Things to see and do - Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic :
Where to go?
Dominican Republic Leisure tips
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Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Getting around
- Public holidays
- Social etiquette
- Units of measurement
Lunch 1-3pm, dinner 7-9pm, later at Santo Domingo.
Comedores are small typical restaurants. Pica-pollos are specialised in fried chicken. Frituras are vans parked by the beaches and roadsides selling deep-fried food. Paradas, at bus stations and lay-bys of major roads, sell savoury and sweet dishes and fruit.
The voltage in the Dominican Republic is 100V and sockets are compatible with 3-pronged flat blade plugs. Take an adaptor and a pocket torch because power cuts are frequent.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy – Ave 27 de Febrero No 233 - Edificio Corominas Pepin - Santo Domingo - t 472 7111 - http://ukindominicanrepublic.fco.gov.uk/en/
Ireland does not have diplomatic representation in the Dominican Republic and travellers are asked to consult its embassy in the United States of America – t 00 1 202 462 3939 - http://www.embassyofireland.org/
Guaguas, small thirty seater buses, leave once full and provide shuttle services to nearby towns. They are the most popular and cheapest means of transport.
Always negotiate the price before getting in. In collective taxis, the fare is shared with the other passengers.
Motorbike taxis are practical to get around town centres and to the beach, but you should be aware that they are not always very safe.
Illnesses and inconveniences
Mosquitoes carry dengue fever, malaria and Nile fever. Tarantulas, around 7cm long, project microscopic spores that irritate the eyes, sometimes causing temporary blindness, but are not fatal. On the other hand, if bitten by a centipede, head for the nearest clinic.
The tap water is not drinkable. Refuse ice cubes, except in very large hotels.
The currency is the Dominican Peso (RD $), but, in tourist areas, you can pay for large purchases in US$ or euros.
Banks / Exchange
Banks are generally open Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm.
Casas de cambio offer the best exchange rates. Avoid changing money in hotels.
They are accepted hotels, restaurants of a certain standing, tourist shops, etc. Money can be withdrawn from ATMs, in theory up to RD$5000 per withdrawal.
Traveller’s cheques can only be used to change money, but not for purchases. Some banks do not accept traveller’s cheques.
A night in a good 2-star hotel costs around RD$1650; a traditional meal around RD$800; a half-day excursion RD$2000 and a bottle of spring water RD$35.
It is customary to tip chambermaids, guides, bellboys and waiters in restaurants.
Post offices are open 8am-3pm. Do not place too much faith in postal services and allow around 3 weeks for mail to arrive. If you require a really dependable service, use one of the private services.
6 January – Epiphany
21 January – Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia Day
26 January – Commemoration of the birth of Juan Pablo Duarte
27 February – Independence Day
1 May – Labour Day
16 August – Day of the Restoration of the Republic
24 September – Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes Day
6 November – Constitution Day
25 December – Christmas Day
Good Friday – The entire Easter week is sometimes a holiday.
Corpus Christi – 60 days after Good Friday.
Museums, tourist sites and monuments are open from 8.30am-4 or 5pm. Variable closing days. National parks are open 7am or 8am-5pm.
In tourist areas, shops are open from 8am-6 or 7pm, sometimes closing for lunch between 1-3pm. Supermarkets close around 9pm. Colmados open earlier and close later.
Bartering only takes place in tourist areas; it is not appropriate in public transport, for everyday purchases in supermarkets or in shops.
The Dominican Republic has a wealth of arts and crafts that make wonderful holiday souvenirs, including jewellery (but not turtle shell or coral), Haitian crafts (salvaged sheet metal subjects, wooden toys, decorative objects, etc.), rum and cigars.
Women should cover their head and shoulders on entering churches and men should wear trousers and remove headgear; shorts and sandals are not worn to restaurants. Topless bathing is only tolerated on the beaches of large hotels.
To call the Dominican Republic from abroad
Dial 00 + 1 809 + the person’s 7-digit number.
To call home from the Dominican Republic
Dial 011 + (UK 44, Ireland 353) + number of the person (without the first 0).
Dial 1 – 809 (or 829 for some mobile phones) + 7-digit number of the person.
Units of measurement
Height – 1 pie = 30.48cm.
Petrol and water – 1 galón = 3.79l.
Food – 1 pound = 450g.
Fabric – 1 yarda = 091cm.
Area – 1 tarea = 624m2.