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.
*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).
*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.
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.