Local in Punta Cana: taking the Guagua
In BOP goes local, we show you insider information straight from the local population in Punta Cana. In this edition, we show you the best way to get around with our super friendly form of public transport: the Guagua.
Time for a new adventure
You find yourself in Punta Cana and want to discover more places. You can either choose to take a taxi or explore the area with a guided tour. But wouldn’t it be more fun to explore Punta Cana in local style? This part of the island is known for its variety of people from different nationalities, who have, over time, all become ‘locals’. So why not join them, and make some friends along the way?
First things first. You managed to get a Dominican chip card to have internet on your phone, you installed the latest version of Google maps, you have your Dominican pesos ready and the name of the cutest local fruit juice bar firmly noted. You’re on your way! Hmmm, it seems that the place you want to go to is not really within walking distance. This is where the adventure starts. It is time to hop on the local bus, also known as: the Guagua.
Say hello to the cobrador
Be on the lookout for the name Sitrabapu or Traumabapu on a little bus that holds up to 36 people, or on a touring car. The Traumabapu rides through the whole Bavaro area up to Macao and stops at popular hotspots. The Sitrabapu has just that little extra, because it takes you from the Cap Cana area all the way to Higüey, a town that is part of the district. It is a 35-45-minute ride from Punta Cana, depending where you are located of course.
The buses ride through the main roads of Punta Cana. There are a few official stops where you can actually see the sign ‘parada’ (meaning: stop in English). Luckily for you, you can wave the bus down by sticking out your hand anywhere, because it stops wherever you like.
Every bus has a ‘cobrador’, a person who collects the fare. Within Punta Cana, you’ll pay about 40 to 50 pesos in the bus for one ride. No tickets or chip cards here!
Once you’re in, just tell the ‘cobrador’ where you want to go. He can call out the name for you, because there are no stop buttons to press. If you want to get out earlier, find your voice and say: “Perdon de pueda! Dejame aqui!” It’s an informal but effective way to get to your destination, meaning “Excuse me! Drop me off here!”
For the real adventurers out there
If you really want to go hardcore local and have a taste of the Dominican culture, take the little bus that says Rutaberon. These buses look like run down vans. Often, you’ll see that a seat for three people is occupied by four. No problem: just hold your breath and squeeze in to enjoy the local experience!
While you’re at it, stop at the Cruce de Veron to get a yuca flour empanada from three brothers who sell it right in front of the police station for just 25 pesos. They are delicious.
In Bavaro, stop at Posada de Gladys. A Dominican lady that can prepare at tasty “pollo guisado con habichuelas” for 260 pesos… another delight you shouldn’t miss out on!
Traumabapu can be reached on: +1 809 552-0771
Sitrabapu can be reached on: +1 809-554-4260