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Dominican Republic Directory

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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
DIRECTORY

lonelyplanet.com

Dominican Republic Directory
CONTENTS
Accommodations
Activities
Business Hours
Children
Climate Charts
Customs
Dangers & Annoyances
Embassies & Consulates
Festivals & Events
Food
Gay & Lesbian Travelers
Holidays
Internet Access
Laundry
Legal Matters
Maps
Money
Post
Shopping
Telephone
Time
Tourist Information
Travelers with Disabilities
Visas
Volunteering
Women Travelers

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ACCOMMODATIONS
Compared to other destinations in the
Caribbean, lodging in the Dominican Republic
is relatively affordable. That said, there is a
dearth of options for independent travelers
wishing to make decisions on the fly and for
whom cost is a concern. All the room rates
listed in this book are for the high season,
which varies slightly from region to region.
Sometimes a price range is indicated for those
properties where the low- or medium-season
rates are significantly reduced – otherwise assume that low-season rates are from 20% to
50% less than high-season rates. More so than
other destinations, hotel rooms booked a minimum of three days in advance on the internet
are shockingly cheaper, especially so at the allinclusive resorts the country is famous for, than
if you book via phone or, worst-case scenario,
simply show up without a reservation.

For the purposes of this book, budget is any
room that’s US$40 and under. Most hotels at
this level are fairly basic with few amenities,
though most will have private bathroom, hot
water and 24-hour electricity. Cable TV and
air-con are less common, and the latter may
not function when the hotel is using its generator. Breakfast is generally not included,
and public spaces like lobbies and lounges
are either absent or uninviting. You won’t feel
like you’re on vacation necessarily, especially
in the cities, but there are a few exceptions,
including Las Terrenas on the Península de
Samaná and Bayahibe in the southeast, which
have several good-value budget options. The
DR has no proper hostels, and very little backpacker culture of the sort found in the rest of
Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. The few
extremely cheap hotels (US$20 and under) are
often either unpleasant or unwise to stay in –
the prevalence of prostitution is part of the
problem. The walled compounds with names
suggestive of intercourse or romantic love on
the outskirts of most large towns, especially
Santo Domingo, are sh...
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
DIRECTORY
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
DIRECTORY
lonelyplanet.com DOMINICAN REPUBLIC DIRECTORY •• Accommodations
© Lonely Planet Publications
ACCOMMODATIONS
Compared to other destinations in the
Caribbean, lodging in the Dominican Republic
is relatively affordable. That said, there is a
dearth of options for independent travelers
wishing to make decisions on the fly and for
whom cost is a concern. All the room rates
listed in this book are for the high season,
which varies slightly from region to region.
Sometimes a price range is indicated for those
properties where the low- or medium-season
rates are significantly reduced – otherwise as-
sume that low-season rates are from 20% to
50% less than high-season rates. More so than
other destinations, hotel rooms booked a mini-
mum of three days in advance on the internet
are shockingly cheaper, especially so at the all-
inclusive resorts the country is famous for, than
if you book via phone or, worst-case scenario,
simply show up without a reservation.
For the purposes of this book, budget is any
room that’s US$40 and under. Most hotels at
this level are fairly basic with few amenities,
though most will have private bathroom, hot
water and 24-hour electricity. Cable TV and
air-con are less common, and the latter may
not function when the hotel is using its gen-
erator. Breakfast is generally not included,
and public spaces like lobbies and lounges
are either absent or uninviting. You won’t feel
like you’re on vacation necessarily, especially
in the cities, but there are a few exceptions,
including Las Terrenas on the Península de
Samaná and Bayahibe in the southeast, which
have several good-value budget options. The
DR has no proper hostels, and very little back-
packer culture of the sort found in the rest of
Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. The few
extremely cheap hotels (US$20 and under) are
often either unpleasant or unwise to stay in –
the prevalence of prostitution is part of the
problem. The walled compounds with names
suggestive of intercourse or romantic love on
the outskirts of most large towns, especially
Santo Domingo, are short-time hotels for
couples seeking privacy.
We’ve used the fairly large range, US$40
to US$80 per night, to group accommoda-
tion in the midrange category – the major-
ity of hotels in the DR. On the plus side this
means that you can find a room with clean
linens, air-con, cable TV, off-street parking,
sometimes breakfast, internet access and a
swimming pool and much more in resort
areas, for rather inexpensive rates. However,
it also means that you may find rooms with
ordinary, sometimes old furniture, fixtures
in need of updating and, in the case of all-
inclusive resorts, decidedly midrange food. In
Dominican Republic Directory
Accommodations 242
Activities 245
Business Hours 246
Children 246
Climate Charts 247
Customs 248
Dangers & Annoyances 248
Embassies & Consulates 248
Festivals & Events 249
Food 249
Gay & Lesbian Travelers 250
Holidays 250
Internet Access 250
Laundry 250
Legal Matters 250
Maps 251
Money 251
Post 252
Shopping 252
Telephone 252
Time 253
Tourist Information 253
Travelers with Disabilities 253
Visas 253
Volunteering 254
Women Travelers 254
CONTENTS
some places like Santo Domingo, you can stay
in restored colonial-era buildings with loads
of character with comfortable accommoda-
tion for less money than you would spend for
a night at a bland international-chain-style
hotel. Most have websites where you can make
reservations in advance and you can often
pay with a credit card, though it’s a good idea
to check in advance. A good number of all-
inclusives, especially outside the holidays and
the high season, fall into this category and can
be remarkably good deals considering what
you get. It’s important, however, to keep in
mind the peculiar nature of this style of ac-
commodation; see right for more details.
Top-end lodging, US$80 and up, refers
mostly to a handful of upscale hotels in Santo
Domingo and Santiago and a good chunk of
the all-inclusive resorts. For the former, in
addition to all of the amenities listed in the
midrange category, you can expect at least one
on-site restaurant, shops, a swimming pool,
gym, professional service and sometimes an
attached casino. All-inclusives at the low end of
this category certainly aren’t luxurious but you
can generally count on better food and serv-
ice than those charging midrange rates. From
US$200 and up (the ceiling is high for the most
exclusive resorts) there’s a big jump in terms of
the quality of furnishings, food and service, and
in the Dominican Republic, maybe more than
elsewhere, you truly get what you pay for.
Seasons
The DR has two main high seasons – from
December to March, when Canadians and
Americans do most of their traveling, and
from July to August, when many Europeans
and Dominicans are on holiday. Semana Santa
(Holy Week, ie the week before Easter) is also
an extremely busy time, as all local schools,
universities, government offices and many
businesses are closed and Dominicans flock
to beaches and riverside areas. Carnival is cele-
brated every weekend in February, and hotels
can fill up in the most popular areas, like La
Vega, Santiago and Santo Domingo. During
all these times expect prices to rise by about
one-third. Reservations are recommended
during these periods, especially at beach areas,
and you may have less luck bargaining for a
reduced rate. No matter what season, weekend
and weekday rates are generally uniform, but
always ask for a discount if you’ll be staying
for more than a couple of days.
All-Inclusive Resorts
Easily the most popular form of lodging in the
DR is the all-inclusive resort. In some people’s
minds they’re synonymous with tourism here
and for good reason – much of the prime
beachfront property throughout the country
is occupied by all-inclusives. The largest con-
centrations are at Bávaro/Punta Cana in the
east and Playa Dorada in the north, though
their numbers are growing in areas around
Bayahibe, Río San Juan, Sosúa and Luperón.
Boca Chica and Juan Dolio, both within easy
driving distance of Santo Domingo, have small
concentrations as well. Because of its relative
inaccessibility, the Península de Samaná was
largely free of all-inclusives until recently; a
handful are in operation now and more are
likely in the near future.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free vaca-
tion, it’s easy to understand the appeal of the
PRACTICALITIES
El Listín Diario (www.listin.com.do), Hoy (www.hoy.com.do), Diario Libre (www.diariolibre.com),
Ultima Hora (www.ultimahora.com) and El Nacional (www.elnacional.com.do), plus Interna-
tional Herald Tribune, the New York Times and the Miami Herald can be found in many tourist
areas.
There are about 150 radio stations, most playing merengue and bachata (popular guitar
music based on bolero rhythms); and seven local TV networks, though cable and satellite
programming is very popular for baseball, movies and American soap operas.
The DR uses the same electrical system as the USA and Canada (110 to 125 volts AC, 60 Hz,
flat-pronged plugs). Power outages are common but many hotels and shops have backup
generators.
The DR uses the metric system for everything except gasoline, which is measured in gallons,
and at laundromats, where laundry is measured in pounds.
BOOK YOUR STAY ONLINE
For more accommodation reviews and rec-
ommendations by Lonely Planet authors,
check out the online booking service at www
.lonelyplanet.com/hotels. You’ll find the true,
insider lowdown on the best places to stay.
Reviews are thorough and independent. Best
of all, you can book online.
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