Welcome to the tropical Dominican Republic! This motorcycle travel guide explains what you need to know about riding a motorcycle in the DR and will help you get the most out of your biking adventures there.
Motorcycle Travel Guide Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a captivating Caribbean nation on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. The DR is known for its hospitality, stunning natural beauty, lush rainforests, beaches, mountains, valleys and vibrant coastal towns.
That makes the Dominican Republic an incredible motorcycle travel destination. There’s so many options, routes, terrains and different types of riding on offer. You could wind through mountain roads, cruise along coastal highways, lose yourself in rural jungles, explore colonial cities, check out remote fishing villages and much more.
It’s a tropical paradise and you’ll love riding here. So, we put this guide together to help you get here, travel around on two wheels and get the most out of your motorcycle adventures in the Dominican Republic.
Paperwork for motorcycle travel in the Dominican Republic
Visas – Visas are not required for visits shorter than 30 days for citizens of select countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Europe etc. Check on the official Dominican Republic government website if your citizenship requires one.
Visitors to the Dominican Republic are charged a $10 tourist card fee that is incorporated into airline charges.
Vehicle insurance – Motorcycle insurance is required. If you are renting a bike, then make sure it is included. Your insurance may be at a basic level only covering damage to third parties and property up to a certain point. You’ll need to pay an additional extra for a more comprehensive policy.
Licence – You can use your country’s driver’s license for up to 6 months. Please note that your driver’s licence must be currently valid and must be valid for the size and type of motorcycle you will be riding.
Getting in and out
The main airports in the Dominican Republic are SDQ, PUJ, STI, POP. If flying in to rent a bike or join a tour, we recommend using SDQ or PUJ.
Importantly, before entering and exiting the country, you should fill out an e-ticket using this website: eticket.migracion.gob.do
When to ride a motorcycle in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has year round riding weather. The most popular times for riding are December through May, where the temperatures are slightly lower than in the summer. June through November is considered the wet season, and may have occasional storms.
There are plenty of hotels in the main cities and Airbnb has become very popular. Nevertheless, it is better to book your stays in advance and note that the closest you are to the Dominican-Haitian border, the less likely you are to find a guest house or hotel.
If you’re planning on camping on your motorcycle trip in the Dominican Republic, we would recommend using official campsites. Note that there are some campsites that require authorization from the Ministry of Environment at least one month in advance.
READ MORE: Motorcycle Camping Guides
Safety and security
You should always be attentive to your surroundings in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, bribes are common place with law enforcement. Please refer to this article for tips on dealing with them and safety in general in DR: drmotorides.com/safety
If by any chance you get pulled over, make sure to stay calm and show your ID (passport), driver’s licence and the motorcycle documents. Unless you are riding under the influence, officials and police officers cannot take the motorcycle from you. If you are told you are going to be given a ticket, ask them the reason and then proceed to accept and take the ticket. The amount on the ticket varies depending on the infraction, but they start at USD 18 and are to be paid in Santo Domingo, in the traffic station. If the officers ask you for money, do not give them any as this is a bribe.
Dominican Republic road rules
The roads are primarily asphalt in the Dominican Republic. But not all are in mint condition. You’ll also find plenty of off-roading if you prefer.
DR follows the right-hand driving system and has a speed limit of 60 kph in urban areas and 100 kph on highways. On some highways, like the Samaná highway, the speed limit is 80 kph. It is also important to be aware of traffic signals, signs, and road markings.
Never use normal/regular gasoline, always use premium gasoline and be aware when the petrol station attendant is fuelling your motorcycle because they could get confused. Finding fuel is easy in urban areas but stations are not as frequent in rural areas.
The best motorcycle routes in the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic we have an amazing variety of routes for both on-road and dual sport motorcycle enthusiasts, as well as enduro riders.
North Coast Highway
One of our favourite routes include the North Coast Highway, which goes all the way from Samana Peninsula to Puerto Plata. You’ll ride along the coast and see amazing beaches, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can also take some side roads into the mountains along the coast and enjoy twisties through tropical rainforests.
Santo Domingo to Constanza
Another one of our favourite routes leaves from Santo Domingo, towards the city of La Vega and up to the town of Jarabacoa in the mountains, where you can see several waterfalls and enjoy some great coffee. From there you take a twisty mountain top road to Constanza, where you can do some strawberry picking, or see the highest waterfall in the Caribbean (Salto de Aguas Blancas).
From there you can either take the paved road back to Santo Domingo (via the highway), or you can take a more challenging dirt road to the heart of the mountain forests and the Valle Nuevo National Park, where temperatures can reach OC at night. You then ride down to the town of San Jose de Ocoa, and finally back to Santo Domingo through another highway.
Enduro riding in the Dominican Republic
The enduro routes are of course much shorter in distance, and are generally marked with spray paint markings to indicate trails. Some of our favourite places for enduro riding start from Santiago, La Vega, Jarabacoa and Puerto Plata. A lot of the enduro riding in the Dominican Republic is actually hard enduro, so beware and prepare for tough rides. You’ll find routes and more information on this Wikiloc page.
Places to visit
Here’s a short list of some of the best places and our personal recommendations that you should visit on your motorcycle tour of the Dominican Republic:
- Piramides de Valle Nuevo
- El Morro
- Puerto Plata’s teleférico
- Las Galeras
- Las Terrenas
- Montana Redonda
- Colonial Zone
- Bahia de Las Aguila
- Los Haitises.
The best type of motorcycle for the Dominican Republic
This is down to personal preference, where you’re riding and what’s available. For exploring the Dominican Republic, we recommend mid-weight single or twin-cylinder motorcycles. Large touring bikes will be difficult to handle in city traffic, and a mid-weight bike would be sufficient enough for all the roads you will be travelling on in the Dominican Republic.
READ MORE: Adventure Motorcycle Guides
What Riding gear do I need in the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic generally has hot weather year round, except in certain mountain areas. Getting wet is usually not a serious problem, and most riders don’t carry rain gear. For riding in most climates, a simple ventilated riding jacket and pants, along with riding boots will suffice. But do always try and wear full protective gear – even though the weather is hot and humid most of the time.
READ MORE: Adventure Riding Gear Guides
Motorcycle rentals and tours in the Dominican Republic
We run DR Moto Rides and are proud to be the first adventure motorcycle rental and tour organiser in the Dominican Republic. We offer motorcycle rentals and a huge range of fully-guided and self-guided motorcycle tours.
We have a big selection of motorcycles too, which are all maintained to strict standards. There’s a range of adventure motorcycles, enduro and dirt bikes and street bikes. We offer the most fun, safe and affordable riding experience in DR. So if you’re thinking of flying in and renting or joining a tour, please get in touch as we’d love to help you have an incredible adventure here.
Check out the website for more info: drmotorides.com
Top tips for motorcycle travel in the Dominican Republic
+ Ensure you have all necessary documentation, including a valid motorcycle licence and international driving permit, if required.
+ If you are renting a bike, make sure you rent a reliable motorcycle from a reputable rental agency to ensure safety and reliability.
+ Familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and road signs, as they may differ from what you’re used to.
+ Be prepared for varying road conditions, including smooth highways and potholed or uneven surfaces, and adapt your riding style accordingly.
+ Check weather conditions and plan your rides during the most comfortable and favourable times of the day. Try and avoid heavy rain and extreme heat.
+ Maintain a heightened awareness of local driving habits, which may be more aggressive than what you’re accustomed to.
+ Refuel your motorcycle frequently, as gas stations can be sparse in some rural areas and it’s wise to have sufficient fuel for your journey.
+ Learn a few basic Spanish phrases to facilitate communication with locals, as not everyone may speak English.
+ Plan your routes in advance, but also be open to spontaneous detours and explorations to fully appreciate the country’s beauty and culture.
+ Take note of emergency contact information, including local hospitals, police stations, and the contact details of your embassy or consulate.
+ Embrace the laid-back, “island time” mindset, and be patient with any delays or unexpected situations that may arise during your motorcycle journey in the Dominican Republic.
About the author
David is the co-founder of DR Moto Rides, which is the first adventure motorcycle rental and tour organiser in the Dominican Republic.
“We built DR Moto Rides to give others the opportunity of enjoying the Dominican Republic’s curvy roads, the river crossings and waterfalls, the dense forests and the hidden beaches the way we love to: on two wheels. We love riding, and we explore often, both on road and offroad. Every chance we get we invite our friends, and through DR Moto Rides we hope that you too get a chance to see what’s outside of the beach resorts and the cities, and get to know the deep, the wild, the places few have seen in the Dominican Republic.”
If you’re interested in renting a motorcycle or joining one of David’s awesome fully guided or self-guided motorcycle tours, get in touch here:
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Are you planning a motorcycle tour in the Dominican Republic? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below.