Because it is located in the Caribbean, weather in the Dominican Republic is excellent year-round. During the summer, the temperature can range from 90 F (32 C) at mid-day to 70 F (23 C) in the morning. Temperatures hover around 65 F (19 C) in the winter. In the high mountainous areas of Jarabacoa and Constanza, the weather is cooler and has gone as low as 41 F (5 C). Because of climate change, it is no longer possible to deliniate a specific rainy period. It can rain at any time of year, but usually just for short periods in the afternoon and evening. The warmest months are June, July, August and September.
The Dominican Republic has an excellent reputation for its varied and flavorful food. There are luxurious restaurants with gourmet menus as well as more casual ones with Creole food, a very local style. You will also find Oriental, Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian restaurants, as well as those with light or vegetarian food, pizzerias, and fast food.
If you would like a drink or entertainment after dinner, the bars and cafes in most cities are open and serve drinks until 2:00 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.
In the Dominican Republic, electric plugs are 110 volts, like those in the United States and Canada. Because of this, Europeans and visitors from some countries in South America will have to bring a power adapter.
To learn which embassies are present in the Dominican Republic, visit:
Overseas Dominican Embassies
Most businesses open their doors at 8:00 or 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM on business days and until 1:00 PM on Saturdays. Large shopping centers in the cities usually close at 9:00 PM and open on Sundays from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM. In smaller towns and many tourist destinations, shops close at 6:00 PM Restaurants usually remain open and serve food until midnight, Sunday to Thursday, and until 2:00 AM on Friday, Saturday and holidays. However, there are some within tourism establishments that remain open 24 hours a day.
The official language is Spanish.
Money, Cards and Banks
The Dominican currency is the Dominican peso. It comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 25 peso coins and in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 notes. Dollars and euros can be exchanged in banks and authorized exchange offices across the country.
There are restrictions on bringing more than US$10,000 in cash into the country and any amount over this value should be declared on the customs form. It is prohibited to leave the Dominican Republic with more than $10,000 US dollars or the equivalent in cash.
If you need cash, it is more convenient to take it out of a bank. They are normally open from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM In large business centers, some bank branches are open until 7:00 PM.
Passports, tourist card and visa
Citizens and residents of the United States, Canada and the majority of European countries can enter the country with a 30 day tourist card, which can be bought when you enter the country for US $10. Any person, no matter what their nationality, may come into the Dominican Republic with a tourist card if they have any of the following valid visas in their passport: United States, Canada, United Kingdom or the European Union (Schengen). If you wish to extend your tourist card to 90 days, you will need to pay UD$20 (RD$800) to immigration when you leave the country. The exit tax is US$20.00, but this is usually included in the airline ticket.
To see a list of the countries which require a visa to enter the Dominican Republic, visit:http://www.dgii.gov.do/tarjetaTuristica/EN/about/Paginas/default.aspx
Restaurant bills already include a ten percent tip. It is customary to give an additional ten percent for good service. Most people do not tip taxis, however you are welcome to if you feel so inclined.
The same restrictions apply as in the United States. In most restaurants and clubs, smoking is not allowed.
The Dominican people like to dress elegantly, and they love to wear en vogue pieces. Depending on the occasion, they tend to dress either casually or formally. Around hotels and resorts, it is suitable to wear light clothing such as shirts, t-shirts, shorts, swimwear or dresses.
In December and January, when the nights are cooler, you may need a light jacket or coat as the temperature drops at night and into the early hours of the morning.
If you are going to be in the mountains, you should bring coats and be prepared for temperatures as low as 41 F (5 C), especially in Constanza and Jarabacoa.
- In order to travel to the Dominican Republic, you will not need any vaccination outside of those normally required for Europe and North America.
In order to ensure that you make the most of your vacation:
- Even if the day is cloudy, use sun block, as the Caribbean sun is very strong.
- When you eat and drink, do so in moderation.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water or liquids.
- If you feel unwell, visit a doctor. At the tourist centers and in all cities there are health centers with modern medical services and most hotels have medical dispensaries with qualified personnel.
Traveling with Animals
Cats and dogs will need a health certificate from your country of origin, which is valid for at least 30 days and will also need a rabies vaccination certificate. Birds will need to be quarantined for ten days. For other animals, an import permit will be required from the National Department of Agriculture and Zoology.
Even though the Dominican Republic is one of the safest countries on the continent, you should still take the same precautions that you would when traveling to any new city:
- Always use the hotel safe to store your passport, money and other items of value
- Keep a photocopy of your passport with you when you travel around the cities
- Only take what is necessary along with you. When possible, take a credit card as well as cash.
- Avoid leaving articles of value or briefcases in full view in vehicles
- Try not to travel in dark and out-of-the-way places at inappropriate times
- If you are planning to go out at night, call a taxi from the hotel where you are staying
The Dominican Republic uses the same call system as the United States. The main area code is 809, though there are also numbers that use a 829 and 849 codes. You are required to dial ten digits for each call. If you are only given seven digits, it is most likely an 809 telephone number.
Because most people now have cell phones, there aren’t as many public phones. If you need a phone, you can buy a prepaid cell phone in the Dominican Republic with a local number for about US $42. The telephone companies that provide cell phone services are: Claro-Codetel, Orange, Tricom and Viva.
Viva also sells wireless internet for your laptop. You can purchase a phone in less than an hour at any shopping center. You may also change the “sim card” of your telephone for a local one and use it on your own phone. It is not difficult to find a WiFi hotspot to connect to the internet.
There’s a large network of roads connecting towns and tourist destinations around the country. You can easily access beautiful areas such as the luscious green landscape along the Santo Domingo-Santiago-Puerto Plata motorway, the spectacular panoramic views of the sea and mountains along the route towards Barahona, or the interesting new route through the Los Hiaitises National Park hills leading to the Samaná Peninsula and the North Coast.
The following land and air transportation options can help you travel around the Dominican Republic:
Various companies, including international rental companies such as National, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Europecar, Hertz and Dollar offer their services at the main airports, tourist destinations and towns. It’s best to rent a vehicle to visit the destinations and attractions that are located along the Northern coast, or also on the Samaná peninsula. This goes for traveling around the variety of beaches in Punta Cana and La Romana as well. For more information, contact the National Association of Rental Cars at www.andri.com.do
Taxis can be found at airports and hotels and can also be arranged in advance. They are listed in the telephone directory. Taxis are safe and reliable option in Santo Domingo as well as in many inland towns.
Santo Domingo Subway
The new modern Metro service began in 2009 from the municipality of Santo Domingo Norte up to the La Feria sector. It crosses the Máximo Gómez Avenue going south and circles around in an east-west direction along the Correa y Cidrón avenue, passing via the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, USAD. The route passes by many important buildings and ends at the Center of Heroes (La Feria) where the National Congress, the Town Hall of Santo Domingo and various government offices are located. A subway card costs RD$30 with recharge starting at RD$20, the value of each trip.
Metro Buses, Caribe Tours, Terra Bus and Bávaro Express
It is not difficult to travel between different regions of the country. There are several private transportion companies that can take you in comfortable modern busses. The Metro Buses and Caribe Tours cost less than US$10 for trips of up to 140 miles.
Bávaro Express leaves several times a day serving the Eastern regions including Bávaro, Punta Cana and other nearby areas. Make sure that you take a coat, as these buses tend to keep their air-conditioning at its lowest point.
Terra Bus is a Dominican company that offers transport services on buses between Santo Domingo and Puerto Príncipe. For more information, call 809-530-9796.
These are large buses that travel along the main roads of Santo Domingo and Santiago, from 7:00 a.m. until 9 p.m. The price of the ticket ranges between RD$5 and RD$10 depending on whether or not it has air conditioning.
Similarly, there are other smaller buses called “guaguas” (bus) or “voladoras” (fliers), that travel scheduled routes and circulate around the main streets and avenues, stopping when the passenger asks. The price for longer trips does not go over RD$25.
Public cars or “conchos” (speedsters)
“Concho cars,” are very similar to the “guaguas,” because they travel specific routes and stop at points requested by the passengers, for an average price of RD$25. You can find these in the capital as well as towns and villages. However, if you take a “carrera,” the price will be negotiable.
“Motoconcho” (Speed Bikes)
Motorcycles, frequently used in the Dominican Republic, are great for traveling relatively short distances. The cost should be agreed on beforehand, but should not be over RD$100 for a long trip.
In Punta Cana, helicopters are a quick and comfortable way of getting to know the area and its 32 miles of beaches. There are helicopter companies that fly to Santo Domingo and other destinations, connecting different cities and tourist points.
There are local companies that fly scheduled flights to and from Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and Samaná. Air Century offers two flights per day to Punta Cana and from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo to the La Isabela International Airport (AILI). For more information, please visit http://www.aircentury.com/
Aerodomca offers daily flights from AILI to the area of Portillo in Samaná. Once a day it stops at the International Airport de las Américas (AILA). For more information, please visit http://www.aerodomca.com
Takeoff offers flights from AILI to Punta Cana (PUJ), as well as from this area to Puerto Plata (POP), and from Punta Cana to Samaná- Arroyo Barril (ABA). For more information, please visit http://www.takeoffweb.com
Table of distances between the towns and cities of the Dominican Republic:
|From Santo Domingo to:
|Barahona||3 hrs.||124 miles|
|Bayahibe||2 hrs.||87 miles|
|Boca Chica||30 mins.||22 miles|
|Jarabacoa||1 hr. 30 mins.||97 miles|
|Juan Dolio||50 mins.||40 miles|
|La Romana||1 hr. 45 mins.||68 miles|
|Puerto Plata||3 hrs.||134 miles|
|Punta Cana||3 hrs. 30 mins.||127 miles|
|Samaná||2 hrs. 30 mins.||152 miles|
|Santiago||1 hr. 30 mins.||96 miles|
|From Puerto Plata to:||Travel time
|Barahona||7 hrs.||227 miles|
|Cabarete||30 mins.||22 miles|
|Cofresi||5 mins.||4 miles|
|La Romana||5 hrs.30 mins.||199 miles|
|Playa Dorada||5 mins.||3 miles|
|Punta Cana||7 hrs.30 mins.||265 miles|
|Samaná||3 hrs.30 mins.||131 miles|
|Santiago||1 hr.||43 miles|
|Santo Domingo||3 hrs.||135 miles|
|Sosúa||20 mins.||16 miles|
|From Punta Cana to:||Travel time
|Barahona||7 hrs. 30 mins.||255 miles|
|Bayahibe||2 hrs.||47 miles|
|Boca Chica||3 hrs.||105 miles|
|Jarabacoa||5 hrs. 30 mins.||227 miles|
|Juan Dolio||2 hrs. 50 mins.||93 miles|
|La Romana||2 hrs. 15 mins.|