7 Tips for Traveling in the Dominican Republic


Traveling to the Dominican Republic can be an exciting and memorable experience. This Caribbean country has much to offer, from the beautiful beaches to the rich history and culture. However, like any travel destination, it’s essential to be prepared and informed before embarking on your journey.

Here are seven Dominican Republic travel tips to help make your trip more enjoyable, safe, and hassle-free. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these tips for travel to the Dominican Republic will surely come in handy. Let’s dive in!


1. Learn some Spanish

While many Dominicans speak English, especially in tourist areas, learning some Spanish can help you communicate better with locals and enjoy a more authentic experience. Being fluent isn’t typically necessary, especially if you stick to tourist areas, but learning a few common phrases can be helpful.

Consider taking a Spanish language course or using a language app before your trip. Learn phrases that help you ask where landmarks are (hospitals, hotels, bathrooms), what time it is, if someone speaks English, and communicate that you do or don’t understand something.

2. Bring Cash

As you make your way across the country, you may encounter a few shops that don’t take cards. While credit cards are accepted in many places, having some cash on hand is always a good idea. Some smaller businesses may only accept cash, and it’s also handy to have some for tips and other small purchases like souvenirs from local markets or cab rides.

3. Be Mindful of Your Belongings

Petty theft can be a problem in some areas of the Dominican Republic, particularly in tourist-heavy areas. Keep your valuables close and be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.

Avoid wearing flashy clothing, accessories, and jewelry. Instead, stick to clothing and accessories without excessive value, as it’s best not to attract unwanted attention. Keep your belongings, like purses, wallets, and phones, close as you travel through the country. You could secure your must-haves in a fanny pack or similar pack you can wear on your person.

4. Stay Hydrated

The Dominican Republic can be hot and humid, especially during the summer months, making dehydration a prevalent concern, especially if you’re active during your trip. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and take breaks in the shade when needed. If you embark on hiking adventures, remember to bring plenty of water for your hike in and out.

Add electrolytes to your water as needed to replenish those lost through sweat and for an added hydration boost.

5. Try the Local Food

Dominican cuisine is a fusion of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences, resulting in a unique and flavorful culinary experience. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and flavors, and ask locals for recommendations.

The country is known for its hearty stews and soups, such as sancocho, a meat and vegetable stew, and mondongo, a tripe stew. Rice and beans are a staple in Dominican cuisine, often served with meat or seafood. Locally grown tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, and passionfruit are commonly used in juices and desserts, adding a burst of sweetness to any meal. Seafood is also a highlight of Dominican cuisine, with fresh fish and shellfish incorporated into mouthwatering dishes available in coastal areas.

One of the most popular dishes in the Dominican Republic is the mofongo, a mashed plantain dish typically served with meat or seafood. Other popular dishes include chicharrón, fried pork belly, tostones, and fried plantain slices. For those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of options to choose from, such as tres leches cake, a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk, and dulce de leche, a sweet caramel sauce made from condensed milk.

6. Explore Beyond the Tourist Areas

The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts, but there’s so much more to discover beyond the typical tourist attractions. The country is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering many non-touristy activities for travelers to enjoy.

One way to explore the Dominican Republic’s natural beauty is through hiking. The country is home to several national parks and protected areas, such as Parque Nacional del Este and Parque Nacional Los Haitises, where visitors can hike through tropical forests, see unique wildlife, and enjoy stunning views of waterfalls and rivers.

For those interested in history and culture, the Dominican Republic has several museums and historical sites that offer a glimpse into the country’s past. Santo Domingo, the capital city, has a well-preserved colonial zone, where visitors can walk through cobblestone streets and admire the architecture of historic buildings such as the Alcazar de Colón, the former residence of Christopher Columbus’ son.

Local markets and shopping can offer an inside look beyond the tourist traps, especially if you visit markets in small towns across the country. The country is known for handicrafts, such as pottery, wood carvings, and handwoven textiles. Visiting markets such as Mercado Modelo in Santo Domingo or Mercado de Bonao in the central region can provide a unique shopping experience and an opportunity to interact with locals.

For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, the Dominican Republic has several hot springs and spas that offer natural therapies. The Hoyo Azul Cenote in Punta Cana is a crystal-clear cenote that provides a refreshing dip in cool waters, while the thermal waters of Baños de San Vicente in the central region are said to have healing properties.

7. Be Respectful of Local Customs

As with traveling to any foreign country or area with local customs, remember to be mindful and respectful of Dominican Republic customs. The Dominican Republic is a predominantly Catholic country with strong cultural traditions. Be respectful of local customs, such as dressing modestly when visiting churches and other religious sites.


Immerse Yourself in All the Dominican Republic Has to Offer With Caravan

The Dominican Republic is a beautiful and diverse travel destination with much to offer. By following these seven travel tips for the Dominican Republic, you can ensure your trip is enjoyable, safe, and hassle-free. Remember to learn some Spanish, bring cash, be mindful of your belongings, stay hydrated, try the local food, and explore beyond the tourist areas. With these things in mind, you can have an unforgettable experience in this Caribbean gem.

If you’re ready to embark on a memorable trip to the Dominican Republic and don’t want to sweat the small details, consider a guided trip. At Caravan, we offer guided trips with the details planned for you, from where you’ll stay to how you’ll travel around the country. Ready to book a trip? Call 1-800-CARAVAN or 1-312-321-9800 today!