6 “Insider Tips” For Your Stay in the Dominican Republic
There’s a reason every travel site tries to give you tips that “only a local would know:” It’s because there are some very useful things you can only learn about a place by living there for long enough, and knowing these things goes a long way towards making your vacation more comfortable. And, when you’re going to somewhere as exotic as the Domincan Republic, these “insider tips” are gold.
In the interest of making your stay in the Dominican Republic as enjoyable as possible, we’ve compiled some “insider tips” that you’ll find useful.
The Dominican Republic is Bigger Than You Think
We have a detailed article on traveling around the Dominican Republic here. But, you should know right off the bat:
The DR is a big place. In fact, it’s the second largest country in the Caribbean, so you’ll want to plan ahead when choosing airports and in-country transport if you want to avoid long travel times.
But, don’t worry, it has eight major airports, so you have options.
If you like Convenience Shopping, You’ll Love Colmados
We wish the United States had Colmados; these are little street-side shops where you can buy anything from a quick, hot snack to light groceries, to toilet paper. They’re common in every major city and tourist spot, and you’ll even find them out in the country.
The most astonishing thing about them, however, is that they aren’t just convenience stores. They deliver. So, if you’re feeling peckish at your hotel room or need a roll of paper towels, you can make a quick phone call and have what you need delivered right to your door.
Don’t Rush! People are Relaxed, Here
The Dominican perception of time is refreshingly lax compared to what you’ll find in the United States (especially in big cities!). In the United States, being one or two minutes late may be cause for beratement.
In the Dominican Republic, even professional appointments are flexible, and you’ll rarely receive a concrete time. “Soon” can mean anything from 5 minutes away to three hours from now, so feel free to relax—no-one is holding you to a rigid time-table!
Fashion is Important!
The Dominican attitude towards fashion is reminiscent of the United States’ back during the 1950’s and 60’s; the way you dress says a lot about you. Dominicans will make snap judgments about your personality based on the way you dress, and while these norms aren’t as harsh or strict as the United States’ was during that era, it can still make a difference in the quality of your trip.
There are a few tips to remember about Dominican fashion: dress conservatively, wear tight-fitting clothes, and keep your accessories well maintained.
If you want a full overview of how to blend in with local Dominican fashion, check out one of our other posts!
Government and Business Offices Close Early
If you plan on getting some business done while you’re in the Domincan Republic, be forewarned—office hours end at 5pm sharp, and you’re unlikely to find anyone willing to stay late. On top of that, if you need to visit any government offices, consulates, or embassies, those close no later than 2pm.
Stores close earlier than you’d find in the United States, too; most only stay open ’til 7pm on the weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays.
Larger stores and shopping malls, on the other hand, remain open well after 8pm every day.
Your Best Bet for Finding Public Transit Routes is Word of Mouth
Outside of the well-organized bus routes, and expensive taxis, public transportation in the Domincan Republic can be difficult for outsiders to get used to. It’s primarily comprised of Publicos and Guaguas; rickety little vehicles where you’ll pay next-to-nothing to be ported along to your destination with a bunch of other people.
It’s not as unpleasant as it sounds, and if you’re interested in experiencing Domincan culture, you simply have to try it.
On that note, there’s only one reliable way to find the routes of these vehicles: ask a local, directly. They’ll be more than happy to help!
You don’t need to memorize everything on this list, of course. This is a vacation! But, feel free to come back and take some notes, as these tips can make your stay in the Dominican Republic even more fun than it’ll already be.
Written by Connor Johnson
Connor Johnson is a flexible content and copy writer located in the Boston area. He supplements his writing with in-depth research and general marketing skills. He can be contacted here.