Domnican Republic, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, a lush and tropical paradise boast nearly 1,000 miles of coastline, 250 miles of the worlds top beaches. With magnificent resorts, hotels, entertainments and gastronomy you can enjoy everything that this destination has to offer.
There are two sides to the Dominican Republic, just like there are two sides of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola on which the Republic is situated. The Dominican Republic shares the island with neighbouring Haiti. Inside the confines of the many resort hotels along the beautiful coastline, tourists languish in luxury, sipping cocktails under the palm trees and bathing in beautiful blue lagoons.
The other face of the Dominican Republic can be found along the country roads, among the sugar cane, coffee and cocoa bean fields, where people labour in the sun and men play dominoes outside tumble-down shacks. For the local people (there are 8.5 million people on this well-populated part of Hispaniola island) tourism is an important source of income, and the thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the resorts and explore the Spanish Colonial legacy in this country 'where America began' are welcome.
The South Coast contains some of the country's bigger cities and national parks. The capital, Santo Domingo, was the first Spanish settlement in the Americas. Christopher Columbus initiated the first European New World settlement here in 1496. His legacy is preserved in the bricks and mortar of the historic old section of Santo Domingo, which has been turned into an entertaining and interesting Colonial 'theme park'.
The other tourist spots in the Dominican Republic are the northern Amber Coast region around Puerta Plata, the beautiful Samana Peninsula, and the resort communities of the east coast, where stretches of pristine tropical beach have been bought and developed into all-inclusive resorts. However, those who take the trouble to explore a little behind the scenes will find plenty of unspoilt tropical paradise off the beaten track in the Dominican Republic, and locals ready and willing to offer warm hospitality.
Electrical current is 110 volts, 60 Hz. American-style two-pin flat blade plugs are standard.
Spanish is the official language, but English is spoken in the main tourist centres.
Travellers are recommended to be up to date with routine vaccinations and boosters especially for those who plan to spend time outside the main tourist resort areas. There is a malaria risk throughout the year. There is a risk of dengue fever, which is contracted from mosquitoes that bite during the day. Chikungunya and West Nile Virus is in some areas of the Caribbean. There is a moderate risk of Zika Virus transmission. Pregnant women should avoid non essential travel. It is advisable to use mosquito repellent. Travellers should be aware of the high prevalence of the HIV/AIDS virus in the Dominican Republic and take the relevant precautions. Water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated in undeveloped areas; bottled water is available. Some species of fish, including tropical reef fish, may be poisonous to eat even when well 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 are unlikely to understand English. Most resorts have doctors that can treat minor medical complaints. Health insurance, including provision for medical evacuation, is recommended. For updated information please go to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/dominican-republic/health
Hotels and restaurants generally include a 10% service charge as well as tax, but additional tips should be given for good service as often the charge does not go to the staff who provided the service. Waiters usually receive 10% extra for good service. For other services including taxi drivers, tipping is discretionary depending on the service provided.