Travel guide to Dominican Republic

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» Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic can guarantee blistering heat all year around, and the hectic activity on the many beaches is symbolic of the fantastic conditions offered to divers, surfers and other water enthusiasts on the many miles of spectacular coastline.

Facts

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Local name
Republica Dominica
Capital
Santo Domingo
Size
48.730 km2
Principal Religion
Roman Catholicism
Inhabitants
8.442.533
Government
Representative democracy
Geography
The Dominican Republic takes up one half of the tropical island, Hispaniola, whilst Haiti takes up the other. It is a tropical Caribbean island with paradise-like beaches and turquoise water at the coast - whilst mountains, forest and valleys dominate the centre of the island. Animal inhabitants include reptiles, iguanas and crocodiles, and also many exotic birds.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

The tropical Caribbean enjoys bikini weather all year around, but from June to October it is the rainy season - which portends hurricanes ( though they do not usually occur).

Literature

Lonely Planet Eastern Caribbean Lonely Planet Dominican Republic & Haiti

Local conditions

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Currency

Dominican peso, 1 peso = 100 centavos

Net cafes

There are Internet cafés in greater towns, such as Boca Chica, Cabarete, Puerto Planto and Santo Domingo.

In case of emergency

To call for help in the Dominican Republic you must dial the following number: Police, ambulance and Fire department (711)

Tipping

10 percent will have been added to the bill in restaurants, but waiters will still expect a small tip if they have served you well.

Timezone

When it is 12 O'clock (noon) in Britain it is 5 AM in The Dominican Republic

Weight and Measures

In The Dominican Republic the following measurements are used: Weight: kilo Temperature: centigrade Length: kilometres Cubic content: litres Officially the metric system is used in the country, but in the bigger cities the American measurements have gained footing and here you will find yards, pounds and gallons used as well.

Photography

It is custom that you ask before you take photographs of people. At some sights and attractions photographing is prohibited or you will be asked to pay an amount to photograph.

Drinking water

It is not advisable to drink tap water in The Dominican Republic. Bottled water can be bought and is available at most hotels

Electricity

110 V, AC 60 Hz

Behaviour

The inhabitants of The Dominican Republic live by the mañana-principal, this way you will avoid stress, unless you get stressed out by how slow things go.

Business Hours

Banks are open from 8 AM to 4 PM (Monday-Friday) Shops are open from 8 AM to 12 and from 2 PM to & PM (Monday-Saturday).

Food and drink

The many kilometres of coastline provide plenty of fresh fish and delicious shellfish. Furthermore, they eat a lot of rice beans and yucca with chicken, goat or pork. There is an abundance of mango, papaya, passion fruit and citrus fruits. The local rum is of a good quality, and so is the local coffee.

Disabled travellers

There are few facilities for disabled travellers in this country, so it is important for wheelchair users to check with the hotels to ensure that the necessary assistance is available.

Holidays

New Year's Day, January 1st Twelfth Night, January 6th Our Lady from Altagracia, January 26th Independence Day, Febuary 27th May Day, May 1st Restitution Day, August 16th Constitution Day, November 6th Christmas Day, December 25th Relocatable holidays: Good Friday, March or April Easter Sunday, March or April Corpus Christi Our Lady from Las Mercedes

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

There are no camping sites on the island, and it is only possible to camp if you ask a farmer permission to camp in his fields. You can ask for permission to camp in the national parks, but you must have the park keeper's authorisation.

Hotels

The hotels in the Dominican Republic are divided in the five-star category system to make it easier to know which hotels are suitable. There are more than 27.000 hotel rooms, still, it is advisable to book in advance, especially in the bigger cities and during the winter - when frozen tourists may well be dying for some heat...

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

There are a few guesthouses in The Dominican Republic. They are usually cheaper than the hotels. Bed and Breakfasts can be found in Puerto Plata, Barahona, Costambar, Guayacanes Juan Doli and Las Terrenas- El Portillo.

Other Accommodation

There are domestic flights between the bigger cities more than once on a daily basis. Furthermore, there is a well-developed bus service in the country, and comfortable buses run between the bigger cities. It is also possible to rent a car, but you will have to be over 25 years old.

Local transport

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Planes

Bávaro Sun Flights and Dorado Air are in charge of the domestic flights and there are regular flights between Santo Domingo, Santiago, Samaná, Punta Cana and Punta Plata.

Bus

The buses driving between the bigger cities are cheap and fast, and most of them have air-conditioning.

Trains

There are no railroads in The Dominican Republic.

Taxi

There are taxies in most cities, and it is advisable to check for a taximeter up front. If there are none it will be reasonable to settle on a price in advance. The so-called 'públicos' are collective taxis on specific routes that pick people up on their way.

Car rental

There are several car-renting services in Santo Domingo, among others. The age limit is normally 25 years. It is advisable to stay clear of the services with very low prices as the car are not even worth the price.

Special conditions

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Even though the coast seems never-ending and the beaches are many - walking around in your bathing suit in the cities is not welcome - not even in the towns next to the beach.

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