Know before you go – The Dominican Republic

Know before you go – The Dominican Republic

Dance the merengue on a golden beach and sip on delicious local rums in the sunshine with a getaway to the Dominican Republic. This friendly island is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations thanks to its colourful culture, idyllic beaches and year-round tropical climate.

To help you prepare for your Dominican adventure, we’ve created this guide of travel advice for the Dominican Republic with everything you need to know from exchange rates and airports to restaurant recommendations.

Weather

The best time to travel to the Dominican Republic is between December and May, but thanks to the island’s tropical climate you can expect warm temperatures throughout the year with averages of about 28˚C around the coastline. The warmest month is August with temperatures up to 35˚C and the “coolest” are January and February with temperature up to 30˚C.

Thanks to the island’s rich and varied landscape, the wet season lasts from November to January along the Northern coastline and from May to November for the rest of the island. Hurricane season is in August on the Caribbean side and September-October on the Atlantic side.

Getting there

A direct flight from London or Manchester to the Dominican Republic will take just over 9 hours. Flights from Scotland will require a connecting flight and can take around 14 hours total travel time.
The island has multiple airports, but most international flights arrive via Punta Cana International Airport. If you’re travelling to a resort, you should book your airport transfers with them. Otherwise you can hire a car or get a taxi to your hotel.

Currency and Costs

The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP or RD$), but most tourist sites also accept US Dollars, Euros, Canadian Dollars and Swiss Francs. You can generally get 60 - 70RD$ to the pound and the cost of living is slightly lower than in the UK. For example, a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in the Dominican Republic will cost about 1,730 RD$ or £26.

Food and drink

The Dominican Republic enjoys a lively Caribbean culinary culture. Think tropical fruits, ocean-fresh seafood and hearty dinners of rice and beans. You’ll find lots of fantastic restaurants serving local delicacies and international fare, but venture outside of the tourists areas and you’ll also discover a wealth of amazing street food and fresh cut fruits ready to be savoured for about 20-40RD$. The Dominican Republic also has a thriving rum industry, so make sure you sample some of the island’s famous spirits.

What to do in the Dominican Republic

With its tropical weather, sprawling beaches and warm sea temperatures, the Dominican Republic is perfect for water sports from water skiing to stand up paddleboarding The island also boasts a wealth of golf courses, so fans of the sport can enjoy a leisurely round or two in the Dominican sunshine. Head to Punta Cana for your choice of bars, restaurants and lively night clubs or get away from the resorts and the city, and discover the island’s natural treasures.

Go back in time at Santo Domingo

Away from the resorts, take a tour around the historical buildings of Santo Domingo. At over 500 years old, this is the oldest colonial city in the world and a great place to learn about Dominican history. Explore 16th century fortresses and churches along the cobblestone streets of the Zona Colonial for a real taste of what life was like hundreds of years ago.

Watch the whales off the Samana Peninsula

Take a tour out onto the beautiful blue waters off the Samana Peninsula and you could catch sight of Humpback Whales. These graceful giants come to the Dominican Republic in the winter months to mate and rear their calves, and can often be seen waving their flippers, lobbing their tails or even breaching up into the air in Samana Bay.

Go canyoning along the 27 waterfalls of Puerto Plata

Jump, splash and slide along 27 beautiful waterfalls for the ultimate adventure in the Dominican jungle. This natural limestone canyon was carved by river water running down the hillside, creating stunning waterfalls and crystal clear pools perfect for thrills, laughs or simply floating on your back and enjoying a view of the trees.

Fly kites on the beach at Cabarete

To celebrate carnaval, Cabarete hosts beachside fun and games throughout February, including the Dominican Republic Kite Festival. Extreme sport stars come to kitesurf on the beautiful blue waves and show off new tricks. Have a go at kitesurfing or enjoying the simple joys of flying a kite on the beach with your family.

Catch a baseball game at Estadio Quisqueya

In the Dominican Republic, baseball isn’t just a game; it’s way of life. Easily the most popular sport on the island, no trip is complete without catching a game at Estadio Quisqueya. See the locals proudly wearing their teams colours, watch the cheerleaders rally the players, and savour some rum under the floodlights as you cheer on the game.

See the flamingos of Lake Enriquillo

This hypersaline lake is home to the Dominican Republic’s most flamboyant inhabitant. Pink flocks of flamingos can be spotted close to Isla Cabritos and the east side of the lake between April and July. You’ll also spot saltwater crocodiles between January and June, and friendly iguanas sunbathing on the rocks all year round.

Hike the rainforest of Los Haitises National park

From cathedral-esque limestone caves to water-lined mangrove forests to rolling jungles, Los Haitises National Park is a world-class ecoadventure. Discover ancient cave paintings, learn about the different medicinal trees of the park, and kayak along the mangrove channels in this natural wonderland.

Dominican culture

With a rich heritage of European, African and Hispanic traditions, the Dominican Republic is known for its friendly welcome and lively music and dance scene. Home to the Merengue, Bachata and one of the most important fashion design schools in the world, this Caribbean island is bursting with confidence and style.

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