Monday, 24 April 2017

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Enjoy Yourself In Punta Cana

Punta Cana is a resort town within the Punta Cana-Bavaro-Veron-Macao municipal district, in the municipality of Higuey, in La Altagracia Province, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. The area has beaches and balnearios which face both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and it has been a popular tourist destination.

The Punta Cana area has an estimated population of 50,000, with an annual growth rate of 6%. To the north, it borders the village and beach of Cabeza de Toro, and the Bávaro and El Cortecito beaches. The nearest city, the 500-year-old Higüey, is 45 kilometres (28 mi) away, which takes about an hour to reach by car. European entrepreneurs, particularly Spanish hotel chains, own all but two of the over 50 megaresorts at the Punta Cana tourism destination.

The province’s 100-kilometre (62 mi) coastline tends to be mildly windy. The ocean waters are mainly shallows, with several natural marine pools in which visitors can bathe without danger. From north to south, the main beaches are Uvero Alto, Macao, Arena Gorda, Bávaro, El Cortecito, Las Corales and Cabeza de Toro, all north of the cape; and Cabo Engaño, Punta Cana and Juanillo south of the cape.

Bávaro is the area starting from Cabeza de Toro until Macao Beach. As the hotels started to rise along the East coast, Bavaro itself became a center of services with shopping malls, fast-food stores, drug stores, fine restaurants, banks, clinics, workshops, supermarkets, and schools.

The major town in the district is Veron, now bigger than Higüey in territory, a spontaneous – and poor – urban development running along the original road from the west. Verón, last name of the French proprietor of a timberline business in the early 1930s, is now the base-city for hotel workers and related.

It has, besides Bávaro, one of the only four gas stations in Punta Cana. The very next is located 48 kilometres (30 mi) west in Higüey, at the Fruisa crossroads, with a new Texaco gas station opened April 2010, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of Macao beach, and the new Shell gas station close to the airport on the highway Coral opened at the end of 2010.

Punta Cana features a tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification. The weather is fairly consistent all year, with an average temperature of 30 °C (86 °F). The hot and humid season lasts from May to October, and during the day temperatures might reach 35 °C (95 °F). From November to March, temperatures during the evening are around 20 °C (68 °F). Very little rain falls around the area, primarily because of the mostly flat landscape, a combination of savanna and mountains.

Punta Cana is a popular tourist destination.

The area offers water attractions, such as racing speedboats, ziplinning, four-wheeling, catamaran sailing, party boats, deep sea sport fishing, discovery cruises, floating spas, private yachts, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling cruises, swimming with sharks and stingrays, whale watching, reef exploring and visiting small islands like Catalina and Saona.

The capital city Santo Domingo, and Los Haitises National Park, Samaná, are nearby. The Basilica Catholic Monument, built in 1962 and designed by two French architects, is in nearby Higüey, the 500-year-old capital of the Province.

There are several resort developments: the Puntacana Resort and Club, Cap Cana, Motel 6 and the Majestic Elegance.

The Punta Cana International Airport is one of the busiest and best connected airports in the Caribbean. In 2014, Punta Cana received over 2.4 million passengers, making it the busiest airport in the Caribbean. Grupo Puntacana built the Punta Cana International Airport in 1984 to facilitate tourism in the area. It was the western hemisphere’s first privately owned international airport.

The buses run through most of the main town and stop running at 10:00 pm.

Dominican Republic is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country, situated just two hours south of Miami, less than four hours from New York and eight hours from most European cities. Known for our warm and hospitable people, Dominican Republic is a destination like no other, featuring astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, our lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, magnificent resorts and hotels, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options.

Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, renew in our luxurious and diverse accommodations, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.

Discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, the country overflows with fascinating history, museums and exciting cultural experiences like music, art and festivals, plus uniquely Dominican specialties such as cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, merengue, amber and larimar.

The #1 destination for golf in the Caribbean and Latin America, Dominican Republic delights visitors with 25 designer golf courses amid breathtaking coastlines with mountain backdrops and lush green fairways. With so many beautiful natural settings like romantic waterfalls, breathtaking coasts and idyllic accommodations.

Dominican Republic is a top destination for weddings and romance. Many world class-resorts and hotels also cater to meetings and incentive groups who flock to Dominican Republic for excellent, friendly service and dynamic meeting venues.

Dominican Republic offers a fantastic combination of environments to capture your imagination and refresh the soul. And with eight international airports, paradise has never been easier to explore. We invite you to discover our breathtaking island sanctuary and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Location/Geography

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second largest in the Caribbean region, with a surface area of 18,704 square miles (48,442 square kilometers). Located in the heart of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the Caribbean Sea.

Population

The population of the Dominican Republic is 9,980,243 (2015 Census).

Time Zone

Local time is GMT -4. It is an hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time in the United States in the winter. Unlike the United States and Europe, the Dominican Republic does not observe daylight saving time.

Capital City

The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World. Greater Santo Domingo has a population of around three million people.

Government

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president, legislators and city government officials. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeno were elected for a four-year term that began on 16 August 2012 and ends on 16 August 2016.

Language

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. However, you’ll be surprised how many hotel and tourist destination employees speak English, French, German and Italian. If you decide to venture out of the tourist areas, it is helpful to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.

Currency

The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. You can find the peso exchange rate for several international currencies at www.bancentral.gov.do/tasas_cambio/TMC4001.PDF

Major credit cards are accepted at most tourist locations, but it is best to check in advance at small hotels, restaurants and shops.

ATMs are located in almost all of the Dominican Republic’s cities, as well as at most resorts. Large supermarkets have ATMs that are open until late.

Climate

The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with average temperatures ranging from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C). The coldest season is between November and April, and the hottest season is between May and October. August is the hottest month.

Tourism Statistics

5,959,347 non-resident visitors flew to the Dominican Republic in 2016. Among these visitors, 825,237 non-resident Dominicans chose to visit the country in 2016.

Most air arrivals landed at the Punta Cana airport, 52.74% of all air traffic. Santo Domingo was the second destination of arrivals with 27.57%, followed by Santiago 10.26%, Puerto Plata 6.69%, La Romana 1.59% and Samaná 0.97%.

In 2016, most tourists visiting the country by air came from:

United States 41.6%
Canada 15.0%
Germany 5.0%
France 4.3%
Venezuela 3.2%
United Kingdom 3.2%
Spain 3.1%
Argentina 2.7%
Puerto Rico 2.6%
Russia 2.6%
Brazil 2.4%
Colombia 1.9%
Italy 1.5%
Belgium 0.8%

In 2016, seaport activity was 832,916 passengers:
La Romana 357,952 passengers
Puerto Plata 349,092 passengers
Santo Domingo 77,581 passengers
Samaná 48,291 passengers

Punta Cana is the name of a town and tourist region at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic. The region, covering about 420,000m² (approximately 1,100 acres), is home to a coastline of sandy white beaches.

In the province of La Altagracia with a population estimated at 100,000, the region borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east. To the north, it borders Bávaro and El Cortecito Beaches. It also borders Cabeza de Toro, Cabo Engaño and further west, Juanillo.

Despite the area being fairly deserted, the proximity of Punta Cana to other major resort areas such as Bávaro and Uvero Alto make the town one of the top Caribbean destinations.

Peak season in Punta Cana tends to run from December-April. Prices in both airfare and hotel increase dramatically during these times, while dropping in the summer and early fall months.

Punta Cana has a tropical climate. Although it is mildly windy, the ocean in the area is mainly shallow, with several natural marine pools in which visitors can bathe. The weather is fairly constant, with an average temperature of 26°C. The hottest season lasts from April to November, and during the day temperatures might reach 32°C.

From December to March, temperatures during the evening are around 20°C. Very little rain falls around the area, mostly because of the flat landscape. The summer months tend to be very warm and very humid. It is suggested you wear loose fitting, cotton clothing, so pack light.

Punta Cana was founded as a tourist resort and tourism still is 100% of the local economy. Prices are much higher than in the rest of the Dominican Republic and within the area prices in the resorts are higher than outside up to 300% for postcards, cigars and souvenirs.

Therefore lots of resorts employ the tactic of scaring their visitors from venturing outside by propagating stories of robberies, murders and rape. These have to be taken with a grain of salt; people tend to be very friendly and helpful. Still, flashing jewellery, expensive gadgets or lots of money is not recommended.

Entering By Air

Several US carriers have scheduled flights to Punta Cana International Airport (IATA: (PUJ) including: JetBlue, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United, and Delta. Air Canada offers flights from Halifax and Ottawa. WestJet also offers scheduled service from Toronto. Rossiya Airlines, Azur Air and NordWind offers service from Moscow. Charter airlines include Air Transat, Sunwing, Thomas Cook, Skyservice and Canjet departing from many larger Canadian cities seasonally.

Most people going to Punta Cana are staying at a resort. With a resort package most hotels will have airport pick up arranged for you at the Punta Cana Airport. You will find this area to the right as you depart the final customs check area. Just look for your hotel name on a sign that many guides will have, and they will direct you to your bus. Private taxis are also available at fixed prices.

In fact, Punta Cana has one of the busiest and best connected airports in the region being at times reported as one of the busiest airports in the entire Caribbean, and usually receiving more flights than the Aeropuerto Internacional de Las Américas, in Santo Domingo about a three-hour drive.

The Punta Cana Airport has a beautiful thatched roof and is an open-air design, also meaning that few areas of the airport have air conditioning. Upon arriving at the Punta Cana airport, each passenger is required to purchase a USD10 tourist card before entering immigration, often included in your documentation upon departure or issued on the flight, unless you have a Dominican passport, a cedula residence card or your foreign passport shows that you were born in the Dominican Republic.

After retrieving luggage and clearing customs, arriving passengers will be greeted by their tour company representative to the right and directed to board the correct bus for transfer to their resort. Do not venture out looking for your bus without first checking in at the counters. The buses are numbered, thus you will not know which one to get on to.

Taxis are waiting just outside and drivers know all big resorts, though not necessarily the few small guesthouses or hostels.

In Punta Cana, there are various companies that provide official airport transfers. When you arrive after an international flight at your destination it is the most convenient option to have your transportation pre-booked and the shuttle waiting for your arrival.

All hotels in Punta Cana or Bavaro Beach can easily be reached via private or shared transportation. Most of the transportation companies offer customers the option to prebook online. Some of the well-known companies offering shared and private transfers are:

Amstar DMC

Gray Line

Transfers.do by TravelService

By Coaches

Expreso Bavaro go from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana (from their respective terminals in Santo Domingo). Buses are modern with,toilet, movies, some with WiFi and drivers drive safely.

Touring

Tour Operators: Most passengers arriving in Punta Cana International Airport have prearranged local transportation through a tour operator. These companies have representatives at the airport to guide guests to vehicles waiting to take them to the reserved resort.

If you are travelling with a tour operator it is highly recommended that you attend any welcome meetings and orientations offered by your tour operator. In these meetings you'll receive important information regarding your hotel and immediate area information, activity and excursion options, and departure information.

Taxis: If you are not travelling with a tour operator, a number of taxi drivers are available just outside the Customs area to provide you transportation to the place of your choice. All taxis operate with standard rates; most drivers carry a copy of these.

The best thing to do when hiring a taxi is to clarify your destination and the price in advance. You pay upon arrival at your destination. Most hotels have taxi stations on or near their property; in most cases a bellman or front desk clerk can order a taxi for you. Taxi drivers accept dollars, pesos, and euros.

Local Buses: For the more adventurous, the local bus lines operate on most of the roads of the area, for a minimal cost. The downside to public transport in the Dominican Republic is irregular bus schedules, crowded vehicles, and potentially unsafe vehicles (689 casualties in 2007), drivers, or passengers. Although for the most part it is a safe and effective means of transportation, it is generally recommended to use one of the more frequented means of getting around.

Rent-a-Car: A number of car rental agencies like Europcar, Budget, and Avis offer service in the area of Punta Cana and Bavaro. Many hotels have car rental concessionaires on their properties. Driving laws, habits, and conditions may be different from the ones you are used to. When renting a vehicle always take the maximum available insurance, keep a map of the area you intend to drive in, and make sure you are comfortable with the drive.

Motoconchos: Motorbike taxis are by far the cheapest and fastest private mode of transportation (DOP100 for a ride from Friusa to Bavaro beach). Depending on the area, one will be either offered rides permanently (e.g. in Friusa) or will have to look for them. At the beaches, staff at the shops usually can point one to the place where they are waiting or even call one. Helmets are not provided though and one should not use a motoconcho.

Attractions

Altos de Chavon. A modern-day artist's village resembling a 16th century Mediterranean town. It is set upon a spectacular hillside cliff overlooking the winding Chavon River. It is home to a 5,000 seat amphitheatre, an archaeological museum, craft workshops, artist's studios and an assortment of galleries and restaurants.

Juanillo. One of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. Until a few years ago it was a very small village of fishermen a few miles from the Punta Cana Airport. The entire village was purchased as part of a very large project called Cap Cana. In return for giving up their rights to occupancy, the residents were offered alternative housing, money, and jobs. While Juanillo was at one time accessible to the public, it is now only accessible to people staying at one of the Cap Cana hotels and to property owners within the Cap Cana project and their guests.

Santo Domingo. This is the first European settlement of the Western Hemisphere. It has preserved its colonial heritage for more than five centuries, and is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Visit the first cathedral of the Americas or the Alcazar de Colon, the palace of Diego, son of Christopher Columbus.

Saona Island. Take a day trip to this spectacular island set in the natural reserve of The Parque Nacional del Este. Relax on powder white sands, where palm-studded beaches meet the soft surf of the Caribbean waters, and sometimes even dolphins swim alongside your catamaran.

Corales Golf Course, Designed by Tom Fazio, Corales is an 18-hole course with six seaside holes. Designed along the natural cliffs, bays, ocean coves and the inland lakes and coralina quarries. Members and their guests are welcome; additional access available to guests of Tortuga Bay and The Puntacana Hotel through the resort’s "Golf Experience" plans, or those who wish to play a la carte. The a la carte golf rates for the Resort’s guest are USD275 in season and USD195 during the

off season. Subject to availability, the Corales Golf Club accepts a limited number of external guest players. All golf rates are inclusive of taxes and include eighteen holes with cart and an expansive practice facility. Also included in the golf rates are yardage books, towels, ice water, and tees are part of the golf cart’s setup.

Cold apples are provided on the 10th tee and scented iced towels at the end of your round. There is a Caribbean view Grill and Nineteenth Hole Bar at the clubhouse and an on-course beverage cart. Caddies are mandatory.

Dolphin Island: A short boat ride takes you to a floating platform where visitors can swim with trained dolphins in the sea. The package includes 15 minutes of free time with these unique creatures.

Dominican Alps (Near the town of Jarabacoa). Where 18 different waterfalls cascade between chasms of rock to water the rich, fertile earth below. If you're a whitewater fan, the Rio Yasque is the longest river in the Caribbean and offers challenging kayak or rafting courses like the "Mike Tyson" which features a 3.5m (12 ft) vertical drop. There are no day trips to this area from Punta Cana, due to the distance.

HorsePlay Punta Cana, Punta Cana, . Monday through Saturday. Horseback riding and Zip Lining Combo Adventure Tour. All inclusive package included horse riding, zip line, cigar demonstration, cocoa demonstration, culture, lunch and transportation from your Punta Cana resort. 99.

Marinarium. In this water park you can experience some of the best snorkeling in the area, complete with nurse sharks and sting rays. Enjoy a coco loco as you cruise along the coast to your final stop, a waist-deep natural pool in the sea.

Ocean Adventures, Playa Corales,4 different kinds of water excursions. The first, Bavaro Splash, combines driving a high performance boat, snorkelling and SNUBA. The second, Dr. Fish Ocean Spa, is a three hour spa excursion offering gentle pilates/yoga and relaxing massages: a special massage on floating mattresses in the natural pool, detox foot treatments, and also a pedicure: these tiny fish called Garra Rufa will gently exfoliate your feet by removing the dead skin creating the feeling of a gentle massage.

The third one, called "Sailing Adventure," is a sailing excursion with various activities that lasts about 4h 30min. It includes open bar drinks and an Asian lunch buffet. The final option is the Stingray Bay, a trip by a double floor pirate ship toward a private and exclusive floating aquarium with nurse sharks and stingrays for a very safe interaction program, followed by a Dominican party. Price may vary depending on the excursion.

Seaquarium: You are provided with a diving helmet and allowed to walk the bottom of the clear waters with an unforgettable view of reef and coral life- no certification required!

Purchasing

Make sure you spend the remainder of your Dominican pesos. It is next to impossible elsewhere to convert your pesos back to US dollars or euros.

There are a variety of shops along the beachfront of each resort. These shops are owned and operated by the locals. Shopping outside of the resort complex in Punta Cana/Bavaro can be kind of an adventure. In most shopping plazas, you can expect to be approached by one or more friendly, but insistent salespersons.

The people of the Dominican Republic love to barter. You can expect that once in one of their stores you will be taken for a ride. You will initially be quoted ridiculously outrageous prices. It is imperative that you get the item as cheaply as you can. This can become quite an ordeal as the shopkeeper fights with you, insults you for your frugality, etc.

When walking along the beach vendors will solicit your business. It can be annoying as they will keep pestering you until you come and look at what they have to offer. Tell them that you are not interested and keep walking. The best way of letting the locals know that you are not interested is to tell them that you have no money.

The people of the Dominican Republic are very friendly and are offended when you walk past them with no acknowledgement of their presence. A simple "no, thank you" may sometimes work, but in most cases, they will not take no for an answer and will continue to chase and harass you.

Do not buy dried animals turtle shells, sea shells, etc. because It is illegal, so you will not be allowed to bring them through customs, and may get arrested trying; it encourages the locals to kill these creatures. Reef life should stay in the sea, so help to preserve these endangered animals by buying other types of souvenirs.

Food

Bamboo Bar Building Las Piratas, Los Corales Beach, Bavaro, Beachfront bar-restaurant-lounge. Enjoy the beach, relax music, and cocktails. Order a pitcher of their excellent sangria and enjoy the afternoon watching the scenery on the beach.

Capitan Cook (Cortecito)If seafood is your favourite, try what locals have declared the best lobster in town. With a huge open grill and enormous platters, it is hard for seafood lovers not to enjoy this beach-side restaurant. It is on the main beach strip. Captain Cook has an unusual atmosphere, and some may find the peculiar manner of service and ordering your meal intimidating or offensive.

Las Lenas II (Plaza Friusa),Spanish-style coffee shop and bakery with Wi-Fi. Comfortable seating, urban clientèle, and great food along with the rustic decoration give this place a welcoming character. The bakery provides hotels in the area with the choicest deserts and is the best place to have breakfast in Punta Cana.

Drinking

Drinking from the tap is not recommended. You should be okay using it to brush your teeth, but don't swallow it. Most hotels provide bottled water in the rooms; restaurants and bars use purified water and ice for your food and beverages.

All-inclusive resorts have an endless supply of liquor. You may also drink at neighboring resorts within your own property, but you may have to pay or let them know your room number and resort name at the very least.

With the sun constantly beating down on you much stronger since it is right next to the equator, and the endless supply of alcohol, dehydration is a constant danger. Make sure you drink lots of water or you may end up in a doctor's office suffering from dehydration and a fever.

Mamajuana is a local concoction of rum, wine, root or tree bark, and honey. However, there may be different recipes for the same beverage that locals say functions like liquid Viagra.

Beer

Presidente is the most popular national brand of beer, and it is readily available anywhere. It is available in both regular and lite versions. For a beer with a bit more taste, you should try Bohemia, made by the same company, but with a fuller flavour. Also available in a lite version.

Rum

You will encounter many different types of rum:

White rums are generally light-bodied. They are clear and have a subtle flavour. These are primarily used as mixers and blend particularly well with fruit flavours.
Golden rums also known as Amber rums are generally medium-bodied. Most have spent several years ageing in casks, giving them a smooth palate.
Dark rums are traditionally full-bodied, rich, caramel-dominated rums. The richest of these rums are consumed straight up.
Anejo and age-dated rums are aged rums from different vintages or batches that are mixed together. The youngest rum in the blend contains a blend of rums that are at least 10 years old.

Most often, you will be offered Brugal or Barcelo rum. Highly recommended rums are Burmudez Don Armando and Anniversario 1852, as well as Macorix Eight Year.

Coffee

Though in most Latin and Central American countries coffee is produced primarily for export, most of the coffee grown in the Dominican Republic is savored within its borders. And Dominicans, like Europeans, enjoy their coffee strong and black. One useful phrase for tourists to learn when ordering coffee is "sin azucar" (no sugar) for the simple reason that the locals measure by tablespoon rather than teaspoon.

Accomodation

Majestic Colonial Hotel (Playa Bavaro)

Majestic Elegance Hotel (Playa Bavaro)

Melia Caribe Tropical, Playa de Bávaro

Paradisus Palma Real (Bávaro Beach).

Paradisus Punta Cana.

Punta Cana Guesthouse (Guesthouse Las Piedras), Avenida Estados Unidos, Calle Guarionex,Operated by Florian and Lila, in their own house. Because you are staying in their home, you will be greeted with genuine friendliness and hospitality. The estate and the rooms have been built with great attention to detail. It is not close to the beach, but close to the guagua (bus) station and there are many motoconchos around.

When arriving from the airport, have them arrange a taxi for you - it's slightly less than the standard price and the driver then knows the location. Most regular taxis do not know the location! When arriving by bus, get off at the final destination (Friusa) and call them from there - somebody will fetch you.It's just a 2 minute walk but the house is unmarked. USD35 (single) to USD60 (double with balcony).

Westin Punta Cana Resort and Club

Internet

Many of hotel offering free Wi-Fi areas at lobby. If you walk outside your resort, Internet cafes will be half the price,yet still pricey by Dominican standards. For example, USD8 per hour in the resort, USD4 per hour in town in Punta Cana or Bavaro. In other parts of the DR, Internet cafes are USD2 per hour or often less.

Police
Police Stations next to the Sitrabapu bus terminal in Bavaro and at Galerias Punta Cana near the airport

The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism reports there are 737 hotels with a total of 75,030 hotel rooms in the Dominican Republic as of December 2016.

Entry Requirements

A valid passport is required. You may also need a tourist card (US$10 or €10) or a visa.

Tourist Card

Citizens of countries who are legally able to enter the European Union, Great Britain, the United States of America or Canada may enter the Dominican Republic by presenting a Tourist Card.

The Tourist Card is valid for a year from the date of purchase and is valid for an up to 30-day visit for one person who will only be able to use it once.

The Tourist Card can be acquired at point of sale locations in land, air or sea ports in the country. It is also sold at Dominican embassies and consulate offices overseas and by tour operating companies. It can be purchased online at www.dgii.gov.do/tarjetaTuristica/EN/about/Paginas/default.aspx

Tourists staying beyond the usual 30-day period need to pay a proportional fee depending on the extension, which can be paid at the Department of Migration or at the migration desk upon departure.

www.migracion.gob.do/web/tarifas.php

Visas

The Dominican Republic issues tourist, business, work, student and residency visas. Tourist visas can be issued for one or several entries and can be extended to 60 days. For more details on the visas, see www.domrep.org/visa.html or www.consuladord.com/contentlist.aspx?catid=73&lang=ES

See this list for citizens who need to request a visa at Dominican consulates abroad.

www.dgii.gov.do/tarjetaTuristica/EN/about/Documents/CountriesneedingaVisatoentertheDominicanRepublic.pdf

See a list of the consulates at the top right hand corner of this page of the Ministry of Foreign Relations website: www.consuladord.com

Who is exempt from a tourist card or visa?

Residents and Dominican nationals.
Foreigners arriving from Argentina, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, Peru and Uruguay.
Diplomatic and consular staff with assigned missions in the country, while on duty.
Passengers using private, noncommercial aviation as long as the aircraft fulfills the following requirements: the trip must be for sport, leisure, business or tourism purposes, and the aircraft must not weigh more than thirty thousand pounds (30,000 lbs) and have a maximum capacity of 12 passengers.

Good Information for Travelers

Because it is located in the Caribbean, the weather in the Dominican Republic is excellent all year round. During the summer, the temperature can range from 90 F (32 C) at midday to 70 F (21 C) at dawn. Temperatures can drop to a low of 65 F (18 C) in the winter. In the high mountainous areas of Jarabacoa and Constanza, the weather is cooler. In these areas, temperatures of 50 F (10 C) in the city in the early morning and below zero higher up in the mountains are not unusual.

In the tropics, although rainstorms can happen at any time of the year, rains usually fall for just short periods in the afternoon and evening. The warmest months are June through September.

Holidays (Non Business Days) 2017
January 1: New Year’s Day
January 6: The Three Kings’ Day (religious) – Celebrated on Monday January 9th
January 21: Our Lady of Altagracia Day (religious)
January 26: Juan Pablo Duarte Day – Celebrated on Monday January 30th
February 27: Independence Day
March or April (varies) – Easter Friday (religious)
May 1: Labor Day (celebrated on the closest Monday)
June (varies) Corpus Christi Day (religious)
August 16: Restoration of Independence Day
September 24: Our Lady of Mercedes Day (religious)
November 6: Constitution Day (celebrated on the closest Monday)
December 25: Christmas Day (religious)

Electricity

In the Dominican Republic, electric outlets are 110 volts, the same as in the United States and Canada. Because of this, visitors from other countries needing power adapters are advised to bring their own.

Embassies

For a list of foreign embassies in the Dominican Republic, see:

http://mirex.gob.do/servicios/directorio/cuerpo-consular-acreditado-republica-dominicana

For a list of overseas Dominican embassies, see:

http://mirex.gob.do/servicios/directorio/embajadas-exterior
Opening Times

Most businesses open at 8am or 9am until 5 or 6pm on business days and until 1pm on Saturdays. Large shopping centers in the cities usually close at 9pm and open on Sundays from 9am until 8pm. Restaurants usually remain open and serve food until midnight, Sunday to Thursday, and until 2am on Friday, Saturday and holidays. Inside the hotels, bars, discos and restaurants may remain open 24 hours a day.

Language

The official language is Spanish. English is widely spoken, and many tourist sector employees will be fluent in Italian, French, German, Russian and other languages as needed.

Money Matters

The local currency is the Dominican peso (RD$). It comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 25 peso coins and in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 notes. Dollars and euros can be readily exchanged in banks and authorized exchange offices across the country.

There are restrictions on bringing more than US$10,000 in cash into the country and any sum over this value needs to be declared on the customs form. It is prohibited to leave the Dominican Republic with more than $10,000 US dollars or equivalent in cash. If you need large amounts of cash, it is more convenient to make a bank withdrawal when in the country. Banks are normally open from 8:30am to 4pm. In large shopping centers, some bank branches are open until 8pm.

Passports, Tourist Card & Visa

Citizens and residents of the United States, Canada and most European countries can enter the country with a 30-day tourist card, which can be bought when you enter the country for US$10 or €10. Anyone, regardless of nationality, may come into the Dominican Republic with a tourist card if they have any of the following valid visas in their passport: United States, Canada, United Kingdom or the European Union (Schengen). If you wish to extend your tourist card to 90 days, you will need to pay RD$2,500 to immigration when you leave the country. The exit tax is US$20.00, but this is usually included in the airline ticket.

To see a list of the countries that require a visa to enter the Dominican Republic, visit:

http://www.dgii.gov.do/tarjetaTuristica/EN/Support/faq/Paginas/default.aspx
Tips

Restaurant bills already include a ten percent tip. It is customary to give an additional 10% for good service. Most people do not tip taxi drivers, however if you feel so inclined for good service, a tip will certainly be appreciated.

Smoking Restrictions

Smoking is not allowed in most restaurants, clubs and enclosed premises.

Clothes

Dominicans like to dress elegantly; fashion, grooming and hygiene are very important. Depending on the occasion, Dominicans will dress either casually or formally. Around hotels and resorts, it is suitable to wear light clothing such as shirts, t-shirts, shorts, swimwear or dresses.

From December through February, when the nights are cooler, you may need a light jacket.

Do not assume that the weather will always be warm because even in a Caribbean island, warm clothes will be needed for traveling in the mountain areas, especially in the Central Mountain Range, where temperatures as low as 32 F (0 C) are regularly reported. In the mountain towns of Constanza and Jarabacoa the temperatures regularly will drop below 65C (18C) in the evenings.

Health

For a more comfortable stay, even if the day is cloudy, use sunblock as the Caribbean sun is very strong. All-inclusive hotels encourage eating and drinking, but moderation is recommended to avoid stomach upsets. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water or natural liquids. Note that soft drinks do not count. If you feel unwell, visit a doctor. The tourist centers and all cities have health centers with modern medical services and most hotels have medical dispensaries with qualified personnel.

Traveling with Animals

Cats and dogs will need a health certificate from your country of origin, which is valid for at least 30 days. A rabies vaccination certificate is also required. Birds will need to be quarantined for ten days. For other animals, an import permit will be required from the National Department of Agriculture and Zoology. 
Always check with your accommodation provider regarding policies for pets.

Safety

Even though the Dominican Republic is one of the safest countries on the continent, you should still take the same precautions as when traveling to any new city:
Use the hotel safe to store your passport, money and other items of value.
Keep a photocopy of your passport with you when you travel. Only take what is necessary along with you.
When possible, take a credit card as well as cash.
Do not leave articles of value, bag or briefcases in full view in vehicles, even when there is a security guard nearby.
Avoid traveling at night, even on the main highways. If you are planning to go out at night, use the services of a taxi called from the hotel where you are staying.

Specialized Touristic Security Corp (Cestur)

With special training for assisting tourists, Cestur is a joint initiative under the Ministry of Defense working in collaboration with the National Police and the Ministry of Tourism. Cestur offices are located in most tourist destinations. If you are the victim of a crime, Cestur can help you get to a police station so that you may file a police report and seek further assistance. Cestur headquarters are at Av. Gustavo Mejía Ricart and Teodoro Chasseriaux, El Millón.

Telephones

The Dominican Republic uses the same call system as the United States. The main area code is 809, though there are also numbers that use 829 and 849 codes. You are required to dial ten digits for each call.

Because most people now have cell phones, public phones are almost non-existent. It is advisable to have a phone when traveling independently in the Dominican Republic. You can buy a prepaid cell phone in the Dominican Republic with a local number for about US$42.

The telephone companies that provide cell phone services are: Claro, Orange, Tricom and Viva. These same companies will sell wireless Internet gadgets for your laptop. You can purchase a phone in less than an hour at any shopping center. You may also change your telephone’s SIM card for a local one and use it on your own phone. It is not difficult to find a WiFi hotspot to connect to the Internet.

Inter-country Transport

There’s a large network of roads connecting towns and tourist destinations around the country. There is lovely lush green landscape along the Santo Domingo-Santiago-Puerto Plata highway. Check out the spectacular panoramic views of the sea and mountains along the route towards Barahona, or the interesting new route through the Los Haitises National Park hills leading to the Samaná Peninsula and the North Coast.

The following land and air transportation options can help you travel around the Dominican Republic:

Land Transportation

One of the advantages of traveling with a tour operator is that your airport-to-hotel and hotel-to-excursion transfers are likely to be prearranged.

Taxis



Taxis can be found at airports and hotels and can also be arranged in advance. Several taxi for call companies are listed in the telephone directory. They are a cost-effective way to get around. Taxis are safe and reliable option in Santo Domingo as well as in many inland towns. Inter-city taxis cost RD$200.

Car Rental

Various companies including several world brands offer their services at the main airports, tourist destinations and towns. Consider renting a vehicle to visit at your leisure the destinations and attractions that are located along the northern coast, the Samaná peninsula, La Romana and Punta Cana beaches.

Santo Domingo Subway
 (Metro)


The new modern Metro service began in 2009 and there are two lines. Avoid peak hours when they are packed with commuters. One of the lines goes north-south on the Máximo Gómez avenue and then east-west along the Correa y Cidrón avenue, passing the state university (UASD) on its way to the government building center at the Centro de los Héroes, where Congress, the Supreme Court of Justice and the Department of Migration, among other government offices are located. A subway card costs RD$30 with recharge starting at RD$20, the value of each trip: www.opret.gob.do/Estaciones.aspx

Low-Cost City Buses

Low-cost OMSA government buses travel along the main roads of Santo Domingo and Santiago, from 7am until 9pm. Similarly, there are other smaller privately-owned and operated buses called “guaguas” (bus) or “voladoras” (flyers), that travel scheduled routes and circulate around the main streets and avenues, stopping on request.

Public Cars or “Conchos” (Shared Taxis)

Concho cars or shared taxis are very similar to “guaguas” because they travel specific routes and stop at points requested by the passengers. You can find them in the capital as well as in towns and villages. Fares are usually RD$25 for the routes in which up to six passengers will be boarded. Consider a private taxi for an inter-city route costs RD$200.

“Motoconchos” (Motorbike Taxis)

Many young men in the Dominican Republic make a living by transporting passengers on their motorbikes. The service is used mostly for traveling relatively short distances, especially as the bikes can weave their way swiftly through traffic. The fare should be agreed beforehand.

Interurban Bus Service

It is not difficult to travel between different regions of the country. There are several private companies that can take you in comfortable modern buses at very reasonable prices. Make sure that you take a jacket as these buses tend to keep their air-conditioning at its lowest point.

The Metro Buses serves Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata and Sosúa: www.metroserviciosturisticos.com

Caribe Tours has daily bus services from Santo Domingo to Barahona, Cabrera, Jarabacoa, Montecristi, Nagua, Puerto Plata, Rio San Juan, Samaná, Sánchez, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Sosúa and other towns in the Dominican Republic. Caribe Tours buses also travel to Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien in Haiti: www.caribetours.com.do

Expreso Bávaro has several departures to Santo Domingo during the day. Upon arrival to Punta Cana, the buses make several stops at hotels, tourist and shopping areas in Bávaro, Punta Cana. An affiliate of the company, Sitrabapu makes local stops departing from Veron in Higuey and La Romana. Sitrabapu also as a non-stop express route to La Romana: www.expresobavaro.com

Sichoem buses commute between La Romana and Santo Domingo with several departures from the La Romana stop next to the Shell gas station, Tel 809 556-4192. Asomiro offers a similar service with buses that need to be taken at the Av. Padre Abreu Km 1 stop, near La Gallera, Tel 809 556-9099.

Transporte Samaná (Asotrapusa) services Samaná with several departures during the day from its stations at Calle Barahona 129 or las Americas Expressway). Tel 809 687-1470.

Domestic Air Transportion

Helicopters



In Punta Cana, helicopters are a quick and comfortable way of getting to know the area and its 31 miles (50 km) of beaches. Helicopter companies fly to Santo Domingo and other destinations, connecting different cities and tourist points: http://www.helidosaaviationgroup.com/

Domestic Flights



Charter flights can be arranged to and from the international airports of Punta Cana (PUJ), Santo Domingo (SDQ, JBQ), La Romana (LRM), Santiago (STI), Puerto Plata (POP), Samaná (AZS, ABA) and Barahona (BRX). Several small airports cater to domestic flights. These include: Arroyo Barril (ABA) in Samaná on the northeast coast Constanza (COZ) located in the central mountain region, Cabo Rojo (CBJ) in Pedernales on the southwest coast and Montecristi (MTC) on the northwest coast.

Table of distances between the towns and cities of the Dominican Republic:
From Santo Domingo to:
Travel Time
Distance
Barahona 3 hrs. 124 miles (200 km)
Boca Chica 40 mins. 22 miles (35 km)
Jarabacoa 2 hrs. 97 miles (155 km)
Juan Dolio 50 mins. 31 miles (50 km)
La Romana 1 hr. 30 mins. 70 miles (113 km)
Puerto Plata 3 hrs. 30 mins. 134 miles (215 km)
Punta Cana 2 hrs. 15 mins. 120 miles (194 km)
Samaná 2 hrs. 30 mins. 109 miles (176 km)
Santiago 2 hrs. 96 miles (155 km)


From La Romana to:
Travel Time
Distance
Barahona 4 hrs. 30 mins 185 miles (297 km)
Bayahibe 20 mins. 18 miles (27 km)
Boca Chica 1 hr. 49 miles (79 km)
Dominicus 30 mins. 22 miles (35 km)
Jarabacoa 4 hrs. 97 miles (265 km)
Juan Dolio 50 mins. 39 miles (63 km)
Puerto Plata 5 hrs. 202 miles (325 km)
Punta Cana 45 mins. 50 miles (81 km)
Samaná 3 hrs. 153 miles (246 km)
Santiago 3 hrs. 167 miles (268 km)
Santo Domingo 1 hr. 30 mins. 68 miles (110 km)


From Puerto Plata to: Travel time
Distance
Barahona 7 hrs. 227 miles (365 km)
Boca Chica 4 hrs. 199 miles (320 km)
Jarabacoa 2 hrs. 68 miles (109 km)
Juan Dolio 4 hrs. 20 mins. 165 miles (265 km)
La Romana 5 hrs. 202 miles (325 km)
Punta Cana 5 hrs. 30 mins. 254 miles (409 km)
Samaná 3 hrs.30 mins. 249 miles (400 km)
Santiago 1 hr. 36 miles (58 km)
Santo Domingo 3 hrs. 30 mins. 109 miles (176 km)


From Punta Cana to: Travel time
Distance
Barahona 5 hrs. 30 mins. 255 miles (410 km)
Boca Chica 1 hr. 40 mins. 99 miles (160 km)
Jarabacoa 3 hrs. 45 mins. 213 miles (342 km)
Juan Dolio 1 hr. 45 mins. 89 miles (144 km)
La Romana 45 mins. 50 miles (81 km)
Puerto Plata 5 hrs. 30 mins. 254 miles (409 km)
Samaná 4 hrs. 203 miles (327 km)
Santiago 4 hrs. 30 mins. 217 miles (349 km)
Santo Domingo 2 hrs. 15 mins. 120 miles (159 km)


From Samaná to: Travel time
Distance
Barahona 5 hrs. 30 mins. 225 miles (362 km)
Boca Chica 2 hrs. 30 mins. 106 miles (170 km)
Jarabacoa 3 hrs. 206 miles (331 km)
Juan Dolio 2 hrs. 30 mins. 114 miles (183 km)
La Romana 3 hrs. 153 miles (246 km)
Puerto Plata 3 hrs. 30 mins. 133 miles (214 km)
Punta Cana 4 hrs. 203 miles (327 km)
Santiago 3 hrs. 15 mins. 120 miles (193 km)
Santo Domingo 2 hrs. 30 mins. 96 miles (155 km)
For More Information

The Ministry of Tourism has 20 Tourist Offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Puerto Rico. www.godominicanrepublic.com/contact

Social Media: The Ministry of Tourism has multiple social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Airports & Seaports

International airports:

Santo Domingo:


Las Americas International Airport (SDQ), also known as the José Francisco Peña Gómez Airport, is 30 minutes from the capital city of Santo Domingo and very close to the tourist areas of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.

www.aerodom.com/app/do/lasamericas.aspx

La Isabela International Airport (JBQ), also known as the Joaquín Balaguer International Airport, to the north of Santo Domingo handles mostly domestic flights and flights to Haiti.

www.aerodom.com/app/do/aeropuertos_laisabela.aspx

Punta Cana:


Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) is only 15 minutes from the Punta Cana and Cap Cana area, and some 30 minutes from Bávaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto hotel areas. This is the Caribbean airport with the largest diversity of flights from all around the world. Seaside resorts are a 10 to 40-minute drive from the airport. The airport has three terminals, all featuring its characteristic palm frond-thatched roofs.

www.puntacanainternationalairport.com

Puerto Plata:

Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP), also known as the Puerto Plata International Airport, is only 20 minutes from the north coast city of Puerto Plata and neighboring tourist destinations like Cofresí, Playa Dorada, Sosúa and Cabarete. It is less than an hour from Playa Grande.

www.aerodom.com/app/do/aeropuertos_puertoplata.aspx

La Romana:

La Romana International Airport (LRM), also known as the Casa de Campo International Airport, is just 10 minutes from Casa de Campo Resort on the southeast coast and only 20 minutes from Bayahibe.

www.romanaairport.com

Samaná:

El Catey International Airport (AZS), also known as the Juan Bosch International Airport, is half an hour from the city of Samaná and 45 minutes to the destinations of Cosón, Las Terrenas and Portillo on the famed northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic.

www.aerodom.com/app/do/aeropuertos_samana.aspx

Santiago:

El Cibao International Airport (STI) is 15 minutes from the bustling city of Santiago in the central region and provides easy access to the nearby cities of La Vega, Jarabacoa, Constanza, San Francisco de Macorís and Moca.

www.aeropuertocibao.com.do

Barahona:

María Montez International Airport (BRX) is located at the entrance of Barahona city in the southwest. At present, it receives mainly domestic flights.

www.aerodom.com/app/do/aeropuertos_barahona.aspx

Domestic airports:

Several small airports nationwide cater to domestic flights.

These include:

Arroyo Barril (ABA) in Samaná on the northeast coast
Constanza (COZ) located in the central mountain region
Cabo Rojo (CBJ) in Pedernales on the southwest coast
Montecristi (MTC) on the northwest coast

Seaports

Cruise ship ports in the Dominican Republic are located on the southcentral (Santo Domingo), north (Puerto Plata), southeastern (La Romana and Punta Cana) and northeastern (Samaná) coasts, visiting especially during the winter months.

Accommodations


NEW: Hotels Directory

The Dominican Republic has been a favorite destination for many years, attracting celebrities, sports personalities and travelers. In fact, the country now has the highest number of hotel rooms in the entire Caribbean, with over 69,000, according to the Hotel & Tourism Association (Asonahores).

Many of the world’s top brands are here, including Accor, AM Resorts, Barceló, BeLive, Blau Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Embassy Suites, Bahía Príncipe, Hard Rock Hotels, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hotetur, Iberostar, IFA Hotels, JW Marriott, Majestic Resorts, NH, Occidental, Palladium, Princess, Quality, Renaissance, Riu, Sheraton, Solaya Hotels, Meliá, Vista Sol, Westin and Viva Wyndham. But the charm of the Dominican Republic is also in its small unique hotels, including Tortuga Bay (Punta Cana) and Peninsula House (Samaná) that made the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List.

As well as a range of expensive boutique hotels, an even more personalized service can be found at the many affordable small hotels and eco lodges in beach and mountain areas or to historical heritage centers like Santo Domingo’s Colonial City.

Each hotel offers something a little different, including amenities and entertainment to scenic landscapes, ocean views or secluded tranquility. For family vacations, discover the all-inclusives, the large resorts where children, parents and extended family members can each do their own thing.

For visitors wishing to stay longer, there is a wide variety of modern and comfortable apartments and condos for rent.