Get to know the Dominican Republic
Meet the Dominican Republic, the second largest country bathed by the waters of the Caribbean and the preferred destination for tourism for its beauty and authenticity. Discover the first European settlement in America, on the island that Columbus named La Española and which became the richest colony in the world. Enjoy its privileged climate and a landscape diversity that brings together rainforests, beaches with crystal clear waters, high mountain ranges, fertile valleys and amazing mangroves, which make it an idyllic holiday destination.
Its capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest settlement in the New World. Lively and bustling, it maintains the charm and flavor of centuries of history. Stroll through its colonial quarter, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1990, and explore its architectural gems or let yourself be carried away by the picturesque colonial Chu Chu, the little train that makes a guided tour. Discover ancient buildings such as the Alcázar de Colón, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, declared in 1546 the first cathedral of America, the temple of the Mercedes or the Ozama fortress.
Rest and enjoy the atmosphere in the Colón park or take in the history of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, the National Museum of History and Geography or the Pre-Hispanic Art Gallery. Visit the Independence Park with the Puerta del Conde and the Altar de la Patria, or the Plaza de la Misericordia, emblematic places of the Dominican Independence. Learn about the new trends in art at the Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, the Museum of Bellapart, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Take contact with the natural environment visiting the botanical garden, the zoo and the wonderful aquarium. In addition, you can enjoy incredible beaches such as Boca Chica, Playa Caribe and Playa Guayacanes Playa Guayacanes, which await you one step away from the capital. And do not forget to stroll along the boardwalk, a 14 km maritimeboulevard lined with palm trees on the shores of the Caribbean.
But in addition to the capital, the Dominican Republic offers a wide variety of options to enjoy and know in each of its regions.
In the northern region, popularly known as El Cibao, you can get to know the wonderful city of Puerto Plata, named after Columbus by the silver reflection that the sun prints on the sea. Browse its beautiful coasts by catamaran or glass bottom boat while watching the marine fauna, or contemplate the city from the top of the Isabel de Torres mountain in a cable car trip. Rechéate in the nearby beaches, Cofresí, Sosúa or Cabarete, a mecca of adventure sports where you can also discover the underground lagoons of the impressive caves of Cabarete. Visit the Amber Museum or the distillery of the famous Ron Brugal. Discover the Banco de Plata natural sanctuary, where whales pass the cold months every year and the manatee marine reserve. You will find the most virgin nature in the Nalga Maco National Park and you will be able to make an unforgettable route visiting the impressive waterfalls of the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua.
In the Monte Cristi region you will find the Monte Cristi underwater national park, to which the islands of Cayo Siete Hermanos belong, where you can enjoy diving in a protected natural area of ??great value and beauty.
If you want to get away from the more conventional tourist circuits, discover such evocative places as San Juan River, Nagua, San Ignacio de Sabaneta or Dajabón.
The eastern part of the country corresponds to the more traditional tourism, which translates into an unbeatable tourist infrastructure. On the coast of Punta Cana and Playa Bávaro you will find a wide range of all-inclusive hotels with all the amenities for the traveler.
In La Romana, one of the most popular destinations in the country, you can enjoy beautiful beaches such as Isla Saona, Catalinita or Playa Rincon, enjoy baseball games or golf tournaments or try your luck at the Dominicus casino. From here, many excursions depart to enjoy a day of shopping, from the popular crafts of Bayahibe to the assorted boutiques of the Casa de Campo Marina. Do not forget to visit Altos de Chavón, replica of an Italian-Spanish town from the 16th century, built in 1976, a meeting point for artists, galleries and workshops. Get to know the Eastern National Park by traveling the Ecological and Archaeological Path Padre Nuestro through the beautiful tropical forest. Live the adventure in the submarine museums that cross the coast in an underwater ecotourism route starting from the shipwrecked pirate ship of Captain Kidd. And do not forget that La Romana offers a variety of events throughout the different seasons, learn more about thetournaments, concerts and festivities that take place during your stay.
Other nearby towns of great interest are the picturesque village of Boca Yuma, or San Pedro de Macorís, with its lively boardwalk full of beach bars.
The town of El Seibo will be of special interest if you want to practice ecotourism or mountain sports activities. Complete the visit to the area with a stop in the town of Miches, and you will know all the authenticity of a typical Dominican town away from the tourist influence.
In Hato Mayor you will enjoy the beauty of the Haitises national park, the caves of La Arena, the railroad and San Gabriel. If you travel in February or March in the area of ??Sabana del Mar, in the bay of Samaná, you will be amazed by the spectacle of the arrival of the humpback whales.
On the island of Cayo Levantado you can savor the cuisine of the area in an idyllic setting and excursions on foot or horseback to the El Limón waterfall. You will discover a waterfall of 40 meters above a natural pool where you can cool off. Visit South Coast, destination of unique beauty, that goes beyond its paradisiac beaches of warm and crystalline waters, and enjoys natural and cultural monuments that will make your visit an unforgettable moment.
Palmar de Ocoa, Punta Salinas Beach or Playa Larga, bathed by the Caribbean Sea, are some of the incomparable beaches that you can visit in the South Coast and that are perfectly connected with cities such as San Cristóbal, where you can appreciate the beauty of the remains Historical sites of Resoli Fort and the Ingenios de Boca de Nigua and Diego Caballero, without forgetting cultural landmarks such as the church Nuestra Señora de La Consolación, the Municipal Palace or the Estrada Torres Historical and Archaeological Museum, perfect sample of the cultural legacy of the city.
In addition, you can visit the impressive region of Azua, and discover the ruins of Pablo Viejo, the region of José de Ocoa, where the view of the dunes of Baní will not leave you indifferent, together with the Historical Archive Museum of Baní, the perfect place to be aware of the cultural importance of the area.
But you must not go through the South Coast without being part of their traditions, so you can enjoy the patron saint festivities, which together with the great Carnival, make up a set of festivities that will make your visit to the Dominican Republic a unique experience. The southwest of the Dominican Republic will allow you to discover the most sporting face of the country, since you can enjoy the practice of water sports on its wonderful beaches that, together with the stunning mountains, give the territory a unique beauty, capable of giving great natural riches what you can enjoy.
The southwest, therefore, is perfect for ecotourism, since you will be able to visit unique places in the world such as Barahona, a region with such natural beauty that houses three national parks and Lake Enriquillo, the largest in the Caribbean.
In the same way, you will find samples of the great cultural importance that regions like Bahoruco have, where a great number of artists from different fields live, and you can live the traditional culture in its famous Carnaval de las Cachúas de Cabral; In addition, you will witness a unique event in the world, since you can visit the Magnetic Pole, a place where the law of gravity, mysteriously, is reversed. All this, accompanied by an incomparable gastronomy, full of Caribbean aromas and flavors, and where the famous Barahona banana merges into a perfect match with the fruits that the sea and the river give each day.
Beyond its incredible beaches, the interior of the country also has much to offer us. In the valleys of Cibao and de la Vega, you can enjoy all kinds of adventure activities including rafting, tubing and canyoning and even dare with paragliding or an excursion to Duarte peak, the highest in the country. If you are looking for tranquility, it is also an exceptional setting for hiking and horse riding.
And finally, visit the town of Santiago de los Caballeros, the second in extension after the capital, where it is mandatory to visit the cigar factory La Aurora Cigar Factory. In Concepción de la Vega you can not miss the most colorful Carnival in the Dominican Republic. But you still have much to discover, Jaragua, “the city of eternal spring,” the fertile Constanza valley, the prosperous San Francisco de Macoris, the tropical spot of Monte Plata or the bustling town of Bonao await you.
Documentation needed to travel to Dominican Republic
Prepare all the necessary documentation to travel to the Dominican Republic according to the country you come fromTo enter the island the requirement of documents varies according to the country of origin of each tourist.
In the first place, it is essential to have a valid passport. In the case of foreigners who come from Great Britain, the European Union, Canada or the United States, they have the possibility to legally access the Dominican Republic with their passport and tourist card. The tourist card is a document that can be obtained in the same airport or in any port of entry to the country, in the Dominican embassies or, sometimes, it is included.In the price of the vacation plan offered by the travel agency. There is also the possibility of acquiring it on-line through the page of the General Directorate of Internal Taxes: http://www.dgii.gov.do/tarjetaTuristica.
It is a standard value of about US $ 10 or € 10, depending on the currency, valid for one year from the time of issue and that will allow you to stay for 30 days. You can only use it once, so if you want to extend the stay for a few days there is a small surcharge, and if you are more than two months you can request an extension of the card.
This card is a tax that establishes the country for those who visit it and, therefore, it can only be used by those who travel for tourism purposes.
On the other hand, the Dominican Republic issues different types of visas depending on the visitor’s objective. That is, there is a business visa, a student visa, a tourist visa (valid for up to 60 days), a residence visa, etc. Each with specific requirements and rates that you must request in the embassy of the Dominican Republic that is in your country.
Travelers from Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Israel, Japan and South Korea are exempt from the payment. Nor do foreign diplomats and consulates who hold accreditation by the country and enter an official mission have to acquire the card. Free of the payment are also residents, visas and nationalized Dominicans.
And, on the other hand, those who travel with their own aviation can enter the country provided they meet a series of requirements: that the ship does not weigh more than 30,000 pounds and that it does not have a capacity of more than 12 passengers; and the purpose of the tripshould be for leisure, business, tourism or sports.
In the case of other Latin American nationalities such as Cuba, Panama or Colombia, a visa is required to enter the Dominican Republic.The most advisable thing is to consult the embassy before traveling and to know in detail the necessary documents.
Las Américas International Airport Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez (IATA Code: SDQ, ICAO code: MDSD) is one of the main air terminals in theDominican Republic. It is the most important airport in the city of Santo Domingo because there is a secondary terminal called La Isabela International Airport.
At the airport exit you can find buses and minibuses that will take you from the airport to the city. The stops are next to the terminal building and the journey time is approximately 20 minutes.
Climate in the Dominican Republic
Find out about the characteristic tropical climate, its temperatures and rainfall, of the Dominican Republic
The climate of the Dominican Republic is tropical warm, which has a fairly stable temperature throughout the seasons, which ranges between 25 and 35 ºC. The highest temperatures are reached in summer between the months of July and August, while from November to January they change a little, decreasing to 18ºC, in high altitude regions, and 24ºC in the rest of the country.
It must be taken into account that, since it is a warm tropical climate, the rains are abundant. The rainy season coincides with summer,since two rainy seasons are generally established: from April to June and from September to November. In addition, its location in the middle of the Caribbean is ideal for severe storms and a hurricane on the island between the months of June and November. In fact, this time of year is known as “cyclonic season”, with the possibility of both floods and droughts.
When located in the northern hemisphere, the seasons of the year coincide with those of the entire European continent, North America and the South American zone, which includes Panama, most of Colombia and Venezuela; while the countries located in the southern hemisphere, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay or a large part of Ecuador, will go the other way, since the summer extends from December to March and the winter from June to September .
Currency in the Dominican Republic
Know the official currency of the Dominican Republic and the different payment options you can make. The Dominican Republic has its own currency, the Dominican peso (RD $), which is divided into 100 cents.
For the monetary exchange, 25 and 50 cents coins are available, which are hardly used; and of 1 and 5 pesos. As for the tickets, there are 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 2000 pesos. It is also possible to use the US dollar as a second currency, since it is accepted in any establishment aimed at tourism. In addition, both US dollars and euros can be exchanged for pesos at any bank, exchange house and many hotels.
Accepted credit cards and travelers checks:
In relation to credit cards, Visa or MasterCard, and travelers checks, both are accepted in most of the establishments, but in the case cards must be careful to avoid being subsequently used fraudulently , either in duplicate or by copy of number.
National Police: 809-682-3004
Health and medical care in the Dominican Republic
Know what to do if you need healthcare or medical coverage in the Dominican Republic
Health coverage in the Dominican Republic can not be compared to European coverage. Although it is quite good, tourists are not recommended to attend public health, but rather to private, which does have the necessary resources to provide a good service, although the costs are very high.
Spaniards must take into account that Spain’s Social Security does not cover any health expenses outside the country, for this reason it is recommended to all tourists, regardless of the country, to buy health insurance, which is more reasonable prices than those who would pay for these services without being insured. Find out about the travel insurance offered by the agencies themselves and verify that it includes repatriation in case of emergency.
Thus, it must be taken into account that the Dominicans themselves distinguish between “hospitals”, which are public health centers and “clinics”, which would be private institutions.
Among the most relevant clinics are Hospiten, AAA Health Centers and Clínica Abreu, which are mainly located in Santo Domingo; while in Santiago, the Corominas Clinic, the Maternal and Child Hospital or the Medical Union Clinic are located, among the most important. Regarding the purchase of medicines in pharmacies, it is important to know that the sale of the doses is based on the pills you must take and the customer is not obliged to buy the entire box.
On the other hand, a series of general precautions must be followed to avoid some incidents. For example, although the government says that 80% of the water is potable, it is better to use only bottled water. In any market, supermarket or grocery store (grocery store), you can buy huge bottles of bottled water, which shows that most residents consume them.
Also do not forget the mosquito repellent, as bites are very frequent, especially the jejen, which are quite painful.
Of course, something that does not get the attention it deserves is the sun. The use of bronzer is very important; in a few minutes you can have skin problems depending on the type of skin, especially sunburn, since the Caribbean sun is especially strong.
Language in the Dominican Republic
The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, used together with the Antillean form in the everyday language. In its lexiconyou can find African influences (Africanisms), foreigners coming essentially from the English of the United States and also neologisms thatclash with the maintained archaisms of ancient Spanish. As for his accent, he remembers Canary Spanish.
In addition to Spanish, you can find enclaves where Haitian Creole is spoken, whose extension throughout the country is due to immigrants from Haiti and their descendants. Also English, not only because of the strong American influence, but also because of the presence of native Dominicans who were descendants of American slaves in the 19th century. And finally, you can listen to French, a language widely spread throughout the island.
Business hours in Dominican Republic
In general, life in the Dominican Republic begins at 8:00 in the morning. Banks open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and some until 6:00 p.m. The official centers, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the museums open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and also operate on Saturdays.
The shops open their doors from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, but on Sundays they close to rest. In the case of supermarkets, they generally operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and on Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The restaurants serve from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., since the Dominican meal schedule is from 12:00 to 14:00, and later from 20:00 to 24:00, always with variable schedules. The bars and nightclubs are open every day from 6:00 pm to 4:00 am, generally.
The most typical items on the island are, in addition to tobacco and Dominican rum, crafts based on mahogany, guayacan or bamboo; the own amber jewelery of the island, black coral, red coral, larimar and acerina. Also highly sought after are jewelery pieces (earrings, medallions, cufflinks, etc.) made with coins from Spanish galleons shipwrecked on the beaches, which reach high prices due to the scarcity of the material. Other striking items are the beautiful shells and showy shells, as well as the Haitian paintings, which vary in price depending on the size of the canvas.
For this type of shopping on the island, bargaining is very important, since it is a common practice that allows purchases at a very good price and avoid being scammed. Many sellers begin the negotiation with very high prices willing to the rebate.
Tips in the Dominican Republic
When you want to enjoy the delights that restaurants offer, for example, you should bear in mind that there are two mandatory taxes in the
Dominican Republic. On the one hand, 28% of sales tax and, on the other hand, 10% on services. In the hotels it increases to 23% on the official rate, so that it would not hurt to ask on arrival if the price per room has included the tax or has to add 23%.
For all this, you will understand that it is not common to leave tips, although you are free to give all the money you want, except for the bellboys, guides and other professionals who will always wait for an extra for their work.
Calling in the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic there is an international prefix to call the country: 00 (international prefix) + 1 + 809 and then the number of the place; and conversely, from the island to a foreign country, it is 011 (international prefix) + prefix of the country and the number of interest. For example, the number of the embassy of Spain in the Dominican Republic would be: (00 1 809) 535 65 00, while the number of the embassy of the Dominican Republic in Spain is: (011 34) 91 431 53 95.
Below are the prefixes of some of the Spanish-speaking countries that most frequent the Dominican Republic:
Spain: 011 + 34 + number.
Argentina: 011 + 54 + number.
Chile: 011 + 56 + number.
Colombia: 011 + 57 + number.
Costa Rica: 011+ 506 + number.
USA and Canada: 011 + 1 + number.
Mexico: 011+ 52 + number.
Peru: 011 + 51+ number.
At the national level, there are no different prefixes depending on the area, so they share the same prefix throughout the country, 809.
Time Zone -Dominican Republic
GMT -4 – Less 6 hours in summer and less 5 hours in winter compared to mainland Spain. At 12 noon, it is 6 or 7 in the morning in the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic location time zone map borders. Difference from your location: 4 hours ahead of Mountain View, California …The time zone used in the Dominican Republic is GMT -4, as in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bolivia or Paraguay. Also the eastern part of Canada, such as Quebec or Toronto, and the eastern part of the United States, such as New York or Washington. The case of Venezuela is included in this group since it is located at GMT -4: 30, half an hour behind the Dominicans.
In countries located in the GMT -5, such as Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru or the part of Chile where the islands are located (InsularChile), they are located one hour behind the Dominican island. To the north of the continent, the part of Illinois or Texas in the USA, are aligned, equally, in the GMT -5.
In the case of Mexico, divided between the GMT -5 and GMT -7 time zones, the difference is between 1 or 3 hours behind the Dominican
Republic, such as Costa Rica, which is located at GMT -6 and is 2 hours behind. of the island. The countries aligned in the GMT -3, such as Argentina, part of Chile (Continental Chile) or Uruguay, are one hour ahead of the Dominican Republic.
Finally, regarding Spain, the change of time will depend on the season of the year in which you travel. In winter the time difference will be 5 hours behind Spain, while in summer it will increase to 6 hours apart; in the case of departing from the Canary Islands, the difference is 4 or 5 hours behind, respectively.