If you’re staying on the north coast, in Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada, Sosúa, Cabarete, or Río San Juan areas, you should fly into Aeropuerto Internacional Gregorio Luperón (tel. 809/291-0000, ext. 221 or 809/586-0175, www.aerodom.com), sandwiched between Puerto Plata town and Sosúa, and just 11 miles east or 15 minutes from Puerto Plata town and Playa Dorada. Taxi fares to and or from the airport are usually posted on a board as you exit customs; as of publication time they are US$30 to Puerto Plata, US$35 to Playa Dorada. Airlines that fly here include American Airlines, Delta, United, Air Canada, Spirit, JetBlue Airways and Copa, among others.
Coming up north from the south, take Autopista Duarte north towards Santiago, then take the exit for Puerto Plata. If you’re coming from Samaná, take the scenic Highway 5, all the way towards Sanchez, then Nagua and onto the north.
Getting to Puerto Plata from Santo Domingo or Santiago is easy with the in-town branch of Metro Tours (Calle Beller Esq. 16 de Agosto, tel. 809/586-6063, http://metroserviciosturisticos.com). There are fairly punctual departures throughout the day—starting at 6:30am. Check their website for the latest scheduled departures. You’ll travel in an air-conditioned large coach bus, and reach the capital in about four hours, passing through Santiago. It can be freezing cold on board, so bring a jacket and thank me later for that tip. Caribe Tours (Calle Camino Real, tel. 809/586-4544) also offers daily bus service to Santo Domingo–they have more frequent stops during the journey–departing every hour on the hour starting at 6am until 7pm. Both bus companies promise Wi-Fi on board, but it’s hit or miss.
From Samaná to Puerto Plata
If you’re coming from the Samaná Peninsula, there’s a small guagua that runs from Las Terrenas to Puerto Plata called Transporte Las Terrenas (tel. 809/240-5302, or DOP$300 pp) departing at 6:30 am (though it has been known to show up at 6:00 am so show up then to be safe) on the main road from across Plaza Taina and Plaza del Paseo. It’s a straight shot for the most part, with one break in Nagua for coffee and food, then onwards onto Puerto Plata—with the occasional passenger drop off along the way—where you’ll reach between 11:30am and 12pm. I’ve done this route myself and while it wasn’t always comfortable, it was safe and just fine looking out the window at the lovely fishing villages as we made our way up east to north. The reverse route is also possible, from Puerto Plata to Las Terrenas—a bus departs daily from across the hospital around 1:30pm, passing through Sosúa. Always inquire a day or two ahead of time, in case schedules and departure locations have changed.
More to come on getting to other parts of the North Coast, or grab a copy of Moon Dominican Republic (Moon Travel Guides, 2016 edition).