The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso (RD$). The exchange rate fluctuates so you should check with your representative for the current rate. The best exchange rate is obtained when changing US Dollars to pesos.
Most hotels, restaurants and businesses accept major credit cards which are charged at the official exchange rate at the time of the transaction.
You can change your travelers checks or cash into pesos in either your hotel or in the local banks. Make sure you have your passport with you if you are changing traveler’s checks. In the banks, you are also able to obtain cash from a credit card but make sure you have some form of identification with you.
Please avoid the black marketers, who will offer you a tempting rate of exchange for your US dollars. Not only is it illegal but the notes you receive may be fake.
Postcards and stamps can be purchased in your hotel and posted at reception. Rates for postcards and letters are the same.
If you wish to telephone home you can call from either your hotel or from your nearest Tele-communications center. It will be more expensive to phone from your hotel. To call the USA or Canada from Dominican Republic just dial 1 + Area Code + number. To call the United Kingdom dial 011 44 and drop the fist 0 of the area code back home.
The nation’s population is approximately 9 million inhabitants. Some 2.5 million live in Santo Domingo, the capital city.
Dominicans are very friendly people and enjoy having you here. They will do their best to help you anytime.
Tap water is not drinkable in the Dominican Republic because it is not purified and can cause stomach problems. Most hotels and restaurants serve purified water and ice. Otherwise, we recommend that you only consume bottled water, which can be purchased from most hotel shops or local supermarkets.
The electrical output stands at 110 volts, same as in the U.S.
If you are traveling from Europe you will need an adaptor plug and a power booster.
A warm tropical climate is predominant in the Dominican Republics coastal areas, while cooler and a more benign tropical climate are typical in the central region. The year round average temperature is 25 degrees centigrade. August is the warmest month of the year, with January being the coolest.
Very low temperatures are often registered in mountainous areas, especially during winter months, which at times are as low as 0° C in the area of Valle Nuevo, Constanza.
The month of August is the hottest of the year and January is the coolest. The heaviest rainy season is between May and August and the months with least rainfall are November and December.
Non-residents of the Dominican Republic have to buy a tourist card on arrival.
There is a USD 20.00 departure tax when leaving the country. It might already be included in your travel package otherwise it will be charged by Dominican authorities upon departure.
VIP Travel Services offers transfers and transportation throughout the country. Always check with us for the rates to ensure the best deal.
There are also other private companies providing excellent transportation services to Santo Domingo and major cities. In addition to these companies, public transportation is by means of buses, minibuses, public cars and “motorcycle taxis”. The major hotels have a permanent taxi service with pre-established fares. There is also a 24 hour telephone service for calling taxis whose fares vary according to the distance and this is settled over the phone.
A large number of car rental companies are found at airports and in major cities. Always make sure you establish the price before you take the service and remember you are expected to bargain the price.
Air Santo Domingo is a local airline that operates regular scheduled flights between main tourist zones of the country.
The Dominican Republic has many inviting and comfortable restaurants. Most restaurants begin serving around 6 p.m., but it is customary for Dominicans to dine late. There are French, Italian, Mexican and Chinese restaurants, as well as those serving traditional Dominican food.
The Dominican cuisine is very rich and varied. Some favorite local dishes you should try while you are here are rice and beans with fried platanos (plantains), Sancocho (a thick stew usually made with different meats), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), Casabe (flat and round cassava bread).
There are many good brands of local beer, Presidente being the most popular. Barcelo, Bermudez and Brugal, are the local rums. A variety of drinks are prepared with rum. Wine is relatively expensive because it has to be imported.
Restaurants charge a 10% service fee and 8% tax. These charges are imposed by law. In spite of this, it is customary to leave an additional tip at the discretion of the customer.
According to some historians the choreography of the Dominican Merengue was originated as a dance that entertained the pirates of the Tortuga Island every night.
The Merengue is of slave origin. Mainly from those belonging to the Bara Tribe from Madagascar, who originally had a dance that they called Merengue. Every Caribbean country gave this dance its own identity, influenced by melodies of European origin. Black people mixed their own cultural elements with those of the white people, to the point of imitating the movements of their dances, thereby losing the primitive characteristics that originated the Merengue.
Today, the Merengue is a grass root element and it has become the centerpiece in parties celebrated regularly on any block in any city of this country. It is also interesting to note that the words in Merengue are descriptive of the country’s contemporary traditions.
Merengue has now reached a degree of sophistication and has become widely adopted. It is currently recognized internationally as one of the most popular musical expressions.
Carnival is the festival of the masses and is the strongest tradition in the Dominican Republic. It started in colonial times when the inhabitants of Santo Domingo would masquerade in imitation of the European carnivals.
The “Diablo’s Cojuelos” or lame devils are the main characters in the Dominican Carnival and they start to roam the streets on weekends in February. Their costumes use various decorative elements such as mirrors, sleigh bells, cow bells, ribbons, whistles, etc.
The Dominican Republic is well known for its' handmade cigars, as well as its exquisite rum, and coffee.
Regarded as the national stone, amber jewelry is the most popular souvenir. This island has one of the world's largest deposits of amber and the prices here for the translucent, semiprecious stones, which range in color from pale lemon to dark brown, are unmatched. The most valuable stones are those in which tiny insects or small leaves are imbedded.
Santo Domingo has many shopping Centers and specialized shops offering the best known national and international brands and excellent world fashion designers (It is Oscar de la Renta’s homeland).
In both rural and urban areas, our people’s collective artistic expression is usually manifested in a variety of crafts. There are interesting places for crafts where you will find a variety of objects made from horn, wood, leather, snail shell, amber, ceramics and fabrics.
Bargaining is popular in the Dominican Republic, especially with street vendors.
On December 6th 1492, just a day after discovering this island he had named Hispaniola, Christopher Columbus was given some dry tobacco leaves as a gift. It was a salutation of peace and friendship that the surprised Indians of this land gave the great admiral.
The center of the island is outstanding for the fertility of its soil and the quality of tobacco. Around Santiago and its tobacco, there has developed what has later been called “The Tobacco Society” which passed for centuries, from father to son, all the experience they so jealously guarded as their most coveted treasure, "the most ancient tobacco tradition".
Today, there is absolutely no room for doubt, and it is known throughout the world that the Dominican Republic is blessed by the love by which its people manufacture cigars, their century’s old experience, the care professed to tobacco farming and the respect they have for their inherited tradition. It is in this place where the quality of cigars is a form of art.
The Dominican Republic is the homeland of many famous MLB players such as Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Julio Franco and many others. Professional baseball starts on the third week of October every year, during the winter season. The Dominican league is considered to be the strongest circuit in the Caribbean. It is here where our best native talent as well as the most promising American prospects sees action this time of year.
Baseball is practiced by a huge number of Dominicans in its many forms. On any Saturday or Sunday, in tiny, mostly makeshift parks all over the country, one can see Dominican children participating in their organized little league games. It is certainly a pretty sight to see.
Since baseball is the top sport in the Dominican Republic, regular games are scheduled in main ballparks around the country.
Dermatologists have concluded that sunbathing is not advisable between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, due to the strong rays of the Caribbean sun. They advise taking precautions and exposing yourself gradually with solar protectors, to enjoy the sun and acquire a long lasting tan.
While in this country, please select the sunscreen that is right for your type of skin and use it at all times when exposed to the sun rays. You should take special care of your face and use a special protection for this area of your body which is the one most exposed to the sun.
Don’t use perfume or cologne during sun exposure, such products usually can stain your skin when in contact with the sun.
As Air France and many other European airlines are arriving and departing from (SDQ) for individual travel. Here we provide you with a guide for TRANSFER times.JUAN DOLIO | 20 KM | 35 MIN
The official language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish. However, in major tourist centers, it is common to find people who speak English, French, Italian and German.
Here are some useful phrases that can help during your stay:
If your return flight is at night and your checkout time is noon, you may request a courtesy room at the reception desk (if available). The Bell Boy Desk or Front Desk staff will advise you where your luggage should be placed.
Dominican Republic occupies two thirds of the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic covers 48,442 square kilometers, to the west, the country shares its only border with Haiti. The remainder of the Dominican Republic is surrounded by water: To the north is the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern part is skirted by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. The island is located between Puerto Rico and Cuba.