The Dominican Republic has more international airports than any other island in the Caribbean, but it's important that you fly into the airport that is closest to your resort. You don't want to fly into Santo Domingo if you're staying in Punta Cana, since this can be an expensive drive that takes over three hours. Here are some sample flight times to the Dominican Republic: New York to Santo Domingo: 3 hours, 15 mins; or Puerto Plata: 3 hours; Miami to Santo Domingo: 1 hour, 50 mins; Miami to Puerto Plata 1 hour, 45 mins; San Juan to Punta Cana: 1 hour.
Domestic flights are less numerous than in years' past, and at present there are no domestic flights between Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. To make this trip, you must charter a plane, take a bus from downtown Santo Domingo, rent a car for the drive, pay over $150 for a taxi, or hire a private car/shuttle service, like Dominican Shuttles.com with its Mercedes service. With the new highway completed, drive time (not bus time) is now about 3 hours 15 mins to Puerto Plata, 3 hours to Sosua, and 2 hours 45 mins to Cabarete.
There are a lot of flights between Punta Cana and La Isabela, and they are only rarely cancelled. However, passengers must be aware that if they have a connection in SDQ it is about an hour's drive between La Isabela and Las Américas Airport, and traffic can be horrible. Also, flights that use 3- or 5-seater planes are often cancelled because of meteorological conditions or insufficient passengers, so always check and recheck your reservation. Also, the amount of luggage is often an issue because of limited space.
The Dominican Republic has seven major international airports and one major domestic airport, including Cibao International Airport in Santiago (STI), which is convenient to the North Coast and central mountain regions of the island; Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) in Puerto Plata, about 7 mi (11 km) east of Playa Dorada; the La Isabela International Dr. Joaquin Balaguer Airport (JBQ), about 10 mi (16 km) north of Santo Domingo (you'll hear it called Higüero Airport and even Isabela, and it's used mainly for domestic flights, with just a few international ones); La Romana–Casa de Campo International Airport (LRM) in La Romana, which is being used increasingly for international flights; Las Américas International Airport (SDQ), about 15 mi (24 km) east of Santo Domingo, which has been beautified and improved over the past few years; El Catey International Airport (AZS), the impressive international airport about 25 mi (40 km) west of Samaná (as of yet no regularly scheduled airlines from the states, just charters); and Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ, the island's busiest, handling some 1.5 million passengers a year).
Security checks and check-in at Dominican airports can be slow, so you definitely must arrive 2 hours before an international fight. Anticipate long lines like those at major U.S. city airports.
Cibao International Airport (STI, Santiago, 51000. 809/582–4894.)
Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP, Puerto Plata, 57000. 809/586–0107.)
La Isabela International Dr. Joaquin Balaguer (DHG, Higuero. 809/826–4003.)
La Romana/Casa de Campo International Airport (La Romana, 22000. 809/813–9000.)
Las Américas International Airport (SDQ, Santo Domingo. 809/412–5888.)
President Juan Bosch International Airport (AZS, El Catay. 809/338–0150.)
Punta Cana International Airport (Punta Cana. 809/959–2376.)
Flights to and from the Dominican Republic
Most major airlines now have service to the Dominican Republic, including American Airlines/American Eagle, Continental, Delta, JetBlue (to Santiago, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo only), Spirit (to Santo Domingo, mainly in high season and some months to Punta Cana), and US Airways.
Many visitors fly nonstop on charter flights directly from the East Coast and Midwest, particularly into Punta Cana. These charters are generally part of a package, and can only be booked through a travel agent.
Air Caraïbes and Air Antilles Express connect to the French West Indies, both Guadeloupe and Martinique; LIAT connects the Dominican Republic mainly to the English-speaking Caribbean islands.
Incidents of theft, especially at Las Américas airport in Santo Domingo, are much less of a problem than in the past. At this writing, flights into Puerto Plata (particularly those connecting in Miami) have the worst reputation for pilfered baggage. Shrink-wrap your luggage whenever possible at the airports.
American Airlines (809/959-2420 in Punta Cana; 800/433-7300 in the U.S. www.aa.com.)
United (809/262-1060 in the D.R.; 800/538-2929 in the U.S. www.united.com.)
Delta (809/549-8151 in the D.R.; 800/221-1212 in U.S. www.delta.com.)
JetBlue (809/273–2771 in D.R. (tickets); 809/200–9898 in D.R. (Santo Domingo); 800/538–2583 in U.S. www.jetblue.com.)
Spirit Airlines (; 800/772-7117 in the U.S. www.spirit.com.)
US Airways (; 800/622-1015 in the D.R. www.usairways.com.)
Airtran Airways (809/959–0428 in the D.R.; 800/247–8726 in the U.S. www.airtranairways.com.)
Caribbean & Regional Airlines
Air Antilles Express (809/621-8888 General Services. www.airantilles.com.)
Air Caraïbes (809/621–8888 General Services; 0590/82–47–00 in Guadeloupe. www.aircaraibes.com.)
LIAT (809/621-8888 General Services. www.liatairline.com.)
Flights within the Dominican Republic
Aerodomca and Air Century, flying out of La Isabela Airport in Higüero Santo Domingo, offer charters and transfers. Aerodomca also services Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, La Romana, Santiago, and Samaná. Helidosa Helicopters offers both charter flights and aerial sightseeing excursions. In addition to charter flights, DominicanShuttles.com (formerly Takeoff Destination Service) has flights from Higüero, El Portillo (near Las Terrenas), Punta Cana, and Puerto Plata. It also offers a service called "Flights and Shuttles," which lets you book a shuttle to your hotel at the same time you get a flight. For example, it offers travelers who fly into Punta Cana a shuttle service in a Mercedes, to Samaná or even Puerto Plata.
Aerodomca (La Isabela International Dr. Joaquin Balaguer, Higuero. 809/738-3014 DomShuttle. aerodomca.com.)
Air Century (La Isabela International Dr. Joaquin Balaguer, Higuero. ; 809/224–3399 for charters; 809/738–3014 for DominicanShuttles. www.aircentury.com.)
DominicanShuttles.com (Near Las Américas Airport (SDQ), Villa Panamericana, JOZ 1 A-La Caleta, Las Américas, 15700. 809/931–4073. www.dominicanshuttles.com.)
Helidosa Helicopters (Punta Cana. 809/552-6069. www.helidosa.com.)
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