Category Archives: Tourist Info
|Hispaniola Island was discovered by Columbus the 5 December 1492. It was the land he loved most and it was here he asked to be buried.By Royal privilege of King Ferdinando in 1508 it was named Island of Santo Domingo. Its aboriginal name, Quisqueya in the Taino language, means “mother of all lands”. At the time of the discovery, our island was inhabited by natives who called themselves Tainos, which in their own language means “the good ones”. Thinking they had reached India, the Spaniards called them “Indians”.|
The epic events associated with Conquest and Colonization gave rise to American firsts. Santo Domingo hosts the first Cathedral of the New World, the first hospital, the first university…..The first mass was observed and the first Catholic priest was ordained here.
The depopulation carried out in 1605 and 1606 gave way to the settling of buccaneers and pirates in the western region of the island, which in future centuries brought about the establishment of a French colony, and finally led to the Independent Republic of Haiti.
The Dominican Republic was born on February 27, 1844. The proclamation of the Republic took place at the Conde Gate where, for the first time, its tricolor flag was raised. The founding Fathers are Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez and Ramon Matias Mella. The Dominican Republic was annexed by Spain in 1861 and Restored as an Independent country in 1865. Authoritarianism and anarchy were the hallmarks of this second Republic. In 1930 Rafael Leonida Trujillo established a dictatorship which lasted for 31 years. After the death of the dictator, several governments tried but could not resolve the drastic economic and social problems of the Republic. Today Dominican Republic is a period of economic growth and it is one of the most interesting places for vacations and/or make business, due to its well growing economy, society and culture.
Spanish “Castellano” is the official language but there are still words which are commonly used that are an inheritance from the language of Tainos.
It is important to note here that Dominican speech is the soul’s expression and the wisdom of the country folk expressed with a rustic accent and with down home flavor. Dominicans speaks loudly and make hand gestures in order to overcome distances with one’s voice: shouts, abrupt gestures, run from one place to another in order to call attention to some protest may seems like the beginning of a violent struggle, instead it is only the normal way to express feelings according to Dominican’s lifestyle and in half an hour everything goes on as if nothing has happened.
Inhabited by over than 10 million (AGR 2%) people, Dominican territory is divided politically into 29 provinces and a National District.
It is a Democratic Republic and the president is elected every 4 years through direct votes as well as the Congress.
Politic and elections are one of the most interesting arguments to Dominicans.
The Dominican soil is fertile for planting of any grain and, referring to the classification made by W.Koppen for studying the world’s climates, the tropical humid climate of the savanna predominates with five variations of micro-climates which are classified as : humid, dry as in the steppes, and the tropical climate of the jungle forests and savannas. The average annual temperature runs from 18 to 27 degrees Celsius.
Average temperatures (C.)
to convert to Fahrenheit multiply by 1.8 and add 32
First of all, a positive mind and a desire to have a good time. Then, due to the prevailing climate, we would suggest simple light wardrobe of natural fibers, cotton, linen, etc., in order to feel more comfortable during the hot days. Make sure you have everything necessary for the beach!
From November to February nights are cool and a pull-over would be appropriate.
When visiting churches gentlemen should uncover their head and shorts pants or beach dresses are considered disrespectful.
We suggest that students bring their own towels and sheets (if not staying in a hotel)
Dominicans Immigration laws allows tourists to stay up to 60 days with a Tourist Card which costs 10USD that can be purchased at Dominican Consulates accredited abroad or upon their arrival in one of the country’s international airport.
Some tips for incoming students:
1.- After landing try to go out of the airplane quickly and quickly go to the desk with your passport, 10USD cash, flight details (arrival and departure), address in Santo Domingo.
When he arrive at the desk first go at the right side of the room to buy the Tourist Card (10USD), fill it in and then go to the desk (immigration). Take care of the receipt.
This to be one of the first and bypass the line that will be really a long affair.
2.- Change a little bit of money at the airport enough for the week end
3.- Do not trust in anybody at the airport but go directly to a taxi parked outside of the airport, the taxi costs 25-30USD from Las Americas airport. Ask for the price before getting in the taxi.
For an extension of time in the country, you may call the General Direction of Migration, tel: 685-2535 and pay a little fee. You can choose to wait for your departure and pay directly at the airport for the extra period you stayed in Dominican Republic.
Citizens of several countries need only a valid passport without the requirement to pay the 10USD Tourist Card to be allowed to stay for up to 90 days: please refer to Dominican Consulate in your own country.
The Dominican monetary unit is the peso (centavo has now been eliminated). Its symbol is RD$ and is divided into coins of 1 and 5, 10 & 25 pesos and bills bearing denomination of 10,20,50,100,500 and 1000 pesos.
Changing money is possible in three ways: banks, agencies and through the school. Secretary will inform you about the best change rate.
All the credit cards are honored all over the country.
8:30 to 15:00 (Mon-Fri)
Banks in Malls have extended hours most until 7:00 pm and Saturday til 2:00pm some even open Sundays
7:30 to 14:30 (Mon- Fri)
8:00 to 19:00 (Mon-Sat)
International Time references
|mid Octto Mid March||0||+5||0||-3||+12|
|mid Marchto Mid Oct||0||+6||+1||-3||+12|
|Las americas||Santo Domingo||809-947-2225|
|La Isabela||Santo Domingo||809-826-4019|
|Gregorio Luperon||Puerto Plata||809-291-0000|
|La Romana||La Romana||809-813-9000|
In the Dominican Republic there are several Telephone Companies, but the most important are Claro, Orange and Tricom with several telephone centers all over the island and near the school there are a few of them. It is possible to purchase, quite everywhere, prepaid cards that allows you to phone from every public or private telephone. You can purchase a SIM Card and prepaid minutes to use on your US phone.
Fax and E-mail
Telephone Center offer Fax service: send and receive for a little fee depending on the final destination. It is possible to rent an internet connected PC at the Telephone Center or in Internet Cafes located throughout town to send o receive e-mail. Students are allowed to receive e-mail at school address and, schedule a time to use the computer to send or receive their own e-mail for free.
With excellent roads and public transportation you can visit the entire island. You can choose to travel by taxi, Tour Bus or rent a car o by use public transportation. The School Secretary will give you all the details if interested in traveling: prices, location, hours etc…
World Health Organization: “the average life expectancy is the same as the United States. In all circumstances it is possible to enjoy, choosing an adequate location, a comfortable climate in which one rarely encounters lung diseases, scarlet fever or other feared diseases of the northern countries, not to mention yellow fever”.
A lot of drugstores open 24 hours and have the most common drugs, but it is a good rule to bring with all your prescribed medicine with you and in sufficient quantity for your complete stay or even a week or two more in case your departure would be delayed. The School can recommend a Doctor in case of little disease and modern clinics are near the colonial zone.
We suggest to buy a medical insurance before incoming.
Dominican Republic has many comfortable and inviting restaurants with all kinds of menus: Spanish, French, Italian, Creole, Mexican, Oriental, German, Arabian, etc.
School will provide all information you may need.
By law a 10% charge is added to your bill as legal tip and a 16% as taxes, yet it is used to leave a supplementary tip if the service was good.
The most typical Dominican dish, known as ¨La Bandera¨ (the flag), is compromised of white rice, red beams and stewed meat accompanied by salad and ¨fritos verdes¨ which are simply green plantains fried in a special way. Yet, we recommend that you try other dishes from our regional cooking made in a manner that can only be savored here such as: fish in coconut milk in Samaná and goat meat in Azua or Montecristi and crabs in Puerto Plata. All over the island you can find the sancocho (meat and vegetable stew) and each region has a special way of preparing it. Very famous the sancocho prieto with its seven different meats.
Plantains, green or mature, are always present in all forms: mangu (a puree), tostones (fried rings), pastelon (prepared in owen) are only few examples.
If you have a strong stomach don’t loose out on the chimichurri, a fully seasoned hamburger prepared in curb side carts, trailers. They are open late, people flock to them after movies, leaving bars, etc.
According to Dominican Laws the decimal metric system rules over weight and measures. Yet, it is important to note that despite having adopted the metric system, certain units of the old Spanish system and of others which were once in effect in our territory, have continued to be used in the Republic. For example, ounces and pounds are used in weighing solids, gasoline and motors oils are in American gallons of 128 ounces, while cooking oil is retailed by pounds, fabrics are measured by the yard, drinks liquids are in bottles expressed in liters, land surface in rural areas are generally measured by the “tarea” which is equal to 624 square meters and in popular markets everybody has “his” own measure.
Carnaval de La Vega (end of February)
According to Dominican laws most of national holidays (but not all!) have to be moved at the nearest Monday. Exact dates are announced at the beginning of each year. Approximate national holidays are the following:
01-01, 06-01, 21-01, 26-01, 27-02, Easter week, 01-05, Corpus Christi, 16-08, 24-09, 25-12, 31-12.
In addition you may want to pay attention to local festivities.
In the Dominican Republic there are some festivals that are interesting for tourists:
Month Celebrate February Carnival April Bolsa Turistica del Caribe June Festival de Musica Latina July Merengue Festival October Amber Festival
All kind of sports and recreational activities are available to watch or participate.
Gymnastic, Baseball, Basketball, Billiards, Parasailing, Adventures Sports (canyoning, rafting etc..), Races, Ride-back horses, Golf, Cockfighting, Fishing, water Sports, Polo, Tennis, Soccer, and many others. More information is available from the school secretary.
National sports are Baseball, Basketball and Boxing.
In the modern Commercial Centers it is possible to find and buy everything you may need, international or local products. In the popular market it is possible to find creole products and souvenir with the emotion of a long, loud price negotiations!
More information is available from the school secretary.
How much does it cost?
Here it is a sample of prices. Prices can vary depending on the location. We will take as an example the most economical, popular and a medium quality location.
Prices in US$
Rent a Car per day
Beach Hotel per day
Glass of rum
The insurance policy must be issued in the country where the student resides. The students, therefore, need to arrange insurance independently in their country of residence prior to traveling.
Illness and accidents: during their stay at our school students must be personally insured against illness and accident.
Robbery coverage: we suggest that our students purchase coverage for their stay in Dominican Republic.
The emergency number is : 911
All visitors to the Dominican Republic should be aware that the country has serious problems providing electricity and running water on a dependable basis. Unfortunately, shortages of electricity and water are a daily occurrence. The school will provide everyone with the information they need to reduce such inconveniences to a minimum.
Although the beaches of Juan Dolio and Boca-Chica are located within 30-40 minutes of the school by bus, their are no interesting beaches located within the capital city of Santo Domingo.
Because students requiring double rooms with two single beds are rarely housed in hotel or with families, anyone interested in such accommodations must make special arrangements in advance with the school secretary.