One of the most visited islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic boasts stunning coastline, lush tropical wildlife and impressive mountain ranges. From the luxury resorts of Bavaro, Costa Dorada and Cap Cana to the country’s beautiful national parks, a holiday to the Dominican Republic is sure to impress.
The country’s official currency is the Dominican peso (DOP). Many establishments accept American dollars, but you will generally get a better rate when paying in pesos. You can buy pesos before you travel; don’t leave it until the last minute though, as banks and foreign exchange outlets may need to order in your desired amount.
If you plan to use your credit or debit card in the Dominican Republic, make sure you notify your bank before you jet off.
Dining out in the Dominican Republic
Many traditional Dominican dishes infuse Spanish, African and indigenous Taíno elements such as rice, meat and beans, referred to by Dominicans as comida criolla. Seafood is plentiful, thanks to the country’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, with many local dishes featuring camarones (prawns).
Make sure you go for dinner in a comedor while in the Dominican Republic. Family-run restaurants offering a tasty range of local food at reasonable prices, a meal for one in a comedor costs around £5.50, with more sophisticated restaurants charging around £14 for a three-course meal.
Street food is a cheaper alternative to restaurants and features flavoursome dishes such as chimichurris (sandwiches loaded with pork, mayonnaise, ketchup, tomatoes and cabbage) and chicharrón de pollo (crispy fried chicken).
If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t be disappointed with the treats on offer. Dominican desserts are typically very sweet and feature ingredients such as molasses, coconut shavings and fruit. Make sure you order a serving of dulce frío, the Dominican Republic’s answer to British trifle. Think lashings of cream, sugar, fruit and rum!
The price of drinks
Wash down a tasty plate of Dominican food with an ice-cold beer as you soak up the country’s Caribbean vibe. Locally brewed beer such as Presidente costs around £2.50 in a restaurant or bar, with a glass of Coke costing around 70p.
Other traditionally Dominican drinks include mamajuana, a rich alcoholic tipple similar to port wine, made from rum, red wine and honey. Alternatively, indulge in a cocktail or three while relaxing on the beach – Coco Locos are served at most beach bars and are made from a refreshing blend of white rum, coconut milk and ice. Expect to pay around £3-£5 for a cocktail in a resort bar or club.
The cost of bottled water in the Dominican Republic is pretty reasonable, with a 1.5-litre bottle costing around 75p, and a 33cl bottle in a restaurant costing just under 35p. No excuse not to stay hydrated as you soak in the sun!
Out and about in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is perhaps best known for its stunning coastline and tiny, palm scattered islands. Isla Saona is an idyllic smattering of sand and palm trees, dotted within one of the country’s national parks, Parque Nacional del Este. Accessed by boat, there are a range of day-trips on offer from Punta Cana with prices starting from around £50 per person.
The country also boasts a number of water parks such as Splash Water Park in Punta Cana and Agua Splash Caribe in Santo Domingo that are either free, or charge a small entry free – the perfect antidote to a scorching day in paradise.
For nature lovers, a trip to the Haitises National Park is sure to impress. Located in Sabana de la Mar and stretching along the Bahía de San Lorenzo, the park has ecological tour guides on hand to enlighten you on the park’s incredible animals, flora and fauna. Guided day trips to the park cost around £40-£50 per person.
How much spending money should I take to the Dominican Republic?
As a guide, budgeting £70 per person per day during your stay should cover costs for food, drinks, travel, tips and activities. If you’re staying in an All Inclusive resort and planning on eating at the hotel most days, a daily budget of £50 per person should cover expenses.
If you plan to explore the country by booking a number of private, guided tours, take a little more spending money with you to cover this.
Tipping in the Dominican Republic
Wages in the Dominican Republic tend to be low, so tipping is very much appreciated among most Dominicans. Tipping anywhere from 10%-20% for good service in restaurants is considered fair. Tipping housekeeping 70p-£1.40 daily is customary. Tip porters 70p per bag and taxi drivers around 10% of the final fare (if a service fee hasn’t already been added).
*Prices correct at the time blog was published and are subject to availability. T&C’s apply.