One of the most important questions for any tourist is about currency and money in the Dominican Republic. From this article, you will learn everything a traveler needs to know before heading to the Dominican Republic. There will be tips on how to save money, what currency to bring, where to exchange it, and which currencies to use for payments.

Table of contents

Currency and money in the Dominican Republic

Let’s start with the essential information about the local money in the Dominican Republic: exchange rates, denominations of banknotes and coins, and a brief history.

money in the dominican republic
All banknotes in the Dominican Republic are in pesos. Banknotes of 2000 pesos are not shown in the photo but are less common.

General facts about Dominican money

  • The national currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso.
  • The exchange rate of the peso to the US dollar as of mid 2024 is 60 pesos per 1 dollar.
  • 1 Dominican peso (hereafter simply peso) = 100 Centavos, similar to our cents. However, centavos are no longer used in transactions; the smallest coin in circulation is 1 peso.
  • The following denominations are considered legal tender in the country:
    • Banknotes: 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 pesos. The most popular denominations to have everywhere and always are 50 and 100 pesos. Small change is highly needed in this country.
    • Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25 pesos.
  • The peso is indicated on price tags as DOP or RD$, sometimes they may simply use $, don’t worry, it’s normal.
currency in dominicana all about money
These are prices in a large supermarket in Santo Domingo. Don’t worry, it’s not $58 per pound of peppers, it’s just 58 pesos per pound of peppers. Weight is always in pounds (0.45 kg) here.

What currency and Dominican money is currently in use?

Now, this is the most interesting part of the article, but first, a little bit of history.

  • From 1905 to 1937, the only official and national currency in the country was the US dollar.
  • From 1937 to 1947, the country decided to move away from financial dependency on the US, and alongside the dollar, introduced the peso into circulation. During these 10 years, the country had two official currencies.
  • Since 1947, the national currency of the Dominican Republic has been only the Dominican peso.

Interesting to note:

From 1947 to 1961, the peso was an exact copy of the dollar. But from 1961, Dominicans already issued the peso with their own design, which with minor changes has come down to our days.

Therefore, due to such a tight history with the US dollar, as well as fairly high inflation and instability of the peso in the country, today in the Dominican Republic, besides the peso, you can practically pay with US dollars everywhere.

Very often, even locals prefer to take US dollars rather than pesos.

coins in dominicana
These are what iron pesos look like. In the photo, there are 5 and 10 pesos. There are also 25 and 1 peso coins.

You can pay with US dollars for:

  • taxi
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • goods in almost any grocery store, but it’s better to check in advance. There will be a separate article in the guidebook about stores.
  • tours and excursions
  • car rental and toll roads. Read all about car rental and personal experience at the link.
  • gasoline.
  • for admission to Dominican attractions.

In general, if you come here with US dollars, you can live fully without even exchanging them for pesos.

Interesting fact:

Throughout our stay in the Dominican Republic, we couldn’t pay with US dollars, even at an unfavorable rate for us, only in one place: at the entrance to the Eagle Bay National Park. They refused to take US dollars there. Although in other parks and municipal structures, they always accepted them without problems. A list and description of the most amazing attractions of the country.

Where to exchange currency for pesos?

You can exchange currency either at a bank or at private exchange offices, which can be found in tourist areas. Typically, if it’s not a super touristy place, the rates are more or less the same everywhere.

The Dominican peso is the currency and money
This is what an exchange office looks like at the airport. I don’t recommend exchanging currency here, the rate is worse than in the tourist zone.

There are no commissions for exchange anywhere.

I draw your attention to the fact that a passport is mandatory for exchange at a bank, and you will be given a receipt, which you should keep if you plan to exchange the remaining pesos back later. Without it, you won’t be able to exchange.

The most popular bank in the Dominican Republic, which can be found in almost every city, is Popular banco Dominicana (blue logo). Here, you can do all the necessary operations without the risk of being cheated. Each branch is guarded by an armed security guard:). You can read about safety in a separate article.

No one asks for a passport at private exchange offices, the entire exchange takes 30 seconds. Deception and fraud are minimized in this area.

Important to know:

In the Dominican Republic, you can easily exchange US and Canadian dollars, as well as some currencies of Latin American countries. But I don’t recommend bringing euros here and the exchange rate is often very poor.

Bank cards, terminal machines in shops, and ATMs.

Let’s start with the end.

  • There are ATMs in the Dominican Republic. You can withdraw money here. But we recommend using only ATMs at banks.
    • There are many scams with skimming devices in the country.
    • This is when you inserted your card, entered the pin code, and the data was obtained by criminals.
  • Terminals in stores and card payment.

You definitely won’t be able to pay by card: at the market, in taxis, for tours and excursions, in small shops, in souvenir shops, and so on.

Currency and money in the Dominican Republic: tips and tricks

Here will be recommendations and useful tips that will help you save a little or make a traveler’s life easier.

  • Come to the Dominican Republic only with US dollars. Don’t bring euros. You can exchange them here, but often the euro rate is extremely unfavorable. And sometimes it’s even equal to the dollar.
  • When you pay with US dollars, you will always receive change in pesos. And not at the best rate.
  • For small purchases, always pay in pesos and have them with you, it’s much more profitable.
all about money in dominicana
The currency exchange rate in Punta Cana, 500 meters from the beach. The rate is good for both dollars and euros. You can exchange confidently.
The exchange rate of the Dominican peso
This photo was taken on the same day as the previous one, but on the beach, where there are many tourists. Notice that the dollar rate is no longer 57 pesos, but 54. And euros are accepted at the same rate as dollars. Be attentive!
  • Very often, if you pay with dollars and the change is less than half a dollar, they might just not give it to you. But when you pay in pesos, you get the exact change in pesos 🙂
  • When planning a trip to the Dominican Republic, exchange a couple of hundred dollars into small bills like 1-5-10 dollars before leaving home. It will greatly help with payments, bargaining for excursions, taxis, and in many other places.

Here’s a story from my last trip:

It’s about the advice to always have small pesos for small purchases. We’re driving to the airport, and I don’t have any pesos left in my pocket.

But the road is toll, and the fee is 60 pesos. The dollar rate is 57 pesos. I give him 1 dollar, he shows me it’s not enough. I give another one, and in the end, I only get 30 pesos back, instead of the required 54. Arguing here is useless, if you don’t like it, pay in pesos.

And finally, officially by law, taking pesos out of the country is prohibited. But in practice, nobody checks, and you can always take Dominican money, a few coins or banknotes if you collect them.

In conclusion: the currency and money in the Dominican Republic, and everything a tourist needs to know, fits into this article. The basics: come here with dollars, always have small dollars with you, keep small pesos in your pocket for small purchases, and carefully choose ATMs for cash withdrawal.

Wishing you a great exchange rate in the Dominican Republic!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic

  • Flights at the best prices with discounts
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – a largest international resource
  • Hotels and apartments:
    • Hotellook – compares hotel prices among dozens of booking platforms and offer you the best price.
    • Booking – large online booking platform.
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Dominican Republic.
  • Vacation packages:
    • Expedia – best deals from Europe.
    • CheapOair – cheap packages from all US cities.
  • Tours, excursions and extreme activities:
    • GetYourGuide – more than 800+ tours and water activities.
    • Viator – 3500+ tours and excursions in Dominican.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
    • Airalo – eSIM with internet package.
    • Drimsim – universal SIM card (or eSIM) in any country in the world.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel