Punta Cana goes local: getting around town on a motorcycle taxi
“Moto, motortaxi? Hola, where are you going? I can take you!” This is something you will be hearing on the streets of Punta Cana from the motor drivers that pass you by. Known as motoconchos, these drivers take you everywhere you want to go. In our article BOP goes local: taking the guagua, we showed you how to take the bus. Now it is time to push your limits a bit further, by taking a motorcycle taxi in Punta Cana.
Hopping on a strangers motorcycle is something your parents probably taught you to never ever do. But in Punta Cana you will! In the Dominican Republic, you can put everything on a motorcycle taxi. From couches to groceries to children everything fits on this means of transportation. Yes, sometimes you can see 4 people on the motor!
Here are some tips and tricks to help you experience this local way of transport in the best way possible.
Negotiate the price
Depending if you look like a tourist or blend in as a local you will get a different price. We heard stories of people paying 50 US dollars for rides that are worth 50 pesos because they do not have a clue on what the price should be. That is the reason why negotiating is an important part of the game. The driver says 300, you say 150. Eventually, the price will end between 250 and 200 pesos. For short rides, you can expect to pay 50 to 100 pesos. For example from Palma Real to Los Corales in Bavaro, you pay 50 pesos. From Los Corales to Veron it is between the 250 and 300 pesos and from San Juan shopping mall to Bavaro it is around 150 pesos. Our intention is not to squeeze these drivers dry since they also need to pay for their gasoline and make a profit. We just want to help you on your way.
Check out the driver
Okay, this one is a bit harder. How can you judge someone you do not know? Our tactic is to check if the driver is willing to discuss the price in a relaxed manner. Also look at the state the motorcycle taxi is in. You would not take a ride on something that is almost falling apart, do you? Our personal preference, call it superstition, goes out to drivers who were their reflective jackets and have some kind of helmet on. Even though you won´t have a helmet, it feels good to know that at least the driver takes care of his own safety, hopefully, this makes him a good driver too!
When you feel that the driver is going too fast, speak up! Don´t hesitate to say: “Despacito!” (slowly!) If you’re still not comfortable tell the driver to stop and get off the motor. Better safe than sorry.
Of course, you always need to be careful. Taking a motorcycle taxi at night, for example, is not really a good idea when you do not know the driver. Speeding on the road when it is still wet from the rain is also something you should avoid.
If you find a driver you trust, take his number and get to know him, so you will have your own motoconcho to have you experiencing Punta Cana local style!
Picture was taken in Las Terrenas, Samana