Guagua: The ‘Tight Squeeze’ Bus
Taking a guagua, crammed in like a sardine, is almost a rite of passage in Cabarete.
Guaguas are public buses that look like vans with sliding doors. They run very regularly along the main road, with one passing every 5 or 10 minutes, or so.
If you walk along the street in Cabarete, you’ll likely be enthusiastically invited into a van full of people by a shouting and waving man, who may or may not be hanging out of the open door.
To get on, wave the guagua down and jump in, if there’s space. Tell the assistant where you want to go, using local landmarks if you can, and pay the fare. It should be around 12-20RD per person for most short journeys.
Offical guaguas have ID tags and destination names on the wind shield, which may well be cracked. They often carry cheery slogans like ‘Jesus saves’, ‘God bless my driving’ or ‘May God help whoever crashes into me’.
Please, use common sense and don’t get into an empty, unlabelled van.
Once you’re in, you will likely be sharing the van with tens of other people, and maybe some large, pointy-edged packages and live animals too, if you’re lucky.
To get off, just do what everyone else does and shout real loud. ‘Aqui, aqui, aqui!’, ‘Me quedo!’ or ‘Llego!’ usually work a treat.
The most fun part of taking a guagua is trying to guess when the driver or assistant thinks the van is at capacity. Just when you think no one else could possibly fit, everybody squeezes up and suddenly there’s room for a family of four!
They say there’s no such thing as a full guagua. Always room for one more!
So, now you’re all clued up on Dominican transport methods. Life in Cabarete truly is an adventure.