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Dominican Republic | General Information

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.

The main banks are Bancamerica/Banco De Las Américas De Ahorro Y Crédito (tel 809/549-3141), Banco BDI (tel 809/535-8586), Banco BHD (tel 809/541-2479), Banco de Ahorro y Crédito Altas Cumbres (tel 809/547-9000), Banco de Reservas (tel 809/960-4000), Banco del Progreso (tel 809/563-3233), Banco Fiduciario (tel 809/473-9400), Banco Global (tel 809/532-3000), Banco Intercontinental/Baninter (tel 809/545-8000), Banco León (tel 809/947-7000), Banco Metropolitano (tel 809/562-2442), Banco Nacional de Credito/Bancredito (tel 809/540-4441), Banco Santa Cruz (tel 809/726-2222), Banco Osaka (tel 809/472-1626), Banco Popular (tel 809/544.5555), Citibank (tel 809/955-2601), Republic Bank (tel 809/616-4444) and Scotiabank (tel 809/567-7268).

ATMs are located at their branches and at various locations around the island. Generally they accept major credit cards on the major networks, such as Cirrus/Maestro and Electron/Plus. They dispense Dominican pesos.

Note: There have been reports of unauthorized use of credits cards and debit cards. Guard your cards carefully and scrutinize where you choose to use them.

Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm
Sat 9am-1pm (Banco León only; the Bella Vista Mall branch is open 10am-7pm)

Predominantly Roman Catholic.

The local currency is the Dominican Republic peso (RD or DOP). Paper money runs in denominations of RD$10, RD$20, RD$50, RD$100, RD$500, RD$1000 and RD$2000 pesos, and coins in RD$1 and RD$5 pesos. Lower value coins are in circulation but are not welcome by businesses. Instead they round off the bill. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards. Some shops accept US dollars, but they are not considered legal tender in the Dominican Republic. Currencies other than Canadian dollars, Dutch guilders, English pounds, French francs, German marks, Spanish pesetas, Swiss francs and US dollars may be difficult to convert into pesos. Currency exchange offices/booths are called casas de cambio.

Note: There have been reports of unauthorized use of credits cards and debit cards. Guard your cards carefully and scrutinize where you choose to use them.

To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.

American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 866/247 6878
Discover Card: 801/902-3100
MasterCard: 800/307-7309
Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect)
Western Union: Agente de Cambio Remesas Vimen, 532-7382 (Santo Domingo), 582-4320 (Santiago), 588-8844 (San Francisco de Macoris); Agente de cambio Vimenca, 529-0012 (San Pedro de Macoris), 221-4610 (Bavaro)

A departure tax of US$20 is payable at the airport if it is not already included in the price of your air ticket.

A valid passport and, if applicable, residency card is required for entry. American, Canadian and British citizens also require a tourist card, which can be purchased for US$10 at Dominican consulates worldwide, when purchasing a ticket, or upon arrival.

Nationals of other countries may also require a visa or tourist card. Children under 18 years may require a letter of consent, which must be translated into Spanish and notarized by a Dominican Republic embassy. Consult your nearest Dominican consulate/embassy or the Visa Section, Consular Department of the Foreign Office, tel 809/535-6280 ext 326.

As of January 23, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.

Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.

British Embassy: 472-7111 (Santo Domingo), 472-7671 (Consular Agency, Santo Domingo)

Embassy of Canada:
1-200-0012 (toll free) and 685-1136 (Santo Domingo), 586-5761 (Consulate, Puerto Plata), 800/156-3102 (toll free to Ottawa

US Embassy:
731-4294 (Consular Section, Santo Domingo), 221-2171 (Chancery, Santo Domingo), 586-4204 or 586-8017 (Consular Agency, Puerto Plata), 571-3880 (Consular Agency, Sosúa)

As of January 11, 2007US$RD/DOP
British pound sterling1.9371167.59049
Canadian dollar0.8497929.65128
European Union euro1.2975745.27538
Japanese yen0.0083780.29231
Swiss franc0.8043728.06641
US dollar--34.89244

Major hotels have a doctor on call and there are a number of public and private hospitals and clinics around the island. Medical facilities are quite good in tourist areas, but are limited in remote areas. Blood supplies may be limited or unavailable, and many medical staff do not speak English.

Medical care is expensive. Prior to treatment clinics often require patients to sign an agreement to pay and to provide a credit card impression as guarantee of payment. Movi-med, a private ambulance service, operates in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata and La Romana, and expects immediate payment. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.

Note: There have been reports of unauthorized use of medical care cards. Guard your card carefully and scrutinize where you choose to use it.

There are numerous pharmacies (called farmacias) around the island. Farmacia Carol (tel 809/562-6767) has about 18 stores around the country and many are open 24 hours.

- Ambulance (Movi-med), 532-0000 (Santo Domingo) and 200-0911 (Santiago, Puerto Plata and La Romana)
- Tourist police (Politur), 686-8639 (Santo Domingo) and 1-200-3500 (toll free)

There are harsh penalties for possession, use, smuggling or trafficking in illegal drugs.

For more information call the customs department (Dirección General de Aduanas) at 809/547-7070.

Spanish is the official language, although people who work in tourism generally speak some English.

In Santo Domingo post offices are located at Héroes de Luperón (tel 533-1265), Las Americas International Airport (tel 549-2124), Av Sarasota (tel 532-6404), Carr Mella 104 (tel 222-1514), El Sol-S Luis (tel 226-1117), Av Francia 27 Feb P Cent (tel 472-6777), Av N de Caceres (tel 482-8146) and Mensajeria Expresa (tel 508-0845). Additional post offices are located at P Clisante (tel 571-2803) in Sosúa, Ntra Sra del Rosario (tel 524-5003) in the province of Barahona, and in the province of La Vega at F Primaveral (tel 242-1293), Z Franca (tel 242-6108), Duverge 42 (tel 573-8966) and Oficina Detras de Multifa (tel 573-2842).

Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.

- Jan 1 New Year's Day
- Jan 6 Epiphany
- Jan 21 Our Lady of Altagracia Day
- Jan 26 Birthday of Juan Pablo Duarte (founding father of the nation)
- Feb 27 Independence Day
- Mar/Apr (varies) Holy Thursday (not a holiday, but many businesses only open half the day)
- Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday
- May 1 Labour Day
- May/June (varies) Day of Corpus Christi
- Aug 16 Dominican Restoration Day
- Sep 24 Our Lady of Mercedes Day
- Nov 6 Constitution Day
- Dec 23/24 (not a holiday, but many businesses only open half the day)
- Dec 25 Christmas Day

Note: When a designated holiday falls on a Sun, the public holiday is observed on the Mon.

Shops are generally open Mon-Sat 9am-7:30pm and grocery stores, Mon-Sat 8am-10pm and Sun 8am-2pm.

There is a 12% sales tax.

The phone system in the Dominican Republic is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.

The country code is 809. Local phone numbers have seven digits. For calls to the US and Canada dial 1 + area code + local number. For calls to other countries dial 011 + country code + area code + local number.

CODETEL/Verizon (tel 809/220-1111 and 220-1212), Dominican Republic's telecommunications company, sells CommuniCard prepaid phone cards in vending machines at the airport, some banks, gas stations, grocery stores and other stores around the island.

For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?

CODETEL/Verizon provides cellular roaming services, and also rents cellular phones. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with them.

The average annual temperature is 77°F. The rainy season is May-Nov.

The island is on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter, the time is one hour ahead. Dominican Republic does not observe daylight savings time.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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