The Dominican Republic is the beautiful and more touristed Eastern half of the island of Hispaniola. The beaches are sugar white, and the resorts are much more affordable than many places in the Caribbean. World class cigars are a reason to visit for some and an amazing baseball tradition for others. Gamblers flock to the island’s many casinos, which are open throughout the Caribbean nights. The D.R. is well connected with daily flights to the United States, making it an up and coming tourist destination.
Spanish is the official language of the D.R., but English is widely spoken by those in the tourism industry. If you don’t want to attempt the language, you wont need to know any more than “Una mas cerveza, por favor.”
The Dominican Peso is the official currency of the country, though U.S. dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas. Credit Cards and Traveler’s Checks are widely accepted. To find out about converting other types of currency, visit our currency converter.
True budget accommodations are available in the D.R. with dorm rooms for as low as $5 to $12.50. You can find anything from a basic dorm bed to an ultra luxurious all inclusive resort. The price tag will, of course, vary accordingly.
>>more information on the Top 5 Family Hotels in the Dominican Republic
Food and Drinks
You’ll likely spend your time in the Dominican Republic eating at your all inclusive resort, which will offer you with Caribbean as well as continental options. Local cuisine is spicy creole and coconut infused island food, and definitely worth a taste. Cigar aficionados will score big time here, as the migrant Cubans brought their fine hand crafting traditions over along with the sport of baseball. Rum is the booze of choice, as it is throughout the Caribbean. There are several distilleries around the nation, including Bermudes, Brugal and Barcelo.
>>more information on the Best Restaurants in the Dominican Republic
It’s always time for a celebration in the D.R., and many holidays are celebrated in the country’s unique culture. The “official” holidays are as follows:
Epiphany (January 6)
Our Lady of Altagracia (January 21)
Duarte’s Birthday (closest Monday to January 26)
Independence Day (February 27)
Semana Santa (End of March to beginning of April)
Labor Day (First Monday in April)
Corpus Christi Day (June)
Restoration Day (Closest Monday to August 16)
Our Lady of Mercedes (September 24)
Dominican Constitution Day (Closest Monday to November 6)
Getting There & Around
Santo Domingo is the capital of the country and offers the most international flights. Numerous U.S. based carriers offer flights several times a week. You can also fly direct from the states to Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and Santiago as well. The departure tax is about $70, which is REALLY steep. It should be included in your airline ticket fees, but you may want to double check.
Car rental is the preferred method of transportation around the island.
Electricity is 110 volts, same as the U.S. and Canada.
Things to Do
If you like baseball, you’ll love the Dominican Republic in the winter time. The island is “the home of winter baseball,” as the sport is professional games played throughout the winter months. The sport immigrated from Cuba (along with the Cubans who were fleeing their country). Dancing the night away is a popular way to spend the evening in the D.R. As the worst dancer in the western hemisphere, I can provide you with little information on this pass time. The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival draws epic crowds each year, with huge acts performing from around the globe. In addition, you can while away your days on the beach, diving & snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, windsurfing, kite boarding and bird watching.
History buffs will score big time in the World Heritage Colonial City in Santo Domingo, where they can check out forts, churches, architecture, plazas and even the resting place of Christopher Columbus.