Last updated: 3 Sep 2018

Dominican Republic

About

Most tourists who come to the island are initially attracted by the magnificent golden sand beaches along its 1,400km (870-mile) coastline. The island's northern, Atlantic side contains the majority of tourist attractions, hotels and resorts, particularly in the 64km (40-mile) zone between Puerto Plata and Cabarete.

Santo Domingo, in the south, features the very first monuments of the American continent: the first cathedral, the first hospital, the first chapel and the first university.

Swim with dolphins in Manatí Park. The theme park, near Punta Cana, also includes a zoo, gardens, a recreated Taino village and a variety of exotic animals.

Come over all romantic on the Samaná Peninsula, located on the northern portion of the island. Samaná, with its transparent blue waters, miles of unspoilt beaches, and dozens of caves, is a lovers' paradise.

Stock up on beautiful jewellery on the Amber Coast (northern coast). Some of the world's most beautiful amber is mined here. The Amber Museum houses a good display of amber pieces found nearby.
Capital:  Santo Domingo (SDQ)
Currency:  Dominican Peso (DOP). USD is also widely accepted in tourist areas. 
Language:  Spanish. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Dialling code from SA:  +809 / +829 / +849
Time Zones:  UTC / GMT -4 (6 hours behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2018: 

Jan 1, 6, 21, 29; Feb 27; Mar 30; May 1, 31; Aug 16; Sep 24; Nov 5; Dec 25

Side of the Road: Right
Best Time to go: December - April
Best For: Eco-tourism, Tropical Forests, Island Relaxation
Plugs: 110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style two-pin plugs are in use
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Bottled water is available.
Health: Medical facilities are very limited. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies.  Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: Beachwear should be reserved for the poolside and resorts. Attire for church, restaurants and evening functions should be smart.  In public areas, dress should be conservative. Politeness and respect for elders are important values. 
Travel Warnings / Tips: The Peso can only be exchanged within the Dominican Republic, and can only be converted from currencies of Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.  It is advisable to only convert the currency which you would require, as only 30% of the converted currency can be reconverted – please note that all original slips will be required. Always ask permission before taking photographs of locals. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into the Dominican Republic by travellers over 16 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 1 box of cigars
• 2L of alcoholic drinks (unopened)
• 2 bottles of perfume (opened) for personal use
Prohibited Imports: All animal products, agricultural and horticultural products and drugs. Firearms and ammunition must be accompanied by an import licence.

Issuing Authorities

SA passport holders travelling to the Dominican Republic, are to contact the Embassy in London, Brussels or Paris according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Embassy of the Dominican Republic
139 Inverness Terrace
Bayswater
London
W2 6JF
Tel: 020 7727 7091
E-mail:consulate@dominicanembassy.org.uk
Web: www.dominicanembassy.org.uk

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

Non-resident accredited from Havana (Cuba).
Embassy of South Africa
Ave 5ta, No 4201, esq 42
Miramar Playa
Ciudad de la Habana
Tel: 537 204 9671 / 537 204 9676
Fax: 537 204 1101
E-mail: mision@sudafrica.cu / rsavisa@ceniai.inf.cu

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk