Saturday, November 30, 2013

Caribe Tours to Dominican Republic

Petionville Station in Haiti

Last month I went to the Dominican Republic for the ECHO Caribbean Conference held in a hotel in the capital Santo Domingo.  Thanks to my friend Rhoda buying our tickets and making arrangements to get to the bus station, taking Caribe Tours bus line was very easy.  The main station for Caribe is in Petionville, up in the rich part of Port au Prince.  There is also a smaller station at a gas station in Tabarre, the neighborhood near the US Embassy.  Tickets were $75 round trip, and Caribe took care of the border crossing logistics.  It takes about 8 hrs between the Petionville station and the Santo Domingo station.

At the Petionville office we checked in and gave our passports along with $23 US cash plus 100gds for the border crossing.  There’s no place to leave vehicles so friends dropped us off.  The 8am bus departed at 8:30am.  The bus is a large modern touring bus, with a restroom on board and movies.  (Saw Pacific Rim, then they got violent and R-rated).  Luggage can go under the bus or inside on the overhead racks.  I recommend traveling with just backpacks you can keep on board.  Lunch of rice and beans and chicken was served on board while we were waiting to get back on the road after crossing into the DR.

First border stop to exit Haiti.
Around 11am we reached the border via a road that runs along a lake that is rising.  We stop and the Caribe lady who has everyone’s passports gets off and has them stamped to exit Haiti.  She gets back on and hands back our passports, we drive maybe half a mile and pull into a large lot where we get out, go to a window, and get the passports stamped to enter the DR.  We also hand in the forms they give you on the plane about entering and exiting a country.  Some people with large bags had to have those checked, but no one looked at our backpacks.

Then we hit the road again and at 5pm pulled up to the Santo Domingo station.  Which was large and felt like a European subway station.  Being in the DR felt like being in a different world – I’ll have to save that for another post.  We get off the bus and flag down a taxi to take us to the hotel, only $5 US total for 5 people!

The trip back to Haiti was just the same, but in reverse.  The return fees were $21US plus 200 gds.  The bus departed around 9am and arrived at the border around 2pm.  We got off the bus for passport stamping at both the DR and Haiti customs offices.  We hit Port au Prince around 5pm then it seemed like it took forever to drive around dropping people off here and there.  We finally got to the station around 7pm, so the return was about 10 hrs.

Second border stop - passport stamping to enter DR.
I came back with one of the worst colds of my life, so stayed a couple days in Port to recuperate, then took what felt like the longest bus ride of my life which is chronicled here.

Lunch.  We were all afraid of the macaroni salad.
Dominican Republic stop in the capital.

Waiting area in the Santo Domingo station.

Back in Petionville Haiti with a load of cut flowers to sell.

No comments:

Post a Comment