Dominican Republic Travel Guide
Everything you need to know before you fly to the Dominican Republic
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:
- Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge
- 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
- Casa Colonial Beach & Spa
- Gran Ventana Beach Resort
- Millennium Resort & Spa
- The Bannister – Hotel & Yacht Club
- 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
18,704 square miles
Unitary Presidential Republic
Telephone Country Code:
right side of the road
Punta Cana International Airport Punta
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
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.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- 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
None but would recommend a few days on the island before the ceremony.
If both people are not from the Dominican Republic, a fee of RD$20,000 (Approximately US$460) will be required.
Two or more witnesses with valid passports; relatives cannot be witnesses.
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