Your Trip to the Dominican Republic: The Complete Guide

The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful beaches and countless resorts, but it is also one of the most diverse destinations you can visit and one that remains rich in culture.

You'll want to come here to see the country's merengue, bachata, and live music and dance scene, its hospitable people, as well as its rich outdoor nature, full of cocoa and coffee trails, farms, and rainforests.

From colonial towns to seaside towns, national parks with hiking trails and mountains, offshore islands, and wildlife-rich lagoons, there is more to see and do than will fit in one trip.

Here are some tips to get an overview of what to expect on your trip to the Dominican Republic, so you can stay on top of activities, accommodation options, best ways to save, and cultural norms.

Planning your trip

Best time to visit

The weather is spectacular from late November to February, with breezy mornings and afternoons.

Rains are rare during this period and temperatures hover between 30 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.


The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish1. Dominicans tend to speak too fast.

They also have their own Dominican terminology and jargon. Learning a few popular phrases can help break the ice.


The Dominican peso. Rates fluctuate: $ 1 was approximately 52 Dominican pesos as of December 2019.

Getting Around

Public transportation is widely available, from large buses connecting different parts of the country to smaller vans or buses for city-to-city transfers and shared local taxis (carts), as well as local taxis.

The main car rental companies are available in the main cities and airports.

Travel Tip

Fridays are field trip days, so museums and historic sites can get crowded.

The beaches and rivers are also lively on Sundays when locals flock to the beach or freshwater to relax, have fun, and cool off.

To avoid disappointment, agree on the rates before accepting any services; the tip is the custom.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about the Dominican Republic Travel Guide

Source: Top 10 Places

Things to do

There is a multitude of activities available in the Dominican Republic, from extreme outdoor adventures to cultural experiences.

What to eat and drink

Dominican cuisine is a rich mix of cultures, from Taino to African, Spanish, and Middle Eastern.

A typical Dominican dish that you must try is mangů: look for this basic banana puree for breakfast. Sancocho, a meat and tuber stew, is a Dominican favorite.

Street-fried sandwiches are also popular, especially late at night, such as chimichurri, chicharrón, or fried pork burgers.

A Dominican staple found in almost any local restaurant at lunchtime is the national dish, or the Dominican flag: rice and beans with chicken, stewed meat or fish, and a potato salad to macaroni salad and slices of fried plantain.

Desserts are a must in the Dominican Republic, many of which are made from coconut.

Ask the locals for the best bakery or candy in your area. Ice cream is also popular due to the weather; Local brand BON has locations across the country and you'll find mobile ice cream vendors in neighborhoods and parks.

Drinks are an integral part of life in the country.

Try the country's renowned rum brands, Brugal and Barceló or Bermudez for starters, but also try the many fresh tropical fruit juices.

They are also offered as refreshing shakes, known as shakes, usually made with condensed milk and sugar. A famous Dominican rhythm is called "dying sounding," a smoothie made with orange, condensed milk, and sugar.

Where to stay

Wherever you choose to stay in the Dominican Republic, the accommodation options are the widest and most varied in the Caribbean.

You will find accommodation for all tastes and budgets.

There are colonial boutique hotels, as well as hostels, branded hotels ranging from Sheraton to JW Marriot, and AirBnB options in major cities like Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata.

Major tourist regions offer all-inclusive resorts of various sizes, as well as small, locally-owned hotels, inexpensive guesthouses, and luxury villa rentals.

Getting there

The Dominican Republic has seven international airports that receive international flights from around the world, including neighboring islands in the Caribbean.

The best way to fly to the Dominican Republic is to select the closest airport to your chosen accommodation.

The four most popular airports include:

  • Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ): Ideal for stays anywhere in the Punta Cana area, including Bávaro, Cabeza de Toro, Cap Cana and Uvero Alto.
  • Las Américas International Airport (SDQ): Located in Santo Domingo. Ideal for stays in Santo Domingo, Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.
  • Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP): Located in Puerto Plata. Ideal for stays in Puerto Plata, Cabarete, Sosua, and locations on the north coast.
  • El Catey International Airport (AZS): Located in Samaná. Ideal for stays anywhere in the Samaná Peninsula.
  • Cibao International Airport (STI): Located on the outskirts of Santiago de los Caballeros, the second-largest city in the country. Ideal for stays in Jarabacoa or Puerto Plata, approximately one hour and 20 minutes north.

Car rental is available at the main international airports and in the main cities.

Roads are extensive throughout the country, as the country has one of the most developed infrastructures in the Caribbean.

You can also access the main bus terminals with a quick taxi ride from Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana.

Culture and customs

As a major tourist destination, the Dominican Republic offers many modern conveniences and it won't be a huge culture shock to visit.

However, there are cultural customs that you will want to know to dive calmly and respect the destination and its people.

  • It is considered polite to say good morning or say hello when entering a business or public transport, even if it is full of strangers. "Greetings" and "Good Day" help a lot to establish respect and harmony.

The greeting is expected as soon as you enter the stores or places where you are looking for help.

  • Tipping is common for services received, from hotels to taxi drivers and employees at all-inclusive resorts. Tip generously. In restaurants, it may be necessary to tell the waiter the bill; there is seldom a rush to kick the customer out.
  • There is "Dominican time" when it comes to events; expect a delay of one or two hours.
  • When accepting services of any kind, such as taxis and tours, set a price before accepting.

Don't randomly wave or hop into cabs in big cities, or venture out alone to local clubs and bars after dark, unless you're in a big tourist area like Colonial City.

Keep the Uber app on your phone and buy a local data plan if there is no Wi-Fi where you go.

  • Driving in the cities of the Dominican Republic can be intimidating unless you have extensive experience driving abroad or in New York City. Choose taxis or private drivers.

Tips to save money

  • Public parks are ubiquitous in the Dominican Republic; buy your own drinks at the local grocery store or winery and head to the park to enjoy and save on pricey bars and cocktails.
    Shared rides like Uber are popular in Santo Domingo and Santiago and save you money in the city or at airports.
  • Taking the bus to various parts of the country is easy. Services like Caribe Tours, Expreso Bávaro, and Metro Tours are safe and have multiple daily departures to various parts of the Dominican Republic for a reasonable fee that does not exceed $ 10.
  • The buses are air-conditioned and occasionally have Wi-Fi and movies.
  • Book your tours directly with authorized tour providers rather than through your hotel; This will save you money. Be sure to research tour operators before signing up.

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