TOP 5 – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
We recently went to the Dominican Republic, The DR, for a destination wedding and we had a blast! It was our first time going to the DR so we were a little nervous about going. You know, the media warns you about visiting these countries so we were a little weary. We did our due diligence and just like you, we searched up things to know before traveling to the Dominican Republic. The Do’s and Don’t’s of The Dominican Republic, etc.
However, we didn’t find that many articles about it so we decided to do a series of articles on this magical place. Please subscribe so you can stay updated on our DR blog series. Enjoy 🙂
SHOULD YOU GO?
If you are thinking about going to Punta Cana or any other city in the Dominican Republic, we highly suggest you do because the people there are very friendly. Furthermore, the culture is rich and welcoming, the food is delicious and the weather is perfect this time of the year (January). However, there are a few things to take into consideration before going to the DR. We did the research for you so you can plan ahead on your next trip to this paradise island (or peninsula ?).
We might be mistaken but everyone in the DR expects a tip. Now, it’s not like they are going to be upset if you don’t tip them. Nor will they extend their hand out as if expecting a tip, but we did notice that there were tip sign in places you don’t really see them.
For example at the COVID test center they had a tip box, which I thought was unusual. So how much is a good tip, I was giving out $1 or $2 dollars because the dollar goes a long way in the DR. If you want to be generous, a $5 is more than enough for a tip. So yes, tip culture is big so take you some loose change or some dollars for tipping.
Have you heard the expression “Island Time”? It is a thing and the Dominicans are always on island time. What does that mean you ask? Well it means that they are not accustomed to the American style of living where everything is rushed, fast and we are always on the go. Unlike us, they like to take their time so to us it seems they are too slow, but in reality they are just on island time.
Funny anecdote: I was at the gift shop & the line was long, about 6 people (which in America that is unacceptable LOL jk jk). When my turn came I was a little rude. I told the employee to ring me up but not fold my clothes because I was in a rush. ( I told her in Spanish btw) She looked at me then looked at her coworker and laughed. She then told her coworker, “este hombre tiene prisa, HA”. Then she looked at me and said “digale a la esposa que se espere”. Which all translates to her laughing at me for saying I was in a hurry, also to tell my wife to wait. Island Time…it is a real thing.
They love to overprice. Look, this pretty much happens all over the world. Merchants see tourists and they want to sell you souvenirs 10 times what they cost. I understand they are trying to make a living, but the prices we kept getting at Punta Cana were ridiculous. At one point, one of the beach merchants wanted to charge us $250 for pictures we took with a monkey and a parrot. WHAT??!?! Luckily it was 3 of us against 2 of them, and we all spoke Spanish, so we were able to argue and negotiate the prize down to $0.
Yes that’s right, at the end they were done arguing and just left us alone so we paid nothing for the pictures. We would have paid $20 the most, but they just left us and walked away. The keychains too were overpriced, they wanted to sell us a keychain for $25. I am talking about the cheapest $1 keychain you see at the dollar stores. I didn’t even try to haggle them down.
At the end I paid $5 for a miniature wooden turtle with a string tied to it…honestly I could have haggled him down to $1 dollar for it but I just didn’t have the energy so I paid him the $5. In conclusion, be ready to haggle down the price for things in the DR, specially in the tourist areas. Make sure you know the currency exchange too so you wont get scammed out of paying more.
4. FUNNY PEOPLE
Be ready to laugh, the Dominicans are funny and love to joke around a lot. Yes, I love that about their culture, they are always laughing, cracking jokes and just having a good time. They make everything a joke so they are always having fun and laughing. They are very friendly people and will laugh with you if you attempt to be funny.
If you know Spanish, then talk with them and make them laugh, they will be your best friend forever. I made friends with bartenders and waiters by making them laugh and cracking jokes and in return, I got a free bottle of wine and free champagne…but most importantly, I got to interact and laugh with them and that to me is priceless and worth the trip. Que Lo Que Gua Gua Gua!!!
5. Cash is King
Try to use cash instead of your credit card. Yes it is sometimes more convenient to use your credit card, specially if you’re trying to rack up miles for your next trip, but in the DR the internet is slow and sometimes their credit card machines take too long to read your card.
I experienced that several times and at the end I paid cash. Cash is king in the DR, so we suggest you exchange some dollars for Dominican pesos at the airport, just make sure you don’t carry all of it with you when you leave your hotel. Store it in a safe or in a place that is pretty secure.
This are our top 5 things to know before traveling to the Dominican Republic. Obviously there are more things to know, but these are what we feel are most important. If you have any questions or comments about the DR or Punta Cana, please ask away, don’t be shy.
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