My husband and I will be traveling to Dominican Republic this December for a week, will fly to Santo Domingo (De Las Americas Intl Airport) and stay in a hotel in Juan Dolio. Can anyone give us advise on
1. how to get to the hotel from the airport? Are there shuttle buses or public transportation (buses/trains, etc)? What would be the cost if taking a taxi? How easy (and safe) to drive around if we rent a car?
2. any recommendations on where to go and what to see, in addition to the beaches?
3. In addition to our passports, is the entry card obtained at the Airport upon arrival the only documents we need in order to enter and travel in the country? (We are U.S. citizens)
4. Any advise on traveling in Dominican Republic would be helpful in planing our upcoming trip.
Thanks in advance!
Hey, I saw this post really late at night, when the power finally came back on. Urm... I will try to answer tomorrow morning Just wanted to let you know I saw it...
Hi, Theforce: I am waiting for your further reply....and have some additional questions.
I just get aware of the powerful tropical storm Noel that has caused deadly damage in DR including the area we are about to visit next month. I wonder if such kind of storm could hit the area in December, and how the area can be recovered from the damages in order to accommodate the tourists.
Any info will be appreciated.
Hey, sorry... power outs kept me from answering sooner!!
First of, to soothe your worries: The area around Santo Domingo and everything east of there barely saw any damage from the storm. All tourist areas are up and ready to go. Most of the damage was in the SW part of the island: and that was mainly agricultural/crop damage. Most of the death toll was also from those areas.
Such a storm has been a first in our history: this amount of rain for such a long period of time hasn't been on record for a hundred years, even counting other hurricanes. So, I doubt very much such a storm would happen again, and we'll definitely be watching. Besides, hotels are the sturdiest buildings around...
Your previous post:
1) Usually the hotel provides a shuttle for its guests. What is your hotel's name, and did you make reservations? I could call them and ask.
A taxi will charge you 700 pesos at most. (around 21 dollars). Renting is a good idea. In fact, you can reserve a car for when you get here. Go on Avis.com and reserve it.
2) What to see depends a lot on your tastes! Go to www.dr1.com and you'll see recommendations on what to see at each town: http://www.dr1.com/travel/index.shtml (Juan Dolio is there, I also recommend La Romana)
3) Passport and entry cards are everything you will need. If you can, make color copies of each one and present those to any police/officer that wishes to see them. Though if I were a cop I wouldn't want to mess with the American Embassy! So, make sure you have the embassy's emergency number at hand.
4) Just be alert. It is not any more dangerous here than in, say, New York... but the poverty here might shock you a bit. You don't HAVE to tip anyone, and if you do keep the tips smallish. (especially airport ppl). Don't trust anyone and make sure you know where they're taking you/are at all times
5) Visit DR1.com for info. It is a very well done and useful site. The forums are very populated and all the info in it is DR specific.
I hope this helps. It would be my pleasure to provide more info if you want it!
- Juan Morey
Thank you very much for the detailed reply. I found the website www.dr1.com very helpful, thanks for the information.
Regarding the taxi from airport to hotel upon arrival, is it necessary to reserve one before we arrive, or should we just take one from the taxi stands (if any) out side of the airport arrival terminal? Are there anything we should know as for taking a taxi in DR? - we don't speak Spanish, so I guess we will need to prepare a paper with our hotel/town's name written, so that the driver will know where to take us? (BTW, can language be a problem during our stay if we don't speak Spanish?)
Upon arrival at the Santo Domingo International Airport, how long it usually takes to go through the border/customs? Our flight will arrive around 3pm, I guess by the time we are through, it will be quite late?
Sorry that I may have asked questions that were asked before by others, this is our first time to visit DR. Any feedback will be appreciated.
Oh gosh, you posted 6 days ago and no reply from me yet!
I had thought I would be emailed to know you replied. Sorry.
You don't need to reserve a cab. There's usually too many. They will speak moderate to bad English - so a written address is a good idea. In fact, just the Hotel name would do it.
The language barrier shouldn't be there. The hotel staff will know a little English... in fact, it might be annoying, since sellers will try to attract your attention with English shouting
Customs won't take long - collecting your baggage might be longer. Luck of the draw I guess... anyways, you should be out within 20 minutes. Don't act lost, just head for all the exits unless they call you to inspect baggage etc... you might get through all the screens. Heh...
No problem at all for the info! Thanks for visiting our country
Anything else, don't hesitate to ask. I subscribed to the thread (D'oh!)
The info is very helpful, thanks very much. Here are more (as we are getting closer to the trip...)
1. For getting through the customs upon arrival, I guess we'll buy our DR entry card as we pass the customs?
2. As I am exploring the excursions when in Juan Dolio, I wonder if any specific tours are recommended (I am not an adventurous type of person, and I don't swim). We are considering the half- or full day tour in Santo Domingo, and one or two other tours to the islands. Any suggestions? BTW, we decide not to rent a car.
3. We know the general rules for staying safe, but any particular safety tips we should know when in DR - any particular places we should avoid going when in Juan Dolio?
Hey again! See, I replied much faster this time :P
1. You'll buy it as you go through customs... on the right hand side as you line up in customs. (Note, when I passed by 10 months ago).
2. Guided tours available and recommended are: Jeep Safaris, Santo Domingo City Tour and Half Day Tour, Santo Domingo Night Tour, Altos De Chavon artists village/River boat ride, Cueva Fun (and its seven-kilometer long underground river), Los Haitises and the mangroves park, Saona and Catalina Island.
I highly recommend the Altos de Chavon one, Los Haitises, and one of the islands!!
3. Juan Dolio is a fairly safe area, you shouldn't run into much trouble. No special tips, I suppose... I can recommend not looking like tourists, but that would be hard to do!
Thanks for the reply - the info is greatly appreciated, and very helpful.
I will continue to post questions when they arise as I prepare for our trip.