Mosquitoes are generally active during the evening and night and especially in areas where there is water. Mosquito spray can be bought at all the hotel resorts. Some tourist areas are also frequently sprayed for mosquitoes and other insects during the evening. If you are allergic to mosquito bites, we recommend that you wear long pants/skirt and possibly also socks in the evening.
Hotel resorts in the Dominican Republic usually have an internet café with reasonable prices for using the internet. The good hotel resorts also have wireless (or regular) internet access in the rooms and in the lobby area where you can get online for free. Otherwise, there are plenty of small internet cafés outside the resorts.
It is possible to rent cars from companies such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, or National. The prices range depending on what type of car you want to rent and for how long. You must be 21 years of age and have a valid driver’s licence in order to rent a car. However, it is not recommended that you drive around on your own. The traffic is usually very bad, the Dominicans drive however they want, there are no street signs in many parts of the DR, so it can be easy to get lost. In addition, driving at night can be very dangerous in certain parts of the DR because the roads may have many large pot holes, which can be difficult to avoid in the dark. Be aware that Dominicans usually drive with their high beams on meaning that you will be blinded whenever you meet an oncoming car. If you still need to rent a car, you may contact the following companies (or ask your travel agent / local tour operator!):
Cabarete: Plaza El Patio Local F. Tel: +1 809-571-9540
La Romana: La Romana Intl. Airport. Tel: +1 809-813-9099
La Romana: Casa de Campo Marina. Tel: +1 809-480-8897
La Romana: Francisco Castillo Marquez #35. Tel: +1 809-550-0600
Puerto Plata: La Union Intl. Airport. Tel: +1 809-586-0214
Puerto Plata: Carretera Luperon Km 4 1/2. Tel: +1 809-586-4436
Punta Cana: Punta Cana Intl. Airport. Tel: +1 809-688-1354
Punta Cana: Carretera Arena Gorda. Tel: +1 809-688-1354
Santiago: Santiago Airport Termina Bldg. Tel: +1 809-233-8154
Santiago: Antigua Carretera Duarte Km 2 (Tramo Santiago/Licey). Tel: +1 809-582-7007
Santo Domingo: La Isabela Airport. Tel: +1 809-826-4600
Santo Domingo: Las Americas Intl. Airport. Tel: +1 809-549-0468
Santo Domingo: George Washington Avenue 517. Tel: +1 809-535-7191
If your cell phone operates on a TRI BAND or GSM, you should have no problems using it in the Dominican Republic. In the tourist areas and in the capitol there is generally very good reception. Otherwise, you could get a local phone or sim card for your own phone and just purchase minutes to go with it. The cost for a local phone is approx. US$ 40 (depending on the phone) from e.g. Orange, Claro, Tricom or Viva.
All plugs in the Dominican Republic are American standard plugs, so you might need an adapter. Adapters can be bought in the gift shop at the hotel resort. The voltage used is 110V – 120V.
No visa is required for most tourists travelling to the Dominican Republic. All tourists will, however, need to purchase a tourist card upon entering the Dominican Republic. The tourist card costs US$ 10,00 and must be paid in cash USD. Upon departure you will have to pay a departure tax of US$ 20,00. This departure tax may be included in your ticket – please ask your traveling agent.
For U.S. and Canadian citizens: As of January 1, 2008, all American citizens must show a valid passport when re-entering the United States. Canadians traveling directly to the Dominican Republic can enter with their original birth certificate and 2 photo identifications (driver's license and health insurance card).
Please consult with your doctor before your trip. The number and type of vaccines which you may need depend on your history of vaccines as well as your traveling plans. In general the following vaccines are recommended:
Hepatitis A (recommended for all travelers).
Hepatitis B (recommended for travelers who may have intimate contact with local residents, especially if visiting for more than 6 months).
Routine immunizations (all travelers should be up-to-date on tetanus-diphtheria, polio, etc).
Getting around in the cities of the Dominican Republic is not a problem. The more “adventurous” people will find the local busses (the "gwa gwa") an experience. Prices range depending on how far you are going, but it is generally very cheap to travel by bus. The small, local busses will stop almost anywhere along the road so they are easy to catch. The big express busses travelling between the big cities only make a few stops, and you will have to go to the bus station to catch them.
If you are only travelling a very short distance, you might want to try the “moto conchos” – these are small mopeds which drive around and function as taxis. You just hop on the back, and the driver will take you anywhere you want to go. This kind of transportation is a little more expensive than the busses and only recommended for very short distances.
If you are not comfortable taking the local transportation, you can always take a taxi. Taxis can be ordered from the reception of your hotel. You can always ask the driver to take you on a round trip. When you get to where you want to go, you can ask the driver to wait for you or to come back for you. If you are going on a round trip, do not pay the driver until you are back at your hotel again. Remember that taxis are generally expensive, so you should always ask for the price before you get in the car. Generally, the taxi prices are fixed according to the taxi company's price list and are therefore not negotiable.
In most places it is common and appreciated to leave a tip – therefore it is a good idea to bring plenty of US$ 1,00 bills. In most local restaurants outside the hotel resorts a 10% service charge is added to your bill, so technically you do not have to leave a tip, even though it is always expected and a common curtesy (unless the service has been bad). A few dollars tend to go a long way in the Dominican Republic, so if you have problems for example with your hotel room or want to change for a better location, give the receptionist a few dollars, and he might find it easier to fix your problem. In general, we recommend tipping in the following ways:
Bellboys at the hotel / luggage handlers at the airport: US$ 1 per suitcase.
Waiters at your hotel restaurants / bartenders: leave a few dollars if you have been satisfied with their service (US$ 3 - US$ 5).
At restaurants/bars outside the resorts: ca. 10% of the bill.
Maid at the hotel: leave a few dollars (e.g. US$ 5 - US$10) for the maid at the beginning of your vacation, and she will treat you well and give you extra soap, towels, etc.
Guides: leave a tip if you have been satisfied with their service (US$ 5 - US$ 10).
Drivers: leave a few dollars is they have given you good service (US$ 3 - US$ 5).
You should not drink the water from the taps. This water is only good for showering and for brushing your teeth. Drink only bottled water. If you want to be 100% on the safe side you can also brush your teeth in bottled water. The water served in hotel, restaurants and bars is always bottled water.
Yes. Ice cubes in the Dominican Republic are only made with purified water in factories around the country. No matter where you are (in the hotel, in a restaurant outside the hotel or on an excursion), you will only be served purified (bottled) water and ice cubes that had been made from purified water as well. Even the smallest and most local restaurant outside the hotel resorts use ice cubes that are made with purified water, so there is no need to worry.
The Dominican Republic is the most peaceful island in the Caribbean when it comes to crime. The crime rate is even lower than in many large European or American cities. It is perfectly safe to walk around anywhere and at any time of the day – especially in tourist areas. Petty crimes happen everywhere – even in the Dominican Republic. Normal common sense should be applied meaning that you should not carry more cash in your purse than necessary; you should not walk around with your purse/bag open, put your money and other valuables in the safety deposit box of your hotel room, etc.
The food and drinks served in the hotel resorts is very safe to consume. Lettuce, etc. is always rinsed with purified water, they use purified water to cook the food, etc. However, it is generally recommend that you do not overindulge in fresh pineapple, foods containing coconut milk and fresh salad the first couple of days of your vacation. Pineapple and coconut milk are natural laxatives, so you should also hold back on the Pina Colada and drinks made with coconut milk – at least until your stomach has become adjusted. Although fresh lettuce is rinsed with purified water, it does contain some bacteria, which the lettuce has drawn up from the ground during growth.
Persons travelling to the United States from the Dominican Republic must be aware of the different duty regulations which apply for persons entering the United States. For more information, click here.
Persons travelling to Canada from the Dominican Republic must be aware of the duty regulations which apply for persons entering Canada. For more information, click here.
Persons travelling to Europe from the Dominican Republic must be aware of the duty regulations which apply for persons entering the European Union. For more information, click here.
All hotels and resorts in the Dominican Republic have a medical centre with 24 hour service and pharmacies. You should always remember to drink enough water; especially when you are in the sun. Avoid any excess activity during the hot hours of the day and avoid drinking too much alcohol in the sun as well. Tourists who get seriously ill or need to go to a hospital will be taken to a private hospital. These hospitals are of a very high standard and the doctors speak English. If you need to go to the hospital, you should always bring your passport, your insurance card and information as well as your credit card. If you are taking any medication, bring it along as well.
Hospitals in Santo Domingo:
Hospiten Santo Domingo
Alma Mater & Bolivar
Tel: +1 809-541-3000
Ortega y Gasset 10
Tel: +1 809-565-9989
Centro Abel Gonzalez
Abraham Lincoln 953
Tel: +1 809-227-2235
Hospitals in Punta Cana:
Hospiten Punta Cana / Bavaro
Tel: +1 809-686-1414
Centro Medico Punta Cana
Av. España, Bávaro
Tel: +1 809-552-1506
Hospitals in La Romana:
Centro Medico Central Romana
Tel: +1 809-687-7787
Centro Medico Dr. Canela
Tel: +1 809-813-3135
The local currency is Dominican pesos (RD$), however everything can be purchased and paid for in US dollars. In many cases, US dollars are preferred. US$ 1 is approximately worth 40 pesos.
Most people find that the hotel resorts have everything they need – food, drinks, etc. – so they see no need in going outside the resort for lunch or dinner. However, depending on what area you are travelling to, you will find a good selection of restaurants outside the resort. In Punta Cana there are a few good places to eat, and they are reasonable in prices. A meal will cost you from US$ 20,00 and up. In the supermarkets outside the resorts you will be able to find a lot of the products sold inside the hotel shops for at least half price! So if you are staying at a resort that is close to a local supermarket, it might be worth going there to buy your sun lotion, mosquito spray, etc.
The sun is extremely strong in the Caribbean. You should always use minimum factor 30 (preferably more). For children, it is recommended that you use an even higher factor. Stay out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day when the sunlight is strongest - you will still get a very good tan in the cool shade. Also, remember that the sun is especially strong if you are out on the ocean – for example if you are sailing, water skiing, etc. A hat and a thin, white T-shirt are usually good to bring along when you are going outside – especially for children.
Sun lotion and after sun lotion can be purchased at all the hotels. If you get a serious sun burn, the best thing is to put on some fresh aloe vera from the branches of the aloe vera cactus. In most hotel resorts you will be able to find the aloe vera cactus growing among the flowers and bushes – break off a small piece of the branch and smear on the yellow juice. This will cure your burn in a few hours, and your skin will feel much better the next day - just be careful that you do not get the juice on your clothes because it will never come off!
The tourist season for American, Canadian and European tourists starts in November and ends in May. During the hot months of the summer there are many South Americans and Spanish tourists in the Dominican Republic. The temperature is pretty much the same all year around with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius / 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it does get hot during the months of June, July, August and September with temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius / 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On the north coast of the island the rainy periods are usually during the winter while the rain falls mostly from May to October on the south coast. September is "hurricane month" with the biggest chance of severe storms hitting the Dominican Republic.
Dominican embassies or consulates are located around the world.
Juncal 615 Piso 5 Ofc. A
(C1052ABA) Buenos Aires, Argentina
1130 Vienna, Austria
Avenue Louise 271 Louizalaan
Bruxelles 1050, Belgium
Ave. Sao Luis No. 50
Conjunto 91E 9. Andar
Edif. Italia Centro
Cep 01046-926 Sao Paulo/SP, Brasil
2080 Rue Crescent
Montreal PQ, H3G 2B8, Canada
Call free: 1-800-563-1611
26 Wellington Street East Suite 201
Tel: 416-361-2126 / 27
Call free: 1-888-494-5050
Augusto Leguia Sur, 79
Oficina 1105, Las Condes
Santiago de Chile, Chile
Oficina 513 de la Torre A
Edif. Teleport Business Park,
Calle 114 No. 9-01, Santa Fe de Bogota,
Tel: 57-1-629-1818 / 1841
11000 Prague, Czech Republic
22 Rue du 4 Septembre
75002, Paris, France
60313 Frankfurt, Germany
25 Piazza Castello
20121 Milano, Italia
Kowa 38 Blgd. #904, 4-12-24
Tokyo 106-0031 Japan
C. Shpalernaya, 54, Of. A12
191015 St. Petersburg, Russia
Calle General Yague, 4 Puerta 12
28020 Madrid, Spain
111 56 Stockholm, Sweden
18-21 Hand Court
London WC1V 6JF, England
561 West Diversey Building Suite 214
Chicago, Il 60614-1643, USA
Tel: 773-529-1336 / 37
Call free: 1-888-303-1336
848 Brickell Ave. Suite 405
Miami, FL 33131 USA
Call free: 1-888-358-9594
USA (NEW YORK):
136 E. 57 St. Suite 803
New York, NY 10022, USA
Tel: 212-588-1012 / 14
Call free: 1-888-374-6361
USA (PUERTO RICO):
890 Ashford Ave.
Local C-3 Condado
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
Calle Villaflor con Ave. Casanova
Edif. Offimaker, Piso1, Oficina 1-3
Sabana Grande, Caracas, Venezuela