Dominican Republic guide by Golden Treasures Real Estate

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   The Dominican Republic 

First discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 when it was inhabited by Taino indigenous tribes, the Dominican Republic has gone through a long process throughout history that has made it one of the most precious Caribbean island destinations in the world. Today this blessed paradise is teeming with beach resorts and beach villa rentals.

With a rich cultural heritage of European and African customs, the Dominican people are believed to be the most friendly of the Caribbean, no wonder when each day in their lives they face endless kilometers of golden and white sand beaches, blue skies and breath taking scenery as a backdrop.


One of the advantages that travelers enjoy in this beautiful Caribbean island is the year-round constant weather, sort of an "endless summer". The average temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, very tropical with some drops in temperature in the higher elevations land such as Jarabacoa and Constanza (eco tourism areas).



The land of many firsts had the beginnings with the creation of the first Spanish settlement in La Isabela, Puerto Plata, by the Spanish conquistadores on December 7, 1493 during their second voyage to the New World.  Curiously, the first tourist destination in the Dominican Republic was also Puerto Plata, because of its many attractions and specially the fantastic beaches of Sosua, Cabarete, Playa Dorada and Cofresi. During the 1980`s tourism flourished and expanded, giving way to new destinations such as Bavaro, Punta Cana and La Romana.

Later it also became a source of income for Samana, and also for the islands of Cayo Levantado ( Bacardi island ) and Catalina island. The North coast combines many different attractions, such as golden sand beaches and a wide range of environments where eco friendly tours and waters sports are enjoyed by locals and tourists, specially the ones that prefer to rent private villas and beach condos. Cabarete is the top destination for kite and wind surfing, Sosua has beautiful beaches and great restaurants. Puerto Plata has the historic homes and landmarks dating back to Columbus's first arrival. The Eastern part of the island has endless rows of all-inclusive resorts and golf courses, spread along Punta Cana and Bavaro.


The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo, which was founded in 1496 by Christopher Columbus's  brother, Bartholomew. It is the oldest inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Still, the old Colonial city remains as it was more than 500 years ago, with many churches, buildings and streets including Columbus house, the Alcazar.

High Season: December 15th - April 15th
Low Season: April 15th-December 15th

Currency: Dominican Peso. USA and Canadian dollars, Euros, Pounds and other international currency is also accepted.


With 6 major airports having daily international flights from Europe and the Americas:

- Las Americas International Airport (code SDQ)
- Gregorio Luperon International Airport (code POP)
- Punta Cana Int'l Airport (PUJ)
- El Catey Airport in Samana (code AZS)
- La Romana Int`l Airport (code LRM)
- Cibao Int`l Airport in Santiago (code STI)


VISA REQUIREMENTS: US$10.00 entry fee and a US$20.00 departure tax. Europeans, North Americans and most of all foreign countries nationals can enter the Dominican Republic without visa requirements. You will need a passport to enter the country.
ELECTRICITY: 110v, 60 Hz ( U.S compliant ). Some vacation homes and villas also have 220V, for air conditioning and certain appliances. A small voltage converter is usually used by tourists that bring 220V electronics.
DRIVING A RENTAL CAR: You can drive for up to 60 days with the driving license of your country, there are many good car rental agencies all over the island, including international brand names such as Hertz and Avis. Driving in the island might be trickier than in your country, but it can be a good experience. It's not advised to drive too fast at night, specially motorcycles.

COMMUNICATIONS: Calling the United States & Canada is fairly easy from the Dominican Republic, just dial 1+ the number and you're all set. Calling Europe and other countries vary according to each country's calling codes. The local area codes in the island are 809, 829, and 849.

You can use roaming from the USA and Canada, though the charges can be $2 dollars per minute. You can buy a cheap mobile for around US$15.00 loaded with 15-20 minutes, with additional minutes at 0.25 cents. Free Wi-Fi Internet is available in all tourist areas and hotels.


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOOD:  With a culinary style that feels more like a blend of African and international flavors adapted to a more local taste, the food in the DR has many spicy dishes, involving rice, beans, several types of meat and vegetables.

The traditional food, called comida criolla, has several unique dishes worth trying, such as the sancocho and mofongo. Many restaurants will serve international food, American breakfast and Italian, German, Greek, French, Indian, Arab and even Brazilian and Russian foods. Same with drinks, the bars are all stocked with international drinks and spirits.

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: The island of Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation of the Greater Antilles, after Cuba. With 48,442 square kilometers ( 18, 704 sq. miles ) and an estimated population of 10 million people. The country lies between latitudes 17 and 20N, and longitudes 68 and 72W with Cuba to the Northwest and Puerto Rico to the Northeast. Flying from SDQ airport to New York takes about 2 hours. Our closest neighbor is Haiti, of which many citizens work in the Dominican Republic, and are nice to locals and tourists.







MONEY EXCHANGE: One of the advantages of traveling to the Dominican Republic is that being a smaller economy, you get to exchange currency at a very advantageous rate. For example, the U.S. Dollar trades for around $38 pesos, and the Euro for around $50.00; Visit the page we have on currency exchange in the Dominican Republic and you'll get the rates for the most common currencies exchanged by visiting tourists.

ACCOMMODATIONS: The island has a lot of beach resorts and hotels, with international hotel chains in Bavaro, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Samana, La Romana, Cayo Levantado, Santiago and Santo Domingo. The biggest share of all inclusive resorts is now in the Eastern region, while the majority of self catering villa rentals is in the North, with many luxury oceanfront condos and beach homes set along the coast of Cabarete, Sosua, Cabrera, Cofresi and Puerto Plata. The Northern coast is rapidly gaining momentum as a the top vacation rental destination in the island.






Renting a private villa or apartment in the Dominican Republic allows you to have the best beach and ocean front landscapes right at your fingertips with the convenience of having your own private swimming pool and many other amenities that all-inclusive resorts offer on a collective basis. There are villas and condos in all sizes and standards, from the very basic affordable ones costing below US$200.00 per day to the most luxurious beach properties that might cost up to three thousand dollars per day and even more. For those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of hotels and resorts, vacation rentals provide travelers with the feel of a home away from home, and complete autonomy.

The variety is so large that it's easy enough to find the one you like within your budget. The best villa rentals are found in the North coast because of the vast list of available amenities and tours in the area. Places like Puerto Plata, Cabarete, Cofresi, Sosua and Cabrera have some of the best vacation rentals with excellent services and staff. Some extras such as private chef and driver can enhance the villa rental experience.


Beachfront Luxury Villa in Cabarete

4 Bedroom Villa for Rent in Sosua

Beachfront Penthouse in Cabarete

Affordable Villa Rentals in Sosua





The Dominican Republic offers a vast selection of activities to select from, including some of the best ocean shore golf courses in the Caribbean, excellent diving sites, sports fishing, hiking, surfing, kite surfing, sailing, gambling, zip lining, eco tours, kayaking, horseback riding, rafting, marine parks and much more.





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The Dominican Republic Guide
The Definitive Guide to planning your Dominican Republic vacation: Learn traveler's basics, how to get there, how to get around once you're there, where to stay, and what to see and do."

Dominican Spanish Expressions