Aeropuerto Internacional del Cibao (www.aeropuertocibao.com.do) is just a 20-minute drive out of the city, and services airlines such as American, Delta, Jet Blue, and United, Copa and Spirit. Airport taxis to the city cost around US$25.
Getting to Santiago is quite easy from Santo Domingo or Puerto Plata. Caribe Tours (Av. 27 de Febrero, tel. 809/576-0790, www.caribetours.com.do, RD$270/one way) has a bus nearly every hour from Santiago to Santo Domingo—check the website for departure times; get off at the second and final stop in Santiago in the city center, as there are two. Metro Tours (Av. Duarte, tel. 809/587-3837, www.metroserviciosturisticos.com), just a block away, also has departures throughout the day, even if not every hour like Caribe Tours. Whichever bus you opt for, bring a scarf or jacket of some kind—the A/C can be stupidly high. Other possible destinations from Santiago by bus include Puerto Plata, Sosúa, and Monte Cristi. Arrive at least 45 minutes prior to your bus departure.
A third way of reaching Santiago from Puerto Plata—particularly if you plan on connecting to other small towns such as La Vega or San Francisco de Macorís—is to hop on a Javila Tours minibus. It’s popular with the locals and comfortable, with A/C and Wi-Fi on board. The vans depart every 15 minutes from 6am through 5pm; the fare is just RD$120 or US$2.60 and you can hop off at Parque Los Chachases in Santiago for the next round of connections.
Santiago’s taxis charge a set fare of about US$3.27 (RD$150) for one-way rides within city limits, and are usually parked outside major supermarkets, sights and bus stations. You can call Santiago Taxi (tel. 809/581-8888), or Santiago native taxi driver Hancis Beato (tel. 809/902-3244), whom you can negotiate with for out-of-town rides or all day fares.
Getting around Santiago isn't hard if you remember the key drags: Calle del Sol, the main shopping street, which runs east into the Monumento de Los Heróes, and the main avenues of 27 de Febrero and Duarte, where you'll find all the malls, movie theaters and supermarkets. You can rent a car from the airport (booked online to ensure better rates) through Avis (tel. 809/233-8154, www.avis.com), Alamo (tel. 809/233-8163, www.alamo.com), Europcar (tel. 233-8150, www.europcar.com) or Honda Rent-a-car (tel. 809/233-8179, www.nationalcar.com).
Across Punto del Arte Bar and the Panadería, you'll spot numerous motorbike taxis, waiting to whisk you away—and as is the custom, they will call out to you as you walk. In that same area, a few steps from the bakery, is the Expreso Jarabacoa (tel. 809/574-6464) bus terminal for heading to nearby La Vega, as well as the Jaraba Taxi stand (tel. 809/574-6464).
The public guaguas or minibuses for Constanza leave from across the Shell station. If you want to head there for a day trip, be sure not to miss the last guagua back from Constanza at 3pm. But there are worse things than to get stuck in that gorgeous mountain town.
Caribe Tours (Calle Jose Duran, tel. 809/574-4796, www.caribetours.com.do, RD$270) offers daily trips to and from Santo Domingo, leaving Jarabacoa at 7am, 10am, 1:30pm and 4:30pm. Check their website or call for the latest schedules.
More info to come on getting to and around Constanza, or grab a copy of Moon Dominican Republic (2016 edition).