Do I need a visa to travel to the Dominican Republic?
No visa is required for most tourists travelling to the Dominican Republic. All tourists will, however, need to purchase a tourist card upon entering the Dominican Republic. The tourist card costs US$ 10,00 and must be paid in cash USD. Upon departure you will have to pay a departure tax of US$ 20,00. This departure tax may be included in your ticket – please ask your traveling agent.
For U.S. and Canadian citizens: As of January 1, 2008, all American citizens must show a valid passport when re-entering the United States. Canadians traveling directly to the Dominican Republic can enter with their original birth certificate and 2 photo identifications (driver's license and health insurance card).
Do I need any vaccinations when traveling to the Dominican Republic?
Please consult with your doctor before your trip. The number and type of vaccines which you may need depend on your history of vaccines as well as your traveling plans. In general, the following vaccines are recommended:
- Hepatitis A (recommended for all travelers).
- Hepatitis B (recommended for travelers who may have intimate contact with local residents, especially if visiting for more than 6 months).
- Routine immunizations (all travelers should be up-to-date on tetanus-diphtheria, polio, etc).
When is the best time to travel to the Dominican Republic?
The tourist season for American, Canadian and European tourists starts in November and ends in May. During the hot months of the summer there are many South Americans and Spanish tourists in the Dominican Republic. The temperature is pretty much the same all year around with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius / 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it does get hot during the months of June, July, August and September with temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius / 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On the north coast of the island the rainy periods are usually during the winter while the rain falls mostly from May to October on the south coast. September is "hurricane month" with the biggest chance of severe storms hitting the Dominican Republic.
What is the local currency in the Dominican Republic?
The local currency is Dominican pesos (RD$), however everything can be purchased and paid for in US dollars. In many cases, US dollars are preferred. US$ 1 is approximately worth 40 pesos.
Is it common to leave a tip?
In most places it is common and appreciated to leave a tip – therefore it is a good idea to bring plenty of US$ 1,00 bills. In most local restaurants outside the hotel resorts a 10% service charge is added to your bill, so technically you do not have to leave a tip, even though it is always expected and a common curtesy (unless the service has been bad). A few dollars tend to go a long way in the Dominican Republic, so if you have problems for example with your hotel room or want to change for a better location, give the receptionist a few dollars, and he might find it easier to fix your problem. In general, we recommend tipping in the following ways:
Bellboys at the hotel / luggage handlers at the airport: US$ 1 per suitcase.
Waiters at your hotel restaurants / bartenders: leave a few dollars if you have been satisfied with their service (US$ 3 - US$ 5).
At restaurants/bars outside the resorts: ca. 10% of the bill.
Maid at the hotel: leave a few dollars (e.g. US$ 5 - US$10) for the maid at the beginning of your vacation, and she will treat you well and give you extra soap, towels, etc.
Guides: leave a tip if you have been satisfied with their service (US$ 5 - US$ 10).
Drivers: leave a few dollars is they have given you good service (US$ 3 - US$ 5).
Is it safe to drink the water?
You should not drink the water from the taps. This water is only good for showering and for brushing your teeth. Drink only bottled water. If you want to be 100% on the safe side you can also brush your teeth in bottled water. The water served in hotel, restaurants and bars is always bottled water.
Is it safe to order drinks with ice cubes?
Yes. Ice cubes in the Dominican Republic are only made with purified water in factories around the country. No matter where you are (in the hotel, in a restaurant outside the hotel or on an excursion), you will only be served purified (bottled) water and ice cubes that had been made from purified water as well. Even the smallest and most local restaurant outside the hotel resorts use ice cubes that are made with purified water, so there is no need to worry.
Can I use my electrical appliances from home?
All plugs in the Dominican Republic are American standard plugs, so you might need an adapter. Adapters can be bought in the gift shop at the hotel resort. The voltage used is 110V – 120V.
Can I access the internet and my e-mail when I am on vacation?
Hotel resorts in the Dominican Republic usually have an internet café with reasonable prices for using the internet. The good hotel resorts also have wireless (or regular) internet access in the rooms and in the lobby area where you can get online for free. Otherwise, there are plenty of small internet cafés outside the resorts.
Are mosquitoes a problem in the Dominican Republic?
Mosquitoes are generally active during the evening and night and especially in areas where there is water. Mosquito spray can be bought at all the hotel resorts. Some tourist areas are also frequently sprayed for mosquitoes and other insects during the evening. If you are allergic to mosquito bites, we recommend that you wear long pants/skirt and possibly also socks in the evening.