Category Archives: RESOURCES

All the information and resources you might need while visiting Dominican Republic.

Basic Helps

Basic Helps and Important Travel information

Colonial Zone – You will hear it called many different names. Zona Colonial, La Zona, The Zone, Ciudad Colonial, Ciudad Trujillo, Santo Domingo.

For travel information and warnings given for UK, USA, Canada:

*United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. For travel information. In case of emergency in Dominican Republic – United States Embassy in Santo Domingo. Call 809-221-2171 for help 24 hours a day.

*United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office. UK travel information

*Canada Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Canada travel information

Drugs and Dominican Republic are a real no-no. If you do get caught with ANYTHING they will take you to jail and it most likely WILL be a long time before you get out. Even if you are in a place and you see some drugs or drug dealing my advice to you is to get out of there and fast! Here in DR they are known to arrest everyone in a place and ask questions later, sometimes much later. (Read The Dominican Gringa Blog story on the Big Almost Drug Bust -new window)

Truck delivering the large jugs of bottled water called Botejon de Auga
Truck delivering the large jugs of bottled water called Botejon de Auga

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! You could get the runs or worse. Drink bottled water, which most places have unless you are in remote areas. Ice is usually OK also because it is purchased from water distributors and is clean (ask if you want to make sure). The shaved ice vendors, ice in your juice or coco water that is purchased in the street is a definite NO-NO. It may not be a problem but even if you change your water anywhere from well water to city water you can have unwanted results. Why take the chance and have a bummer (LOL!) of a vacation?

Do just as you would in any other place. If you were in a strange neighborhood and there was a lonely, dark street or alley would you walk down it? I don’t think so. Use your head; you are in unfamiliar surroundings in a country where many people make less than $200 USD a month working a full time job (44 hours a week). Do not act better than anyone else. Do not wear your best designer clothing and expensive jewelry.

Try and carry a noise maker. Be it a loud car alarm, a hand held one, or your outside voice. If you do get robbed make noise. Robbers hate noise and attention drawn to them. Vigilantism lives in
Dominican Republic and people love to help when they see someone being wronged.

Try some new foods. You never will know if you like it unless you try it. I highly recommend
Mondongo. Never ask what it is. Just give it a try, then after you like it you can ask what it is, if you’re brave. Mondongo is the best after a night out partying if you feel like you will have a hangover (Resaca in Dominican Spanish). At least this is what I am told and so far it has worked wonders! There is also medicine sold in Colmados (the corner stores) that you take for a hangover, just say ” resaca” and they will know what you need.

Clap when the Airplane lands. Dominicans normally do this. Don’t be shocked. If they do it on your plane, just join in. You are on vacation. Relax.

It is not only what you know but also whom you know that makes dealing with many things go much smoother here in Dominican Republic. I also suggest asking around. Talk to the locals and see which businesses they recommend. Also remember to take your time. Dominicans love to talk. They like to take things slow. It is too hot to get worked up over the little things. Take time, get to know who you are dealing with and just enjoy the chatter.

Lip Talk. Dominicans, especially women, talk with their lips or noses (sort of like a Bewitched thing). They do not use words, just a flick or twitch to the right or left or a quick pout. This says more than any word ever could. Maybe the lips puckered for a quick second is saying, “yea, right, sure, I believe you.” (sarcasm). When getting directions no need to point just a lip flick to the left, right or straight ahead and one knows just what direction in which to precede. It takes some time to figure out what all the movements mean but it is fun trying to learn. So if you see people, especially the ladies, making nose and lip gestures you now have a better idea what is happening.

Security guard with gun. It was a cold day in the city (about 75°F lol)
Security guard with gun. It was a cold day in the city (about 75°F lol)

Men with guns. Don’t let this scare you. It sure frightened me the first time I visited. I never saw people sitting around so nonchalantly with a gun on their lap or hanging over their shoulders in public areas. It is quite the norm to see men, uniformed and in street clothes, standing or sitting in front of homes and businesses. Don’t be too worried. They are most likely private security guards

Do not start any altercation with anyone. No exchange of harsh words. No physical contact. Walk away. Do Not fight. This is not easy sometimes but it is best for your safety. Remember if the police get involved EVERYONE goes to jail until they figure out the details (sometimes until they get a little payment).

Make copies of all your documents. Carry the copies (unless your driving you do need the original drivers license). Put a copy of your passport or some type of identification in each piece of your luggage. Always carry a copy of your passport with you in a different place where you have the original. Have all the numbers of your credit cards and contact information in case there is a problem or your cards get stolen then you will not have to search for the information. Scan everything front and back, Credit Cards, ID’s, Bank Cards, Passports and email them to yourself. This way if anything gets lost or stolen you have all the information right there.

Keep your doors locked. Keep the hotel doors locked if you are inside or outside. Keep the car doors locked, especially when driving at night in a rental or a taxi, just keep the doors locked. You can also get an alarm to put on your
hotel door for added safety.

Think twice before taking a stranger into your hotel room or car. They can rob you much easier this way. If taking a bed partner to your room make sure all your belongings are secure. Better yet, take the person to a Cabana (a sex hotel where you are charged by the hour) or another room someplace else. This way they cannot gain access to your belongings, documents and money.

Helpful Travel Hints

We will try and give you some helpful hints and survival tools to make your visit to the Dominican Republic much more enjoyable and safe. Going to a different country can sometimes be confusing and a little frightening, especially when you do not know what to expect and what the customs are.

Basic Helps and Important Travel information

Exchange Rates

Helpful Hints – Driving And Using Public Transportation

Money & Tipping

At The Beach

Telephone – Making Calls


These are links to the old html non-responsive website until I can get the information transferred to the new site.

Going Out – Drinking

Here I will put things I have learned and information others have taught me about how to make your vacation on this island in the Caribbean a more pleasant experience.

Know what to watch out for. Warnings. Dangers. What’s extra good and really bad. Anything we feel you should know. Remember, many of these suggestions are good for traveling in general no matter the destination.

Mamajuana Drink


Mamajuana also known as Viagra Dominicana is a drink indigenous to the island. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both having their own variation of the recipe. All are said to stimulate the libido.

1.Ingredients 2.Recipe 3.Taking Home

Mamajuana being sold in the market in Dominican Republic
Mamajuana being sold in the market in Dominican Republic

Originally this beverage was made by the Taino Indians, boiling the roots to make a type of medicinal tea. Honey was added as a sweetener. As time passed rum or wine was added to the mixture to make Mamajuana as it is known today.


This sweet, amber-colored liquid is said to be a cure-all, mainly used for the gripe, the Dominican name for the flu. It is also said to be a good remedy for arthritis, toothaches, headaches and stomachaches. In the history of Mamajuana it has been used as a cure for many different ailments. Many of the natural ingredients of mamajuana are also used in Western herbal remedies.

Different types of mamajuana in bottles
1.A bottle of manajuana with the dry herbs inside 2. Bottle with liquids added. 3. and 4. Dominican Mamajuana with the seafood parts.

Some of the Ingredients in Mamajuana:

There are as many different versions of the recipe as there are people mixing this potent concoction. All depending on what ingredients you chose to introduce to your bottle. There are different versions for getting pregnant (cat or parakeet claws), not getting pregnant, headache and more. Below are some of the basic ingredients used in Mamajuana.

*Canelillea (Dominican grown cinnamon whose leaves and twigs are used for flavor, circulation and adds a little warmth to the mix),

*Timacle (In the Taino language it means brave. It is a vine with big, twisted and gnarled roots. It is said to work on the ligaments to make one more agile for days. It is also said to make one energized and able to think more clearly).

*Bejuco de Indio (helps male impotency. It is said to even make the bottom parts of the body feel like they are vibrating if taken in large doses. It is said to make sweat and body odor have an essence that makes one seem more attractive, gets the pheromones flowing).

*Bejuco de Costilla (the bark is also said to give the lower parts of the body extra life and vibrancy, for some it can make you feel quite warm and toasty).

*Batata (also known as the plain old potato or sarsaparilla is a sexual stimulant).

*Bitter Ginger / Gengiberes Amargo (a root in the ginger family but it is a bit more bitter and yellower than regular ginger yet it looks about the same. It is used to repel internal parasites, improves circulation, said to help with arthritis and may even be able to help with hair growth).

*Yname/ true yam (said to enhance hormones. The inside is eaten in Dominican Republic and elsewhere like a potato and the outside is used in mamajuana).

*Anamú (bark of the tree),

*Bohuco (a type of creeper),

*Brazil, Caro, Marabeli, Osua, Guyacan, Twigs of Palo Indio, Palo de Maguey and Pega Palo (literally means hitting stick).

Plus many other ingredients, some of which are said to be secret. Each creator has their own variation on the recipe which makes each bottle of mamajuana unique.

There are other special ingredients that can be added to your bottle of herbs including different animal parts. Mainly, these parts are taken from sea animals. These sea creatures/ mariscos could include octopus, snail, conch, clam or oyster. One of the treasured ingredients is a sea turtle penis or as it is known in Dominican Republic, Miembro de Carey. Using the penis is said to give the man extra potency.

Showing different styles of Mamajuana bottles in a gift shop
Showing different styles of Mamajuana bottles in a gift shop

Mamajuana Recipe

There are as many different versions of the recipe as there are people mixing this potent concoction. All depending on what ingredients you chose to introduce to your bottle. There are different versions for getting pregnant (cat or parakeet claws), not getting pregnant, headache and more.


Each person will have their own concoction, or if you prefer, recipe. All depends on their own special likes and dislikes. Basically, after the natural sticks and parts are all stuffed into a bottle the liquid can be added. Usually, for the first batch, the bottle is filled with red wine (cheap wine is just fine for this step. Most Dominicans I know use the wine called “La Fuerza”) and a little honey (about a 1/4 cup). This is left to sit for about a week, mainly to clean all the ingredients, wash away the bitterness of the sticks and to get the bottle ready for the good stuff. After the week has passed empty out the wine, “they say” you’re not supposed to drink this, but it won’t hurt if you like the taste. Many places throughout the Dominican Republic have the bottles already cured for you so you may not need this step. If your bottle is wet inside then it has been pre-cured.

Now for the good part. Add some good Dominican Ron/ Rum, you can use other brands if you don’t have the Dominican kind. Some people use dark rum while others use light rum (I prefer the light if you care. Because when I add the honey it is just a little too sweet for my tastes using the dark rum). Some add half rum and half wine. Some use just a little wine and more rum. Many people add honey and vanilla (buy some Dominican style vanilla for the real flavor). Try it with a little gin or vodka for good measure. It is all a matter of taste and what ingredients are on hand. Whatever the ingredients that are chosen, they need to steep in the bottle. Let the bottle alone for at least a week, the longer the liquid sits in the bottle the more wood flavor it will have. A long or short time all depends on your taste. I suggest having 2 or 3 bottles going. This way you can have one ready for drinking with another is brewing. You do not want to take a chance and run out when you are needing a trago (drink). Each bottle can be made in a little different style. Experiment with it until you get the blend that most satisfies all those inner urges.

We now offer original Dominican Republic Mamajuana for sale! We sell the 6.8 oz. poly bag (pictured here) filled with the herbs for making mamajuana. This will fill a 750ml empty bottle of your own this way the shipping is much less expensive.
For prices and information go to our Purchase Mamajuana page. Buy the herbs and enjoy the beverage.

Mamajuana can be served in as many different ways as there are of making the warming drink. It can be taken by the shot, served warm, over ice, after dinner, mixed with soda or juice, whatever you like, each person likes theirs differently. It is available for tasting in most Dominican bars and restaurants. So there is no excuse for not giving it a try. If you don’t like one places version of this warming liquid try another places version. Soon you will come to enjoy this typical Dominican “viagra”.

Taking Mamajuana Home

When you transport Mamajuana to your home destination it is best to have the bottle filled with the liquid. Many times, not always, the customs people in the airport will not let a bottle pass with the dry ingredients as it is considered to be agriculture (plant material). But when the bottle is full it is different. Also make sure that you pack it well for the trip. You don’t want that unique souvenir to end up on all your clothing instead of in your tummy. Ask the gift shop where you purchase the bottle to wrap it for you in lots of paper then surround it with some soft stuff (lots of clothing or a towel will do just fine) in your luggage. Then when you get home you’ll have a great item to share with friends along with your stories of your trip.

Mamajuana with seafood inside at the foot of some domino players.
Mamajuana with seafood inside at the foot of some domino players in the park.

Shopping for Mamajuana in DR is also a fun experience. You can buy it in most gift shops throughout the country, in markets or along the streets. Many bottles have a pretty leather holder that says Dominican Republic. Other bottles you can find will be in whatever type of bottle the maker has available. My personal bottle has a whisky label on it. Also in most gift shops they will have some mamajuana ready for you to try. Take a little cup (or two) and enjoy the free drink. My office is behind a gift shop in Colonial Zone and everyday when the workers tell people to try mamajuana the first thing they say is “is that legal here?” Then the worker has to explain that it is a drink not a smoke…LOL! So remember it is even fun to buy the mamajuana as the seller tries to explain what it does for the libido and what is really in the bottle.

Mamajuana for sale on the streets of the Colonial City
Mamajuana for sale on the streets of the Colonial City

My first experience

seeing Mamajuana was on vacation in Dominican Republic. Some people I met at a Colmado near my hotel offered me some out of a big bottle carried in the back of the trunk. I saw all the “crap” in the bottle and turned it down. I had no idea what it was.

My next visit I was a bit braver and tried it. It was quite tasty so my friend took me to some market where some relative of his sold it. Since he was related I got the “special” blend. He pulled out an old whiskey with a half torn off, old label. This bottle was filled with a bunch of sticks. He opened the bottle when from under the shelf he pulled out a gallon plastic milk jug filled with some black liquid. He treated this “juice” like it was gold. He poured some in the bottle of slowly. Then he jammed it all down with a stick! When he handed me that bottle, he had a big smile on his face, like he was giving me a gift from the Gods. He also refused to take any money and he gave me a drink from his “personal stash”.

It was wonderful…warm and tasty with a hint of fish flavor. Sweet, but how too sweet. A very enjoyable Dominican experience. And after I had it in USA it was a real conversation maker. My dog liked it also. My friends were not as acceptable as the dog, being not very sure about its look. No matter what it is said to do to the stamina and libido, I like it and will imbibe from time to time on my yummy treat. (More about My Mamajuana Experience at the DR Gringas Blog)

If Mamajuana is or is not a true aphrodisiac does it really matter? It is a great memory to take home from vacation with you. This way one can have a taste of Dominican Republic and a happy memory at the same time. Remembering your first encounter with and how you were offered your first taste of Mamajuana. How this first taste came along with a little smile. Like they knew what was going to happen to you later in the day if you kept drinking. Remembering the warmth of the sun..or was it the sun? Could it have been the Mamajuana…..