There are two sides of the Dominican Republic, just as there are two sides to the Caribbean island of Spanish in the Republic where it is located. The Dominican Republic shares the island with neighboring Haiti. Within the confines of the many resort hotels on the beautiful coastline, tourists relax in luxury, sipping cocktails under the palm trees and swimming in beautiful blue lagoons. The other side of the Dominican Republic can be found in his ways of the countryside, among fields of sugarcane, coffee, and cocoa, where people labor under the sun and men play dominoes with dilapidated shacks of wood and zinc. For local (there are 8.5 million people in this well populated part of the island of Spanish), tourism is an important source of income, and the thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the resorts and explore the Spanish colonial legacy this country ‘where America began’ are welcome.

On the south coast are some of the largest cities and national parks in the country. The capital, Santo Domingo, was the first permanent Spanish settlement in the Americas. Christopher Columbus began his first European settlement of the “New World” here in 1496. His legacy is preserved in the bricks and mortar of the historic old section of Santo Domingo, which is a kind of “theme park” colonial interesting and fun. The other tourist spots in the Dominican Republic are the northern region of the Amber Coast near Puerto Plata, the beautiful Samana Peninsula, and the resort communities of the east coast, where large tracts of pristine beaches have been acquired and developed in resorts all-inclusive. However, those who take the trouble to explore a little behind the scenes will find an unspoiled tropical paradise, off the beaten track, local and willing to offer warm hospitality.

Climate

The Dominican Republic is hot and tropical, with little seasonal variation in temperatures, which average 77 ° F (24 ° C). The stations, however, can be determined by rainfall, with the rainy season extends from October to April in the north coast, and on the south coast during the months of May to November. The driest area is the Western. Warmer temperatures and less humidity are generally experienced between November and April, while the mountainous interior is always cooler than the rest of the country. Hurricanes occur on average once every two years on the island, most striking the south and occurring in the months of August and September. The busiest time for visitors to the Dominican Republic is between December and April when Americans take a break from their tropical winter, and from June to September, which coincides with European summer holidays.

Language

Spanish is the official language but English is also spoken in major tourist centers.

Money

The currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP), divided into 100 cents. Many hotels and restaurants in major tourist destinations quote their prices in U.S. dollars as in RD, and some places also accept Euros. The weight can not be changed outside of the Dominican Republic. Major currencies can be converted into pesos at exchange offices approved by the Central Bank, only 30% of the pesos bought can be converted and only by showing the original receipts, so it’s best not to buy more weights you think need during your visit. Major credit cards are accepted everywhere, but usually charge a commission. Best rates paid on U.S. travelers checks for U.S. dollars and then cash it is best exchanged at exchange offices (casas de cambio). The banking hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm and some banks also open on Saturdays. The automated teller machine (ATM) are ubiquitous.

Time

Local time is GMT-5 with no change in the summer time.

Communications

The international access code for the Dominican Republic is +1, as well as for USA, Canada, and most of the Caribbean, followed by 809. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (eg. For the UK is 01 144), the outgoing code is not required for calls to North America. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most major international operators. A bilingual operator can be contacted by dialing 0. Direct international calls can be made from telecommunications centers located in all towns and cities. The Internet cafes can be found in major cities and resorts.

Tips

Hotels and restaurants generally charge a service fee of 10% in addition to taxes, but can provide additional tips for good service as they often charge for services not delivered to the staff who provided the service. Waiters usually receive 10% extra for good service. For other types of service including taxi drivers, tipping is discretionary depending on the service provided.

Security

Due to the recent popular unrest in neighboring Haiti and the situation of continued instability, you should desist from crossing the border to Haiti. There is a low risk of terrorism and the occurrence of violent crime is rare. Visitors should take normal precautions against petty crime, however.

Health

Although no vaccination certificates are required, you should take precaution against hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies and polio for those who plan to spend time away from the main areas of tourist resorts. There is a risk of malaria throughout the year. Between May and September there is a risk of dengue fever, which is contracted by mosquitoes that bite during the day. The use of mosquito repellent. Travelers should be aware of the high incidence of HIV / AIDS in the Dominican Republic. The water should be considered as potentially contaminated in undeveloped areas, bottled water is available everywhere. Recent months have seen an increase of norovirus among visitors to resorts, the novovirus is a gastrointestinal disease that causes diarrhea and vomiting, travelers should beware of time spent eating or coming into contact with dirty surfaces. Some species of fish, including tropical reef fish, can cause poisoning even when cooked. There are good hospitals and other private medical facilities located in Puerto Plata, Santiago and Santo Domingo, but outside of these cities facilities are limited and staff may not speak English. Most resorts employ doctors who can treat minor medical conditions. It is recommended to provide themselves with health insurance that includes medical evacuation.

Electricity

Electrical current is 110 volts AC, 60 Hz to 2 cloves plugs are standard American style.