The majority of resorts in the Dominican Republic are Spanish-owned with staff and background training out of Mallorca, Spain. Most of the resorts are all-inclusive and abide by very stringent food preparation and water testing guidelines. Note: the last thing resort management wants is for guests to become ill. Guest rooms are stocked with bottled water. Quite frankly, during all of our visits to the Dominican Republic, neither of us have ever taken ill. Be careful and think.
Resorts have doctors are on call 24-hours per day for a fee.
A modern, fully equipped, professionally staffed hospital is located minutes from the Punta Cana Airport. The Punta Cana hospital is managed by a company based in Spain and is said to be top-notch.
In the tropics, mosquitoes appear after dusk. It is recommended that guests wear long, comfortable cotton pants after dusk and spray before venturing outside. Mosquitoes are seasonal and are more noticeable in the rainy season.
The Dominican Republic has so much beauty to offer tourists and is a true value for the dollar. Take advantage of this magnificent experience -- you won't be sorry you did.
To Do on Your Punta Cana Vacation
Punta Cana is by far the best travel value in the Caribbean. The resorts are new, lush, tropical and elegant. The wide, pristine beaches in Punta Cana are palm-tree lined and one can walk for miles reveling in the beauty of the breathtaking azure waters of the Caribbean Sea and the verdant green mountains overlooking the sea.
The geography of the country is greatly diverse, ranging from arid semi-desert plains to valleys of tropical rain forests, which results in a wide variety of vegetation. Most of the tourists who come to visit are initially attracted to its magnificent golden sandy beaches that extend over one-third of its 870-mile coastal regions that define three-quarters of its borders. This is particularly true of the northern Atlantic side of the country. It is thus in this region that the majority of tourist attractions, hotels and resorts are concentrated, particularly in the 40-mile zone between Puerto Plata and Cabarete.
The Dominican Republic, with an area of 48,482 square kilometres, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with its neighbor, Haiti, to the west. Cuba is the only larger country within the Caribbean and the greater Antilles region. Hispaniola is strategically located directly in the heart of the region. The Windward Passage separates western Hispaniola from Cuba. To the east of the Dominican Republic across the Mona Passage, lies Puerto Rico only 54 miles away.
The Dominican Republic, with a total population of almost 8 million, is the most populous country in the Caribbean. The great majority (75%) of its citizens are mulattoes, a mixture of Europeans, Africans and Amer-Indians. as for the remaining, 15% are whites who are mainly descended from the original Spanish settlers. African descendents make up virtually all of the balance (10%). There have not been any pure Amer-Indians remaining on the island for the past three centuries. There are also a fairly large number of Haitians living and working in the country, doing mainly heavy manual labor and less remunerative work. The country has a very high birth rate, with about half of the population is under 15 years old, while only 3% are over the age of 65. The main religion for more than 95% of its citizens is Roman Catholic.
A very favorable exchange rate makes shopping for colorful handicrafts and other locally produced products a great bargain. Most popular are the amber (brought to world acclaim in the hit film Jurassic Park) and larimar semi-precious stones. Other favorite items are wicker, rattan, and wood furniture, hand-painted masks, macrame, ceramics, straw and woven goods, rocking chairs, carved mahogany structures, Dominican fine art and paintings, fashions from local-born designers such as Oscar de la Renta and local coffee, rum, and cigars.
Santo Domingo has large commercial malls and smaller shopping centers. Store hours are generally to and , but major shopping centers, supermarkets and stores with a large tourist clientele remain open for lunch time. While most stores are open Monday through Saturday at , several large shopping centers and most supermarkets are now open on Sunday mornings. Duty free shopping is available at Las Americas and Puerto Plata international airports, as well as at select locations in the capital, but duty-free goods are claimed at the airport prior to departure and purchases must be made in U.S. dollars.
The weather in the Dominican Republic remains tropical year round, with slight variations dividing it into basically two seasons, summer and winter. The average annual temperature is around 25° (77°F).
The so-called "cool" season is from November to April, with what is considered pleasantly warm weather, relatively low humidity and low precipitation. On the coast, i.e. near the beaches, the temperature hovers fairly constantly around 29°C (84°F) during the day and drops to around a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night. However, in the mountainous regions of the interior the weather is always considerably cooler, and on the highest peaks the thermometer sometimes drops below the freezing point and on rare occasions snow can be seen.
The more "hot" season is roughly from May to October. Then, the average temperature rises to 31°C (87°F) during the daytime and drops to about 22°C (72°F) at night. However, with the accompanying high humidity that is more common during this season, it usually feels much hotter. It does rain a bit more often during this season, especially from May to August, but usually this turns out to be no more than a 30 minute tropical (sometimes heavy) shower. There are usually also some brief rainy periods during the months of November and December.
When to go to Punta Cana?
The wettest times of the year are May-June and October-November. If you're worried about storms, the Caribbean's hurricane season lasts from June to November. The peak tourist season is between mid-December and mid-April, but this has more to do with the weather in Europe than local conditions in the Dominican Republic. Prices and visitor numbers decline significantly outside these months. Easter and Christmas are the peak local travel periods.
Information on health precautions for travelers can be obtained from local health departments, private doctors, or travel clinics. You may also call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 24-hour hotline on (404) 332-4559 or information on immunizations and health risks worldwide.
Review your health insurance policy. U.S. medical insurance is often not valid outside the United States. Medicare/Medicaid does not provide payment for medical services obtained outside the U.S. In addition to medical insurance, consider obtaining insurance to cover evacuation in the event of an accident or serious illness. Considering air evacuation to the United States can easily cost $15,000 if you are not insured, insurance to cover a medical evacuation is relatively inexpensive. There are short-term health and emergency assistance policies designed for travelers. Ask your travel agent about them or look for ads in travel publications.
If you need medical attention during your trip, your hotel may be able to recommend the nearest clinic, hospital or doctor, or you can obtain a list of local medical services from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. In a medical emergency, a U.S. consul can help you locate medical treatment.
The most prevalent health hazard in the Caribbean is one you can avoid -- overexposure to the sun. Use sunscreen and bring a shirt to wear over your bathing suit, especially if you plan to snorkel.
Where the quality of drinking water is questionable, bottled water is recommended. Travelers to remote areas should boil or chemically treat drinking water.
Passport and tourist card required. Tourist card for stay up to 2 months, available from Consulate or from airline serving the Dominican Republic, $10 fee (extendible $25 fee). All persons must pay $10 airport departure fee. AIDS test required for residence permit. U.S. test not accepted.
For business travel and other information call the Embassy of the Dominican Republic, 1715 22nd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008 (202-332-6280) or nearest Consulate General:
Casual attire is appropriate throughout most of the country, and because of the extremely warm climate light clothing (preferably cotton) is best all year round. Patrons of fine restaurants and evening establishments are often dressed elegantly, with men wearing sport coats and women in dresses.
Many of the hotels offer handicap rooms and facilities.
October through April, one hour ahead of EST.
A 23% gov't tax is added to all bills, including a 10% service charge (an extra 5% is optional for good service).
The coastal zone is blessed with a warm subtropical climate, while temperatures are cooler and more temperate in the central region. The year-round average is 77° F.
Some of the country's most spectacular beaches are found along La romana's eastern shores, and close to Casa de Campo in Bayahibe, the beach of your dreams. The greater region of the Dominican Republic is a land of contrasts, with towering mountains and rocky cliffs, rain forests, fertile valleys, cacti-studded desert regions, 1,600 kilometers of coastline and around 300 kilometers of prime soft sand beaches. The country is crossed by four rugged mountain ranges bisecting northwest to southeast. The largest is the Cordillera Central with Pico Duarte, the tallest point in the Caribbean, rising over 3,175 meters high. Three large fertile valleys rest between the ranges, one of which holds Lake Enriquillo int he southwest, the lowest point in the Caribbean falling 40 meters below sea level and the only salt water lake in the world inhabited by crocodiles.
The Dominican Republic enjoys a year round tropical climate averaging 80°F and ranging from 64°F in winter to 93°F in summer. The hottest month is August, the coolest is January. Trade winds help keep the air cool and fresh.
No vaccinations are required to visit the Dominican Republic.
A couple needs to inform the resort at least one month in advance, with a minimum of 15 days notice, in order to reserve the judge. The resort will inform guests of all the required documents they need to present in order to legally wed in the D.R. Note: Residency of 4-business days is required prior to the wedding.
Note for DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Passengers
Dominican Republic law has changed. The Dominican Republic no longer requires a notarized letter for miners who are United States nationals or Canadian Nationals.
If the child's last name of the accompanying parent(s), proof of parentage is required. Parent's name change must be documented (i.e. marriage certificate). If the minor is 14 to 17 on the day of departure, they must hold either a valid passport or a valid, official photo ID along with their birth certificate. Anyone under 18 on the day of departure will be denied boarding if not accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE WILL RESULT IN BEING DENIED BOARDING.