1. WHAT IS THE LEGAL DRINKING AGE?
You have to be at least 18years old to purchase and consume alcohol in Dominican Republic legally. The bars have a strict rule of not allowing anyone less than 18 to enter, even if they have an adult or parent to accompany them.
2. WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING?
The weather throughout the year in the Dominican Republic is warm and sunny. But it gets a bit chilly in the morning and evening after the daylight setting during the months of November to March. Thus, if you visit during that time, make sure to bring layered clothing to avoid the chills. For comfortable Tropical warm weather, you can bring cotton and linen apparel. As it is primarily a beach location, swim wears are a must. Other than that, you can bring a light cardigan and a jacket to beat the cold breeze. If you have decided to stay in San Domingo, bring regular clothes or any dresses as per urban fashion taste. However, if you visit the National Theatre for any performance or show, you require a jacket as they do not allow wearing jeans. Entering the national museums or churches can be problematic if you are wearing a mini-skirt or shorts. You will not get entry to some government offices if you wear a sleeveless shirt or casual footwear.
3. CAN I TRAVEL WITH MY PET?
If you plan to tour with your pet cat or dog, you need to inform your carrier and get up-to-date information regarding the same. The cost varies depending on transportation options and cargo load. You would have to go for an early reservation, for there are restrictions regarding allowing a fixed number of pets on a flight.
You certainly have to produce a health certificate for your pet, authorized and signed by a licensed veterinarian. The certifying date should be within 30 days before the departure and should affirm the pet to be free of any infectious diseases. It is a must for any pet to have vaccines against rabies, and you need to carry the certificate containing the vaccination date along with you. Ensure that the certificate has everything mentioned, including the period of immunity, serial number, and product name.
After arriving at DR, meet with the animal control official to review the certificates you are carrying. Fill up the official pet entry permission documents to sanction the permission for your entry.
4. HOW SAFE IS IT?
The Dominican Republic is undoubtedly among the safest countries in the Caribbean region. It has a very low crime rate to affirm the same. However, it would help if you took the usual precautions as it is a new place for you as a tourist. The basic rule to stay in a safer position is not to expose valuable belongings too much in public like cameras, jewellery, or smartphones. Keep your things under close watch to avoid any mishandlings while traveling and in public transports. Dress up casually and do not flaunt costly accessories while you travel. It is better not to walk alone in the isolated streets during day or night.
5. CAN I USE MY CELL PHONE THERE?
You can use a cell phone on a GSM network, but the roaming expenses will be high. For tourists, it is better to bring an unlocked smartphone and then purchase a sim card from the local stores. You will get a local number with the sim card on providing valid documents like passport ID. Activate it at any authorized telecommunication store, like Claro or Altice. The sim card would cost you less than US$5, but you have to pay additionally for phone credit for calling and other purposes.
6. WILL BUSINESSES ACCEPT AMERICAN DOLLARS OR EUROS?
Almost every business outlet and service stores accept dollars. Restaurants, bars, departmental stores, supermarkets, and souvenir stores accept payment in dollars but offer a lesser rate than banks. The prices are all in Dominican Pesos, and for buying anything with a bigger amount from smaller shops, it is better negotiating the currency rates. The prices are non-negotiable in supermarkets and shopping malls. It is better to draw local currency from ATM vestibules against the best daily exchange rate for dollars.
7. IS IT BEST TO CHANGE MONEY AT THE AIRPORT?
Exchanging the money at the airport is convenient for the initial traveling essentials. You can visit the Dominican Republic banks, from where you can exchange the currency at genuine rates. The banks follow the daily rate of Central Banks for exchanging any currency. On weekdays, you can visit the banks, which are open till 5 pm. The bank branches inside the malls are open up to 7-8 pm. The ATMs present in the supermarkets and malls are open till late hours. It is always a better and secure option for tourists to withdraw money from ATMs or use an authorized exchange service.
8. WHAT IS THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE?
There is no fixed exchange rate as they fluctuate every single day. You can get to know about the existing rate of the particular day by checking the rates directly with the authorized commercial banks and exchange service offices.
9. WHAT REGULATIONS EXIST FOR TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN?
If the child who is traveling is a foreigner, a passport is essential. However, if any one of the child’s parents is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, the rules change. It is better to consult the airline service to know more about travel essentialities for minor tourists.
10. WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL FOODS THAT I SHOULD TRY?
Dominican food has a variety of delicacies that you can explore. As a morning staple, you can have Mangu, green plantains in boiled or mashed form, alongside eggs, fried cheese, and salami, as a typical Dominican breakfast. For your lunch, try the traditional lunch platter consisting of rice, red kidney beans, meat stew, and tostones, which is a mashed and double-fried preparation of plantains. Besides this, you can try the famous chicharron or pork rinds, fried rice with chicken or locrio de pollo, called locally. Other dishes to try are Mofongo, a plantain mound accompanied by deep-fried pork or shrimp and garlic fish in flavoured coconut sauce. For dinner, you can also try stewed crab and conch, stewed or roasted goat with boiled cassava, and the very special Sancocho, a 7-meat stew, with avocado. The cassava bread and Queso de Hoja, milk of artisan cow, are not worth missing.
Coming to the desserts, Dominican desserts are highly popular among tourists. Simple yet mouth-watering flavours of grated coconut cream, sweet beans, and sour milk desserts are hot picks. Also, try orange sweets, papaya and pineapple desserts, and milk-made sweets along with the cashew paste soaked in sweet syrup.
Tropical fruits are tourist favourites from which they prepare delicious milkshakes or as locally called batidas. Guava, passion fruit, orange, strawberry, pineapple, papaya, and mandarin are among the top favourites.
Lastly, do not forget to taste the farm-fresh sugarcane juice and coconut water that comes straight from the trees! Enjoy the thick coconut pulp while sipping the juice from the shell on the beach.
11. IS IT WORTH VISITING THE CAPITAL CITY OF SANTO DOMINGO?
Well, the answer to this question is a straight YES! Santo Domingo is the first American city that got designated as the Capital of culture for 2010. The colonial city is under the UNESCO world heritage list for the multiple museums, churches, and art architectures. Visiting Santo Domingo is affordable and convenient. You can reach the place under $10 from any tourist location, including Punta Cana, La Romana, Samana, and Puerto Plata. Comfortable and air-conditioned buses ply from these places to Santo Domingo, for which staying overnight is not an issue. If you are traveling for a day trip, keep a note of the distance and time constraints.