Travellers Guide for Las Terrenas Samana Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic (DR) Frequently Asked Questions


Travellers Guide for Las Terrenas Samana Dominican Republic

Do I need a passport and/or visa to enter into the DR?

All foreigners who enter the DR need a valid passport.

Visitors must also fill out embarkation/disembarkation forms. These must be filled out before entering the immigration line. Travelers visiting may need to purchase a $10 tourist card beforehand or upon arrival. In addition, some visitors will need to be in possession of a valid visa for entry, although U.S. citizens don’t need a visa. For general rules and country requirements, visit the Entry Requirements section at: http://www.godominicanrepublic.com/
Do visitors have to pay a tourist fee when entering or departing from the DR?

Prior to entering the immigration line, visitors are required to purchase a Tourist Card. It’s essential that visitors have US$10 or 10 Euros for each member of their party to pay this tax. No coins or other currency, including Dominican pesos, can be used.
The Tourist Card permits a 30-day stay and is available for purchase at booths near the immigration lines at all airports in the DR. The card, which looks similar to a credit card and has a microchip, will be collected prior to entry into the country.

Travellers Guide for Las Terrenas Samana Dominican Republic

What is the policy for traveling with underage minors of Dominican nationality?

When an underage child is traveling with both parents, there is no problem and no special permit is required. But, if the child is traveling with one of the parents, then they must have authorization from the other parent.

Any authorization or permit to leave the country for a child should be carried out by means of a private writ, duly legalized by a public notary, stamped by the Dominican Attorney General’s office, which should then be lodged with the Department of Immigration, where the exit permit will be issued following payment for the service.

Travellers Guide for Las Terrenas Samana Dominican Republic

What is the year-round weather like in the DR?

Every day is a beautiful day in the Dominican Republic (DR). The country is blessed with year-round summer-like weather with mostly sunny days and clear blue skies. The average high for the DR is 87 F (30.55 C), with an average low of 73 F (22.77 C) degrees.

The DR’s winter season runs from November through April, with relatively low humidity.

The summer season in the DR begins in May and runs through October, with a higher humidity, which can make it seem much hotter than it actually is.

Regardless of the season, nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of DR coastline receive cooling tropical breezes while the Cordillera Central mountain region, including the towns of Jarabacoa and Constanza, offers an average temperature of 61 F (16.11 C) degrees.

Nearby deserts in the southwest region experience higher average temperatures.
DR average temperatures throughout the year:

weather_chart

Travellers Guide for Las Terrenas Samana Dominican Republic

What currency is used in the DR and what is the exchange rate between it and the U.S. dollar?

The Dominican peso (RD$) is the official currency of the DR. For the past several years, the exchange rate has been very favorable to the U.S. dollar so vacation budgets stretch further in the DR. For an up-to-date exchange rate between the Dominican peso and other currencies, visit: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

Major credit cards and traveler checks are accepted at many tourist areas in the country.

Visitors can bring Dominican pesos with them, but U.S. dollars are just as easily accepted throughout the country. (U.S. coins are not used or accepted.) ATMs can be found in the majority of Dominican cities and at most resorts.

Is it best to change money at the airport?

Unless you need to pay for a taxi, we recommend that you change your money at your destination city, as there is greater competition and because of this they offer a better exchange rate than at the airport. But the difference is nominal, therefore if you are not exchanging large amounts, you should consider using the facilities at your entry port.

Are major credit card accepted? Are ATM machines available?

Most hotels, restaurants and businesses accept major credit cards. Visitors should be careful where and when they use their credit cards, to stay clear of double billings or additional charges. ATM machines can be found around the country and many times are located within the resorts, but visitors should bring cash to be sure.

What is the drinking age in the DR?

The drinking age in the DR is 18 years old this is also the legal age to have sex!

Are Drugs legal in the DR?

Drug use in the DR is 100% illegal there are very harsh penalties of prison terms for any one caught using drugs or trying to smuggle drugs into the country.

Is the water safe to drink?

While the water in most hotels in the DR is potable, travelers are still advised to drink bottled water as a precaution.

Bottled water is widely available throughout the country and because of the strength of the Caribbean sun, it is recommended that visitors drink at least 10 glasses a day to avoid dehydration.

What language is primarily spoken in the DR?

Spanish is the official language of the DR, however most employees in hotels and restaurants speak good English. If you intend to venture out beyond the tourist destinations, it might be helpful to know a few basic Spanish phrases.

Can I use electrical appliances from North America in the DR?

Electricity in the DR operates at 110 Volts/60 Hertz and appliances from North America should work in the DR without adapters. However, because voltage irregularities are common in the country, it is important any appliances or computers in use have surge protection. In addition, electrical appliances from Europe and other countries might need adaptors and energy converters.

Does the DR practice tipping?

Tipping is widely practiced throughout the country. Many times, restaurants will add a 10 percent tip to the bill, but it is customary to give a bit extra – up to 10 percent in additional tips. Tips are commonly given to taxi drivers, hotel maids, tour guides, etc.

How old do you have to be to rent a car in the DR?

Visitors who are 25 or older can rent a car in the DR with a valid driver’s license.

In fact, most of the popular rental agencies in North America and Europe have offices in the DR.

When dialing from the U.S. to the DR, or vice versa, what international dial code is used?

To call from the U.S. to the DR, dial “1” plus the local number. To call the U.S. from the DR, dial “1” plus the local number. To call Europe and South America from the DR, visitors need to dial “011” along with the area code and phone number.

Can I use my cell phone in the DR without international coverage?

Most cellular companies offer service within the DR. Telephones are also widely available at resorts throughout the DR. To call the U.S., Canada and Mexico from the DR, visitors need to dial an area code and phone number as they would at home.

If you have a GSM cell phone, this should work in the DR. You only have to activate it in the Dominican Republic. If not, it will work with roaming and the tariff varies according to your mobile company.

The other option is to get a telephone in the DR with a local number at any of the many telephone points such as Claro-Codetel, Orange, Tricom or Viva, paying approximately US$40 and then buying phone cards.

Please Note as of June 2014 all phones purchased have to be registered so you will need your passport and a local address.

What time zone does the DR follow?

The local time zone in the DR is Eastern Caribbean Time (GMT -0400).

In the winter this is one hour ahead of Eastern Time. The DR does not observe daylight savings time.

Dogs in Las Terrenas Star Barker the son of Douglas BarkerAre there pet regulations in the DR?

The Department of Animal Health requires specific documentation for any pets being brought into the country.

Cats and dogs must have the following documentation:

A health certificate issued by the Office of Animal Health no more than 15 days prior to the arrival date of the animal is required.

Anti-rabies vaccine, triple vaccine (distemper, lectopirosis, hepatitis) and Parvo-virus vaccine certificates showing inoculations 15 days prior to the arrival date of the animal is required.
Pets that don’t meet requirements will be quarantined for at least eight days and up to a month. For all other types of animals, special authorization should be sought from and issued by la Dirección General de Ganaderia (Department of Animal Husbandry), (809)-535-9689.

Is it advisable to hire a car?

There are some tourist destinations where hiring a car is recommended because there is so much to see.

For example, if you are traveling the northern coast of the country from Montecristi through Puerto Plata to Cabrera, or to the beaches of Samaná and Las Terrenas hiring a car will ensure you can stop and see the sights along the way.

Hiring a car along the eastern coastal area is also recommended as the popular tourist areas can be explored, including La Romana, Bávaro, Cap Cana and Punta Cana.

The eco-pristine southwest part of the Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful and untouched areas. Hiring a car will help visitors see the stunning beauty and nature in Barahona, Pedernales and its great attractions of Bahia de las Águilas (Bay of Eagles) and the Hoyo de Pelempito (Pelempito Hole).

All these destinations are surrounded by beaches and attractions that may be easier to visit if you have a car available.

However for the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago it is not necessary to hire a car due to very good internal transport options. Taxis can be obtained by calling the taxi base by telephone (see the telephone directory), and most offer a fixed tariff of approximately US$5 for most points within the cities.

What are the typical foods that I should try?

Dominican food is unique and delicious.

Try the popular“Mangú” (green plantains, boiled and mashed) with eggs, fried cheese or salami for breakfast; rice, red kidney beans), meat and “tostones” (mashed and fried green plantains) at midday.

Also try pork rinds, “locrio de pollo” (rice with chicken, Dominican-style), shrimp stew, “mofongo” (plantain mash with fish or meat), fish with coconut, stewed crab and conch, roasted or stewed goat with boiled cassava and a “sancocho” (stew) accompanied by avocados for dinner. And of course, do not forget to try cassava bread and “queso de hoja”, a type of string cheese.
Delicious Dominican desserts include grated coconut, sweet beans, sour milk dessert, orange sweets, milk (papaya) desert and pineapple desert, and guava and cashew paste in syrup. Natural tropical fruit juices include: passion fruit, guava, pineapple, orange, strawberry, mango, mandarin and papaya juice with milk.
Do not miss out on tasting sugar cane juice from the abundant fields in the country.

You should also sample Dominican coconut juice from the hundreds of coconut groves and forests in the country. Delight in Dominican coconut’s delicious pulp and refreshing milk.

Travellers Guide for Las Terrenas Samana Dominican Republic

Las Terrenas party girls

Is it the custom to address people with the polite or the familiar form of “you”?

Even though times are changing, it is better to err on the side of formal rather than informal and it is always preferable to use the formal form of “you” (usted) before you know someone.

Gentlemen can be referred to as “don” or “señor” (Mr.) and ladies as “doña” or “señora” (Mrs.). Informality is very common and acceptable because Dominicans are very open and sociable.

The term “amigo” (friend) is frequently used. And don’t be surprised if they refer to you as “mi amor” (my love) or “cariño” (dear), as some Dominicans go right to the limits of informality in their speaking.

How safe is it?

The Dominican Republic continues to be one of the countries with the lowest incidence of crime in the region. However, it is wise to always take precautions, just as you would if you were to visit any new country or large new city in the world.

I am coming as a tourist, what clothes should I bring?

The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean or tropics and features warm sunny weather year-round.

It is recommended that you bring light clothing for warmer weather. However, if you will be at a resort, make sure you bring something a bit more formal for occasions that may require a little more elegance, such as dining in upscale restaurants.

Also, if you are going on excursions on which there are visits to churches and some types of monuments or museums, you will not be able to enter if you are wearing shorts or very short skirts.

If your visit is in the winter, between December and February, you should bring a light coat or jacket, as at night the temperature tends to drop a little.

 

map of the caribbean and dominican republic

 

How does the Dominican Republic compare in size with Puerto Rico or Jamaica?

Located in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has a surface area of over 30,000 m2 (70,000 km2), which would mean that Puerto Rico could fit into the country five times and Jamaica four times.

Due to its size and the variety of its terrain, the Dominican Republic offers a greater diversity to tourists, including a variety of beaches, mountains, pre-historic caves, deserts, lakes, islands, rivers and numerous waterfalls. That’s why we say, the Dominican Republic “Has it all”.

What is the Hurricane Season?

The Atlantic Hurricane season begins on June 1, and extends to November 30.

In the Dominican Republic, this is the summer and early fall season when the weather is sunny with some cloudiness and passing rain on occasions, which tends to occur in the late afternoon or at night.

Is it worth visiting the capital?

The capital city of the Dominican Republic is an important city to visit. Santo Domingo is the First City of the Americas and has been named the American Capital of Culture for 2010.

Its Ciudad Colonial is a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site and has the best gastronomy and the most active night life in the Caribbean. The good news is that there is excellent bus transport, and for less than US$10, they will take you to the Capital City from Punta Cana, Puerto Plata or Samaná.

Will I be able to see a baseball game during my stay?

In the Dominican Republic, baseball stadiums are called “play” and are located in the main cities: Santo Domingo (Quisqueya Stadium), Santiago (Cibao Stadium), La Romana (Francisco Micheli Stadium), San Pedro de Macorís (Tetelo Vargas Stadium) and in San Francisco de Macorís (Julián Javier Stadium).

Our winter baseball season begins in the middle of October and finishes at the end of January, with the proclamation of the tournament champion.

The champion then goes on to represent the Dominican Republic in what is known as the Caribbean Series, in which they compete against Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela. For more information on Dominican baseball, visit: http://www.lidom.com/home/

I have many questions I would like to ask, who can I speak to before I come?

The Secretary for Tourism has 22 offices abroad, including in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, South America and Europe, where you can direct your questions. For a complete contact list, visit: http://www.godominicanrepublic.com/

You may find more information on the Internet at http://dr1.com/forums/forum.php

where there are nearly 700,000+ questions and answers in English on a variety of subjects, along with a search engine feature.

How can I get to the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic has eight international airports, three major seaports and a variety of marinas for boats and yachts of all sizes and smaller airports for private planes.

Because the Dominican Republic is such a large and diverse island with eight international airports, it is important to choose your arrival airport to coincide with the final destination of your stay.

To travel overland from one airport to another could take up to seven hours. For example, this is the case between the airports of Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. However, an option would be to arrive by airport on one coast, say the North Coast, to allow for exploration of the area.

Then transfer by car to another part of the island, say the East Coast, for the second half of your stay. You could arrive at Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperon Airport in the North and depart from Punta Cana International Airport on the East Coast, having visited two distinct destinations in one.

The approximate flight times from some cities to airports in the Dominican Republic:
New York: 3h30 Miami: 1h50
Atlanta: 2h50 London: 8h45
Montreal: 4h15 Toronto: 4h30
San Juan: 0h35 Madrid: 7h30
Rome: 9h45 Paris: 8h00
Milan: 9h30 Prague 10h30
Moscow: 11h30 St. Petersburg: 10h45
Caracas: 2h00 Bogota: 2h20
Lima: 4h00 Buenos Aires: 8h00

fly to Samana International aiport

DR International airports:

Santo Domingo:

Las Americas International Airport (SDQ), is 30 minutes from the capital and very close to the tourist areas of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.

Joaquin Balaguer International Airport (SLI), also located in Santo Domingo and sometimes referred to as La Isabela, receives mostly domestic flights.

Punta Cana

Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ): only 10 minutes from the area of Punta Cana and Cap Cana, and some 30 minutes from Bávaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto.

Puerto Plata

Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) is only 20 minutes from the North Coast city of Puerto Plata. Nearby tourist destinations include Playa Dorada, Sosúa, Cabarete, Playa Grande and Cofresi.

La Romana

La Romana International Airport (LRM) is just 10 minutes from Casa de Campo Resort on the Southeast Coast and only 20 minutes from Bayahibe.

Samaná

El Catey International Airport (AZS) is only 30 minutes from the city of Samaná and 45 minutes to the destinations of Las Terrenas and Portillo on the famed Northeast coast of the Dominican Republic.

Santiago

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

Barahona

María Montez (BRX) in Barahona and Cabo Rojo (CBJ) in Pedernales on the Southwest Coast.
DR National Airports:

Montecristi

The Montecristi Airport (MDMC) serves the Montecristi area along the DR’s Northwest Coast.
Cueva de las Maravillas
Named after a famous cave in the region, Cueva de las Maravillas (SPM) Airport serves the La Romana and Juan Dolio resort areas along the Southeast and Central Coasts.

Arroyo Barril

Arroyo Barril Airport (MDAB) also serves the Samaná Peninsula on Samaná Bay in the Northeast Coast.

Constanza

The new Constanza Airport (MDCZ) in the La Vega region of the DR serves Constanza and nearby areas in the Central Region.
Pedernales

Cabo Rojo Airport (MDCR) serves Cabo Rojo and also the Pedernales Province in the Southwest Region of the country.

Ports for cruise ships:

There are three Dominican Republic ports for cruise ship arrivals:

The Port of Santo Domingo (which includes the brand new Don Diego and Sans Souci cruise terminals).

A new Cruise Ship Port and Marina at Casa de Campo Resort in La Romana.

Established facilities to receive passengers transported from cruise ships anchored near the Island of Catalina on the South Coast and Samaná Bay on the Northeast Coast.

There are also many private marinas including: Casa de Campo, Cap Cana Marina (now the largest Marina in the Caribbean), Punta Cana Resort Marina, Ocean World Marina (Puerto Plata) and Luperón Marina (Puerto Plata).

Dominican Republic Frequently Asked Questions

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