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Help & FAQ

Below you will find the answers to the most common questions that we receive daily in regards to a Dominican Republic Holiday. We hope this helps you out in planning your vacation.
What will the weather be like in the Dominican Republic?
Generally, the temperatures are hot during the day. Many of the days are a mixture of sun and clouds, the clouds being a welcome relief from the hot sun. In the evening you may need a light sweater. The chart below shows you the average temperatures for each month. January is the coldest month, and August is the hottest month. There is no real rainy season in the DR, it can rain at any time during the year. Much of the time the rain occurs overnight or as a brief afternoon shower
Average Daily Temperature
0C Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec These temperatures are in Celsius
High 26 28 27 28 28 29 29 29 29 28 28 26 Average High is 870 in Fahrenheit
Low 18 18 19 19 20 22 22 23 22 22 20 18 Average Low is 730 in Fahrenheit
Current Weather in: Puerto Plata - Punta Cana - Santo Domingo
What about Hurricane Season?
The Caribbean hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30.
In the past 125 years the DR has never been hit by a hurricane in June, the first month of the hurricane season. Records show only four tropical storms or hurricanes have affected the DR in July. August and September are the months when most hurricanes have hit.
What is the average water temperature?
Summer - 830     Winter - 780
How do I submit a review to Debbie’s?
Submitting a review could not be easier thanks to Debbie’s "Quick Review Form". Just click on the yellow "Write a Review" tab on top of the page or one of the write your review / send us your review links that you will find throughout the Debbie’s website. This brings you to Debbie’s self-explanatory "Quick Review Form" where you can start writing your review within seconds. You are also welcome to include a photo/video link with your review. When your review adheres to Debbie’s guidelines, it will be published within 24 hours (Monday – Friday).

For a more detailed explanation on how to use Debbie’s "Quick Review Form", review tips and Debbie’s guidelines, please see: Review Tips and Guidelines.
Are locals allowed to stay at the resorts?
Yes they are.

The following email sent to us by Yvonne from Cardiff, South Wales, U.K, basically covers our feelings on the subject.I just feel I must put my frustration and anger across to all the tourists who travel to the above resorts and moan about the Dominican people staying at the complex. They like us all, have paid good money for a well earned break and if like me probably saved hard for it. What rights have foreign tourists to complain that they shouldn't be allowed to use the hotels, after all it is their country. I was brought up to treat people with respect and to treat them how I would like to be treated myself. So these people who say the locals are rude, try being friendly towards them, I am sure they would find a difference.
What is the current rate of exchange?
Go to the Currency Converter for current rates.
I live in Canada. Should I bring U.S. or Canadian money?
The Dominican peso is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. The banks are phasing out "defaced money". Do not accept any pesos that have been written on, you will not be able to use it. Both Canadian and U.S. cash and traveller's cheques can be changed at hotels and currency exchanges for Dominican pesos. It is sometimes easier to exchange U.S. traveller's cheques. (When cashing traveller's cheques, make sure you take your passport or I.D. with you). At the present time (Feb./05) there seems to be a definite advantage to taking U.S. currency over other currencies. In some cases U.S. currency can be used to pay for tours, etc. booked at the hotel, without having to change it into pesos first. (Also, if you're planning on visiting the casinos, you should take U.S. money for that, otherwise you have to play with pesos, and if you win, you'll win in pesos, which are difficult to change, whereas if you play with U.S. money, your winnings are paid in U.S. money). Canadian currency must be changed into pesos. Credit cards are widely accepted in the Dominican Republic.

See the Currency Converter in the above question for current exchange rates.
Are credit cards accepted? and are there ATM's?
Most hotels, restaurants and businesses accept major credit cards. Please be careful when and where you use your credit card. There have been incidents reported of double billings and other charges being billed to credit cards used by tourists while in the DR.
Are ATM machines readily available?
There are ATM machines around, some resorts have them, but they are mostly in the cities and towns, not the resort areas, so don't rely on this as your only source of cash.
Gambling in the DR
A number of hotels in the DR have casinos with slot machines, table games, etc. Suggest you use U.S. currency to gamble with - if you play with U.S. money any winnings will be paid in U.S. currency. If you use Dominican Pesos, winnings will be paid in Dominican Pesos. Please be careful and use common sense when visiting the casinos. There have been allegations against various hotel casinos in the DR about certain games that are scams, often run by Americans (ie KENO), where people have lost thousands of dollars. Be careful! Stick to the games you know, always keep track of your cards/points - don't rely on what the dealers are telling you - We have experienced cases where blackjack dealers make mistakes in counting. And above all, don't bet more than you can afford to lose!
Is there topless sunbathing in the DR?
Yes, topless sunbathing is quite common. It's not a Dominican custom, just the fact that many of the tourists are European, and topless sunbathing is natural for them. Many hotels do not allow topless sunbathing around the pool areas.
Is it safe to walk around during the day and night?
In my opinion it is perfectly safe to walk around tourist areas and towns during the day. Most resorts have security personnel, and the beaches are also patrolled periodically. When going into town, or out of the resort area at night, use common sense, just as you would anywhere else. Don't wear expensive jewellery or flash large sums of money around.
Do I need a passport?
Check with your travel agent. We always travel with a passport, personally I think it's a good idea to have one, and only a matter of time before everyone will require a passport to travel. However, Canadians at this point are only required to have photo I.D. and birth certificate if flying direct from Canada. In the case of married women, it is a good idea to take along your marriage certificate, as your birth certificate and photo ID won't have the same surname. I have never personally heard of anyone being asked for the marriage certificate, but it wouldn't hurt to take it along just in case. You are also required to purchase a tourist card. If you are purchasing an all-inclusive package through a tour operator, this is included in the price and will be provided to you either with your tickets, or at the airport before you leave. Otherwise you can purchase a tourist card for $10.00 U.S. when you arrive at the airport in the Dominican Republic.

Tourist Visa Sample

Note it is my understanding that Americans do not pay for the tourist card when they book their trip, they have to buy it when they arrive in the DR for $10.00 U.S. Check with your travel agent to confirm what has been prepaid.

Note that Americans and those from other countries travelling by air from the U.S. or making connections in the U.S. to the Dominican Republic required passports as of January 2007.
Travelling with Minors
When children travel to the Dominican Republic with only one parent, or with non-parents, the Dominican Republic does not require any special letter of authorization, as long as they leave the DR with the same people they arrived with. (Note that it had previously been indicated that minors traveling with only one parent or non-parents had to have a letter of authorization translated into Spanish and legalized by the Dominican Consulate. This in fact pertains only to Dominican minors under 18, not to foreign travelers.) If a minor child is not leaving the Dominican Republic with the same people they arrived with, the parents or legal guardians must provide to the new companion, a letter of consent, legalized at the nearest Dominican Republic Consulate to the parents' residence. If any further clarification is needed, please contact your nearest Dominican Consulate.

Check with your travel agent or tour operator to see what documentation is required at your country of origin for minors travelling alone or with one parent or non-parents. An authorization letter notarized and signed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may be required.

Children should have their own passport when traveling alone or with non-parents. Birth certificates are only acceptable when traveling with one or both parents and a child is under 13. Children over 13 need a student card along with the birth certificate as photo ID, or a passport. (Note that anyone travelling via or from the United States requires a passport, even children. Only Canadians flying direct from Canada do not have to have a passport.)
What is the Departure Tax?
Each person is required to pay $20.00 U.S. departure tax when they leave the Dominican Republic. This is generally not included when you buy an all-inclusive package, and is payable at the Dominican Airport. Only U.S. cash is accepted. They will not take Dominican pesos or any other currency as payment, nor will they take traveller's cheques. Some Canadian tour companies now collect this $20.00 U.S. tax when you book your trip, so you do not have to pay it when you leave the DR. Similarly, I am told that Americans always pay for the departure tax in their packages, so do not have to pay it when they leave the DR. Check with your travel agent to confirm what has been prepaid.
Is the internet available?
Most major hotels have internet cafes where you can use their computers to check and send e-mail, for a fee. Some hotels do have internet connections available in the rooms, available for a fee. There are also many internet cafes in the cities and towns.
Will my teenagers have a good time?
All-inclusive hotels have activities for all ages, and most have a disco either at the hotel or nearby, as well as all kinds of watersports. Many hotels also have pool tables, and some have a video games room.
Would you take young children?
Yes. Many families travel there with young children. A majority of the larger hotels have children's programs to occupy them during the day. Dominicans love children and always pay them special attention.
What about renting a car?
Car rentals are readily available, but it is not generally recommended to rent a car. There are no "rules of the road" in the DR, and driving can be hazardous. Insurance is also non-existent. If you decide to rent a car, be careful!
Can you book a room for us or give us hotel and airfare rates?
No, I am not a travel agent, and I do not have access to rates, etc. Check with your travel agent or contact the hotel directly. Or contact one of the travel agents on our Local Travel Agents page at:
Could you please send all the information you have on a certain hotel or of the Dominican Republic in general?
All of the information I have on the Dominican Republic and on hotels in the Dominican Republic can be found on this web site. I do not have any brochures or other literature to send out.
Will you recommend a specific hotel?
Different people have different ideas of what they want in a holiday and what type of hotel they want. Check Debbie’s reviews, for my comments on hotels I have stayed at in the DR. In choosing a hotel I suggest you first visit your travel agent to see what hotels are available and what the prices are, then read the reviews on our site to help you with your decision on where to stay.
What area has the best beaches?
There are many beautiful beach areas in the DR. I have not been to a lot of them, so can't comment on them, but my favourite beach of the ones I have been to is at Punta Cana - white sand and palm trees.
What area has the best night life?
I'm not an expert on the night life - we generally stay at the resort in the evenings. If you want good night life, you should stay near a major city, ie. Santo Domingo, as opposed to Punta Cana, which is just a resort area with no towns nearby, restricting night life to what is available at the hotel you are staying at.
What tours are available?
When you arrive at your hotel, there will be a tour desk where you can sign up for all kinds of day trips - from jeep tours to city tours to boat tours. We have links to some the tours available at Tour Links.

A note regarding purchasing tours from sales people on the beach and in the plazas. Some have illegal insurance, or no insurance at all. The tours may be cheaper, but if someone is hurt, their medical bills will be outrageous. Legitimate tour operators consider these tours to be very dangerous. They may tell you they have insurance, purified water, and whatever else you want to hear to make the sale - all tours are not created equal, you get what you pay for!
Is the water safe to drink?
Drink only purified or bottled water while in the DR. Hotels use purified water for washing and cooking food, serving in restaurants, making icecubes, etc. Do not drink the tap water in your hotel room - it is not purified. Hotels provide bottled or purified water for use in your room.
Why does it seem a lot of people complain of being sick?
I think a lot of the time the reason people become ill is simply because of the change in diet, as well as overindulgence in alcohol, food, sun, etc. Make sure meat - hamburgers, etc. are well-cooked. If outside the resort, drink only bottled water. Take along Immodium for diarrhea - just in case.
Are water sports available during the Easter holiday?
Easter is a major holiday for Dominicans - for them it is the beginning of summer and they all head to the beach for the holiday. Because of this, motorized watersports and sometimes all watersports are banned during this time (during the week leading up to and including the holiday), purely for safety reasons. Sometimes even motorized vehicles are prohibited in certain areas during this time. The President on the DR usually makes an announcement a couple of weeks before Easter, outlining what the bans are and the areas affected. This seems to vary from year to year, and I can provide no specific information on what will be available and what will not be available. If you're a watersports lover, it might not be a good idea to visit the DR during this time.
Can you find an address or get me in contact with individuals?
I receive a lot of requests from people who are trying to locate someone in the DR. I am unable to help in this regard. I live in Canada, and have no access to telephone books, etc. from the DR.
Are taxi's expensive…..can you bargain with the drivers?
Taxis are quite expensive. Airports and some hotels have boards outside listing the cab fares to various places. These prices are generally not negotiable.
What should we wear during dinner and at the casinos?
Dress at the resorts is basically casual. Many hotels require that men wear long pants to dinner, especially at the a la carte restaurants, so make sure you pack a pair. Most buffet restaurants have relaxed the “no shorts” rule, due to the increasing numbers of North Americans traveling there. (Apparently we don’t like to dress up for dinner). Some people dress up a bit in the evening - ie. dress, long skirt, etc. for the ladies, some prefer to be casual - jeans, shorts. It's basically up to you. The same applies to casinos.
Is it easy to phone home?
Every hotel has their own procedures for long distance calls. Suggest you check with the tour representative at the hotel for the cheapest way to phone home (another reason to attend the Welcome Briefing by the rep). Some Canadian and U.S. calling cards work…sometimes. There are prepaid phone cards available in a lot of hotels. There are also some methods which are very expensive!!! Some hotels will have a card in the room with a number to call to charge your call to your credit card – these calls can end up being very expensive – beware!
I have heard horror stories about the airport porters?
Yes, you can count on there being Dominicans at the airport when you come out wanting to carry your bags, and they can be quite persistent. A "No, gracias" and a firm grip on your luggage is all that is required. It is usually a very short distance from the airport exit to buses, taxis, etc. Or, if you do have heavy luggage, the easiest thing is to let someone carry them. We've done this and given them $3 or $4, and had no problems. Some will demand $5 U.S. a bag, don’t be intimidated into paying this, just give them $3 to $5 depending on how much luggage you have and how far they carried it.
Why is there sometimes such a difference in reviews and opinions of the same hotel/resort?
Different people have different expectations when they go on holiday. The type of food one person may like, another may not. One person may get a great room, another may get a room in a less-than-perfect location. What the weather is like when they are there can also affect the review, as can a bad start because of flight delays. Most of the resorts have several them all to get a true sense of the resort.
Is there extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic?
Yes. You will see many signs of poverty enroute to your hotel.
Are the vendors aggressive?
In most resort areas the vendors have stalls set up outside of the resort property. Most hotels don't allow vendors to approach tourists on the beach. You have to go to them, then you're fair game. Each one will tell you he has the "best prices". Of course, the first price he quotes you will be twice what it's worth - you have to bargain, it is expected. If you're not into bargaining, stick to the hotel gift shops.
What languages are spoken and will I have a dificult time if I don't speak a word of Spanish?
You can get by if you don't speak a word of Spanish. Most key hotel employees speak some English, as well as German and French. I would suggest you learn at least a few words of Spanish before you go, Dominicans will appreciate the effort to speak their language. We have a print friendly Spanish page check out: Spanish Phrases.


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