The Dominican Republic is a state in Haiti and adjacent islands. The territory of the country is washed by the Caribbean Sea and it borders the Republic of Haiti. The capital of Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo.
The climate in the country is humid tropical. The tourist season lasts all the year round but the most comfortable period for holidays in this country is from November to April.
The official language is Spanish but the locals can also speak Creole and English. The major religion is Christianity.
The tourists come to the Republic mainly to sunbathe at the beautiful beaches on such resorts as Punta Cana, Samana, Juan Dolio and in La Altagracia Province. Those who do not like noise and prefer to be alone should go to Uvero Alto-Macao, Cabarete or Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province and visit an uninhabited island Beata Island.
The beaches Boca Chica and la Romana offer anything and everything for diving, surfing and windsurfing, snorkeling and scuba diving, fishing and yachting. The tourists also have a chance to visit the caves La Descubierta, feel the abnormal influence on the route of the Barahona Province, have a look at the monuments in Puerta Plata Province and visit the local oceanarium. The travelers can go trekking or climbing in Jarabacoa and have a walk in the Armando Bermudez National Park.
The stores in Santo Domingo and Santiago will offer you a good shopping.
There are direct flights to the Dominican Republic from large European cities. Air France offers flights from Paris, Condor from Frankfurt, Airberlin from Munich and British Airways from London. The citizens from Russia can fly from Moscow to Punta Cana with Transaero.
The tourists from other CIS countries can take a transit flight. UIA and Air France offer flights to Punta Cana from Kiev with s top in Paris. The travelers can also fly from Minsk to Santo Domingo with Austrian and Iberia with a stop in Vienna to Madrid. Lufthansa, TAROM and Air Europa offer transit flights from CIS countries.
The tourists can travel to the Dominican Republic by a ferry Ferries del Caribe which departs from Mayaguez and arrives at Puerto Rico.
Regular buses Caribe Tours run from Haitian cities Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien.
The citizens of EU, Russia and Ukraine do not need to obtain a visa to travel to the Dominican Republic. They just need to fill in the form for the tourists which permits to stay in the country for 30 days. One can obtain the form online on the website of the Department of the Interior of the Dominican Republic. To extend your stay in the country, you should apply to the police department.
The citizens of other CIS countries must obtain a visa in the Embassy of the Dominican Republic to be able to travel to this country. Typically, the time for processing the documents is 10-12 working days. The tourist visa is valid for 60 days and one can renew the visa in the Migration Service of the Dominican Republic.
There are no restrictions concerning the import of foreign currency but any amount of money must be declared. The tourists are not allowed to import in the Dominican Republic national currency.
The tourists can import in the Dominican Republic duty-free the following goods:
- a limited amount of alcohol, tobacco and perfume;
- maximum 500g of coffee;
- clothes and shoes for personal use;
- gifts of the total cost not exceeding 100 US dollars.
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- medications (without a doctor's prescription);
- the products of animal and agricultural origin.
The tourists are not allowed to export:
- local currency and any foreign currency of 10.000 US dollars and over;
- heart of palms and orchids;
- cigars in the amount over 50 pieces per person;
- art objects and items with a historical value;
- antiquities recovered from the bottom of the sea.
The cuisine of the Dominican Republic is a combination of European, Spanish and African influences with a traditional twist. The staple foods are beans, vegetables, exotic fruits, meat and seafood.
The foodies should try roast pork Puerco asado, meat casserole Bandera with rice, beans and bananas (plátano), roast chicken Pica pollo and meat stewed in banana leaves Pastel en Ohashi. For breakfast you will be offered fried eggs with salami Los Tres Golpes.
In the menu of the sea resorts, the tourists will find fish and seafood dishes. Everyone knows that seafood is rich in calcium, amino acids and iodine so those who are concerned about healthy eating can choose from a great variety of foods beneficial for their health. Try a cocktail seafood dish Mariscos, fish with coconut milk Pescado con coco and fish casserole Bacalao Guisado. We also recommend crabs in an unusual sauce, shrimps, marlin, sea bream and lobsters.
The main dish is usually served with rice, beans, salads and banana side dishes. Do not miss a chance to try mashed banana with onion mangu, manioc flatbread Casabe, a mix of rice and corn Arroz con maiz and Moro de Guandules con Coco with pea, rice and coconut milk.
When it comes to soups, you will be served pumpkin and beans soup Chapea or thick meat soup with vegetables and rice Asapo.
At the end of the meal, the locals prefer fruits (guava, pineapple, mango, bananas) and sweets made of these fruits. Those who have a sweet tooth will surely like fruits soaked in water, sugar and cinnamon Almibar de frutas, pudding with sweet potato Jalea de batata, a coconut pie Arepa and coconut and almond cookies Conconete.
In the Dominican Republic try their traditional beverage rum. The most famous brands are Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudez.
The official currency is Dominican peso (DOP) which is equal to 100 centavos. The bank notes from 1 to 2.000 pesos and coins from 1 to 50 centavos and 1 peso are in circulation.
We recommend exchanging the currency at banks, in hotels or at airports. The more distant the place from touristic centers the better is the exchange rate. It can be a problem to withdraw the money from your credit card account as ATMs are often broken and fail to work. We recommend withdrawing the money at banks. On the resorts, US dollars are willingly accepted but the price will be a bit higher than in pesos.
The tourists can pay with their credit cards or traveler's checks only within Santo Domingo. Cashless payments beyond the capital city are not available.
In the Dominican Republic, the tax-free system is available and the travelers can refund up to 23% of the total cost of their purchase. All they need to do when leaving the country is to show the receipt and the things they bought in the country.
As there are a lot of cheaters in the country, we recommend you against exchanging the currency in the street. Avoid walking along the streets at night.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in the Dominican Republic
If you like historical and cultural monuments, you cannot miss an excursion to the Colonial City of Santo Domingo which is on the UNESCO list. The historic center of the capital city is the ancient settlement of the Europeans in the New World. On the territory of this cultural and historical complex, the tourists will see such sights as Santo Domingo Cathedral, Ozama fortress, Puerta del Conde Gate, the National Pantheon and the residence of the Alcázar de Colón.
Excursions to 14 UNESCO candidate sites are arranged for the tourists. We recommend visiting the Archaeological and Historical National Park of Pueblo Viejo and Archaeological and Historical National Park of the Villa of La Isabela. Have a trip to the old city of Azua de Compostela and visit the Villa Santiago, walk in the Historical Center of Puerto Plata.
The Jaragua National Park and Del Este National Park, the Ancient Big House of Palave and the city of Montecristi are also of a great touristic interest. In this country, you can see the Sanate Sugar Mill, Diego Caballero Sugar Mill, Duquesa Sugar Mill, Sugar Mill of Engombe and Boca De Nigua Sugar Mill. Among the popular local sights are the Columbus lighthouse, Los Tres Ojos caves, the Presidential Palace and the Ruins of the Hospital of Saint Nicolas of Bari. You can spend your time walking in the National Botanical garden, visiting Santa Clara Church and Consistory Palace.
Let your holidays be informative and visit the Museum of History and Geography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Nature, and Museum of the Royal Houses. You will find interesting collections in the Numismatic Museum and the Museum of La Caleta.
Souvenirs in the Dominican Republic
- local rum, coffee and cigars;
- jewelry with larimar and amber;
- hand-made dolls made of clay and pictures of the local artists.