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Favorite thing: The official language of the DR is Spanish although English, German, French and Italian are widely spoken in touristic areas. However, if you want to go beyond the AI's (all-inclusive hotels) then these phrases might come in handy.
Buenos días: good morning
Buenas tardes: good afternoon
Buenas noches: good evening/night
Me llamo : my name is
Por favor: please
Gracias: thank you
De nada: you're welcome
¿Habla inglés?: do you speak English?
Excúseme/Perdóneme: pardon me
Permiso: excuse me
No hablo español: I don't speak Spanish
No comprendo: I don't understand
Hable despacio, por favor: speak slowly, please
Un momento, por favor: one moment, please
¿Cuánto cuesta ...?: how much is it?
When reading (menus, signs, etc.)
Jugo de naranja/manzana/toronja: orange/apple/grapefruit juice
Entrada: entrance fee, entrance
Colmado: (small) convenience store
Salón: beauty parlor
More to come.
Updated Oct 23, 2007
Favorite thing: Sosua today is a surprise compared to what you read in the guide books. The cheap hotels listed in the Lonely Planet have been gone for a number of years. The heavy sex trade is history and the day when there were no upper class clubs and bars has also passed. In fact, this is the only place I found in the DR outside the big resorts that seems to have polished itself into a small tourist town of the style Americans are used to. The streets in the center of this small town are clean and modern. The beaches are nice, and it is reported that the water is calm most days and snorkeling and scuba diving are good.
If I was going to take a group of friends to the Dominican Republic, this would be a good compromise choice falling between the real Puerta Plata and a large resort.
Updated May 27, 2007
Favorite thing: I would recommend that your primary reason to go to Punta Cana would be for poolside or beach activities. There are plenty of water-related activities and I would recommend that you take advantage of them as nightlife is limited.
Most of the all-inclusives are self-contained--meaning that you may never have a reason to leave the property and if you don't leave the property, then the only way you can spend money is in the casino or gift shops.
Fondest memory: The water and beaches. They are some of the finest I have ever experienced.
Written Oct 19, 2006
Favorite thing: The license plates for the Dominican Republic are fairly basic with the name of the country (Republica Dominica) and the numbers and letters. The plates are the North American shape, rather than the longer thinner European shape and are displayed only on the rear of the vehicle, not on the front.
When I asked about this plate, which appeared different than the others I had seen, I was told it was a new plate. The old plates were apparently a solid color (photo 2)
Fondest memory: I got quite a few pictures while we were driving in Santo Domingo which show (among other things) the license plates on the cars ahead of us in the traffic (photos 3 and 5).
Updated Oct 14, 2006
Favorite thing: The currency used here is Dominican Pesos. Some may accept American dollars in Santo Domingo, but very rarely outside of the city. 100 pesos is equal to about $3 Canadian dollars, so its quite a difference! Try to change just as much as what you're going to spend, because its apparently not as easy to change money back from Dominican pesos since they aren't as desirable. It may be possible at the airport, but you might have a hard time at currency exchange offices. Also keep in mind that things here are a lot cheaper than you'd expect. You can buy a pizza slice for $1, and a full meal for only $3-4. This also of course depends on where you're buying it from and the portion of the food. Things may be more expensive in the really high class resorts.
Written May 12, 2006
Favorite thing: We were not sure what kind or how much money to bring. I brought alomg some American money and some Canadian as well as my debit card. Most people will deal in Pesos or American dollars.
At the time we were there the exchange rate I used was 25 RD$ per $1 CDN and 30 RD$ per $1 US. The hotel gave a bit less. I took money out of a ATM machine and am not sure what the rate was. We found out that whenever we travel, the ATM machines generally give the best exchange rate. Do remember what the ratio is when you use a debit machine. I made the mistake and took out $100 pesos not dollars. My bank at home charges $2 per transaction so that 100 RD$ ($4 CDN) cost me $6 CDN. After doing the same thing in Mexico you would think a person would learn....
You really have to watch the venders. They will ask you if you are paying in dollars or pesos. If you say dollars they might say $40US. If you say you would rather pay in pesos because you don't have enough peses they will then say 1500 RD$ which is $50 US.
Written Jan 5, 2006
Favorite thing: being an all inclusive resort yu can have great cocktails all day long and whatever yu are and whenever yu want. alcoholic or not a lot of cocktails for yu to try.
and refreshing of course.by the pool or at the beach the perfect vacation spot...
Updated Oct 1, 2005
Favorite thing: at a resort of this kind obviously, the offer for a nite entertainment, is very narrow one.
a couple of drinks in open bar, some sort of show, dancing, singing, in a small theatre, and by midnight off we go to the discoteque...
7 days with "all" these options, it's a bit ...anoying!
by the fourth nite we had an evening on the beach with ocasionally friends!
great time that evening!
Updated Oct 1, 2005
Favorite thing: The Dominican currency steadily depreciated for the first several year of the new millennium, reaching an exchange rate of nearly 60 DOP to 1 USD in early 2004. Since that time, the Dominican Peso has gained ground on the dollar and at the time of writing (2005) converted at approximately 30 DOP to 1 USD. Currently, the Dominican Peso is exchanged as follows:
24 DOP - 1 Canadian Dollar
2.7 DOP - 1 Mexican Peso
12 DOP - 1 Brazilian Real
36 DOP - 1 Euro Dollar
52 DOP - 1 British Pound
23 DOP - 1 Swiss Franc
3.6 DOP - 1 Chinese Yuan
0.26 DOP - 1 Japanese Yen
11 DOP - 1 East Caribbean Dollar
0. 47 DOP - 1 Jamaican Dollar
0.7 DOP - 1 Haitian Gourde
Written Sep 20, 2005
Favorite thing: I urge anyone looking for an amazing tropical gettaway to go to the Dominican Republic. The resorts are incredible, however, take the time to explore the country outside the resorts. The Dominican people are genuine, friendly people, and the countryside is wonderful.
Fondest memory: I miss the people the most...not for long though! I am moving to Santiago, DR to teach English with my sister! See you soon DR!!
Written Jun 8, 2005
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