Category Archives: RESOURCES

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

Helps – At The Beach

At The Beach / Playa

Here are a few helpful hints that might be useful when you are in Dominican Republic visiting our many beautiful and inviting beaches. What you should watch out for so you can relax and enjoy your visit.

When visiting the beaches of Dominican Republic, especially the public beaches, it is best to be prepared. There are vendors and salespeople selling their wares and also sex. There are all ages of people looking for a handout including the dogs and cats. Enjoy yourself but always be alert.

The beautiful beach at Playa Dominicus, Dominican Republic.
The beautiful beach at Playa Dominicus, Dominican Republic.

*Be prepared to be bothered by vendors. Hair braiders. Massage girls. People selling sunglasses and jewelry. Food (do try the seafood that passes by if you like it. The clams are yummy!) vendors. You will be hounded. They might not bother you much if you just ignore them. Don’t make eye contact if you don’t want to buy anything! Sometimes this helps. Don’t let it ruin your stay. Just try and enjoy it as another part of Dominican flavor.

*Buying your drink in the Colmados (the little corner store where the locals congregate) or the grocery store is the cheapest way to go. Buy a bottle of rum and just get the ice and mixers from the “chair guy” if you are looking to save a buck. Beer is good to purchase at the Colmados also but it gets warm so fast. For me, it is just better to spend the extra and get it from wherever you sit to make sure it is good and cold (bien fria).

Beach chairs for rent at Playa Boca Chica
Beach chairs for rent at Playa Boca Chica

*If you do sit in a bar or outside establishment keep track of how many drinks you have (I keep a label collection – rip a piece of the label for each beer you have and keep them for a liquid count).

*It is fun to try different foods from the vendors on the beaches. The clams and oysters are great (make sure they are fresh). Get a coconut (coco) and drink it down. Buy a little red coconut candy, called Bolitas de Coco, from the kids selling them. Make sure to ask the price ahead and make them stick to that price. Many will tell you one price before you buy then when you have eaten they say another price. If it is possible to write down the price on a paper or in the sand and make sure they see you doing it.

*P.P.B. (pay per butt). Make sure, before you sit, you find out how much it will cost you. Most places charge to sit in their chairs. Most will not charge if you eat and drink in their establishment. Just ask before sitting. Ask once and then ask a second time. The men watching each place will fight for your “seat”. Do not let them pressure you. Look around and decide where is best for you. There is no refund once your butt hits that chair.

*Do be careful of the mosquitoes. They have been known cases to carry dengue, chikungunya and malaria. Where there is a breeze, ie. on the beaches or near the water, this is usually not a problem. But inland be cautious. The no seeums (more about no seeums) are treacherous in the country areas and can leave nasty red blotches on the skin that last and itch for weeks. Use a strong DEET bug spray if you encounter these pests.

*The Dominican sun is very HOT. Use sunscreen and put it on the body often, after swimming and when sweating, let me repeat..often. Most Dominicans do not sit in the sun. They use umbrellas or find a shady spot. This is a very good idea. You do not want to ruin your vacation with a nasty sunburn.

*Keep hydrated. Drinking beer and rum on the beach is a given and is part of the vacation – beach experience. Just make sure that you also drink sufficient amounts of water. Again drink water, water and more WATER.

Sex and Sex Workers Are Plentyful

When meeting people of the opposite sex, especially on the beach or in tourist areas, many people are not just being friendly. There are prostitutes of all ages looking to make some cash. Prostitution of both sexes is illegal in Dominican Republic.

*DO NOT TAKE STRANGERS TO YOUR HOTEL. Use a pay-by hour hotel or cabaña if you really want to use their services.
Men, the women are beautiful and know their business. Use caution. Remember no matter how much they love you or how good they are at pleasing and sweet talk they are still prostitutes.
Women these men, the Dominican version of a gigolo, are called Sanky Pankys and they can be very charming.

It is easy to fall in love with these people. They look great, dance even better and tell you just what you want to hear. Be cautious. If you decide to be with these pay for pleasure people do not fall in love. Remember you must pay for their services even if they take you home to meet their families. Many times they will tell you that their mother is very sick and they need money for medicine or some other con. All I can say is enjoy if you choose this type of service and be very cautious. USE PROTECTION, both of your heart, money and use condoms. Also, check ID’s to make sure that they are not underage as this could get you into some big trouble. Remember prostitution in the Dominican Republic is not legal even though it is quite open and easy to find.

Vendors at the public beach in Bayahibe
Vendors at the public beach in Bayahibe

Good To Know

A few good bits of information that is good to know.

*The climate of this Caribbean island does not change much throughout the year. The average temperature is 76°F to 88°F. The winter has less humidity. The summer the humidity is very high. You will notice Dominicans will wear jackets and even mittens when the temperature hits the low 70’s. (go to the weather pages for more information). The mountains and the central part of the island can get cold. They have been known to get some heavy frost. Water sitting outside will freeze.

*80% of the worlds Humpback Whale population returns to the waters of D.R each year to mate and give birth every year.

*National Protected Areas. 21% of the Dominican Republic is protected. There are 30 National Parks.

*Highest and Lowest. The Dominican Republic has the highest mountain in the Caribbean – Pico Duarte 3087 meters (10,128 feet) and the lowest point in the Caribbean – Lake Enriquillo 40 meters (144 ft) below sea level.

Helps – Mosquitoes

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Chikungunya, dengue, malaria and zika are all mosquito-borne illnesses that are present in the Dominican Republic. These illnesses are nasty and can also be very painful and debilitating. Use DEET sprays so you do not ruin your fun vacation time with a few days (or more) of sickness.

*

Dengue

is a disease carried and transmitted by a mosquito and is found mainly in tropical and subtropical areas. These mosquitoes (Aedes) are more day biters (sunrise and sunset) than night biters (which most people expect them to bite at night). When they bite they leave behind a flu-like viral disease. After bitten the symptoms can come on very rapidly with a high fever, bad headache, behind the eye pain along with muscle and joint aches (this is why it is also known as “breakbone fever”). There can also be a rash (usually appearing 3 to 4 days after the fever happens). Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common. A rash usually appears 3 to 4 days after the start of the fever.

*

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is another type of viral disease spread by the bite of mosquitoes. The same day-biting mosquitoes that transmit the dengue virus can transmit chikungunya. There is no direct person-to-person transmission. Once bitten it could take a few days or even a week to notice the symptoms such as fever and joint pains, usually in the hands, wrists, ankles and feet. You could have a headache, rash and leukopenia. On rare occasions, there are stronger symptoms such as gastrointestinal complaints, eye, neurological and heart problems.

Once infected the symptoms are usually mild and can even go unrecognized or be misdiagnosed as dengue. Recovery usually happens after a few days but the pain can linger for longer, sometimes pain has been known to stay around for months or longer.

*Now that you know what to look for if bitten, they (and you know who THEY are??) say the nasty bite only happens to about 100 tourists a year in the Dominican Republic. The resorts usually spray for mosquitoes often so there are not many mosquitos. But they can sneak in so it is best to stay cautious. It is best to use some DEET type of bug spray, the stronger the spray the better. A fan can help to keep mosquitoes away as their lightweight bodies can’t fly into the wind. They are more prevalent in areas where there is standing water, as with all mosquitoes, no matter what their country of origin, race or creed (LOL!).

*BE CAUTIOUS but don’t let these nasty bloodsuckers ruin what can be a great time in the Dominican Republic. Take precautions, spray yourself often with a good bug spray and enjoy the sun and fun.

More information on Dengue and Chikungunya at Wikipedia.

Helps – Telephone

Telephone – Cellphones

If you want to make phone calls when in Dominican Republic there are many options. You can use a land phone using a calling card or change. You can also purchase a SIM card for your own phone or buy an inexpensive phone to use when you are here. REMEMBER – use caution when using an expensive phone. Theft of phones is rampant and happens often.

Update About Activating a New Phone or Phone Number – Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel) announced the procedure to activate a cell phone line, in compliance with Resolution 070-19. The person activating the phone must go to the office of the service provider or authorized distributor in person. These measures are used to help reduce cell phone theft and enhance personal safety.

-Present an identity card, passport or residence permit, and data be validated with the Central Electoral Board (JCE) and other authorized databases. Businesses are required to have a National Taxpayer Registry (RNC) number.

-A photograph of the person will be taken with the ID card.

-The IMEI, the international identity number of the mobile device, will be registered and associated with the number of the phone’s SIM card.

-Applicant must sign a contract and the signature will be compared to the provided ID document.

*Purchase a calling card. Most stores and restaurants have them. Claro – Verizon is the most used. You can add this card to your own phone or use it when making calls from any phone.

*If you use the phone in the hotel it could be quite expensive. Get a calling card and use a payphone. If you have time left on your card when you leave give it to someone. Make them happy.

Funny looking payphone in Dominican Republic.
Funny looking payphone.

*In many places, restaurants and Colmados there are funny looking payphones. You cannot use calling cards there. You have to use change. Insert a few pesos, then dial the number. Watch the little meter window. When the time is running down add more coins for as long as you want to talk. Do not wait too long to add the coins or the call will be disconnected. Most of these phones will not permit you to call a cell phone number. Go to a street payphone (use a calling card) and they should work to call cellphones.

*In the Dominican Republic a cell phone charges for the person making the call and not for the person receiving the call. If you call a cellular from a landline the landline pays for the call by the minute.

*If you are going to be in the country for any length of time one option is to buy an inexpensive cell phone, load it with a calling card.

*The best option is to purchase a SIM card for your existing phone (make sure to get your phone unlocked beforehand). You will need to follow the new regulations to purchase a SIM Card (linked to information above). Claro is the most popular company. It usually costs around $100-$200 Dominican Pesos. You can load money – minutes into the phone as needed. When you leave just put your old SIM card back in your phone. It is good for safety to have a phone on hand with the emergency and contact numbers loaded. Here is a list of important numbers in Dominican Republic that you might want to load into your phone. 911 emergency is available in some of the larger cities.