Fact file: Dominican Republic

Did you know?
The country's capital, Santo Domingo, was the first European city established in the New World.
Language
Spanish.
Visas
Not needed, though entry requirements may change.
Getting there
Most scheduled airlines fly into Las Americas International Airport outside Santo Domingo, with direct charter flights also landing at Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.
Flying time from London
Around nine hours.
Getting around
Metro Bus and Caribe Tours run buses between the major towns and are cheap, convenient, cool and comfortable. Gua-guas are mid-sized minibuses that cruise the highways and rarely charge more than £2 per trip; publicos, or share taxis, are the city centre equivalent — banged-up vans or pick-up trucks packed with passengers. Just hail them on the street.
Currency
Peso.
Costs
A moderate three-course meal will cost between £4 and £10, a bottle of wine between £4 and £6.50 and a beer between 55p and £1, depending on whether you buy it in a supermarket or a bar. A packet of cigarettes will set you back around 55p, a 24-exposure film is around £3.85. A short taxi ride is from £1.50 or if you want to drive yourself, a litre of petrol is around 82p a gallon.
Weather
Temperatures are warm year round with daily averages of 25C (77F), and most rain falling between May and September. The Dominican Republic is on serious hurricane watch during July, August and September.
Time difference
Four hours behind GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
001 809.
Voltage
115-125V, 60Hz AC, with two and three-pin, flat-pronged plugs. You'll need a transformer and plug adaptor to run European appliances.
Opening hours
Dominicans like a lunchtime siesta, so most businesses open from 8:30am to 12:30pm, and again 2:30-6:30pm. Sunday is truly a day of church and rest, with most shops closed and reduced bus services.
Health — before you go
Jabs are not required but it is wise to be up to date on tetanus and typhoid. If you're staying more than a couple of weeks and venturing away from major tourist areas, you may also want a havrix shot for hepatitis and chloroquine tablets for malaria; visit your GP about two months before leaving. Take out a comprehensive insurance and bring supplies of any medication with you.
Health — when you are there
Almost every town has a hospital or clinic, but the competence of the staff is not assured. If in doubt call the embassy and ask to be referred to a doctor. Tap water is likely to cause gastrointestinal problems at the very least, so drink bottled water and try to avoid salads and uncooked vegetables from cafes and stands. Though cases of malaria and dengue fever are rare in the popular spots, cover up in the early morning and evening to avoid mosquitoes and consider using a repellent.
Warnings
Female travellers should take extra care outside hotel complexes, especially at night, and should avoid taking taxis solo. Those who dress modestly will have an easier time with the locals, and be wary of flashing expensive items such as jewellery, watches and cameras.
Emergency
The emergency number is 911. British Embassy Edificio Corominas Pepin, Ave 27 de Febrero No 233, Santo Domingo. Tel 001 809 472 7111
Customs
The pace is slow; instead of getting frustrated about the lack of speedy and efficient service, follow the lead of the Dominicans, relax and enjoy it.
Pets
Animals returning to the UK from the Dominican Republic will be subject to quarantine.
Tipping
Not necessary in all-inclusive resorts. In restaurants a 10% service charge is added to the bill but does not go to your server; additional tips are optional but welcome.
Tourist office
Dominican Republic Tourist Board, 18-21 Hand Court, London WC1V 6JF. Tel 020 7242 7778.
Did you know?
The country's capital, Santo Domingo, was the first European city established in the New World.
Language
Spanish
Visas
Not needed, though entry requirements may change.
Getting there
Most scheduled airlines fly into Las Americas International Airport outside Santo Domingo, with direct charter flights also landing at Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.
Flying time from London
Around nine hours
Getting around
Metro Bus and Caribe Tours run buses between the major towns and are cheap, convenient, cool and comfortable. Gua-guas are mid-sized minibuses that cruise the highways and rarely charge more than £2 per trip; publicos, or share taxis, are the city centre equivalent - banged-up vans or pickup trucks packed with passengers. Just hail them on the street.
Currency
Peso
Costs
Average meal £4-£5, bottle of beer 70p, roll of camera film around £4, petrol £1 per gallon. Taxi fares are set at about £2 at time of writing, but all prices will fluctuate.
Weather
Varies more by location than season, despite the country's small size. The dry season for the north coast is between June and September; in the south, it runs from November to April. Temperatures are tropical year-round, with an average of 24C(75F). Expect it to be slightly warmer at sea level but cooler in the mountains, especially at night. However when it rains, it does more than pour - Hurricane Georges killed several thousand people in 1998.
Time difference
Four hours behind GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
001 809
Voltage
115-125V, 60Hz AC, with two and three-pin, flat-pronged plugs. You'll need a transformer and plug adaptor to run European appliances.
Opening hours
Dominicans like a lunchtime siesta, so most businesses open from 8:30am to 12:30pm, and again 2:30-6:30pm. Sunday is truly a day of church and rest, with most shops closed and reduced bus services.
Health - Before you go
Jabs are not required but it is wise to be up to date on tetanus and typhoid. If you're staying more than a couple of weeks and venturing away from major tourist areas, you may also want a havrix shot for hepatitis and chloroquine tablets for malaria; visit your GP about two months before leaving. Take out a comprehensive insurance and bring supplies of any medication with you.
Health - When you are there
Almost every town has a hospital or clinic, but the competence of the staff is not assured. If in doubt call the embassy and ask to be referred to a doctor. Tap water is likely to cause gastrointestinal problems at the very least, so drink bottled water and try to avoid salads and uncooked vegetables from cafes and stands. Though cases of malaria and dengue fever are rare in the popular spots, cover up in the early morning and evening to avoid mosquitoes and consider using a repellent.
Warnings
Female travellers should take extra care outside hotel complexes, especially at night, and should avoid taking taxis solo. Those who dress modestly will have an easier time with the locals, and be wary of flashing expensive items such as jewellery, watches and cameras.
Emergency
The emergency number is 911. British Embassy Edificio Corominas Pepin, Ave 27 de Febrero No 233, Santo Domingo. Tel: 001 809 472 7111
Customs
The pace is slow - instead of getting frustrated about the lack of speedy and efficient service, follow the lead of the Dominicans, relax and enjoy it.
Pets
Animals returning to the UK from the Dominican Republic will be subject to quarantine.
Tipping
Not necessary in all-inclusive resorts. In restaurants a 10% service charge is added to the bill but does not go to your server; additional tips are optional but welcome.
Tourist office
Dominican Republic Tourist Board, 18-21 Hand Court, London WC1V 6JF. Tel: 020 7242 7778.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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