Tips for Tourists
To avoid insect bites:
- Apply repellent to exposed skin.
- The repellent should contain N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) or dimethyl phthalate. Carefully follow the product instructions.
- Avoid contact with eyes, mouth and nostrils and with cuts and wounds.
- Remove the repellent with soap and water upon re-entering enclosed spaces.
- Pregnant women and children older than two months should use special products that do not affect them negatively.
- An adult should put repellent on children 10 years old or younger. In addition, applying it to the children’s hands should be avoided.
- If you sleep in places that do not have good climate control and protection against insects, it is recommended to use mosquito nets. Likewise, you may also use pulverized insecticides, an insecticide sprayer (electric or battery-operated) that uses pyrethrum-infused tablets, or burn mosquito-repellent coils containing pyrethrums in the rooms throughout the night.
- If you prefer natural options, there are natural products and substances that prevent or reduce the possibility of mosquito or other insect bites. For example, you can use eucalyptus, lavender or vanilla, among others.
* Make sure to drink water from a safe source. If this is not possible, boil the water. Drink bottled or carbonated water and make sure that the seal of the cap is unopened. Tap water is not safe to drink in the Dominican Republic.
* Select restaurants and food products that guarantee appropriate levels of hygiene.
To protect yourself from the tropical sun:
- Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. I should also provide protection against UVA (ultraviolet) and UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen to children that is especially formulated for them.
- After swimming, reapply sunscreen.
- Use sunglasses, umbrellas and hats.
- Hats should cover the crown of the head, the face, ears and neck.
- At the beach, sit in the shade of an umbrella or tree.
- Have an Aloe Vera gel or lotion handy for cases of sun overexposure. * Dress with clothes made of natural fibers (cotton, linen, etc.), and that are light, loose and, preferably, in lighter colors.
* If planning to visit rural or mountainous areas of the country, make sure to bring a jacket for the colder weather.
* Do not walk barefoot; keep your feet dry and clean. Use wide and ventilated shoes.
* Bring a mini first-aid kit containing antihistamine, aspirin, decongestant, expectorant, acetaminophen, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, mild laxative, a digital thermometer, cotton, adhesive bandages, alcohol, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, eye drops and any personal medication that you must take regularly. Regarding this last item, it is important that you carry with you a copy of any pertinent prescription. * In case of an emergency situation, always carry a small card indicating your blood type and whether you are affected by any condition, any allergy or medication prohibition. Or, if there is a special medication that third parties should know about.
* When practicing any water activity, use a good lifejacket and take all necessary precautions. Watch your children while they are in the water.
* As a precaution, purchase international medical insurance that covers your stay in the Dominican Republic.
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int
WHO international travel recommendations: http://www.who.int/ith/en/
International Travel Recommendations from the United States Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html
A day in the Dominican Republic
Visit the Dominican Republic and enjoy all the cultural, natural and historical wealth of the country while building friendships with the Quisqueyan people. To make your experience in these two thirds of a beautiful Caribbean island unforgettable and unique, even if you only spend one day in the country, take note of the following recommendations:
8:00 am – Enjoy a delicious Dominican coffee at Calle El Conde in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. A variety of establishments offer you the opportunity to savor the intense and aromatic typical coffee while watching the day begin for the merchants of ‘La Zona.’ For the most courageous, we recommended that they accompany their coffee with the typical Dominican breakfast consisting of mangú, eggs, sausage and fried cheese.
9:00 am – Take a tour on foot (or by the tourist train that is available) through the small streets and colonial alleys, discovering some of the “firsts” in the Americas and sharing with the local Dominicans who are dedicated to selling handicrafts in gift shops, the shoe shiners, or the street vendors or “paleteros” of the Colonial Zone. Take a refreshing yun-yun when the temperature starts rising.
11:00 am – Join a game of dominoes at any of the grocery stores or “colmados” you encounter on your way. Get your ears ready to enjoy the infectious tropical rhythms. Share a beer “vestida de novia,” or dressed in white, with your new best friends in the Caribbean.
12:30 pm – At lunch time, choose between the typical “bandera dominicana” (white rice with red beans, accompanied with beef, salad and tostones), mofongo, coconut fish, or any other delicacy of the local cuisine. Multiple commercial establishments offer a wide variety of options.
2:00 pm – Sit down to rest the “jartura” (overeating) on a bench under the shade at the Mirador Park.
3:00 pm – Visit Los Tres Ojos National Park and enjoy the experience of seeing freshwater lakes inside a cavern, in the heart of Santo Domingo. Try the natural coconut water that will be waiting for you on a tricycle at the exit.
5:00 pm – It is time to dedicate some time to your personal care. Go to a Dominican beauty parlor and let yourself be pampered.
7:00 pm -You cannot miss the sunset and dinner in front of the sea on your day trip in the Dominican Republic. Both, in Santo Domingo and in cities very close to the capital, you can find several alternatives to enjoy mouthwatering dishes and feel the sea breeze and the indescribable smell of beach saltpeter.
9:00 pm – Closing on a high note implies dancing merengue, bachata or salsa. This experience will allow you to understand why Dominicans cannot stop moving their feet when they listen to the native music.
Recommendations according to the season of the year
If your visit is between the months of January and March:
- Give your vacation a touch of adrenaline by climbing the Pico Duarte, participating in one of the many excursions, full of adventures, which take place at this time of year to enjoy the low temperatures.
- Join some of the processions or spiritual walks to the La Altagracia Basilica, located in Higuey, and participate in one of the main religious celebrations on January 21st of each year. The Virgin of Altagracia is the Spiritual Mother of Dominicans.
- Participate in the Vegan Carnival any Sunday of during the month of February. Beware that you may enjoy “in excess” the limping devils (diablos cojuelos), troupes, music and whiplashes (vejigazos).
- Head to Samaná and enjoy a Humpback Whale-watching tour. Camera in hand and swimsuit on, we guarantee that it will be an experience like few others.
If your visit is between the months of April and June:
- A visit to the Botanical Garden or some other park or green area in the country, will allow you to enjoy the beautiful flowers that bloom in spring.
- Take advantage of the celebration of the International Book Fair in Santo Domingo and do not miss the opportunity to mingle in the cultural celebrations.
- Savor the sweet beans, accompanied by the little “crucecita” biscuits, a traditional typical delicacy that is enjoyed during Lent and Easter.
If your visit is between the months of July and September:
- Visit Bahía de las Águilas and other heavenly beaches located in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. We guarantee that the long way to get there is worth it.
- Participate in the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF), held every year by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode) in various cities around the country.
- Take a trip to the Los Haitises National Park.
If your visit is between the months of October and December:
- Enjoy some of the bazaars of typical arts and crafts that take place in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays.
- Try the ginger tea, the punches – in any of their modalities (with or without alcohol, regular or with some special flavor) – and the pastries in banana or yucca leaf.
- Sing and dance as part of the popular door-to-door carol-singing parties that take place through the streets of the Dominican neighborhoods, especially in the early hours, to wake up the neighbors with tunes that include “perico ripiao” and Christmas carols.
Advice for the less adventurous or “aplatanado” tourists
- Do not stay at your hotel all the time. Go out to see the beautiful country that lives on the other side of the resort walls.
- Dare to share a typical lunch with a family in the Dominican countryside.
- Keep in mind that Dominicans have a peculiar way of driving. Be alert and be careful when crossing the streets. At night, check that no motorcycle or vehicle is coming with the lights off.
- Discover some of the many pristine beaches hidden throughout the island.
- Popular bodies of water, particularly those in the southwest region, are wonderful.
- A ride on motoconcho (scooter) or on the “cola de motora” (motorcycle) is an experience worth living.
- Learning to dance merengue or bachata is easier than learning to dance salsa. You will not know what your body is capable of until you try.
- Dominican children are very good tour guides.
- Local agricultural products and tropical fruits purchased directly from farms, plantations or markets are delicious and cheap.
- Tipping is a good habit in the country, both in restaurants and to people who provide services, such as hairdressers or shoe shiners.
- Bargaining is very useful in the vast majority of commercial transactions in the Dominican Republic; ask for a discount and you will get at least “la ñapa” (an extra discount).
- Understand that Dominicans are flattering. That does not mean that everyone is in love with you, just be open to receive the Quesqueyan affection.