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Cabbing it


Has anyone ever done a tour just by hiring a cabbie?

I have so much conflicting info from different sources on the feasibility of the Outback or Monster Truck Safari’s for children (ages 3 and 6).

I’m wondering if it’s smarter to just hire a cabbie for a few days to take us around and show the kids a few things?
Any suggestions for hiring a cabbie and making it work for you.


Location and hotel?


We stayed at the Fun Tropicale in POP and we contacted Mar Y Sol travel in the mall. They set us up with a wonderful cab driver (Hector) who drove us around for the day in an air conditioned van. He was very knowledgeable and a lot of fun. He kept the hawkers from bothering us (if we wanted him to) and help us negotiate deals (?) with the store vendors. I would suggest that, for the kids, you do a bit of research and see what is available so you can have an itinerary and not waste valuable time deciding what to do at the last minute.

Along with the fee (about $60/day) we also bought Hector lunch and left a little tip.

Next to having a friend who can show you around, I think we got the next best deal in hiring a private cab.


We had an older gentleman on our Air Transat flight last year from Edmonton who reportedly caught a cab just outside our resort (we stayed at the Grand Flamenco), was driven somewhere and then held up at gun point by the driver and some accomplices. I’m quite certain this was an unfortunate, isolated incident… but it’s definitely something you should be wary of…



I think the phrase to highlight there is “caught a cab outside our resort” If you use a cab from within the Playa Dorada complex you pay more but they are registered tourist taxi’s. If you get a taxi outside the main gate its cheaper but it could be anyone driving with no insurance or anything else. Even if you do agree to use a tourist taxi agree your price before you set off and only pay when you return to your hotel. Also try to get a driver with a reasonable amount of English unless you have some Spanish, just to prevent confusion. I used Antony who has a bigger taxi and very little English but we understood each other enough and when we did the Telepherico (the Cable Car) he brought along a friend who is a tourist guide. We did have to pay him $20 as well as the taxi fare but it did help.

If you want to spend a long time somewhere the taxi will either wait for you if it’s a long way off or will return at a prearranged time and place, again wait until you are back at base to pay for both journeys.

Cheers Amandalou :-*


We have, on 3 occassions, done the tour by ‘cabbie’ and found it much more to our liking. After conversing with the rep from the taxi company, deciding where we wanted to go & do & see, negotiating the price, the taxi driver & van were booked for the day specified. The key is negotiating the price before you even step into the van!! We learned alot about the country & it’s people from our driver/guide than we did when we went on the Monster Truck Safari the first year that we were in the D.R. in 2003. And yes, for the age of your children, I think doing a tour by cabbie would be much better.

If you have any questions that you wished answered, please don’t hesitate to PM or email me…I will be more than happy to help. ~Ruth~


KC…believe nothing that you hear second hand and only half of what you see first hand. I personally do not believe that story.

Do not get a taxi from within the resort. They have highly inflated prices so that the resort and probably the tour rep can get their cut.

Most cabbies outside of the resort are still registered, just not with the resort. Just make sure you are not simply getting a car with someone that has nothing to do for the day.


That is why I used the word “reportedly”. I have no way of knowing whether it in fact happened – but it was the talk around the resort and on the plane ride home.



There was a rumor running around the Casa Marina Reef a year ago that some Canadian had been mugged. He was staying at the CMR. I came across him the last day I was there and asked him about it. He said that some little guy tried to pickpocket him, he felt it and smacked the guy. That is how rumours keep moving around.

KC…I understood that you said 'reportedly".


We’re staying at the Gran Ventena in the Playa Dorada Complex.
If we went on a tour we would be paying about $180 for our family. I think that gives me some good money to work with when hiring a cabbie.

I think this is how we will go. Being that we’re including our kids we’ll probably err on the side of caution and use a cab from within the complex, even if it is a little more.
If anyone has someone specific to recommend and a way to find them, then great!

So let me get the basics straight:

  1. Make sure they speak English
  2. Make sure they have a safe cab for us
  3. Make sure they understand where/what we want to do and for how long.
  4. Make sure we agree on the price for EVERYTHING, for the WHOLE day.
  5. Make sure we pay only AFTER the entire trip is done.

I can get this done by either talking to the cab co. OR talking to a cabbie directly within the Playa Dorada Complex. I can also leave the complex and hope to find someone along the road as well (probably will not do this, but good to know).

Anyone want to add anything else?

Oh and thanks so much for the info.


I never hear anyone recommend Martin Espinal’s services these days. I assume he’s still in business? We had a wonderful day-long tour with his company a few years ago. You can arrange your tour before you even leave home and secure a price. Enjoy your trip!


I emailed him a few months ago telling him my needs and asking his advice.

I received a standard reply to do the Monster Truck or Outback Safari.

This is why I was thinking about doing the cab thing because it didn’t seem they were willing to do a custom thing.


Hmmmm … he must not be offering the same sort of service anymore. Gregg would know for sure. Either way, good luck and have fun!


Giselle and I are tentatively planning on having dinner with Martin and his wife next week so I will be sure to ask him about this. He certainly was still offering this service in April when he provided me with a driver and an interpreter for our day from Puerto Plata to Santiago to visit friends. His English is excellent but it is not his first language and so very occasionally something may get lost in the language issue.

I will try to clarify.