11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide (2024)

The Dominican Republic promises sun and fun, and these useful travel tips will help you make the most out of your holiday in the Caribbean paradise

The Dominican Republic is a hugely popular tropical destination for visitors seeking sun, sand and an affordable holiday in the Caribbean. This geographically diverse country showcases impressive mountain ranges, fertile valleys and semi-desert plains, but the main attraction is its beautiful 1,287 km (800 miles) of coastline strung with golden sands and warm waters. Before travelling to the Dominican Republic, here are the 11 things you need to know.

11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide (1)

Beach in Punta CanaShutterstock

1. The culture is very welcoming

Dominicans are friendly and hospitable, always ready for a lively conversation or a good party. Friendships and familial relationships are important to them, and it’s fairly common for families and friends to display affection publicly. Dominicans also like to gather and celebrate life with good food, good music and great rum, so let your hair down and join the fun.

2. You can only get the Dominican peso in the country

The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso, which you can’t import or export. The most convenient currency to take with you is US dollars, which you can change to pesos once you arrive. Remember to bring a receipt when converting USD into peso on arrival, as you may want to reconvert the pesos into US Dollars when you leave (please note that you can only reconvert up to 30% of the amount converted formerly upon arrival). If you aren’t on a package holiday, you may notice that resorts and other establishments will quote you in USD and some may even accept the currency.

For more information, check out Money and duty-free in the Dominican Republic.

3. You may not need a Tourist Card

If you are a citizen of Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, Peru, South Korea and Uruguay – lucky you, you don’t need a visa or pay tourism entry tax (previously known as a tourist card) to visit the Dominican Republic.

From April 2018, if you are from the United States, United Kingdom or any EU member countries, you don’t need a visa, but you will need to pay tourism entry tax. The tourism entry tax has a US $10 fee which is included in your airfare. If you bought your flight before April 2018, you can pay the fee on arrival.

The Dominican Republic welcomes citizens from a whopping 95 countries to visit without a visa (although the US$10 fee is still required). To see the complete list of countries, as well as the exemptions, please visit the Dominican Republic visa and passport requirements page.

4. The concept of time is a little different

Timekeeping is somewhat relaxed in the Dominican Republic and it’s relatively common to arrive 15 or 30 minutes later than planned. However, many establishments that cater to tourists understand the importance of staying on schedule. Also, if you’re flying into the Dominican Republic on business, it’s recommended that you go to the meeting on time.

11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide (3)

Dominican Musicians in Santo DomingoShutterstock

5. Merengue is the soul of the country

The Dominicans are deeply passionate about music and merengue is at the heart of the country. This upbeat music is native to the Dominican Republic. Its rhythm is infectious, often bringing people together onto the dance floor in minutes. Bachata is another genre that originated in the Dominican Republic. This style of music blends African, European and native Taíno elements.

Check out this video to learn more about merengue.

See Also
Getting Here

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fautemcgU48&w=450&h=260]

6. Dominicans dress to impress

Dominicans can be fashion-conscious, and many see appearance as an indication of success. Business people dress smartly, with men often in suits and ladies in pantsuits or skirts. Even on Sundays, you don’t see Dominicans entering a church in shorts or a t-shirt. Bear this in mind and pack something formal with you for the evenings.

7. You can’t drink the tap water

It is generally safe to gargle with tap water after brushing your teeth, but do avoid drinking from the tap. Bottled water is widely available, and many tourists even use it to brush their teeth – it’s recommended if you have a sensitive stomach.

Most hotels provide a couple of free bottles of water a day for each room, and you can also easily buy them from corner stores (or colmados, as they are known locally).

For further information, check out theDominican Republic Healthcare guide.

11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide (4)

Santo Domingo Famous Hotel Restaurant El CondeShutterstock

8. Amber makes a great souvenir

The Dominican Republic is renowned for its amber and larimar (blue-coloured semi-precious stones). The northern coastline of the country is known for producing fine ambers that are often transparent and contain a fossil of insects, leaves or flowers. You can tour the mines in the hills of La Cumbre (about 43km/27miles from Puerto Plata) and purchase raw ambers, then have them polished and set in jewellery later. Blue Amber, known as larimar, is said to be found only in the Dominican Republic and also makes a great souvenir. For other shopping and souvenir ideas, see the Shopping in the Dominican Republic guide.

9. Mamajuana is worth a try

Originally a herbal drink prepared by the native Taino Indians, it is said that Christopher Columbus mixed the herbal beverages with alcohol and created mamajuana when he arrived on the island in 1492. Today, this potent drink is made from herbs and cured tree barks soaked in rum, red wine and honey. A standard mixture is 50% rum, 40% red wine and 10% honey. It is rumoured to have a long list of health benefits including sexual potency.

If you want to try other local specialities, check out the Dominican Republic food and drink guide.

11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide (5)

Drinking on the beach in Dominican RepublicShutterstock

10. Home to many hidden gems

Most visitors spend days lounging on the beach in the Dominican Republic, but if you can tear yourself away from the soft sands and warm waters, the country has many fantastic options on offer. At the top of the list is Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, a World Heritage Site made up of 16 square blocks. This area can lay claim to having America’s first cathedral, hospital, palace, university and even paved street. You can join a walking tour and check out all the principal monuments. Alternatively, you can go mountain biking in the country’s mountainous interior.

11. When is the best time to go?

The Dominican Republic usually has a hot climate all year, ranging between 25˚C (77˚F) to 28˚C (82˚F). Due to its tropical rainforest climate, it’s common for American and European tourists to visit the resort town of Punta Cana from December to March. The wet season depends on the area of the country. Along the northern coast, rainfall is common from November to January. However, in Santo Domingo, the wet season lasts from May to November with May being the wettest month of them all.

To find out more about the Dominican Republic’s weather and climate, check out the The best time to visit the Dominican Republic.

Before you go, check out:

  • The Dominican Republic travel guide

If you liked this article, you might also like:

  • 22 things you must know before visiting Eilat
  • 22 reasons why you should fall in love with Estonia
  • The complete guide to smoking marijuana in Amsterdam coffeeshops
11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide (2024)


11 things to know before travelling to the Dominican Republic - World Travel Guide? ›

Do NOT bring illegal drugs, animal products and agricultural items. CURRENCY: The Peso is the National currency of the Dominican Republic. It comes in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500,1000 and 2000 Peso notes.

What should I know before traveling to the Dominican Republic? ›

Safety and security
  • Crime. Crime occurs in the Dominican Republic, including violent crime, especially in major cities. ...
  • Fraud. Credit card and ATM fraud and cloning are significant concerns. ...
  • Spiked food and drinks. ...
  • Women's safety. ...
  • Demonstrations and strikes. ...
  • Power outages. ...
  • Recreational activities. ...
  • Water safety.

What can you not bring into the Dominican Republic? ›

Do NOT bring illegal drugs, animal products and agricultural items. CURRENCY: The Peso is the National currency of the Dominican Republic. It comes in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500,1000 and 2000 Peso notes.

What to fill out before traveling to Dominican Republic? ›

  • E-TICKET. All foreign and Dominican passengers entering or departing the Dominican Republic on commercial flights must complete the free electronic entry and exit form at: https://eticket.migracion.gob.do. ...
  • VISAS.

Is it safe to go to the Dominican Republic right now? ›

Dominican Republic - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Country Summary: Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault, is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic.

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in the Dominican Republic? ›

Should You Brush Your Teeth With Tap Water in the Dominican Republic? No. Before you brush, gargle or rinse, ask your host or concierge if the property offers access to purified water during your stay. If they do not, brush your teeth using boiled, bottled, or filtered water.

Should I take US dollars or pesos to the Dominican Republic? ›

In tourist areas, especially in hotels, you can easily use cash in dollars or euros. However, if you want to venture outside of your hotel, take public transportation, eat and shop at local stores, it would be ideal to have pesos.

What to bring to all inclusive Dominican Republic? ›

10 things to pack for your trip to Punta Cana
  • Beachwear. It may seem obvious but don't forget your beachwear! ...
  • Protect your skin with sunscreen. ...
  • Insect repellent. ...
  • Light and breathable clothing. ...
  • Comfortable footwear. ...
  • Toiletries. ...
  • Medicines and first aid kit. ...
  • Appropriate attire for dinners and events.
Jun 6, 2023

Do I need to carry my passport in the Dominican Republic? ›

Generally, all U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to Dominica, as well as proof of anticipated departure from Dominica.

What vaccines are required for the Dominican Republic? ›

The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Dominican Republic: typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, polio, yellow fever, chikungunya, rabies, hepatitis B, influenza, COVID-19, pneumonia, meningitis, chickenpox, shingles, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

What are some problems in the Dominican Republic? ›

Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful or arbitrary killings by government security forces; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by police and other government agents; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary detention; arbitrary interference with privacy; ...

Is the Dominican Republic safer than Mexico? ›

Safety Considerations for Travelers

Mexico has a lower absolute crime rate (54) than the Dominican Republic (61), so on a numbers basis you're safer in Mexico. However, in both cases, if you keep to the resort or stay in the tourist areas, you're unlikely to encounter a problem.

What is the threat level in the Dominican Republic? ›

Danger level: 3 - Travel with high caution. This is the general advisory usually covering the country as a whole.

What vaccines do I need for the Dominican Republic? ›

Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus. Other vaccines to consider: Diphtheria; Hepatitis B; Rabies; Typhoid. Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: Cholera.

Is it safe to swim in the sea in the Dominican Republic? ›

Swimming safety

Lifeguards may not be present at swimming pools or on beaches. Safety and rescue equipment may not be available. The sea can be dangerous, especially during the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. Follow instructions about sea conditions and warning systems.

What currency is best to take to the Dominican Republic? ›

The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Republic Peso, but as US Dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas, we recommend taking both. All major credit cards are accepted and will be processed in the local currency unless you choose otherwise. Travellers' cheques aren't recommended.

What can you not eat or drink in the Dominican Republic? ›

Hygiene and Sanitary Rules
  • Never drink tap water. ...
  • Never eat fruit and vegetables from stalls and fruit kiosks without washing and peeling them. ...
  • Not drink fresh juice from fruit kiosks. ...
  • Not use ice from kiosks. ...
  • Not play with street animals. ...
  • Not eat raw meat and fish (ceviche).

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Last Updated:

Views: 6717

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Birthday: 1998-02-19

Address: 64841 Delmar Isle, North Wiley, OR 74073

Phone: +17844167847676

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: LARPing, Kitesurfing, Sewing, Digital arts, Sand art, Gardening, Dance

Introduction: My name is Amb. Frankie Simonis, I am a hilarious, enchanting, energetic, cooperative, innocent, cute, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.