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Tips for Expats Driving in La Romana

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in La Romana.
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1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in La Romana, like many parts of the Dominican Republic, can be a bit chaotic for those not used to it. Traffic rules are often ignored, and drivers can be aggressive. It’s important to stay alert and drive defensively. Be prepared for motorcycles and mopeds darting in and out of traffic, and for vehicles to stop suddenly.

2. Car Recommendation

Given the condition of some roads, a vehicle with good ground clearance like an SUV or a pickup truck is recommended. However, if you’re mostly going to be driving in the city, a smaller car would be more practical and fuel-efficient.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in La Romana can be challenging, especially in the city center. However, there are paid parking lots available. The cost of parking is not typically expensive, but it can add up if you’re parking daily in the city center.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive with an international license in the Dominican Republic for up to 90 days. After that, you will need to obtain a local driver’s license.

5. Obtaining a Local Driver’s License

To get a local driver’s license, you will need to go to the General Directorate of Traffic Safety and Land Transportation (DIGESETT). You will need to provide your passport, a medical certificate, and proof of residence. You will also need to pass a written test and a practical driving test. It’s recommended to hire a local attorney or facilitator to help with the process, as it can be complicated and time-consuming.

6. Be Aware of the Road Conditions

Road conditions in La Romana can vary greatly. While main roads are generally in good condition, secondary roads can be poorly maintained, especially in rural areas. Be prepared for potholes, unpaved roads, and occasional flooding during the rainy season.

7. Be Prepared for Checkpoints

Police checkpoints are common in the Dominican Republic. Always carry your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance documents with you. Be polite and cooperative if you’re stopped.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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