Dominican Republic Local Customs

  • Break time
    Break time
    by Assenczo
  • Local Customs
    by DAO
  • THE FLAG OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
    THE FLAG OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
    by DAO

Dominican Republic Local Customs

  • Dominican food

    Santo Domingo Local Customs

    Dominicans love stew Goat meat and Michelangelo Restaurant is consider the best places to eat this exotic dish. Goats in some providance are fed oregano plants so the Goat would absorb the oregano during the feeding. Michelangelo is a International and Seafood Gourmet Restaurant, but 8 years ago they were requested to make this dish for a going...

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  • Jugo de caña - Sugar cane juice

    Santo Domingo Local Customs

    Jugo de caña means sugar cane juice and it's delicious! The way to get the juice is to grind the sugar cane, and they usually do it in front of you when you order your juice. The juice is sweet and also an excellent diuretic! I recently bought a glass of sugar cane juice for 25 pesos (a little less than 1 US) at La Sirena on Ave. Venezuela but...

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  • THE FLAG OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    The Dominican Republic flag is comprised of:* A centre white cross dividing the flag into 4 rectangles. This white cross symbolises faith.* 4 rectangles. The top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue. The blue and red are from the flag of Haiti. Haiti had occupied the Dominican Republic starting just...

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  • Bachata

    A wonderfull music we may hear all over the country.Also called amargue as it is a bitter music.Played with a Guira, nice music instrument made of an oil can.

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  • Taxes - entering and leaving the country

    Edit: The prices changed (Dec 2008).On entering the DR you pay 10US$ - which you do when you buy your tourist card. On leaving, you pay 20US$.It's easier for them and quicker for you if you pay with the exact money (as in 10US for 1 person, 20US for 2 and so on) but if you have big bills they do give you your change. You can buy the tourist card...

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  • Knowing the Basics of a Spanish is a...

    Although you may not know how to speak Spanish, try and learn the basics. Unlike Mexico where mostly everyone knows English, mostly everyone in the Dominican Republic only sticks to Spanish. Not only that, the people that you speak Spanish to will greatly appreciate that you are trying. Think of someone coming to you own town and speaking their own...

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  • Dancing

    The locals love to dance! Bachata, salsa, merenge, all of it. They don't listen to a lot of hiphop or other music that is popular in America. You will hear a lot of songs on the radio, and playing in nightclubs by Spanish singers, such as Zacharias and Franky Reyes. (Their music is great, very latin carribean. It's available for download on Ares...

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  • Espanol por favor

    Of course, many people who work in the resort areas know some English, but you will come across many locals who do not know any. In any case, knowing a few words and phrases in Spanish can't hurt! Here are a few you may want to remember.1. Hola (HOE-LA): Hello2. Como esta (COE-MOE ES-TA): How are you?3. Nosotros queremos cambiar el dinero...

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  • Glorietas

    In every "central" or big park in any given town you'll find them. A glorieta is an open space, circle shaped and with a roof and it's usually located at the center of the park. In the glorietas, the local music band gives free concerts or people, for ex. from the city hall, who want to give a speech can do it and be covered by the inclemency of...

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  • Let's talk rum

    After beers, Dominicans love a good rum. The 3 most popular brands (I don't recall seeing more brands than these) are the 3 B's: Brugal, Barceló and Bermúdez. All of them are distilled and produced there. I particularly don't like rum but if I had to choose one to drink I'd go for Bermúdez. Brugal is usually the one that people like the most.

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  • En Santo Domingo bailamos merengue*

    * We dance merengue in Santo Domingo.Indeed we do but not only in Santo Domingo but in the whole island. Merengue is our typical music and one could say that it's a mix of 3 cultures, just like we Dominicans are: Spanish, Taíno and African. From the Taínos we have the güiras and from the Africans we have the tamboras (drums).The "golden era" of...

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  • Dominican folklore: La Ciguapa

    According to folk tales, la ciguapa is a woman with very long hair covering her body and with her feet turned backwards. This is believed to be used so that she can send her enemies on the opposite direction she ran to, should they follow her foot prints.There are many myths concerning this creature. Some say she's descendent from the few Taíno...

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  • National dishes

    Without a doubt, I'd say the 3 national Dominican dishes are:(1) The "flag" (la bandera): rice, red beans, meat or chicken and salad. *The* dish #1, eaten by rich and poor. Usually with concon (the rice that gets stuck on the pot, that you get by using a silver spoon.)(2) "Mangú": mashed plantain (the green ones), similar in preparation as mashed...

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  • Flag/Red days

    DR has the following red days:* Jan 1: new year's day* Jan 6: Catholic Epiphany day, the Three Wise Men day (movable to the next (or previous if closer) Monday)* Jan 21: Vírgen de la Altagracia day* Jan 26: Juan Pablo Duarte (one of our Founding Fathers) day (movable to the next (or previous if closer) Monday) * Feb 27: Independence day* Catholic...

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  • Día de los Reyes Magos (the Three Wise...

    When I was a kid, we kids used to get our Christmas presents on Jan 6 or the Three Wise Men day. No matter what day of the week it fell, we always had the whole week off school so that we could enjoy our toys because we wouldn't see much of them until the Summer holidays or the next Three Wise Men day.The Three Wise Men are Melchor, Gaspar and...

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  • Traditional Christmas food and drinks

    The traditional Christmas dinner is one of the (if not the) biggest events of the year. We cook a lot of food that we eat not only on Christmas Eve, but on the following days hehe. Some of the dishes we eat are telera (like a baguette), roasted pork, moro de guandules (pigeon peas mixed with rice), pastelitos (savoury pasties), pasteles en hoja...

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  • Una cerveza, por favor

    Dominicans love a good cold beer. We have 2 sort of icon national brands that we brew: Presidente (read my tip about it on my Santo Domingo page) and Bohemia. The newest additions are a dark lager beer called Ámbar and the most recent one called The One. Two non-alcoholic beers with a sweet flavor that's been around for years are Malta India and...

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  • Tipping

    Tips are always included in the bills. It's called 10% legal, so you don't have to feel obligated to (double) tip if you don't want to. However, if you do want to tip, you can always round up the bill or tip 10%-15% of the bill if the service was good. Don't leave coins unless they're Dominican currency because they can't be exchanged for Dominican...

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  • Dominican food

    If you get a chance to live with the locals instead of some tourist resort, you'll probably eat a lot of rice and beans. Also, meat and potatoes, crackers and cheese, coffee, and fresh fruit (plantains, pineapples, papaya, cantelope, etc. Meals are simple but good and filling. And they have all sorts of ways to cook plantains - boiled, fried, etc.

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  • Ask for "la cuenta"

    No, the waiter is not being rude, you have to ask for the bill! I think this is true in most Latin American countries, but after you finish eating, you have to ask for your bill (la cuenta, if they speak Spanish).

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  • Colmados

    Colmados – small general stores- provide people from the street or neighbourhood with the essential shopping. Supermarket culture is not that wide spread yet as there are a lot of poor people who can never afford to fill up their carts with all they need. So every day that they have a little money, they go to the colmado to buy the essentials: some...

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  • Tipping

    Tip your maids and waiters..... we left the maid a some money and some hard candies each day and she in return gave us more bottled water and made those cute towele art things.... very cute. and the waiters would wait on u hand and foot after u have tipped them for the rst of your stay... a few bucks can go along way

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  • Houses

    When you go out of the sheltered resorts you can notice some big differences between Dominican houses. Near the big towns or beach resorts you can see some mansions, complete with swimming pools, large gardens and many servants. And then in the villages, by the road,and in the less developed south, you can see many shacks, where often there's no...

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  • Share a conversation with a local

    The people of the Dominican Republic are very friendly people and are interested in talking with the tourists about not only their day but what the tourist can tell them about their countries. The Dominican's will welcome the visitor to their home & offer them whatever they have available although the Dominican's are very poor. Most Dominican's...

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  • Inside a home

    We were lucky enough to visit a Dominican family during our visit to the country and found very pretty, immaculately clean if basic, rural houses. All the houses are painted in pretty pastel colours - usually pink & green. There was one main room with areas sectioned off for bedrooms. Quite alot of land surrounded the house and on this was a...

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  • coconuts

    a caribbean island with lots coconut trees. so, u should try iced coconut water with a straw. just sit by the pool, or by the beach and have a tasty sip...very refreshing with all that caribean heat!

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  • salsa

    like in all south american countries music is the everywhere. several tipes of music, like merengue, salsa, and so on.and yes, being a music lover i brought a couple of records, and at home KAZAA site made me download the best artists that they had pointed me during my stay. wonderfull caribean sound.highly recomendable:))

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  • Men will take your place

    I was in Dominican Republic on a mission trip and when laying block the dominican men would come and take your tool and start doing your job and in their culture the woman do not work. So do not be upset with it just take a break and go back to working again in a little bit.

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  • The market

    This photo was taken in Higuey, the major city in La Altagracia Province. This is a local market. As you can see in the photo, it's neither clean nor "organized". For Europeans it looked like a great mess but actually that is the way of living. The smell is kind of "strange" for outsiders, since there isn’t a sewer system.

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  • The butcher's shop

    Well, I ran into this "nice" shop in Higuey, the capital city of La Altagracia Province. Apparently this is the place to buy “fresh” meat. I guess you can imagine how it feels to see meat hanging the whole day in the street in a hot weather like the Caribbean one, ... yep, no further explanations needed I think.

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  • Currency

    The Dominican Republic's currency is the Dominican Peso. If you're travelling to some touristy spot or resort you may pay almost everything in dollars (USA). Usually they have the prices marked for both currencies. When I visited DR (year 2000), in Europe each country still had its own money. As there is a "Spanish tradition" to this country and...

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  • Religion

    Dominicans are Roman Catholic. Dominican Republic was colonized by Spanish conquerors that brought their religion to the island. Nowadays a major part of the island population is Roman Catholic. In this island you can find one of the major catholic religion basilicas - it is situated in Higuey, the capital city of La Altagracia Province.

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  • The school

    While travelling around we visited a local school. Children were all very polite and gave us a great welcome. As you may see in the photo, they all wear a school uniform. It is somewhat funny to see that in such a "Caribbean" laid back place. In a country that is so poor, where streets may impress you since they don’t have basic hygienic rules or...

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  • Fishermen's village

    We had the opportunity to visit a typical fishermen's village. As you can see in the photo, the houses are small and made of wood, and not luxurious at all.There are no basic equipments such as gutters, or current water, and the streets are just made of "ground". In spite of all this, they were all polite to us and seemed to be, like everywhere...

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  • Merengue

    Dominicans are joyful people. There is music everywhere; their local music is called merengue and every "excursion" organized for tourists will be animated by music and merengue dancing. Merengue is a latin and animated music, and to dance meringue you must swing your hips with small steps. Merengue is danced by two people together.

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  • Language

    The main language is Spanish. Dominican Republic was colonized by Spanish conquerors, and the language remained in use. Previous to the Spanish conquests the local inhabitants were the Taino Indians, with their own language and culture, that later vanished. The accent is different from the one you hear in Spain and some words may even have a...

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  • Food

    Mangu is prepared by boiling green Platano bananas, and then mashing it with milk, spices and other ingredients. Some people may add grated cheese or onions. Others may serve it with butter. Regardless of how it is made, it is the one true food that is undeniably Dominican.

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  • Be ready for hugs and kisses

    Dominicans are really lovely people who love to hug and kiss (in the cheek) even if they dont know you, it is something really normal in the country so dont feel strange if someone hugs you! :)

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  • Expect to bargain the price

    If you are a tourist, they think you have the money. They mark up prices and expect you to bargain on the prices.I paid 1/4 of price on artwork and souvenirs.Never paid more than half on hand-made works.If you find a peddler or shop off the tourist normal spot you will get best deals. But these stores may also pressure you harder to buy.Many...

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  • Learn Spanish

    The main language in the DR is Spanish, and since most people speak little or no English, it's best to learn a few phrases before going. Also, if you know a little Spanish to begin with, talking to the locals is a great way to improve and learn more.

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  • Voodoo

    Voodoo is common is some parts of the DR, especially in rural areas. One girl in my group said that during the week when we stayed with host families, she got voodooed. She had a stomach ache after eating so she laid down to rest, and her host mother (a little old lady) asked her if it hurts, and she said yes. A few minutes later, the house mother...

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  • Alcohol info

    I think the legal age to get into a nightclub or bar in the DR is 18, but anyone can buy alcohol in a store. Beer and rum are available in corner stores, and even little kids buy it for their parents. The most common beer brand is Presidente, but I don't remember what the rum brand is. At resorts, you can get fancy cocktails like pina coladas, but...

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  • Dominican people in general

    In general, the locals are friendly, smiley, and energetic. Especially the children. They love dancing and having fun. Most of the people we met loved us and enjoyed having us around. They love meeting new people and will do anything to make you feel right at home.It's a good idea to bring little toys and nick-nacks to give to the children, like...

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  • Dance Merengue !!!

    You will hear the Merengue everywhere. And if you like the music it is hard not to dance when you hear it. Dancing Merengue is easy. Even I learnt it :-)) Best way to learn: just start dancing with a good looking Dominican. I guess you can only love it or hate it - nothing between. I love it !

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  • Music everywhere!

    In many towns and villages, the locals have music playing 24/7. Usually merengue, salsa, or bachata. It's great to listen to it, because it's so lively. Even if it's the same CD over and over again...

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Dominican Republic Local Customs

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