Dominican Republic: An affordable bucket List Destination

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and lush tropical landscapes.

It lies on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. Haiti occupies the western third of the island. The Dominican Republic is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south.

Chillax! You're on Island Time.

One of the greatest charms of the Dominican Republic is its laid-back island time vibe. Unlike the hustle and bustle of city life and the craziness of office routines, everything moves at a slower pace here. Things happen, but they take their time. Just relax, chill out, and let things unfold—they always do, albeit a tad later than you might expect in the fast-paced city. That’s what we adored most about the island—it encourages you to unwind. You can ease off the gas pedal and see life from a fresh perspective once again.

Dominican Republic, travel guide

Dominican Republic Visa Requirements

Visitors from various countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union member states, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico, many South American countries, Central America, Japan, Israel, and more, typically do not require a visa to enter the Dominican Republic.

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In the Dominican Republic, eating at local eateries and street food stalls can be quite affordable, with prices typically lower than dining at tourist-oriented restaurants or upscale establishments. Traditional Dominican dishes such as rice, beans, plantains, and meat are often very reasonably priced. However, dining at international restaurants or upscale venues in tourist areas may be more expensive. Overall, compared to some other destinations, food in the Dominican Republic can offer good value for money, especially if you opt for local fare.

You can typically use your debit card in Punta Cana at ATMs and many businesses, especially in tourist areas. However, it’s essential to notify your bank of your travel plans before your trip to ensure that your card will work internationally and to inquire about any foreign transaction fees.

Using a credit or debit card can be convenient, especially for larger purchases or in establishments that cater to tourists. However, be aware that some businesses may add a surcharge for card transactions, and foreign transaction fees may apply if you’re using a card issued outside the Dominican Republic.

As for using US dollars in Punta Cana, while the local currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP), US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas, especially at hotels, restaurants, and shops catering to tourists. However, it’s advisable to carry some Dominican Pesos for smaller purchases and transactions, as you may receive a less favorable exchange rate when paying with US dollars. Additionally, be aware that you may receive change in Dominican Pesos, even if you pay in US dollars.

Paying in Dominican Pesos can sometimes result in a more favorable exchange rate, especially for smaller purchases and transactions. Additionally, using Dominican Pesos may be preferred in more local establishments where US dollars are not as commonly accepted.

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to carry a combination of US dollars and Dominican Pesos for flexibility, and to inquire about exchange rates and potential fees before making a payment. Additionally, having some cash on hand for smaller purchases and transactions in more local establishments can be useful.

English is widely spoken in the Dominican Republic, especially in tourist areas, hotels, and resorts. Many locals working in the tourism industry are bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, which can make it easier for English-speaking visitors to communicate and navigate the area. However, it’s always helpful to learn a few basic Spanish phrases as well, as it can enhance your travel experience and show respect for the local culture. Overall, language should not be a significant barrier for English-speaking travelers.

When you depart the Dominican Republic you are required to pay a departure tax, which was $20 per person at the time of our holiday in 2023. It’s typically included in the price of airline tickets. Some airlines may include this fee in the cost of the ticket, so it’s a good idea to check with your airline to confirm whether it’s already covered.

For the best deals on flight tickets, check out a variety of airlines and flight comparison platforms by scrolling down to “Ready to take flight?“. 

Dominican Republic's Weather

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WEATHER

The Dominican Republic indeed features diverse microclimates, primarily influenced by its varied terrain. Regions with higher elevations, such as the central mountain range, may experience cooler temperatures and more rainfall. In contrast, low-lying coastal areas, especially in the south, tend to be warmer and drier. Additionally, the northern and central regions may receive more rainfall due to the prevailing trade winds, while the southern regions are often shielded from the bulk of precipitation. The eastern region of the island is generally pleasant with consistent weather patterns. That’s why, for example, Punta Cana is such a popular destination for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts year-round.

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Eat and Drink in Punta Cana

Drinks

Punta Cana is known for its delicious rum, with popular brands such as Brugal and Barceló originating from the Dominican Republic. The legal drinking age in the Dominican Republic is 18 years old, and while Punta Cana is generally relaxed when it comes to alcohol consumption, establishments may ask for identification to verify age before serving alcohol.

Eat and Drink in Punta Cana

Meals

With its coastal location, Punta Cana offers a variety of fresh seafood options, including lobster, shrimp, and fish, prepared in various delicious ways. In addition to the yummy seafood, we have a few delicious suggestions…

Mangu: A traditional Dominican breakfast dish made from mashed plantains, typically served with fried eggs, cheese, and salami.

Mofongo: Mashed fried green plantains mixed with garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings, often served with meat or seafood.

Pescado Frito: Fried fish, usually served with tostones (fried green plantains) or rice and beans.

Sancocho: A hearty stew made with various meats, root vegetables, and spices, often enjoyed as a comforting meal.

Tostones: Fried green plantain slices, served as a popular side dish or snack.

Empanadas: Fried or baked pastries filled with various fillings such as cheese, meat, or vegetables.

Water Precautions, Coffee Confidence, and Salad Caution

In Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic, it’s generally recommended to avoid drinking tap water and using it for brushing teeth. Instead, opt for bottled or filtered water for drinking and oral hygiene. However, many resorts and hotels in Punta Cana have their water purification systems, so it’s advisable to check with your accommodation regarding the safety of tap water.

  • It’s typically safe to shower in the Dominican Republic, as long as you avoid getting water in your mouth.
  • Drinking coffee in the Dominican Republic is generally safe, especially if it’s made with boiled or purified water.
  • While salads are often served in Punta Cana, it’s essential to ensure that they are thoroughly washed and prepared in hygienic conditions to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.
  • Ice from the resorts’ ice machines is usually from filtered water, so that’s safe too.

Overall, it’s wise to exercise caution and opt for cooked foods, bottled drinks, and fruits you can peel yourself to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal issues while visiting Punta Cana.

Tipping in the Dominican Republic

While tipping at all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic is not mandatory, it is generally appreciated for exceptional service. It’s not considered rude not to tip, as gratuities are often included in the all-inclusive package. However, if you receive outstanding service or wish to show appreciation, tipping is a thoughtful gesture. It’s customary to tip maids around $1-$2 USD per day, and $5 USD can be considered a generous tip for exceptional service in the Dominican Republic. Ultimately, tipping amounts can vary based on your satisfaction with the service received.

Travel Tip(s)

The workers on the island rely on tipping as part of their very low salaries. So tipping is very welcome. Take a couple of singles ($1) along, enough that you don’t run out. The singles come in very handy when you want to give a quick tip to show your appreciation. No bothering with change, it’s quick and easy.

Combined with a few friendly words in Spanish (which they really appreciate) you’ll continue to get top treatment. Try it, it works!

The best holidays in the Dominican Republic

Punta Cana

Punta Cana—it’s like stepping into a postcard picture of paradise! You’ll find it lounging on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, boasting these dreamy, long stretches of powdery white beaches and water so clear and blue, you’ll think you’re swimming in a giant pool of gemstones. And oh boy, the resorts! They’re like little slices of luxury heaven, with all-inclusive perks that make you feel like royalty.

If you’re into soaking up the sun, splashing in the waves, or trying your hand at cool water sports like snorkeling, windsurfing, or sailing, this is your spot. If you’re not a beach bum (totally cool if you’re not), Punta Cana still has your back. There’s golfing for days, natural wonders to explore, and nightlife that’ll keep you grooving till the wee hours. It’s the kind of place that ticks all the boxes for a perfect tropical getaway!

Typical dinner in a Dominican family home

When it comes to dining at the resorts, like in Punta Cana, you’ve got options galore—from savory Italian dishes to fancy French fare and everything in between. But let me let you in on a little secret: if you’re craving some authentic Dominican food, you gotta do a bit of detective work. Go by the reception desk and ask where you can get some traditional local cuisine.

But if you’re really after the real deal, here’s the scoop: get an invite (click on any of the family photos) to dinner at a Dominican family’s home. It’s like hitting the jackpot! Not only do you get to feast on mouthwatering local dishes bursting with flavor, but you also get to soak up all those juicy stories and insider tips that only locals can dish out. It’s like unlocking a treasure trove of hidden gems, away from the touristy hustle and bustle.

So, if you want an unforgettable culinary adventure and a peek into authentic Dominican culture, this is the bomb dot com!

family meal, eatwith.com, dominican cuisine, santo domingo, dominican republic
Join Genevet and her husband Francisco at their home in Santo Domingo for a delicious, 3-course, family meal. There will be good music, a welcoming environment, and homemade food!

Award-Winning Stays and Restaurants in the Dominican Republic

Experience the vibrant Dominican Republic, a tropical paradise boasting pristine beaches, world-class hospitality, and exquisite cuisine. Immerse yourself in the luxurious accommodations and savor the flavors of award-winning restaurants that redefine culinary excellence. The Dominican Republic isn’t just a vacation destination; it’s an unforgettable journey of relaxation, indulgence, and cultural discovery. Book your stay now and create memories that will savor for a lifetime!

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