Punta Cana is a fabulous place to visit and de-stress in the Dominican Republic. However, since it is in a foreign country, there are a few things we’ll call customs that you need to be aware of before you leave. Don’t worry; they aren’t going to ruin your holiday. In fact, by making you aware of these um, customs, you will likely have a better time there with no surprises sneaking up on you.
Money Talks – US Dollars, That Is
Hey, why pay fees at your favorite financial institution to convert your greenbacks into pesos if you don’t have to, right? Well, provided you intend to spend all your days in DR in the tourist zone, you won’t have to worry about exchange rates as everyone takes US dollars. Be sure to have several small bills on hand to avoid having to break 20’s, which may be difficult in places.
Expect To See Tourists There
Let’s put this out there right away. Punta Cana was developed to cultivate business from the tourist trade. This means that while all your travel needs will be met and you could feel pampered. As a result, you won’t be the only tourist there. If you want to visit the DR and experience it without a lot of American brothers and sisters, then you may want to go elsewhere.
The Friendly Skies
Here’s one you won’t want to forget. Every visitor that passes through the international airport at Punta Cana is subject to a visitor fee before entering the immigration department. Don’t worry, it’s a nominal fee – just $10 – and you can pay that in US dollars. Save yourself any wasted time by having a few bills on you as you depart your flight, and all will be good.
Pre-Book Your Ride
We get it. Airports are stressful enough without the added pressure coming from various transportation companies just waiting for your business once you clear immigration. The best way to avoid the pain of dealing with these potential hazards is to book your ride in advance. Use a reputable booking agent and once you hit the ground, hop in and take your getaway car.
Expect A Lot Of Sunshine
You’ve heard of isolated showers, right? Well, as you are heading to a tropical paradise in the Dominican Republic, don’t let the weather forecasts cloud your judgment. Sure, there’s going to be the odd sprinkle and possible a bit of rain. However, any weather that does not involve sunshine and warm temperatures is not going to last very long. It’s a weather law.
Aim For 10 To 20 Percent
We’re talking about tipping here. As you can probably imagine, the wages in your average third world country are well, pretty crappy. So, you can make someone’s day by remembering to keep your tip game in place. Not only will your generosity be appreciated, but you’ll also get some very, very special treatment from those you are tipping while in Punta Cana.
It’s In The Water
Here’s something you may not think about. The water is safe to drink. Well, that is if you are drinking it from one of the many Punta Cana hotels and resorts. That’s because they only serve filtered water and ice. In other words, you won’t get sick and end up spending your entire holiday in bed or the bathroom. You can thank us later for this tip.
Resist The No Tan Line Look
Local customs in the Dominican Republic revolve around a heavy Catholic influence. This means that if you have a topless beach at home, you won’t find one anywhere near Punta Cana. It is important that you respect the fact that modesty is the general rule of thumb and that you must keep your naughty bits hidden from public view. It’s just the right thing to do.
Most Resorts Are All-Inclusive
Having a problem figuring out where to go and what to do in Punta Cana? It’s a breeze with many of the most popular destinations offering all-inclusive packages. Be sure to be clear on what is and is not included in yours. Otherwise, it’s a no-brainer if you’ve never been to the area before and are not certain of what you can do with your holiday budget.
You are probably a lot like us in that we usually like to bring home a memento or two from our holiday getaway. When you travel to the DR, you can’t go wrong with local specialties like coffee, mamajuana or rum. Mamajuana happens to be a unique drink mix popular in the region. Stock up as you are allowed to pack up to 5 liters of booze in your check-in luggage.
The Resorts Are Sort Of Standalone
One of the best – or worst – things about the rockin’ lifestyle of Punta Cana is that it’s not near much of anything else. For example, Santo Domingo is roughly a two-and-a-half hour drive away from the resort reception desk of where you will be staying. So be prepared and remember, because of this, your resort will provide you will all you need minus the big city.
So, Go Ahead And Book Your Vacation, Already!
With these helpful little tips, you will likely have a slightly better understanding of what you are getting into with your DR vacation. You are sure to have a great time exploring and discovering the food, culture, and people who call the Dominican Republic their home. Just remember, you are only a visitor and if you respect their customs, you will have the time of your life and will crave additional trips to this exotic, tropical, mysterious and exciting part of the world.