Dominican Republic Travel Tips & Advice

Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean country and is just 2 hours south of Miami. It is one of the most attractive tourist destinations for those seeking for beaches and island lifestyles due to its cost effectiveness, beautiful beaches and cities, and plenty of activities such as water sports to enjoy. 

In this quick travel tips and advice, we will educate you on what to look for before planning to visit Dominican Republic in various categories such as currency and money, safety precautions, transportation, local languages, food and drinks, and more.

Travel Documents

Ensure your passport has a validity of at least 6 months and prepare all the required documents such as visa (check if your country requires one), e-ticket, medication prescription (if any), and many more. Check out our Dominican Republic entry requirements article to learn more. As of 1st April, 2021, before entering or leaving the country, every foreigners are required to fill up electronic ticket. You can fill up the e-ticket here.


Although staying in Dominican Republic is generally cheap, the prices overall have been rising for the tourists and locals. For accommodation, on average, you can expect to pay between $50 to $200 or more per night, depending on where you stay. The luxury resort in the famous tourist places like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata can cost up to $350 per night.

When getting around, public transportation options are available. However, taking taxis and renting a car are generally the easiest and best way. Expect to pay around $1 to $2 for short taxi rides and higher rates for longer distances. Rental car prices vary but can start from $30 to $50 per day.

Local Dominican cuisine is generally affordable, with meals at local eateries costing between $5 to $10 per person. Dining at mid-range restaurants may cost between $10 to $20 per person, while upscale dining can be $30 or more per person.

Other than that, pricing for activities and excursions vary from place to place, starting at a rate of around $20 per person.

Currency & Money

The official currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP), but US dollars are widely accepted. It’s advisable to carry small denominations of both currencies. Credit cards are accepted in many places, but it’s wise to carry cash for smaller purchases and in case of emergencies. ATM machines are available across the country but could be more difficult to find in the countryside.

The money exchange rate fluctuates daily, so it’s recommended you check the rate prior to travelling. However, keep in mind that RD$100 is around US$2.

Climate & Packing

The climate in the Dominican Republic is typically tropical, with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year and distinct wet and dry seasons. The average temperature throughout the year is 80°F (26° C) with dry season (from December to April with an average temperature of 68°F (20° C)), wet season (from May to November with an average temperature of 32°C (90°F)), and hurricane season (from June to November). Although the Dominican Republic is located within the storm belt, the probability of a major hurricane hitting is slim as there have been a reported of only 11 hurricanes that hit DR.

Before packing, don’t forget to check the weather prior to traveling. Some of the important things to pack are swimwear, comfortable shirts or t-shirts & shoes,  shorts, power adapter, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and personal medications. You might even need long sleeves and long pants when going to the countryside or hiking, such as the hills of Puerto Plata where the temperature is relatively cooler than the ground.

 In case you need to buy anything, Dominican Republic has many modern shopping malls and shops to shop around. So don’t stress out and have fun with your journey!


Spanish is the official language, but English is spoken in tourist areas. Although Espanol is the language, Dominican locals use colloquial expressions in informal contexts just like in other Latin countries such as Mexico, Columbia and Argentina. However, learning some basic Spanish phrases can be helpful, especially in more remote areas.


Before travelling, consider taking vaccinations against diseases such as Hepatitis A, typhoid, and malaria as Dominican Republic is a hot and humid country where these diseases thrive. If you have any health emergencies after arriving the country, the standards of Dominican Republic health care vary from place to place. Some hospitals don’t sterilize the operating rooms or equipment properly. There are some decent hospitals you can get at the capital Santo Domingo and the famous cities such as Punta Cana.

Tap water is not safe to drink and you should purchase bottled water whenever you feel thirsty. The sun is very strong in the Caribbean, so don’t forget to apply sun screen before you go outside. When hiking or stay outside in the coutryside, you should apply mosquito repellent to prevent against diseases like Malaria and Dengue.  

Local Customs and Etiquette

Understanding the local customs and etiquette before visiting any country is important. Some good tips and advice if you’re planning to visit the Dominican Republic are:

  • Greetings: Dominicans are generally warm and friendly. It’s customary to greet people with a handshake, especially when meeting for the first time. Close friends and family members may greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
  • Respect for Elders: Respect for elders is highly valued in Dominican culture. It’s common to address older individuals with titles such as “señor” (mister) or “señora” (missus) followed by their last name.

  • Personal Space: Dominicans tend to stand closer to each other during conversations compared to some other cultures. It’s important to respect personal space but also be prepared for closer proximity during interactions.

  • Mealtime Etiquette: Dining is a social affair in the Dominican Republic. It’s polite to wait until the host invites you to begin eating. Try to finish everything on your plate as leaving food may be considered wasteful.

  • Tipping: Tipping is customary in restaurants, bars, and for services like taxis and tour guides. A tip of 10-15% is generally appropriate in addition to the 10% charge that’s automatically included in the service charge and 18% sales tax.

Crime & Safety

Although DR is a relatively safe place, the crime rate has been increasing since 2007 in the urban areas. However, popular tourist areas like Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, and Samaná are generally safe due to heightened security measures. But just like any other countries, petty crimes such a pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft of belongings are generally common. So make sure to keep your belongings close to your body and keep an eye on the surroundings when visiting crowded places.

When visiting urban areas such as Santo Domingo, be extremely careful and don’t come outside at night as these places have higher crime rates. Be cautious of scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, fake tour operators, and fraudulent schemes. Always verify the legitimacy of businesses and services before making any transactions.


Dominican Republic has one of the finest communication infrastructure in the Caribbean. In urban areas and tourist destinations, you can expect good coverage and high-speed internet access. However, coverage may be more limited in rural or remote areas.

Purchasing a local SIM card is easy and can be done at the mobile shop, carrier store or straight from the airport. Some of the major providers include Claro, Altice (formerly Orange), and Viva. You’ll need to present your passport to register the SIM card. If you prefer to use your existing SIM card from your home country, check with your mobile provider about international roaming rates and coverage in the Dominican Republic.

Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, restaurants, cafes, and shopping malls throughout the DR. Many accommodations offer free Wi-Fi for guests. You can also find public Wi-Fi hotspots in urban areas.