even land at the airport. Plus, you would be getting it from a private transfer company that has a good reputation.
It can be preferable to rideshare because of the reliability that this provides. You would have no problem meeting this driver at the airport, and they will make sure to have your name written on a board to get your attention.
Plus, considering that these come from a transfer company, it is likely going to be a more comfortable car to take a long drive in.
There might be those of you in smaller parties that want to make this trip to the Dominican Republic special. Some people gain an appreciation for the country by driving it, but what if you could do that in luxury?
You can consider getting a luxury car to make this drive from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana. If you want to do so while drinking an adult beverage, this is an option available to you.
The best part with this option is that it still can be affordable and you feel like you are making your trip extra special.
Ok, what if you have already considered your first two private ride options but feel like you can do better? What can you use to take advantage of this long drive time?
Well, one answer can be to get a limo. These can be great for those in larger parties. It allows you to share the experience together in luxury while enjoying a nice long drive to take the moment.
Best of all, like the above cars, you have the option to enjoy an adult beverage on the way over. So, if you want to share a bottle of wine or a bottle of scotch with your group on the way, this can be a great way to do that in style.
Why Santo Domingo Over Punta Cana?
So, people reading this may be curious as to why they should book a transfer from Santo Domingo's airport rather than Punta Cana's airport.
Well, one part of the answer is to save money. It generally costs a decent amount of money to fly from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana. Plus, there is the time factor. With how long you have to allocate for airport security, transfer to the airport, and transfer to the resort when you land, it actually may take just as much time to fly.
Plus, with Santo Domingo being the largest city in the Dominican Republic, it could be more convenient for some people coming from abroad to fly there. It is possible that there could be a constant connection available in Santo Domingo vs. a long connection to Punta Cana.
On top of this, the price difference could be vast to fly between those two depending on where you are coming from. For some flight routes, it makes much more financial sense to fly to Santo Domingo.
Finally, some travelers may want to experience a larger city in the country rather than just a beach town with all-inclusive resorts. Santo Domingo offers this and it can give people a chance to take in some of the country's culture before settling into their resort.
Book Your Transportation From Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ) to Bahia Principe Esmeralda
These are all of the options you have when it comes to transportation from Santo Domingo Airport to Bahia Principe Esmeralda. While it is possible that you can save money going the public transportation route, you have to factor in the safety, convenience, and experience that you want to have on this trip.
Are you considering booking a private transfer to visit Bahia Principe Esmeralda? Fill out this form today to get started.