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Getting There by Air

Dominican Republic - Getting There by Air

The Dominican Republic has nine international airports all over the country. They are served by a variety of scheduled and charter services, and in addition there are domestic shuttles between the various main airports. There are direct flights from many cities in the USA and the UK, with flying time from New York being around 4 hours, and London around 8 hours. The country’s main airport is on the south coast around 20 minutes east of the capital, Santo Domingo. It is called Las Americas (SDQ) and has regular schedule flights from all over the world. Whilst you can fly direct to the USA from Las Americas, those who wish to fly to the UK have to go via Paris with Air France, or Madrid with Iberia or Air Europe, or via the US.

There is a second international airport in Santo Domingo, on the west side. It was formerly called La Isabela but has been renamed Dr Joaquim Balaguer (JBQ). It is mainly used for inter Caribbean flights with Caribair and domestic shuttles. Be aware that if you take an air shuttle for a flight from another Dominican airport to the capital it will most likely be to JBQ and not SDQ. It can take two hours from one to the other by road, so plenty of time needs to be allowed.

The main international airport in the north is between Puerto Plata and Sosua, Gregorio Luperón, (POP), serving those two areas plus Cabarete. It is mainly a tourist airport with regular flights from many cities in the USA, Canada and the UK, as well as Europe. There are charter flights as well as schedule. In the north east peninsula a new airport has opened in Samana, President Juan Bosch (AZS), specifically for the growing tourism in that area, especially in Samana itself, as well as Las Galeras and Las Terrenas. At the moment the flights are limited to Air Canada, West Jet, Canjet and Sunwing – all from Canada, Blue Panorama from Italy, and XL Airways from France. However the British Charters such as Thomas Cook and Thompson are also beginning to use this airport. So far there are no flights from the USA there.

The busiest airport in the country is in the east. Punta Cana airport (PUJ) serves the east coast resorts of Punta Cana and Bavaro, and is also used for those travelling to La Romana, Bayahibe and Juan Dolio in the south east. It is again mainly a tourist airport, with hundreds arriving every day. Flights, mainly charter, but some scheduled, come from all over the world including UK and USA. The airlines include Delta, US Air, American Airlines, Air France, British Airways, Thomson, Air France, Condor, KLM and Aeroflot. In addition there is Copa Airlines serving South America.

There is a small airport in the south east at La Romana (LRM) which is part of the luxury Casa de Campo complex. There are schedule and charter flights here too, especially in the winter months – from November to April – to serve the cruise port in La Romana. Flights come in from Puerto Rico, Miami, New York and Atlanta all year round and from the UK, with Thomson, and other European cities in the winter. Although the airport is known as La Romana, many tour companies will refer to it as Casa de Campo airport. The second largest city in the Dominican Republic, Santiago, has opened an international airport (STI) fairly recently. It has mainly scheduled flights from the USA – New York, Miami, Atlanta, Newark and Orlando.

All of the airports are served by taxis and some by public transport. In some cases, such as POP, and SDQ the taxi unions do not allow public transport right up to the airport and therefore it is necessary to take a taxi to the local bus stop. Although the taxi prices are regulated and are prominently displayed on a board, it is always worth checking the price before getting into the taxi, and checking if they will charge additional for luggage, or if it is late at night. For those on a budget, it can be worth going to the Departures drop off area and seeing if a taxi that has just dropped some passengers off is prepared to take you to your destination at a lower fare.

International car hire firms are available at all of the airports, and these should be pre-booked. Do be aware that there have been several issues of credit card fraud following booking car hire, and the traveller should take every precaution to protect his or her credit card, or put a limit on it before using it to reserve a hire car.

Useful Resources

Most airports are owned by Aerodom, whose site has all the relevant information by airport.
Puerto Plata airport (POP) Tel: 809 291 0000
Samana airport (AZS) Tel: 809 338 5888
Las Americas (SDQ) Tel: 809 947 2225
Dr Joaquim Balaguer (JBQ) Tel: 809 826 4019
La Romana (LRM) Tel: 809 813 9305

The other airports are private:

Punta Cana International (PUJ)
Tel: 809 959 2376

Santiago (STI)
Tel: 809 223 8000

Car hire companies

Tel: 809 549 0351
Tel: 809 549 0351
Tel: 809 549 0763

This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at yoursaucepans.blogspot.com.

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