Dominican Republic Travel Guide

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Everything you need to know before you fly to the Dominican Republic 

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Average Trip Cost

NA

When To Go

December to May

Currency

Dominican Republic Peso

Ideal Length Of Stay

7 to 14 days

About The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and aqua water that caresses you as much as it washes over you.  Sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the Dominican Republic is a popular travel destination because of its years round warmth and beautiful scenery.  All-inclusive resorts pack the landscape offering fantastic activities, food, and other amenities.  The ever-popular Punta Cana area is home to several of these all-inclusive resorts, as well as a lot of the island’s fantastic water activities.  Scuba divers and snorkelers will enjoy the rainbow of colorful fish swimming below, providing a wonderland just below the surface.  

History buffs will enjoy Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo.  The largest city in the Dominican Republic and, indeed, in the Caribbean as a whole, Santo Domingo is home to much of the Spanish colonial history that the island possesses.  Christopher Columbus arrived there in 1492, but that was long after the Taino people called it home.  The Spanish settled in the Dominican Republic in 1496.    

The Dominican Republic is unique in that it has the best of both worlds:  a lively epicenter in Santo Domingo and tropical oases in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata.  Nightlife is abundant in both areas, the food is meticulously prepared in West Indian, Spanish, and other international traditions, and the meringue is out of this world.  Shopping for smokes and Dominican rum is the order of the day if those things tickle your fancy.  You can even visit Santiago, the island’s cigar-making region.  Amber jewelry and art galleries dot the landscape as well.  You can also visit an interesting recreated 16th century village Altos de Chavon which is located in La Romana.

If you want to get away from it all and be pampered by attentive staff, swim the ocean blue, and understand what it truly means to be on vacation, the Dominican Republic will not disappoint.

Where To Stay In The Dominican Republic

Visitors to the Dominican stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels.  Some of the best hotels in the Dominican Republic include:

The Southwest

  • Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge

Punta Cana

  • Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
  • Royalton CHIC Punta Cana Resort & Spa  
  • Eden Roc at Cap Cana 
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
  • Tortuga Bay Hotel at Punta Cana Resort & Club

North Coast

  • Casa Colonial Beach & Spa 
  • Gran Ventana Beach Resort 
  • Millennium Resort & Spa 
  • The Bannister – Hotel & Yacht Club

Santo Domingo

  • JW Marriott Santo Domingo 
  • Billini Hotel 
  • Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando

Activities In The Dominican Republic

Major tourist activities in the Dominican Republic:

    • Wandering the cobbled streets of Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial
    • Whale Watching in Samaná Bay
    • Relaxing on one of the island’s pristine beaches includes Playa Rincon
    • Kiteboarding on Cabarete’s Kite Beach
    • Exploring Isla Saona and Parque Nacional de Este, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 

Facts About The Dominican Republic

Size:

18,704 square miles 

Population:

9 million 

Official Language:

Spanish

Demonym:

Dominican

Capital City:

Santo Domingo 

Government:

Unitary Presidential Republic

Telephone Country Code:

809

Driving:

right side of the road

Local Beer:

Presidente

National Dish:

 La Bandera 

Main Airport:

Punta Cana International Airport Punta

Electricity:

120v/60Hz – plugs are US standard two and three-prong

Visa Information For Dominican Republic

Visitors from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, or any European Union country do not need a visa to enter the Dominican Republic.

All visitors to the Dominican Republic must have a valid passport and an onward or return ticket.  Plus, visitors must also purchase a US$10 tourist card to enter – save the receipt so that an additional fee is not incurred when trying to exit.  Visas are generally not required for stays up to 30 days.  If a more extended stay is needed, apply for a new tourist card two weeks before the current one expires.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For The Dominican Republic

With a valid passport and supporting documents, it typically takes two weeks for a Dominican Republic visa application to be processed by the nearest Dominican Republic Embassy.        

Is It Safe In Dominican Republic

In comparison to major American and European cities, the Dominican Republic is relatively safe, but there are opportunist crimes. As such, it is recommended that visitors be vigilant at all times, especially when away from the major hotels and tourist areas.

How To Get To The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has eight international airports, and the most popular one is the Punta Cana International Airport (IATA: PUJ, ICAO: MDPC).

From Canada, book flights to the Dominican Republic via:

  • Air Canada(Seasonal): Halifax
  • Air Canada Rouge: Montreal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson (Seasonal: Ottawa, Québec City) 
  • Air Transat: Montréal–Trudeau, Québec City, Toronto–Pearson Seasonal: Halifax, Hamilton (ON), London (ON), Ottawa
  • Sunwing Airlines Montreal–Trudeau, Québec City, Toronto–Pearson (Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton (ON), Kitchener/Waterloo, London (ON), Moncton, Mont-Joli, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Winnipeg)
  • WestJet: Toronto–Pearson (Seasonal: Calgary)

From the United States, book flights to the Dominican Republic via:

  • American Airlines Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia (Seasonal: Boston, Chicago–O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York–JFK)
  • Delta Air Lines: Atlanta, New York–JFK (Seasonal: Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul)
  • JetBlue: Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK, San Juan
  • Frontier Airlines: Chicago–O’Hare, Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia (Seasonal: St. Louis)
  • Southwest Airlines: Baltimore
  • Spirit Airlines: Fort Lauderdale 
  • Sun Country Airlines (Seasonal): Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • United Airlines: Houston–Intercontinental, Newark (Seasonal: Chicago–O’Hare, Washington–Dulles)

From the United Kingdom, book flights to the Dominican Republic via:

  • British Airways: London–Gatwick
  • TUI Airways: London–Gatwick, Manchester (Seasonal: Birmingham)

From Europe, book flights to the Dominican Republic via:

  • Avior Airlines: Barcelona (VE), Caracas
  • Condor: Frankfurt 
  • LOT Polish Airlines (Seasonal charter): Warsaw-Chopin
  • Nordwind Airlines: Moscow–Sheremetyevo
  • Orbest (Seasonal): Lisbon
  • Sunclass Airlines (Seasonal): Copenhagen, Stockholm–Arlanda
  • TUI Airways(Seasonal): Copenhagen, Stockholm–Arlanda
  • TUI fly Belgium: Brussels 
  • TUI fly Netherlands: Amsterdam 
  • Turpial Airlines: Valencia (VE)
  • Wamos Air: Madrid

Within the Latin American region, book flights to the Dominican Republic via:

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas: Buenos Aires–Ezeiza, 1 Córdoba
  • Avianca: Bogotá
  • Conviasa: Caracas
  • Copa Airlines: Panama City–Tocumen
  • Gol Transportes Aéreos: São Paulo–Guarulhos
  • LATAM Chile: Miami 5, Santiago de Chile
  • LATAM Perú : Lima
  • Rutaca Airlines: Caracas
  • Sky Airline Peru: Lima
  • Wingo: Bogota

Note: The other international airports in the Dominican Republic, include:

  • María Montez International Airport (IATA: BRX, ICAO: MDBH), Barahona, Barahona
  • La Romana International Airport (IATA: LRM, ICAO: MDLR), La Romana, La Romana
  • Gregorio Luperón International Airport (IATA: POP, ICAO: MDPP), Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata
  • Samaná El Catey International Airport (IATA: AZS, ICAO: MDCY), Sánchez, Samaná
  • Cibao International Airport (Santiago International) (IATA: STI, ICAO: MDST), Santiago de los Caballeros, Santiago
  • El Higüero (IATA: JBQ, ICAO: MDJB), Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional
  • Las Américas-JFPG International Airport (IATA: SDQ, ICAO: MDSD), Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo Este

When To Go To The Dominican Republic

The most popular time to visit the Dominican Republic is from December through May when the weather is warm and sunny. From August to November is the low season as temperatures are hot and muggy; also, there is an increased risk of tropical storms.

The main tourist seasons are during Semana Santa (the week before Easter); also December to February and July to August. February is an excellent time to visit as you can enjoy Carnaval and the whales in Samana. For baseball fans, the best time to visit is in November.

Major events attracting visitors to the Dominican Republic includes:

  • January: Guloya Festival Dominican Republic
  • February: Dominican Carnival – Carnaval Dominicano
  • April: Isle of Light
  • July – August: Merengue Festival
  • October: Festival Presidente

Weather in The Dominican Republic

The weather in the Dominican Republic is warm throughout the year. Perpetual summer, but without the oppressive heat, the Dominican Republic’s climate ranges between 66° and 93° F. The coldest seasons are from November to April, and the warmest is from May to October.

Getting Married In The Dominican Republic

Marriage Requirements:

Couples looking to get married in the Dominican Republic must submit the necessary paperwork to the Oficialía del Estado Civil (Civil Registry Office) for the preparation of your civil marriage certificate. Allow three months for the processing. It is recommended that scanned documents or photocopies be sent in advance and the originals brought for the final processing. Note that the documents need to be translated into Spanish by an official translator and legalized by the Dominican consulate.

Documents Required:

In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:

  • passports 
  • birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
  • certificates of no impediment or single status report

Also, if applicable: 

  • divorce papers, i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
  • proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
  • proof of name changes by Deed Poll stamped and signed by a solicitor
NOTE: Priests at Roman Catholic churches in the Dominican Republic can perform legal weddings for both locals and foreigners. In keeping with church rules, priests will not officiate weddings on the beach, but they may celebrate a wedding inside a closed area of the resort. For a wedding at a church, a mutually convenient date needs to be set and will depend on church availability. In addition to the same standard documents required for a civil wedding, a Roman Catholic Church wedding will require authorization from the local parish in the couple’s country of residence. Also required are baptismal, communion and confirmation certificates and church certificate of annulment (if applicable). Catholic ceremonies have the same legal implications as a civil marriage, and the issuing of the marriage certificate follows the same procedure.

Residency Requirement:

None but would recommend a few days on the island before the ceremony.  

Fees:

If both people are not from the Dominican Republic, a fee of RD$20,000 (Approximately US$460) will be required.

Witnesses: 

Two or more witnesses with valid passports; relatives cannot be witnesses.

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