FAST FACTS & PRACTICAL INFORMATION

LOCATION

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second largest in the Caribbean region, with a surface area of 17,704 square miles. Located in the heart of the Caribbean, the DR is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the Caribbean Sea.

POPULATION

About 10 million

LANGUAGE

Spanish is the official language of the DR, however most employees in hotels and restaurants speak English well. If clients plan to venture out beyond the tourist destinations, it might be helpful for them to know a few basic Spanish phrases.

GOVERNMENT

The DR’s political structure is based on the principles of democracy (representative democracy). Every four years, the country elects its president, vice president and legislators.

CURRENCY

The Dominican peso (RD$) is the official currency of the DR, but U.S. dollars are just as easily accepted throughout the country. (U.S. coins are not used or accepted.) Major credit cards are accepted at many tourist areas in the country and ATMs can be found in the majority of Dominican cities and at most resorts. 

CLIMATE

The DR enjoys warm, tropical weather year-round with mostly sunny days. The average year-round temperature ranges from 78 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler season is from November to April, with relatively low humidity, while the warmest is from May to October, with a high er humidity, which can make it seem much hotter than it actually is.

TIME

The local time zone is Eastern Caribbean Time (GMT-0400). In the winter this is one hour ahead of Eastern Time. The DR does not observe daylight savings time.

TIPPING

Tipping is the norm throughout the island. Many times, restaurants will add a 10 percent tip to the bill, but it is customary to give a bit extra – up to 10 percent in additional tips. Tips are commonly given to taxi drivers, hotel maids, tour guides, etc.

WATER

While the water in most hotels in the DR is potable, travellers are still advised to drink bottled water as a precaution. Bottled water is widely available throughout the country and because of the strength of the Caribbean sun, it is recommended that visitors drink at least 10 glasses a day to avoid dehydration. 

DRINKING AGE

18 years old.