Do not overpack.
Even at an all inclusive resort did not need much.
Bring space for souvenirs in suitcase.
We brought some school supplies for the poor children and left.
School is free, but some cannot afford the required uniform and then the textbooks.
Leave some toys for maid or coloring books/crayons.
Expect to spend much time on beach.
Sunblock a necessity here!
Bring American U.S. dollars, bring many one dollar bills.
Travelor checks pain in neck. If insist on bringing them,do not exchange at hotel, you get ripped off.
Drink bottled water. Never the tap water or you will get to know the bathroom well.
Bring any prescription meds(marked well) that you need.
Bring pen for airport, you will be glad you did.
Departure tax money, have correct amount.
(ask your travel agent if departure tax paid already in advance, otherwise have in US dollars).
Yes, they do have Dominican pesos, but prefer the US dollar. Even many Europeans carried US dollar.
I enjoyed the tour Outback Jungle Safari the most. Had tour guide Jesse, and he had awesome humor but obviously truly cared about the less fortunate Dominicans.
Fondest memory: If you go to an all-inclusive resort as I did. Get out on a good tour. Arrange the tour in advance of your trip.
Do not commit self to staying in resort as some people did and they sounded bored.
It is great to get out and see the country.
You may otherwise not see the real Dominican people, culture, and beautiful green tropical country.
The people are friendly and the land is beautiful.
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...
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!
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.
... a little bit different from a German one. But you also find other one and the christmas staff is quite similar to the staff you could find in Germany. I got the impression that the American influence on christmas decoration was quite high ....
Fondest memory: A christmas without snow and low temperatures? Yes, I would prefer it ...
I was really surprised when I saw that this car was for sale.
Coming from Germany where we have a Technical Inspection Authority (TUEV) for cars ... and where you can get a ticket if you car hasn't a valid TUEV badge ...
This car definately wouldn't get the German TUEV badge! :-)
You could visit DR all year round, but I'd suggest to avoid visiting in May because it rains a lot.
Our high season goes between mid December to March (more or less) and Easter week if it's in April. Other times where the prices sky rocket are long weekends due to moving any public holiday.
Fondest memory: The traditional dish called "La Bandera" (the flag). Read about it on my Local Customs page.
Visit the Cibao Valley. The country side is breath taking and a good change to the beaches.
Fondest memory: During my stay in 1995 I spent several days in La Vega visiting a friend. One Sunday afternoon we spent in a Sporting Club with a pool (don't remember the name any more, it was near La Vega somewhere in the hills). From up there one had an outstanding view over the valley. Palm trees and green vegetation as far as I could see ...
View from Cayacoa Beach Hotel in Santa Bárbara de Samaná. At the hotel I stayed a weekend during my stay on the island in 1995.
Fondest memory: For one week-end we went to Samana by car. The ride from Santo Domingo took a few hours. The country side was amazing. Arriving on the peninsula we went up a hill (sorry don't know any more were excatly) but from up there we had an outstanding view over the hills covered all over with palmtrees and the peninsula de Samana .... oh I want to be back right now!
The Dominican people are very friendly and welcoming. If you stay in one of the all inclusive resorts you must take the chance to visite the country and get in touch with its people.
Especially go up the country and don't stay in the most touristic spots!
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.
Yes you're bound to find many american fast-food restaurant chains in the R.D. they're as common as the flu in New York on September, hard to avoid easy to catch, somewhat pricey to the local dominicans, but pretty much the amount you would pay for in the States or Europe, so if you come with kids grab a happy meal!!!
The Best ice-cream hands down in the Dom. Rep., at least the last time I had a taste of it, was Helados Bon "Bon's Ice-Cream", things tend to change, some for the better others for the worst. I used to love an ice-cream made entirely with natural ingredients by a couple that had moved to Santiago from Italy, and set up an ice-cream shop called San Remo at Cafeteria Cine Doble, it was right across my school so whenever I had a chance I would get a cone there, but later on they sold the business to some local and you know the rest, some other Dominican brands worth mention are: Helados El Polo, Manrresa, and Capri.
The most popular american brands are present too, like Baskin-Robbins, you can find one even by accident.
Fondest memory: Making a "Serrucho" with my school buddies to buy a pizza pie and sodas at Cafeteria Cine Doble, right after friday's school day.(A Serrucho it's what's called when several people pool their cash to buy anything that can be eaten by all, this is the spanish name for a handsaw)
Some general information about the Dom. Rep.:
*You drive in the right side of the road, just like in the states, but the left lane is not only used by fast or passing vehicles, it's just another lane to drive on, in the highways expect to see vehicles (sometimes Trucks and Semis) drive into the adjacent traffic lane to pass other vehicles on their traffic lane.
*Motorcycles are a very common ocurrence on all major highways, and are heavily present on local traffic, they seldom obey any traffic laws or common sense, extra care should be taken when in close proximity to one of them, also traffic lights are seldom obeyed due to the fact that blackouts are rampant on the major cities, so when coming into any intersection or corner come to a complete stop, and vehicles on your right have for the most part the right of way, sometimes during the night you can see a change of lights from other cars as they approach the intersections (High-Low beams) this means there's oncoming traffic approching, if the vehicle stops and gives you a single change of lights it means to take right of way, two quick changes means stop, because it's taking the right of way.
*Locals try not to stop too long during the night at intersections, so be careful and quick about your stops, keep you doors locked and your windows up, don't leave any stuff on the seats and pettite money around, you could invite a glass breakage for chump change (this tip is common to all countries on the world exept for Cuba they'll find them real fast and do some extreme time in a Cuban jail).
*If you happen to be involved in an accident, don't argue about who's at fault, if the car is rental it's pretty much covered, so be wise and alert, exchange your information and plate numbers, cops rarely show up!
*Keep the phone number of where you're staying close at hand, a phone number is very important for everything.
*Cell phones are widely avaliable in the Dom Rep, as a matter of fact tele-communications are far more advanced there than in some major cities in the world, GTE a Verizon parent company(Bell Atlantic - Lucent) uses the Dom. Rep. as a test bed for new technologies and fine-tuning, also all major cell systems are widely serviced country wide, so phones from Europe, The US and Asia should have no problem working there too (you should contact your home country provider for service in the Dom. Rep. using your own phone # and sometimes your own phone.
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