Frequently Asked Questions about traveling in the Dominican Republic
What are the entry requirements for visiting the Dominican Republic?
This information can certainly change from time to time, but most people traveling to the Dominican Republic require a Passport along with either a Visa or Tourist Card. Please see our Entry/Exit Requirements section for more detailed information on this.
Do I need to have a return flight ticket?
All non-residents should have a round trip (return) ticket to prove they will be departing the Dominican Republic.
How long am I allowed to stay in the Dominican Republic?
Each country has an individual agreement with the Dominican Republic in terms of how long you can stay, whether you need certain documentation to do so, etc. Generally, most people are allowed to stay for up to 60 days with a Tourist Card or Visa. Because these agreements can change from time to time, it is best to check with the Dominican Republic Consulate or Embassy for the most up-to-date information on this. Please see our Entry/Exit Requirements section for more detailed information on this.
Are there any fees I need to pay on arrival/departure?
There is a US $10 Tourist Card fee some people will have to pay on entry and a US $20 Departure Tax that must be paid before leaving the Dominican Republic. Please see our Entry/Exit Requirements section for more detailed information on this.
Which Airport in the Dominican Republic should I fly into?
For most destinations on the South Coast of the Dominican Republic, people fly into either the Santo Domingo Las Americas (SDQ) or La Romana Airport. For destinations on the North coast of the Dominican Republic, people generally fly into Puerto Plata Airport (POP) but the Santiago Airport (STI) is seeing an increase in traffic for flights from the US. For destinations on the west coast of the Dominican Republic, people fly into Punta Cana (PUJ) Airport. Please see the Flights section for more information on this.
When is the best time to visit?
Any time is the best time to visit the Dominican Republic. The majority of people from North America and Europe visit the Dominican Republic from December through April - seeking a warm, tropical break from the cold temperatures during this period in their home countries. During the summer months, June through August, Europeans make up the majority of visitors.
What is the weather like?
The Dominican Republic has 27 climate zones so weather can vary from desert-like conditions to rain forest conditions. The Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean, so temperatures are generally quite warm throughout the country all year round. Some have even called the weather here 'the endless summer'. Please see our Climate or Current Weather sections for more detailed information on this.
When is hurricane season?
Officially the Caribbean hurricane season runs from the beginning of June to the end of November. Historically most tropical storm/hurricane activity in the Dominican Republic's part of the Caribbean has taken place in the months of August and September.
What type of currency should I bring?
US dollars are the most easily exchangeable foreign currency into the local Dominican Republic currency, Pesos, or RD. Please see our Money section for more detailed information on this.
What is the rate of exchange?
Please visit our Currency Converter to get an up-to-date rate of exchange between your particular currency, or US dollars and the Dominican Peso.
Is the Dominican Republic a good place to visit with children?
Absolutely. For more information on this, please visit our Bringing Children section of the site.
Can I bring my pet to the Dominican Republic?
Yes, you can bring your dog or cat, but it is not recommended to bring birds for a short visit, as they will need to be quarantined for a period of time. Please see our Pets section for more information on this.
Do I/we need any vaccinations before visiting?
At the present time no special vaccinations are required before visiting the Dominican Republic. Although there may be some areas of the Dominican Republic where vaccinations are recommended. Please visit our Health & Safety section for the most up-to-date information on this subject.
What are the medical facilities like in the Dominican Republic?
Medical care can range from quite good, to very limited, depending on what type of medical care you require and where you are in the Dominican Republic. Please see our Health & Safety section for more detailed information on this.
Should I buy travel medical insurance?
Yes, it is strongly recommended that you purchase travel medical insurance prior to traveling to the Dominican Republic. Please see our Health & Safety section for more detailed information on this.
Will I get sick in the Dominican Republic?
Travelers are always going to be a little more vulnerable to getting sick due to the stress and excitement inherent in the traveling process. Once you add a change in time zone and climate, changes to your usual diet, and over-indulgence in alcohol and sun; the likelihood for vulnerability to getting sick increases. The most common complaints in tropical countries like the Dominican Republic are upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and sun-related fever. The best thing to do on arrival is to ease your body into things slowly. Precaution is the key. Avoid over indulgence, introducing changes to your regular routine as gradually as possible. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen and wash your hands constantly. If you do feel symptoms during your visit, ensure you get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. This will allow your body to maintain the energy it needs to fight off sickness. The most common complaints are non-serious, so with plenty of rest and water, and over-the-counter remedies for your symptoms (available at most supermarkets and pharmacies in the country), most people are well again within a couple of days.
Can I phone from the Dominican Republic?
The phone system in the Dominican Republic is similar to that in the US or Canada. If you cannot phone from your hotel/resort, you will generally be able to phone from communications centers that are found in almost all of the larger resort areas/towns/cities in the country. Please see our Communications section for more detailed information on this.
Is Internet available in the Dominican?
Internet cafes can be found in most tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic. In addition, many of the larger hotels offer Internet access on site, and some of these offer rooms with high-speed DSL Internet connection for laptops.
What is the time in the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic is situated in the Atlantic Standard Time zone but does not follow Daylight Saving Time. This means the Dominican Republic is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the Fall/Winter (one hour ahead of New York and Toronto) and is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the Spring/Summer (same as New York or Toronto). The Dominican Republic is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (UTC/GMT -4). For the present time check the top-right corner of this page.
What is the electricity/voltage in the Dominican Republic?
Generally the electricity operates at 110 volts (like in North America) but voltage irregularities are quite common here - sometimes providing less, sometimes providing surges of far more. For this reason, expensive appliances and computers should have surge protection if they are going to be used here. Appliances from countries that use more voltage, 220 volts for example, will generally require converters or adapters. More in our Electricity section.
What is transportation like?
There are many forms available throughout the Dominican Republic. Please see our Transportation section for more information on this.
Can I rent a vehicle?
Yes, in most tourism destinations in the Dominican Republic there are a variety of vehicle rental agencies to choose from. Please visit our Vehicle Rentals section for more information on this.
What is there to do in the Dominican Republic?
A heck of a lot! To see the incredible variety please see our Things To Do section of our site.
Is it safe to drink the water in the Dominican Republic?
Drinking purified bottled water is definitely recommended and is available everywhere in the Dominican Republic. Hotels and restaurants use purified water to clean and cook their food, and purified water is used to make all ice. It is not recommended that you drink tap water. For those with a sensitive stomach, it is not recommended to even use tap water to brush your teeth. The different microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic, compared to ones found in the water supply in other countries, may affect some people adversely.
Is tipping expected?
Tipping is not required and many of the services offered, such as food & beverages at a restaurant, include a service charge of 10% in the price of the items, or this charge is added onto your final bill. If you receive good service and you feel like providing something extra, it will certainly be appreciated by the person(s) who provide you with the particular service. A dollar or two US, or about 10% of the cost of the service, is the norm, depending on the service you are being provided with.
What kind of clothing should I bring?
Due to the Dominican Republic's warm, tropical climate, not a lot if you're visiting one of the coastal destinations! Lightweight material shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits and sandals are the standard - certainly for during the day. Light pants and jackets are recommended for the evenings, or if you'll be visiting the mountains, especially in the winter months where the temperatures can cool down at night. As the norm for vacation destinations, people tend to dress a little less casually to go out for dinner or to bars, clubs or casinos. Higher end resorts, restaurants and bars, may have a dress code with more specific requirements. Dominicans tend to dress more formally than North Americans. If you are spending time in a larger city, it is recommended to have a nice set of clothing for going out in the evening. A light rain jacket (and/or umbrella) is useful to have in the event of rain showers. If you plan to participate in sporting or adventure activities, such as tennis or horseback riding, a pair of runners/sneakers will definitely be useful to have.
Do I need to speak/understand Spanish?
You do not need to speak or understand Spanish to get by in most tourism destinations in the Dominican Republic. Many of the people working in tourism businesses in these areas - whether they be local Dominicans or Foreigners - generally understand at least some English, if not other languages, such as German, French or Italian. There may be times where you come upon situations where communicating your questions or desires in your language is a little more difficult. Between smiling and using hand signals, or pointing to get you're point/question across, you are likely to get by just fine. Learning a few key words and phrases before your visit can be fun and will help you enjoy your destination more by giving you an opportunity to speak to the local people. Dominicans definitely appreciate people who make an effort to speak their language and are generally helpful in coaching you how to say words properly and if you are interested in learning more. Please visit our Spanish Phrase Book to help you get started before your visit.
What is the legal age to drink alcohol and gamble?
Both the legal drinking and gambling age in the Dominican Republic is 18 years old. The Dominican Republic does not generally enforce these laws very strictly except in the larger cities.
What is the policy on drugs?
The Dominican Republic can be quite lax on many things compared to North America or Europe, but drugs are certainly not one of them. If you want to avoid spending time in extremely nasty Dominican jails, with very little hope for bail, it is strongly advised that you do not bring in, buy, sell, or consume illicit drugs in the Dominican Republic. Over the counter and prescription drugs should be in containers that are clearly labeled to avoid any possible problems.
Is the Dominican Republic safe?
Yes, but as there can be dangerous areas in every town, city, and country in the world, it is the same for the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is a developing nation in many respects and many of its citizens are very poor. Poverty is the predominant cause of criminal activity everywhere in the world. The crime rate in the Dominican Republic is relatively low and criminal activity is generally petty theft. If you use common sense, you are unlikely to be a target of such crimes. This means putting valuables in room/hotel safes (when available), not leaving your things unattended, avoiding unpopulated areas (especially at night), and not wearing flashy articles, or carrying a lot of money on your person.