Money can be exchanged here in Dominican Republic very easily. People ask if they really need to exchange money especially if they have US Dollars. Dollars can be used here on the island but, an example, if you go to a restaurant and buy dinner and pay with US Dollars they will not give you a good exchange rate. They do not know the current rate and most likely will give you a lower rate. It is best to exchange your money and use the Dominican peso (RDP) to do all your monetary transactions here.
One can exchange in many different places, especially in the tourist areas. Hotels, banks, Western Union or in one of the many Casa de Cambios/ House of Exchanges located throughout the country.
In my opinion, it is wise to exchange a small amount at the airport so you can have money on hand for the taxi of for a stop off on the way to the hotel. Do not exchange much at the airport as usually their rates are not the best in the country.
Do not exchange all your money. Only exchange what you will use. If you need to exchange the pesos back when you leave you will get a very low rate to buy the money back.
When you need to exchange there are many exchange options. The safest is the bank or Western Union. There are exchange houses called Cambios where you may get a better rate (always count your money as soon as you receive it in front of the exchange officer). DO NOT exchange your money in the street. Most likely you will lose most or all of your money.
Western Union Locations near Colonial Zone
*AGENTE DE CAMBIO REMESAS VIMENCA (large office and fast service)
ABRAHAM LINCOLN 306, BELLA VISTA, SANTO DOMINGO
Contact: 809-532-7382 Hours: Monday thru Sunday 7:30AM to 10PM
*AGENTE DE CAMBIO REMESAS VIMENCA
AUTOPISTA DUARTE KM 13 1 2, LA SIRENA, SANTO DOMINGO
Contact: 809-200-2380 Hours: Monday thru Saturday 8AM to 10PM
*NOTE* I have exchange rate tools from 2 different companies as each gives a slightly different exchange rate. This is the same as exchange houses and banks. Every exchange business could have slightly different rates all depending on from where they get their exchange information. Check around, if you have time, for the best rates.
These exchange rate calculators are good tools to use for a general idea of the exchange rates.
Exchange Rate - Check the exchange rates the world over.
There are many Casa de Cambios or Agente de Cambio throughout the Colonial Zone. Listed here are ones I have used myself and can recommend (I will be adding more as I get to know them). Please be sure to count your money when you receive it and put it away before you leave the exchange business.
Inside the Colmado Omar II. They give good rates and are honest.
Open from 8:30 to 5PM, depending on the day and how much business they have. Also, please remember, if you use the man hanging around the front of the exchange places to exchange your money the rate will be a little less as they do get their commission.
Location: Isabel la Catolica, inside the first Colmado on the left walking from Calle el Conde, Zona Colonial.
There are 3 different Cambio - Money Exchange places on Calle Isabel la Católica and Padre Billini, Just a block from Columbus Park/ Parque Colon (standing on Calle el Conde and Isabel la Catolica at Parque Colon facing todards Parque Independencia - Hard Rock Cafe go left towards the Caribbean Sea). These places are very good, I have used them myself.
There are men usually standing on the corner asking if you want to exchange money. If you want you can ask them where to exchange but if they take you into the exchange house you will get a little less for your exchange as they get their commission. The good think about these exchange men on this corner is they are usually out before many of the exchange businesses open, they are out after dark and on weekends and holidays. If you need to exchange during off hours they are there.