First off I would like to introduce myself; my name is Dan (AKA DanD) from London Ontario.
I’ve just found this message board last night; am I’m impressed or what with the wealth of information that the site is providing. Just by reading the FAQ forum has answered so may of my questions that I’m feeling better about some of the do’s, don’ts and what ifs of the area.
Thank you to all the members and the people involved with the site.
Now for a couple of questions. LOL
I just read through the thread, “Puerta Plata tour” and it sounds like hiring a cab and driver is the way to see the sites at our own pace.
What would a fair rate be for a half or full day? There will be four of us, my wife and I along with another couple. We’re staying at the Gran Ventana the week of Feb.8th to the 14th.
Is there anything we should be wary of approaching a driver as to not insult him/her or get us in trouble?
After negotiating the initial cost for this person’s time, what would be an appropriate tip at the end of a hopefully good day?
If by change it’s not a great day what kind of tip does the driver expect?
It may not be their fault that the tour didn’t go well; I do not want to insult the person or end up wearing a few peso’s as forehead jewelry. LOL At the same time I don’t want to throw my money away.
Would you also barter regular taxi’s ride or are there flat rates that they go by?
Sorry for all the questions but I love and hate the unexpected at the same time. LOL
Do a search on this site for Isaira tours. They seem to come highly recommended by our readers.
For 4 persons, I’d expect about $40/person for the half day tour.
I second what Bob has said. Martin at Isaira tours will customise a tour for four of you so you can take as long/short as you want at each point. Let me know if you need his tel number or web address by pm or email and I’ll send you the details, heck I could even have them waiting at reception if you want as I will be at the Victoria at the same time you are in the GV.
Regarding tip I tend to use the 10% rule most of the time, rounding up or down depending on how good a service I receive, (Always rounded up for Martins staff as never had a bad trip through him, or heard of one either) JMHO.
With the PP tour you will find half day doesn’t include the Teleferico (Cable Car) up Mount Isabel de Torres, full day does or it also includes Sosua and or Cabarete. I love the Teleferico but you do need a head for heights as it does go UP and UP!! But on a clear day you can see right over to Sosua and up to Ocean World so it’s worth it for sight seeing purposes.
Feel free to ask any other questions here or by pm/email. Cheers Amandalou :-*
Thanks for the replies.
I did a search on Isaira tours and found the contact numbers for them so that will help a lot. Thanks!
With both of you saying to try this person’s tours are you say that I shouldn’t attempt just any taxi that I see?
I do appreciate the lead towards this company but reading the other thread I was under the impression that any taxi driver would be willing to give a decent tour; did I misunderstand?
I know that walking up to anyone and asking for this service, I’m taking my chances but that’s where my questions towards approaching these people were being asked.
Sorry if I wasn’t clear or are you two politely telling me not to, if so sorry again for being so naïve.
No I don’t get out much; can you tell? ;D
Not telling you not to by any means. All we are saying is that this guy has a good reputation, based on our readers comments. I have not used him myself; instead I have done just what you are suggesting and have used other taxi drivers.
You will find that the taxi drivers within the Playa Dorada complex part of a cartel. They pay for the privilege of servicing the hotels within the complex. Consequently their rates are higher. You can save money by getting a taxi outside the complex. They can bring you in to your hotel, but not pick up a fare there. Something like the airline taxis at Toronto Airport for example.
Dan - I sent you a PM yesterday and all I can tell you as that Isaira Tours has given me first rate customer service regarding our trip next month. They are doing all of our airport pickups in POP as well as a couple private tours that we have as well. Prices are great and as I said before, their customer service has been awesome.
I personally like to prepare ahead of time as I have found going the “pick a taxi-driver” route has shortened any tour that we have done on various islands. SOme may be wonderful but I found a few that were just in a hurry to drop us back off in town to pick up their next fare
DanD welcome aboard… and dont forget to tell your friends about the best DR site on the net!!!
Hi Dan, sorry I didn’t answer your question in full, I’ll try again. You have any number of choices regarding tours, 1) your tour rep can organise it for you, at a price and you will most likely be on a coach with very set timetable,2) Pick a tour company, plenty around (Isiara tours is based just along the road from Playa Dorada and Martin will pick you up and take you to his office to talk about any trips you are interested, loads of other companies have shops or reps in the Plaza in Playa Dorada)and slightly more flexible and cheaper than the tour rep as you won’t be paying their wages, 3) Tourist taxi’s, based within Playa Dorada, they pay to be there and have good quality taxi’s, their English can sometimes be a little nonexistent and you have a set price which they all stick to, 4) Walk to the main gate of Playa Dorada and get a taxi or gua gua (local bus) or moto (motorbike taxi.)
I have personally used all of the above methods and still go back to using and recommending Martin for all my previous reasons, he is also fully insured and will take great pleasure in showing and explaining all his insurances, the reps will tell you not to use anyone but them because NO-ONE else has insurance but remember the trips they sell are what pays their wages. I cannot vouch for all the tour companies having insurance but if you ask and they won’t show any, just walk away and try another.
As an aside on option 4) it does help if you can speak Spanish and for the moto’s you need a slightly suicidal tendency as there are very few rules on the Dominican roads, Might has Right as we say here, motos are smallest and loose the most battles!!!
Cheers Amandalou :-*
Thanks for the advice on this people; I think we are going to use it.