The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Hispaniola Island, also known as Quisqueya ( native name), the Island is located in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region.
The Island is shared by the nation of Haiti which occupies the western one-third of the island making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that is shared by two countries.
The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by land mass. Cuba being the largest at 48,445 square kilometers (18,705 sq mi) and is 3rd largest in population with approximately 10 million people. Approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of the capital city, Santo Domingo.
Surrounded by the Atlantic ocean to the north and the Caribbean sea to the South, the Dominican Republic has more than 1,600 kilometers of coast and 400 kilometers are beaches.
There are a few things to take under consideration if you are planning to visit this Caribbean. The main language is Spanish and currency is the Dominican peso.
There are different airports that will bring you there: Aeropuerto International de las Americas (SDQ) or La Romana International airports if you are going to South Coast. For destinations on the North coast of the Dominican Republic, people generally fly into Puerto Plata Airport (POP). For destinations on the west coast of the Dominican Republic, people fly into Punta Cana (PUJ) Airport.
If you are planning to stay or start your visit in Santo Domingo, the Las Americas is your best choice. On the other hand, you are planning to visit Bavaro, La Romana, then Punta Cana is your airport.
There is a $10.00 tourist fee that everyone visiting the Dominican Republic, including babies, must pay and can only be paid in cash. There are several money exchange locations within the airport where you can get the local currency.
Most places would take credit cards in and out of the airport, but it is always a good idea to have some local currency available.
Driving in the Dominican Republic can be a bit challenging because traffic laws are not enforced as they should be. If you are planning on renting a car, you might want to make your reservation ahead of time. While there are car rental companies inside the airport, my experience is that it is sometimes better to book one of the agencies outside the airport. There are a few surrounding the airport and they will come and pick you up to do the paperwork. When you contact them, just make sure they do offer this pickup service.
While you can buy insurance through the same website you used to book the car, some credit cards offer insurance and make sure your credit card company covers the Dominican Republic. You will have to take an extra US $8.00 a day extra insurance besides whatever insurance you have. If you are traveling with kids and need a car seat, some rent car places do have them available for a small daily fee. I actually would recommend bringing your own.
If you are staying in the city, I highly recommend using a taxi service as the fares are really inexpensive and taxi drivers are familiar with the driving style and places. ALWAYS RIDE WITH A TAXI DRIVER FROM ONE OF THE LOCAL COMPANIES OR HOTEL TAXIS even though they are usually a bit more expensive. Whenever you call for a taxi, make sure to get the car color, and unit number and wait for that car, do not board with random taxi drivers.
Walking around town
Be aware and do not wear flashy, expensive jewelry as they are big targets for thieves. Cell phones are also big targets, even locals try not to be on their phones while walking around.
The Dominican Republic is home to the Zika and Dengue transmitting mosquito, so make sure to have the whole family protected, I have tried several products and brands and I have found the best results using the Para’Kito products. The brand offers cute, lightweight, and very comfortable bands that you can wear on your wrists and ankles and work wonderfully, I had my whole family wearing one of this bands and also we also used their roll on mosquito repellent. This was the very first time we left the island without mosquito bites!
Weather in the Dominican Republic is really hot and humid, so staying hydrated is very important. The water in the Dominican Republic is not potable, in other words, YOU CANNOT DRINK WATER FROM THE FAUCET.
The Dominican Republic is famous for their delicious Caribbean cuisine and you will find plenty of restaurants any where you go…Grocery store prices are very comparable to the US prices.
Be careful to follow a few simple rules and you should have a great time in this beautiful Island!