I will talk about the pros and cons of the Dominican Republic specifically for tourists. For those who come here on vacation for 1-2 weeks. It makes no sense to talk about the disadvantages of living in the Dominican Republic as an expat, this is completely different. Often the national features of a new country that look just funny or unusual, after six months of life, are very enraged :). And vice versa, what you don’t like at first, you don’t even notice after six months.
Table of Contents:
- Pros of the Dominican Republic
- Cons of vacationing in the Dominican Republic for tourists
- Exotic diseases
Pros and Cons of the Dominican Republic
Some points I will explain superficially, some – in more detail. Part of the pros of the Dominican Republic for tourists is obvious. And some are far from obvious. Let’s start with the pros.
Pros of the Dominican Republic
Some obvious pros of the Dominican Republic for tourists:
- Year-round summer. It never gets below +20, I’m talking about the average daily temperature.
- There is a sea and an ocean. The Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The water temperature in both is from +25 to +32 throughout the year.
- The rainy season is relatively normal. It does not rain in a wall for 7 days without a break. You can come to the Dominican Republic on vacation during the rainy season.
- It is not the equator like in Zanzibar, the sun is not as active here. Yes, it’s easy to get sunburned, there is a lot of ultraviolet radiation, but at least you won’t burn out in 7 minutes like in Tanzania. About the differences in vacationing in the Dominican Republic and Zanzibar here.
And then the pros of the Dominican Republic that not every one knows about.
The Dominican Republic is not just beach relaxation under a palm tree. There are real mountains here, full-fledged climbing routes. Overnight stays in base camps, national parks with Cordillera mountains. Yes, the highest mountain is just over 3000 meters – Pico Duarte. But its conquest is not so easy. The funicular will not take you here. 2 days on foot and nothing else.
Read about the Dominican Mountains in detail at the link.
The presence of mountains in the central part of the country, and in general, the highland region makes this place popular with active tourists. In addition to mountains, there are mountain rivers, rafting, beautiful waterfalls, paragliding and much more. The central city for these activities is Jarabacoa.
The US dollar is almost on par with the Dominican peso. In 90% of cases, they will accept dollars everywhere. Yes, of course, it is more convenient to pay in pesos. But here are two big pros of dollars:
- you just arrived and you need to find a bank to exchange money. And banks and exchange offices are not on every corner here. And money is needed already. You can safely pay in dollars in the store and in a taxi, and exchange pesos when you find a bank.
- you are flying out tomorrow, and the pesos have run out. It is unclear how much to exchange dollars to last for 1 day. You don’t have to exchange them. There will be no situation where you return from vacation and have not spent all the local money.
There are poisonous and dangerous animals and insects in the Dominican Republic.
Some may think that there are many dangerous exotic animals in the tropics, but this is not the case in the Dominican Republic:
- There are no poisonous snakes in the Dominican Republic.
- There are no poisonous spiders in the Dominican Republic. Tarantulas and the black widow spider do exist in the country, but they only live deep in the jungle and are more afraid of humans than humans are of them. In addition, these species are on the verge of extinction in the Dominican Republic and local arachnologists have not seen any in the past 7 years.
- There are no sharks in the ocean close to the shore of the Dominican Republic, as the area is surrounded by dead reefs.
- There are no predators such as lions, tigers, etc., and no crocodiles in the country, except for one national park.
In general, in this country, only sea urchins and jellyfish remained from poisonous and dangerous animals. And there are quite a few of both and they do not interfere with rest.
Whales: a huge pros of the Dominican Republic
Real humpback whales come to the shores of the Dominican Republic every year. These are the largest mammals in the world. There are not many places on the planet earth where you can lie under a palm tree, and then within 20 minutes, take a boat to the whales and watch them.
Yes, of course, you need to know a special place, and it’s not all year round. But all this is written about in the article whales in the Dominican Republic.
Travel in the region: the pros of the Dominican Republic
If you are one of those travelers who doesn’t like sitting in one place. Then the Dominican Republic is a dream come true for you. Open a map and look at the neighboring countries. If you are coming here on vacation for 2-3 weeks, it is very easy to organize a mini trip for a couple of days to a neighboring country from Santo Domingo.
Flights between Caribbean countries are cheap, and in just a few hours you can fly to such exotic countries that you will not be able to reach deliberately from London or Paris. And there is no point in spending your entire vacation, say, on the island of Martinique. 3 days is more than enough.
From the Dominican Republic, you can cheaply and quickly fly to:
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- and about 20 other countries, and this is definitely a plus for any tourist.”
It is important to know:The Republic of Haiti is located on the same island with the Dominican Republic. It is the only country with a land border with the Dominican Republic. And although a visa is not needed in Haiti, but this is not the place where tourists need to go. The Foreign Ministry recommends refraining from visiting Haiti. There is high crime, hunger, disease and poverty. All other countries are safe for tourists.
The most beautiful beaches of the Caribbean
The pros of the Dominican Republic are definitely its beaches. The top ten beaches of the Caribbean includes 3-4 beaches from the Dominican Republic. And the top 10 beaches of the Dominican Republic just blow your head off. My most favorite beaches in the country are the crazy Fronton Beach, with a black rock in the background like Hawaii. And Koson Beach.
I will not describe it in detail, since you will read about the best beaches of the country here.
Cons of the Dominican Republic
The article would be one-sided if I wrote only about the pros. And if some of the advantages are logical and are on the surface. Then I can’t say that about the cons. Many tourists, whom I helped to plan of their vacation, can not immediately name a single disadvantage. You will usually find out about the disadvantages directly on the vacation itself.
Foreign language: the main disadvantage for me
Dominicana is a former Spanish colony and the official language here is Spanish. I do not know what foreign language local children learn at school, but there is an opinion that none :).
Dominicans in 99% of cases, do not know any language other than Spanish. Their English level is worse than “Two whiskey-cola please”. They can’t even count in English and don’t know the basic words.
If you don’t know Spanish, then in the Dominican Republic the language barrier will amaze you. Even at resorts, the service staff speaks terrible English. And if you decide to travel around the country, there is absolutely trouble.
I recommend that before traveling to the Dominican Republic, learn 5-6 main phrases in Spanish and learn to count. Fortunately, it is not difficult. This knowledge will greatly facilitate your life. In the article Spanish for a tourist in the Dominican Republic you will find the necessary information.
Mañana and Tranquilo
These two words reflect the national peculiarity of the Dominicans.
- Mañana means “tomorrow” in Spanish.
- Tranquilo means “relax” or “don’t rush”.
Wherever you go, everything is done slowly and calmly. No one is in a hurry, whether it’s traffic on the road or lines at the cashier. If you need to ask a question, they will tell you to come back tomorrow. When you return the next day, they will say, “Why did you come today? We told you to come tomorrow.”
It’s useful to knowThis feature greatly infuriates tourists, when you already live here, you yourself become the same, and you even like it.
Driving on the roads and speed bumps
This is a separate large topic that can be discussed for a long time. On the one hand, this is a great cons of the Dominican republic and tourists are not quite ready for it, on the other hand, you quickly get used to it. And after a week or two this become normal for you.
Detailed description of the traffic rules in the Dominican Republic, driving, parking and more can be found at the link..
But here are a few interesting points:
- Overtaking through a continuous line is not a violation. Even if you have done it in front of the traffic police. Even if the police car was driving with a flasher. And even if they were driving with a flashing light and you overtook them through a continuous one.
- If drivers of cars in the Dominican Republic are generally competent and drive normally. Then motorcycles/scooters drivers are crazy people. They drive “the best they can”. They believe that road signs and traffic lights are not for them, but only for car drivers.
- And another cons of the Dominican Republic are the highest speed bump in the world. There is no point in talking about this, you just need to see it.
I didn’t want to write about it as a cons of the Dominican Republic, but I am often asked, so I write 🙂 Everywhere on the Internet, they write horror stories about the Dominican Republic, that it’s dangerous to go out here, that there are a lot of “banditos”, and that you shouldn’t take money with you at all and don’t even take your phone out of your pocket. I don’t know why people reprint this information.
Yes, about 20 years ago it probably was like that in the Dominican Republic. But now everything has changed a lot. Yes, there are a couple of places near the border with Haiti, as well as on the outskirts of Santo Domingo in poor neighborhoods where it is better for a tourist not to go, especially at night. But in general, everything is good in the country now. No one is killed or robbed. And the streets of the Dominican Republic are no more dangerous than in Barcelona, Detroit or Rome.
You just need to follow the trivial rules of caution and nothing will happen to you:
- do not show large amounts of money in stores
- hide expensive jewelry and equipment
- know that there are pickpockets here, but they are everywhere where there are a lot of tourists
Important:It is safe for a tourist in the Dominican Republic, but it still takes a little getting used to, the safety is just a little different here.
Jetlag: cons of the Dominican Republic
Jetlag is a disease. But not usual. It is also called travelers’ disease. In short, jetlag is caused by the body’s natural “clock” being disrupted by the sudden change in time. Symptoms of jetlag can include fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and digestive issues. The time difference with most of Europe here is 5 hours, and with the East Coast of America 4 hours.
I mentioned above about the now popular vacation in Zanzibar. This is perhaps one of the few factors that comes as an advantage for Tanzania and a disadvantage for the Dominican Republic. In Zanzibar, the time difference with Europe is only 1-2 hours. And if you are flying to the Dominican Republic, then expect a jet lag. And it is better to have with you the necessary pills that will help you recover faster.
Follow the link for an excellent article on how to fly to the Dominican Republic and where to buy tickets.
Exotic diseases as cons of the Dominican Republic
Illnesses are always a significant disadvantage in any journey. And since the Dominican Republic is a country of eternal summer and an exotic region, we need to know what diseases to be afraid of.
A disadvantage is that there are diseases here that do not exist in our country. As an advantage – it’s not that bad. Now in more detail. There are only three diseases in the Dominican Republic that you can catch here and that do not exist in our country:
- Zika virus
- Dengue fever
It is important to know:Mosquitoes are carriers of all three diseases, more precisely one species – Aedes Aegypti. The risk of infection is higher during the rainy season: from May to August. Since mosquitoes need fresh water to reproduce. In other months, the risk is almost zero.
Another important thing to know is that all three of these diseases are easily diagnosed and treated today. They are not transmitted through airborne droplets like COVID-19. And the number of deaths is less than 0.1%. For example, most suffer from Dengue fever without even knowing it.
Advice from the author (me):
- Read the symptoms of these diseases
- If, upon returning home, you feel so-so, and you are sure that this is not a jet lag, you decide to see a doctor. The first thing to tell him is that you have just arrived from the Dominican Republic. This information cannot be hidden. Since these are not typical diseases for our countries
- The most important thing is a extended medical insurance.
- Be sure to bring a mosquito repeller plug with you
Useful to know:A couple of years ago, my wife and I got sick with Dengue fever in Singapore. In 2 hours we were diagnosed, in 2 weeks we were cured by a course of some pills and potions. And the course of treatment cost a little more than 5 thousand dollars. The extended insurance covered all the treatment. And the only minus is that it was impossible to drink alcohol for 2 weeks. Therefore, yes, diseases sound scary to our ears, but in fact today’s medicine easily copes with them.
Another negative aspect that disappointed me a bit. But it was important to me at the time. When planning to come to the Dominican Republic for the first time, I thought that since the country is located in the Caribbean Sea, with the warm Gulf Stream current and many coral reefs, I expected excellent diving and a diverse underwater world.
But I was wrong. There is diving and dozens of spots here in the Dominican Republic. But the underwater world in terms of diversity is far behind Egypt and the Red Sea or Maldives. I would even say that besides the sea urchins, huge sea stars, and a small number of fish, there is nothing else here. That’s why diving and snorkling in the Dominican Republic didn’t meet my expectations.
Read more about snorkeling and diving in the country here.
In conclusion: perhaps the main vacation pros and cons of the Dominican Republic have been mentioned above. Each can decide for himself what is important to him and what is not critical. Overall, excellent conditions have been created for tourists here: it is safe, there are no poisonous snakes or other dangerous wildlife, and the climate is great. Among the cons that always annoy me are: jetlag upon arrival, and the lack of knowledge of the English language among the locals.
I wish you a fabulous and unforgettable vacation!