GPS in the Dominican Republic

Clients often ask me for directions around the area and in general, particularly around the Sosua – Cabarete area, it is quite easy. However, finding your way around to other parts of the Dominican Republic can be quite tricky. Roads are badly posted and building number more often than not absent. In general, finding your way along the north coast from Sosua to Las Terrenas is fairly straight forward as there is only the main road and you just keep driving east (Carretera 5).

The only places that we still find problems navigating around are the large cities such as Puerto Plata, Santiago and Santo Domingo. Becoming more readily available over the past couple of years are an option of Garmin based GPS Maps for the country.

Until recently, I was using the maps provided by Ola.com.do, however with their renewal prices at $US170, it is expensive. Hence I switched to the maps provided by Dominicana.cc which are available for $US89.  I have had the new maps for only a couple of days and to be honest, it is a bit disappointing.  I haven’t had the need to go to the cities this week, but locally,  it does not seem to have the level of detail as Ola, POI’s and smaller towns such as Sosua Abajo and Charimicos do not have road labels.

To display the maps, you have 2 options. Firstly the standard Garmin GPS unit (save money and buy a more feature rich, modern unit online on ebay / Amazon etc.) and buy the maps from Ola. The units they have for sale are overpriced in my opinion e.g. the Nuvi 200 they have packaged with their Santo Domingo map is currently $US255. The Santo Domingo map value is $US40. Making the Nuvi 200 an expensive $US215. The same unit is available on line for an average price of $US120.

If however, you are like me and hate bits of wires hanging around the dashboard and ‘untidiness’, the only other option are a range of after market in-dash units from Kenwood which have Garmin built in. As yet, I am still not aware of any factory standard in-car system that will read Garmin maps, which seems to be the only in-car routable maps available for the Dominican Republic.

The photos here are from a DNX9960 installed in my car. This is a very good unit which also adds full  ’hands-free’ functionality

Dominican Republic GPS map

for cellphones (inc. download of your phonebook from your cellphone), voice control for all functions (ensuring your hands are on the steering wheel) DVD player, multi-zone management (e.g. GPS on the front screen and DVD in the back), USB ports to read music from flash drives (I have a 8gb drive connected and 1000′s of songs!), bluetooth music streaming from your cellphone, rear-view camera, satellite radio and of course the usual FM/AM radio functions.

I spent quite some time finding the right GPS solution for the Dominican Republic for my needs, so if you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line. Attached is a screen shots of the dominicana.cc map.

I plan to keep this post updated as I find fault or features with my new map. One that is particularly irritating me looking at this photo and when I am in the car is the head text saying ‘Driving on Road’…..well of course…I know that! The maps available from Ola would say ‘Driving on Ayuntamiento’.

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One thought on “GPS in the Dominican Republic

  1. Have finally given up on the Dominicana.cc map and reverted to the maps from Ola. I found the following problems with the Dominicana.cc maps:
    1) The road map was sometimes out of synch with the GPS location, particularly on out of town roads.
    2) Don’t know where they download their POI’s from, however looking for the Intercontinental in Santo Domingo came up with 4+ locations. The POI’s are not manually reviewed before being placed on the map. Searching for the nearest gas station in Sosua gave me a MLS number and price. I think they are just copying real estate databases and not validating the fields correctly.
    3) Incorrect labeling / routing of one way streets in Santo Domingo and trying to make me turn in to a one way street is a clear no-no.