Dominican Republic
What You Need To Know
Part 1

You'll have to pay for a visa before you leave the airport. Go through that line before searching for your luggage.

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Dominican Republic
What You Need To Know

Area: The eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola , an area of 18,712 square miles.

Language: Predominantly Spanish. English is most likely to be spoken in resort areas. German is spoken widely along the north coast. Hand signals work well anywhere.

Population: About 8 million; 2.5 million live in Santo Domingo , the capital city.

Rainy Season: December and May are usually the rainy months in the central mountain range ( Cordillera Central ) which includes Pico Duarte. Of course, it can rain at anytime of year and does quite frequently.

Time Zone: The island has a twice-yearly time change to stay on the same schedule as New York and Miami .

Documents: U.S. and Canadians do not need passports; an original birth certificate with photo ID will suffice. A US$10 tourist card is required for entry. Tourist cards are available for purchase in the DR's international airports before you proceed through immigration and customs. Keep the tourist permit safely tucked away with your passport because you will need to surrender it at departure.

Currency: The Dominican peso, although dollars are accepted everywhere. The rate of exchange varies but is around US$1 = RD$15. Banks are open weekdays from 9-4. You could find some banks open on Saturday morning. The Casas de Cambio offer the same exchange rate as banks and have expanded hours, staying open form 8-6 weekdays and until 2 or 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Avoid the “quick change artist” on the streets who wave wads of bills in your face, trying to tempt you with high exchange rates. Travelers' checks often are difficult to cash but international debit cards work 24 hours. ATMs that honor Plus or Cirrus International are located in all big cities around the country. The first menu choice asks whether you want to make the translation in Spanish or English, so they are easy to operate.

Taxes & Tipping: Hotels charge a total of 23% in taxes: 5% room tax, 8% sales tax and 10% service charge. A 10% tip is standard in restaurants and bars. The departure tax is US$10.

Electricity: 110 volts, 60 cycles, same as the U.S.

Next Page (DR Arrival Briefing Part 2)

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