Dominican Republic Travel Guide
Occupying the eastern portion of the lush island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic vacation offers a vibrant travel destination whose endless charms bring the island’s admirers back to vacation time and again. The flawless beaches and sparkling cobalt waters of the Dominican Republic are nature’s gift to visitors on vacation.
And whether your vacation includes enjoying the unspoiled beauty of the Dominican Republic from a sailboat, surfboard or horseback, you’ll be enthralled with the beauty of your vacation experience.
There’s plenty to explore while on vacation on the charismatic island of the Dominican Republic, where old world flavors and long-standing colonial traditions rest side by side with the contemporary rhythms of the Caribbean.
And for the truly inspired, be certain to take in a baseball game – the national passion of Dominican Republic.
Caribbean country, situated just two hours south of Miami, less than four hours from New York and eight hours from most European cities. Known for our warm and hospitable people, Dominican Republic is a destination like no other, featuring astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, our lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, magnificent resorts and hotels, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options. Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, renew in our luxurious and diverse accommodations, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.
Discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, the country overflows with fascinating history, museums and exciting cultural experiences like music, art and festivals, plus uniquely Dominican specialties such as cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, merengue, amber and larimar.
The #1 destination for golf in the Caribbean and Latin America, Dominican Republic delights visitors with 25 designer golf courses amid breathtaking coastlines with mountain backdrops and lush green fairways. With so many beautiful natural settings like romantic waterfalls, breathtaking coasts and idyllic accommodations, Dominican Republic is a top destination for weddings and romance. Many world class-resorts and hotels also cater to meetings and incentive groups who flock to Dominican Republic for excellent, friendly service and dynamic meeting venues.
East of Puerto Plata and north of Punta Cana, the Samana Peninsula is the Dominican’s best kept secret. In Samana Bay, the island of Cayo Levantado is an island outpost with some of the country’s best beaches. The small hills are carpeted with coco palms, and a bevy of beachfront restaurants serve day trippers who come for the snorkeling, pristine waters, and lack of crowds. Ferries run daily from the town of Samana.
The peninsula itself is no less sexy, consisting of thick jungles and rugged mountain plateaus. Colorful wooden homes dot the winding roadways, and the town of Las Terrenas is a diverse mix of international restaurants and shops because of so many expats who’ve settled here. For beach lovers and adventurous romantics who want to escape the throngs of mass tourism, Samana is unforgettable in its mystique and beauty.
Situated on Las Galeras beach, Casa Marina Bay is operated by Dominican-owned Amhsa Marina Hotels & Resorts. Over $3 million is being invested into Casa Marina Bay, which at present offers 200 superior rooms and 50 suites situated in bright charming bungalows. By September, 56 new superior rooms will open, and the existing units will all be fully remodeled. In addition, a new a la carte restaurant will complement the buffet, seafood and pizza F&B outlets; and a new kids’ club is scheduled to open for the upcoming winter season.
The massive beaches stretching 30 miles north and south along the east coast are anchored by Bavaro Beach, home to a growing variety of modern hotels that cater especially well to the demands of American clientele. Many of the resorts are virtual cities unto themselves with multiple pools, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping, plus guests can play at any of the hotel casinos lining the strip. Kids’ clubs and spas are much more sophisticated than they were five years ago, and almost every year sees the addition of a new golf course.
Dominican Republic offers a fantastic combination of environments to capture your imagination and refresh the soul. And with eight international airports, paradise has never been easier to explore. We invite you to discover our breathtaking island sanctuary and create memories that will last a lifetime.
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second largest in the Caribbean region, with a surface area of 18,704 square miles (48,442 square kilometers). Located in the heart of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the Caribbean Sea.
The population of the Dominican Republic is 9,980,243 (2015 Census).
Local time is GMT -4. It is an hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time in the United States in the winter. Unlike the United States and Europe, the Dominican Republic does not observe daylight saving time.
The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World. Greater Santo Domingo has a population of around three million people.
The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president, legislators and city government officials. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeño were elected for a four-year term that began on 16 August 2012 and ends on 16 August 2016.
Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. However, you’ll be surprised how many hotel and tourist destination employees speak English, French, German and Italian. If you decide to venture out of the tourist areas, it is helpful to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.
The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. You can find the peso exchange rate for several international currencies at www.bancentral.gov.do/tasas_cambio/TMC4001.PDF
Major credit cards are accepted at most tourist locations, but it is best to check in advance at small hotels, restaurants and shops.
ATMs are located in almost all of the Dominican Republic’s cities, as well as at most resorts. Large supermarkets have ATMs that are open until late.
The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with average temperatures ranging from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C). The coldest season is between November and April, and the hottest season is between May and October. August is the hottest month.
Because it is located in the Caribbean, the weather in the Dominican Republic is excellent all year round. During the summer, the temperature can range from 90 F (32 C) at midday to 70 F (21 C) at dawn. Temperatures can drop to a low of 65 F (18 C) in the winter. In the high mountainous areas of Jarabacoa and Constanza, the weather is cooler. In these areas, temperatures of 50 F (10 C) in the city in the early morning and below zero higher up in the mountains are not unusual.
In the tropics, although rainstorms can happen at any time of the year, rains usually fall for just short periods in the afternoon and evening. The warmest months are June through September.
Holidays (Non Business Days)
January 1: New Year’s Day
January 6: The Three Kings’ Day (religious) – Celebrated on Monday January 9th
January 21: Our Lady of Altagracia Day (religious)
January 26: Juan Pablo Duarte Day – Celebrated on Monday January 30th
February 27: Independence Day
March or April (varies) – Easter Friday (religious)
May 1: Labor Day (celebrated on the closest Monday)
June (varies) Corpus Christi Day (religious)
August 16: Restoration of Independence Day
September 24: Our Lady of Mercedes Day (religious)
November 6: Constitution Day (celebrated on the closest Monday)
December 25: Christmas Day (religious)
In the Dominican Republic, electric outlets are 110 volts, the same as in the United States and Canada. Because of this, visitors from other countries needing power adapters are advised to bring their own.
Things to Do in Dominican Republic