Dominican Republic


About Dominican Republic – FAQs
These are some responses to the most commonly asked questions, which will help to make your visit to the Dominican Republic a little bit easier.

What documents do I need to go to the Dominican Republic?
A valid passport is required. You will also need a tourist card (US$10), which you can buy at the airport upon your arrival. Some countries will require a visa.
Visit this link to see a complete list of citizens who do not require a visa or a tourist card, citizens who are able to enter with a tourist card, and citizens who require a visa to enter the Dominican Republic, click here.

What is the entry and exit tax?
Most tourists will only need to pay for a tourist card that is issued upon arrival at the airport. The cost for the tourist card is US$10 and it will be valid for 30 days. The exit tax is US$20. However, most of the time this is already included in the airline ticket cost.

What happens if I decide to stay in the country for more than 30 days?
You only need to pay US$22 at the airport to extend your stay for up to 90 days. Other fees will apply for longer stays.

What regulations exist for traveling with children?
Foreign minors will only have to pay when they leave the country.

Underage minors of Dominican nationality
When an underage child is traveling with both parents, there is no problem and no special permit is required. However, if the child is traveling with one of the parents, then they must have authorization from the other parent. For a child to leave the country, you must have a written legal authorization or a permit. This must be notarized, stamped by the Attorney General of the Republic and then be submitted to the Department of Immigration, where the exit permit will be issued and paid for.

You can review all of the requirements for traveling with children in and out of the Dominican Republic at: www.migracion.gov.do/per_menores.html

What is the current exchange rate?
Foreign currencies fluctuate on a daily basis according to the market. You can check the exchange rates directly with commercial banks and exchange offices, and the Central Bank also publishes this information on a daily basis (business days). You can also get information directly from: www.bancentral.gov.do

How much is Sales Tax?
ITBIS taxes (Tax on the transfer of industrialized goods and services) is 16 percent and is applied to all the purchases you make. In restaurants, bars and hotels a further 10 percent is added for service.

Is it best to change money at the airport?
Unless you need to pay for a taxi, we recommend that you change your money at your destination city, since they offer a better exchange rate than the airport. However, the difference is not enormous. So if you are not exchanging large amounts of money, feel free to use the services at the airport.

Will businesses accept dollars or Euros?
Most businesses will accept dollars and Euros, including businesses such as restaurants and bars, and larger stores and shops.

I hardly speak any Spanish, will this be a problem?
Dominican people are very friendly and therefore, if they do not speak your language, they are sure to help you find someone who can help. At most tourist destinations, such as hotels, restaurants and resorts, it is easy to find someone who can speak English and other languages such as French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Russian.

Can I use my cell phone there?
If it is GSM, yes. However, you have to activate it in the Dominican Republic. If not, it will work with roaming and the fee varies according to your phone carrier. The other option is to get a phone with a local number at any of the many telephone points such as Claro-Codetel, Orange, Tricom or Viva. This costs about US$40 plus the price of phone cards.

What is the area code for the Dominican Republic?
There are three area codes. Most of the telephones use the 809 code and others use 829 or 849.

Should I rent a Car?
There are some tourist destinations where having your own car is easier because there is so much to see. For example, if you are traveling the northern coast of the country from Montecristi through Puerto Plata to Cabrera, or to the beaches of Samaná, renting a car will allow you to stop and see the sights along the way. Renting a car along the eastern coastal area is also recommended as the popular tourist areas can be explored, including La Romana, Bavaro, Cap Cana and Punta Cana. The pristine south east part of the Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful and untouched areas of the country. Renting a car will help you see the stunning beauty and nature in Barahona, Pedernales and its great attractions of Bahia de las Águilas (Bay of Eagles) and the Hoyo de Pelempito (Pelempito Hole). All these destinations are surrounded by beaches and attractions that may be easier to visit if you have a car available.

However for the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago it is not necessary to rent a car due to very good internal transportation options. You can get a taxi by calling the taxi base in the phone book, and most offer a fixed tariff of approximately US$5 for most destinations within the city.

Is my driver's license valid in the Dominican Republic?
Yes it is valid, but only for a period of 90 days.

What are the typical foods that I should try?
Dominican food is unique and delicious. Try the popular "Mangú" (green plantains, boiled and mashed) with eggs, fried cheese or salami for breakfast; rice, red kidney beans), meat and "tostones" (mashed and fried green plantains) at midday. Also try pork rinds, "locrio de pollo" (rice with  chicken, Dominican-style), shrimp stew, "mofongo" (plantain mash with fish or meat), fish with coconut, stewed crab and conch, roasted or stewed goat with boiled cassava and a "sancocho" (stew) accompanied by avocados for dinner. And of course, do not forget to try cassava bread and "queso de hoja", a type of string cheese.

Delicious Dominican desserts include grated coconut, sweet beans, sour milk dessert, orange sweets, milk (papaya) dessert and pineapple dessert, and guava and cashew paste in syrup. Natural tropical fruit juices include: passion fruit, guava, pineapple, orange, strawberry, mango, mandarin and papaya juice with milk.

Don't miss out on tasting sugar cane juice from one of the fields throughout the country. You should also sample Dominican coconut juice from the hundreds of coconut groves and forests in the country; you will love Dominican coconut's delicious pulp and refreshing milk.

Is it safe to drink water from the taps at the hotels?
No, it is not safe, as the tap water has not been purified. It is recommended that you always drink bottled water.

Is it the custom to address people with the polite or the familiar form of "you"?
Even though times are changing, it is better to err on the side of formal rather than informal and it is always preferable to use the formal form of "you" (usted) before you know someone. Gentlemen can be referred to as "don" or "señor" (Mr.) and ladies as "doña" or "señora" (Mrs.).

Informality is very common and acceptable because Dominicans are very open and sociable. The term "amigo" (friend) is frequently used. Don't be surprised if they refer to you as "mi amor" (my love) or "cariño" (dear), as some Dominicans go right to the limits of informality in their speaking.

How safe is it?
The Dominican Republic continues to be one of the countries with the lowest rate of crime in region. However, it's always smart to take precautions, just as you would if you were to visit any new country or large city in the world.

I am coming as a tourist, what clothes should I bring
The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean tropics and features warm sunny weather year-round. You should bring light clothing for warmer weather.

However, if you will be at a resort, make sure you bring something a bit more formal for occasions that may require a little more elegance, such as dining in upscale restaurants. Also, if you are going on excursions on which there are visits to churches and some types of monuments or museums, you will not be able to enter if you are wearing shorts or very short skirts.

If your visit is in the winter, between December and February, you should bring a light coat or jacket, as at night the temperature tends to drop a little.

How does the Dominican Republic compare in size with Puerto Rico or Jamaica?
Located in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has a surface area of over 30,000 square miles, which would mean that Puerto Rico could fit into the country 5 times and Jamaica 4 times. Due to its size and the variety of its terrain, the Dominican Republic offers a greater diversity to tourists, including a variety of beaches, mountains, pre-historic caves, deserts, lakes, islands, rivers and numerous waterfalls. That's why we say, the Dominican Republic "Has it all."

What is the climate like? When is the rainy season?
The Dominican Republic is surrounded by nearly 1,000 miles of coastline on its north, east and southern borders and the climate is tropical. Temperatures range from 77 - 80 F  (25 - 27 C), and can fall to 66 – 74 F (19 and 23 C) during the winter.

The rainy season varies according to the area of the country. In the south you may regularly find rain sporadically during the months of May, June, and from September to November. In the north, the rains are more frequent in the winter months of December to February.

When is the Hurricane Season?
The Atlantic Hurricane season begins on June 1, and extends to November 30. In the Dominican Republic, this is the summer and early fall season when the weather is sunny with some cloudiness and passing rain on occasions, which tends to occur in the late afternoon or at night.

From what age are you permitted to consume alcoholic beverages?
In the Dominican Republic you can consume alcoholic beverages from the age of 18.

Is it worth visiting the capital?
The capital city of the Dominican Republic is an important city to visit. Santo Domingo is the First City of the Americas and has been named the American Capital of Culture for 2010. Its Ciudad Colonial is a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site and has the best food and the most active night life in the Caribbean. The good news is that there is excellent bus transport, and for less than US$10, they will take you to the Capital City from Punta Cana and Puerto Plata.

Will I be able to see a baseball game during my stay?
In the Dominican Republic, baseball stadiums are called "play" and are located in the main cities: Santo Domingo (Quisqueya Stadium), Santiago (Cibao Stadium), La Romana (Francisco Micheli Stadium), San Pedro de Macorís (Tetelo Vargas Stadium) and in San Francisco de Macorís (Julián Javier Stadium).

Our winter baseball season begins in the middle of October and finishes at the end of January, with the proclamation of the tournament champion. The champion then goes on to represent the Dominican Republic in what is known as the Caribbean Series, in which they compete against Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela. For more information on Dominican baseball, visit: www.lidom.com

I have other questions I would like to ask, who can I speak with before I come?
The Secretary for Tourism -http://www.godominicanrepublic.com- has 22 offices abroad, including in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, South America and Europe, where you can direct your questions.

How can I get to the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic has eight international airports, three major seaports and a variety of marinas for boats and yachts of all sizes and smaller airports for private planes.

Because the Dominican Republic is such a large and diverse island with eight international airports, it is important to choose your arrival airport to coincide with the final destination of your stay. To travel overland from one airport to another could take a long time. Traveling between the airports of Punta Cana and Puerto Plata could take up to eight hours. However, an option would be to arrive by airport on one coast, say the North Coast, to allow for exploration of the area. Then transfer by car to another part of the island, such as the East Coast, for the second half of your stay. You could arrive at Puerto Plata's Gregorio Luperon Airport in the North and depart from Punta Cana International Airport on the East Coast, having visited two distinct destinations in one.

The approximate flight times from some cities to airports in the Dominican Republic:

New York: 3h30
Miami: 1h50
Atlanta: 2h50
London: 8h45
Montreal: 4h15
Toronto: 4h30
San Juan: 0h35
Madrid: 7h30
Rome: 9h45
Paris: 8h00
Milan: 9h30
Prague 10h30
Moscow: 11h30 St.
Petersburg: 1h45
Caracas: 2h00
Bogota: 2h20
Lima: 4h00
Buenos Aires: 8h00

International airports:
Santo Domingo:
- Las Americas International Airport (SDQ), is 30 minutes from the capital and very close to the tourist areas of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.
- Joaquin Balaguer International Airport (SLI), also located in Santo Domingo and sometimes referred to as La Isabela, receives mostly domestic flights.

Punta Cana:
- Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ): only 10 minutes from the area of Punta Cana and Cap Cana, and some 30 minutes from Bávaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto.

Puerto Plata:
- Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) is only 20 minutes from the North Coast city of Puerto Plata. Nearby tourist destinations include Playa Dorada, Sosúa, Cabarete, Playa Grande and Cofresi.

La Romana:
- La Romana International Airport (LRM) is just 10 minutes from Casa de Campo Resort on the Southeast Coast and only 20 minutes from Bayahibe.

Samaná:
- AEl Catey International Airport (AZS) is only 30 minutes from the city of Samaná and 45 minutes to the destinations of Las Terrenas and Portillo on the famed Northeast coast of the Dominican Republic.

Santiago:
- El Cibao International Airport (STI) is 15 minutes from the bustling city of Santiago in the Central Region and provides easy access to nearby La Vega, Jarabacoa, Constanza, San Francisco de Macoris and Moca.

Airports withs internal flights:
- El Portillo (EPS), Arroyo Barril (ABA) in Samaná on the Northeast Coast.
- Constanza (COZ), located in the Central Region.
- María Montez (BRX) in Barahona and Cabo Rojo (CBJ) in Pedernales on the Southwest Coast.


Ports for cruise ships:
There are three Dominican Republic ports for cruise ship arrivals:

- The Port of Santo Domingo (which includes the brand new Don Diego and Sans Souci cruise terminals).
- A new Cruise Ship Port and Marina at Casa de Campo Resort in La Romana.
- Established facilities to receive passengers transported from cruise ships anchored near the Island of Catalina on the South Coast and Samaná Bay on the Northeast Coast.
There are also many private marinas including: Casa de Campo, Cap Cana Marina (now the largest Marina in the Caribbean), Punta Cana Resort Marina, Ocean World Marina (Puerto Plata) and Luperón Marina (Puerto Plata).