Heading to a distant land in the 21st century, having access to communication and the internet is essential. I will tell you all about mobile communication and internet in the Dominican Republic. This topic is not simple. It’s nearly impossible to figure it out on your own without knowing Spanish. Moreover, the logic of obtaining internet packages from local operators differs from ours.

Table of contents:

Mobile communication and Internet in the Dominican Republic
This is what the communication stores of two Dominican operators, Claro and Altice, look like.

Mobile operators, communications and Internet in the Dominican Republic

Even though we’ve been living in the 21st century for over 20 years, roaming is still expensive today. And some mobile operators still don’t have roaming agreements with operators in the Dominican Republic. This means that your SIM card won’t work here even if you’re willing to pay. The ideal option for any traveler arriving in the Dominican Republic is to:

  • Purchase an international SIM card
  • Buy an eSim from a virtual operator
  • Connect to one of the local communication operators

It is important to know:

Mobile communication in the Dominican Republic is well-developed. There is reliable 4G or LTE coverage throughout the country. There are areas with poor coverage, but they are few: along the Haiti border and the central mountainous region of the country with Pico Duarte.

Mobile communications in the Dominican Republic

You have three options, let’s consider them.

The first two options are international SIM cards:

DrimSim – a SIM card valid in 190 countries worldwide. You can check the conditions, tariffs, and so forth via the link provided. Here are its features:

  • Can be a physical SIM card or eSim.
  • Tariffs are significantly lower than roaming but higher than those of local operators.
  • No need to purchase a new SIM card in each country. For example, if you’re traveling through five European countries by car.
  • Internet and communication are available immediately after landing. Even when your plane is still on the runway at the airport, you already have internet.
  • No upfront payment, you pay only for the megabytes or even kilobytes used.
  • The SIM card is permanent. If you deposited $10 two years ago, you will always have communication in any country in the world.
drimsim dominican republic
Personal opinion: Convenient for frequent short trips to various countries with minimal internet usage.

The second option is eSIM in the Dominican Republic from a virtual operator. Prices, tariffs, and purchasing options are available here. Here are the features:

  • Only eSim is supported (no option to obtain a physical card, meaning it may not be suitable for all phones, but definitely compatible with iPhones and top Android smartphones).
  • Tariffs apply both by country and region (Europe, Asia, etc.).
  • Prepayment – you pay in advance for a traffic package for a certain period.
  • Cheaper than roaming, and cheaper than the previous option if you need to use a lot of internet in a specific country.
  • Not always cheaper than local operators, but more convenient to purchase – no need to visit a sales office, you can make the purchase while sitting on your couch at home, and communication will be available immediately upon arrival.
  • For new customers a 15% discount is available until April 30th using the promo code APR15, and for existing customers a 10% discount can be applied with the promo code APR10 (limited to the first 10000 orders).
  • SUMMARY: Convenient for trips to a specific country if you plan to actively use the internet.

And the third option if you need a lot of Internet, then it will be beneficial to buy a SIM card from a local operator. There are two mobile operators in the Dominican Republic:

  • Claro
  • Altice

By the way, the country code is the same as the USA, +1. However, to distinguish Dominican numbers, there are three codes:

  • +1 (809) – landline numbers
  • +1 (829) – Claro
  • and +1 (849) – Altice

Both operators have similar prices, coverage, and the number of subscribers overall, and they share the market equally. There is not much difference in whom to connect to. But recommendations will still be provided further on, as there are differences, especially in internet packages.

All about the Internet of the Dominican Republic

If most of you say that mobile communication is not crucial, internet is essential today. While vacationing in the Dominican Republic, there are several options:

  • Free Internet.

Today, every hotel and apartment has free Wi-Fi. If you don’t need to be constantly online and just need to check the news and messages once a day, then this option is for you. It’s also perfect for those who don’t plan to leave the hotel and intend to spend the entire vacation lying on the beach and drinking Cuba Libres.

Interesting to know:

Following the link, an excellent article about 5-stars hotels in the Dominican Republic, where stable internet is available throughout the territory.
  • Conditionally free internet

If you’ll be strolling or traveling around the country and dining in restaurants, know that Wi-Fi is available everywhere. The password is given upon request; you just need to order something. This option is suitable for those who are far from the hotel but urgently need the internet. Know where you can find it.

It is important to know:

In hotels, restaurants, and apartments, internet speeds are not stellar. It’s sufficient for messaging and Instagram, but don’t expect high-speed internet. We travel with our laptop; sometimes we need it for work. Even a speed of 10 Mbps is not achieved.

Mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic

This is the most interesting point. If you need to be online all the time or plan to travel extensively around the country, internet access is crucial. Whether you’ve rented a car and need to stay in touch with the rental company, or you’re simply exploring a new city on foot and need to check café opening hours or reviews on Google Maps, internet access is essential in these cases.

Both mobile operators in the Dominican Republic offer prepaid packages for tourists (non-Dominican citizens). Both have 4G networks, and the coverage is approximately the same. Which operator to choose? The one whose office you find first.

mobile internet packages
When purchasing a SIM card, you’ll receive a universal SIM card: from it, you can extract a standard, micro, or nano-sized card, suitable for any phone. You can also ask them to write down your phone number, as shown in the photo. This is convenient when you need to top up your balance. Just show the SIM card, and there’s no need to communicate in Spanish.

Where to buy a SIM card?

There are two options:

  • In any communication office throughout the country.
  • In small shops like convenience stores, where local entrepreneurs operate. Here you can buy phone cases, take passport photos, find outlet adapters, exchange currency, buy SIM cards, and much more.

Follow the link to the article: what sockets are in the Dominican Republic, and many tips on how to avoid inconvenient situations.

Author’s tip:

It’s always better to buy a SIM card at a telecom office. But they are not always nearby. For example, in the Bavaro resort area, you won’t find them during the day. However, there are small shops where you can buy a SIM card

Let me explain the difference: according to Dominican laws, you can only buy a SIM card with a passport. In any telecom office of any operator, a passport is mandatory. But in such small shops, they don’t require it. They have pre-registered and activated SIM cards. They sell them at a higher price than in the official store. But if there are no telecom offices nearby, and you urgently need a SIM, then you’ll have to buy it.

The danger in this case is only one: you don’t know who this SIM card is registered to. And if you top up the balance with a lot of money, the owner of the SIM card can withdraw all the money from the balance and deactivate the number. Of course, Dominicans usually don’t do this.

Their profit lies in this: initially, they sell you the SIM card at a higher price, and when you return home after two weeks, they will block the SIM card and take back the $2-3 that may remain on the balance.

sim card price in dominican republic
Here is what the sign of a local small shop looks like. Besides a SIM card, you can also buy a bunch of other things and get various services. 🙂

Mobile Internet Packages, Prices, How to Activate, How to Renew

This is the most complicated part of the article. It’s not intuitive, and if you’re planning to fly to the Dominican Republic, save this text or bookmark this page—it will come in handy later. Trust me.

Next, I’ll try to systematically break down the logic and prices of local internet packages. There are some peculiarities here.

Very important:

If you don’t speak Spanish, after purchasing a SIM card, it’s crucial to ask the employee to activate it, write down its number for you, top up the balance, and purchase the required internet package. Regarding the language barrier in the Dominican Republic and tourists’ vocabulary, read a separate article. The information there will significantly simplify your life here.

Claro: Mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic

Official website of the mobile operator Claro: check the current prices via the link.

  • In a telecom office, a Claro SIM card for a foreigner costs 150 pesos. This is $2.5.
    • Keep in mind, prices may change, but the most important thing is understanding the logic.
  • The SIM card is sold empty, and after activation, there’s a balance of 30 pesos left.

It is important to know:

Claro has a concept of a basic rate. If there are no active packages, and data transmission is enabled, each megabyte costs money according to the basic rate. This is very expensive. If you know that you don’t have an active package or it’s about to expire, always turn off data transmission. Otherwise, you risk spending all the remaining money on the balance in no time. Tourist SIM cards from both operators cannot go into negative balance.
  • Procedure: turn off data transmission, insert the SIM card into your phone. To activate it, you need to make a call to any Dominican number. An employee in the telecom office should assist you with this.
  • *147# call – helps you find out your phone number so you know where to top up.
  • Remember, ideally, after activation, there should be 30 pesos on your balance.
  • You can top up the balance with cash at any telecom office.

Claro offers internet packages ranging from 1 to 5 days in duration and from 1 to 8 GB in volume.

  • The cheapest: 1 day – 1 GB – 50 pesos (~$1)
  • The most expensive: 5 days – 8 GB – 170 pesos ($3)
  • Yes, if you’ve come here for a 14-day vacation, you’ll need to activate the package three times. It’s nonsense, but that’s how it is.

Important points:

With unlimited speed, you are given 1, 2, 3, 5, or 8 GB depending on the package you choose. If you finish them before the expiration date, internet will still be available, but the speed will drop to 512 kbit/s. This is very slow. You cannot reactivate the package before its expiration date, but you can buy another one. If you ran out of 5 GB, buy 3 GB for 3 days. But if you’ve consumed the package until the end, all the remaining GB will be lost. Don’t forget to turn off data transmission before the package ends!
mobile phone dominican republic
And this is the official Claro office. Remember the logo; you can spot it from afar on the streets.

How to Buy an Internet Package in the Dominican Republic with Claro

Let’s assume you’ve bought the SIM card, have money on it, and the internet has run out. You need to activate a new package without searching for a telecom office.

All operations go through USSD menu requests. The menu is only in Spanish. Sometimes they change something there, but I’ll describe how to activate a new package. Let’s assume you have money on the balance for the required package: 1, 3, or 5 days:

  • Activate a new package:
    • *112# – from the menu, select the word “Compras” should be under number 1 – then again 1, you’re interested in the “Paquetes Libras” item – and then a list of packages will appear, choose the one you need and press the corresponding number. Then select number 1 – “Si” which means “Yes”, confirming that you agree to activate it.
  • How to check how much traffic is left and when the package will end. By the way, the package is given exactly for 5 days from the moment of activation. If you activated it at 1.43 PM, it will end at 1.43 PM in 5 days.
    • 112# – in the menu, look for the word “Consulats”, should be under number 2. Then select number 1 – “Internet individual”, and the name of your active package should appear, for example, “Libre 5 dias” – meaning a package for 5 days. Press the number next to the package name, it should be number 1, and you will be shown all the information about the package, down to the second and megabyte. So, your USSD request path is as follows: *112*2*1*1#

Altice: Mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic

I won’t go into such detail here. The logic of all packages is exactly the same. The SIM card from Altice costs 120 pesos (30 pesos remain on the balance after activation). I’ll only outline the differences.

  • Altice also has three Internet packages for tourists:
    • 1 day – 1 GB – 49 pesos (~$0.8)
    • 3 days – 3 GB – 99 pesos ($1.6)
    • 5 days – 5 GB – 149 pesos ($2.5)
  • You can buy the internet package independently in the #110# menu.


Next, I’ll explain the main advantage of Altice over Claro:

  • Altice doesn’t have a basic rate. If your package expires, and you don’t turn off data transmission, your money won’t be spent. You simply won’t have internet until you purchase a new package.

There are no other differences.

Author’s tip:

All else being equal and having both communication offices in sight, it’s probably better to choose Altice. But personally, I use Claro. In general, there’s no difference between them except for this point mentioned above. So, you can confidently connect to whichever office you find first.
Internet in the Dominican Republic mobile operator
Altice telecom office. Their trademark color is black or white. In the photo, it’s white, but usually, logos and advertisements are more often seen on a black background.

How much does a SIM card cost: summary

Here’s the last point that might not be entirely clear to the reader from the previous text.

Let’s compare purchasing a SIM card in Claro and in a small local store.

  • In Claro, you’ll pay 150 pesos for the SIM card itself, of which 30 pesos will remain on the balance, and you’ll top up the balance by 150 pesos to activate an 8GB unlimited package for 5 days. So, it’s 300 pesos in total, and you’ll have internet for 5 days with zero balance. 300 pesos is $5.
  • The same SIM card, without a passport, with the same package, and a zero balance, will cost 10-12$ in a small store.
  • That’s the whole difference. Information about the differences and possible risks when buying a SIM card was provided at the beginning of the article.
all about the Internet in the Dominican Republic
In small stores, you might see signs like this. $10 is for the SIM card, without a passport, and they’ll activate internet for 5-8 GB for 5 days while you’re there. After 5 days, you’ll need to top up and activate it yourself.

Travel tips about the Internet in the Dominican Republic

  • Calculate immediately which packages you will buy, how many times you will need to activate them to top up the balance to the required amount. Otherwise, when you need it, you won’t find this sales office.
  • Keep in mind that nothing works after 4 PM on Sundays.
  • If you’re traveling around the country in a rental car: a SIM card with internet is mandatory, and even just for making calls. Read about traffic rules and driving culture here.

In conclusion: mobile internet in the Dominican Republic is not a problem; there’s good coverage and high speeds. But at the same time, the activation procedure for the package is a bit non-standard, and the maximum duration of the package is only 5 days, which is certainly annoying. Well, the cost, yes, there are countries where it’s cheaper. But overall, for a two-week vacation, you’ll spend $10. Not a huge amount. And yes, I completely forgot, you can easily share the internet of both operators to other devices.

Wishing you fast surfing and great coverage!

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