I am from Ireland and I arrived smack in the middle of the pandemic, August 24, 2020, and boy was it complicated with the lockdown. The Dominican Republic has everything, but most people seem to see it as a place to visit rather than a place to live. In my case, I met a stunning Dominican lady and moved from Peru to this gorgeous Caribbean Island.
The island offers tours virtually everywhere, from camping to seeing beaches, visiting islands, and even trekking to the highest point in the Caribbean, a place called el Pico Duarte. Turisteo.do is run by some Spanish bloke, but if you want to go on tours from Santo Domingo, this is the website to look at. They are very cheap, reliable, but very Dominican, music blaring, lots of rum and cokes, but good fun!! Anyway, let’s get back to why you should visit the island!
- The Weather
The weather is fab. People always ask, “When is it summer?” Kind of a silly question as the temperature on a daily basis year-round can be very hot and even uncomfortable, but for a holiday it is great. When is the best time to visit? I suppose December to June, as the rest of the year is considered hurricane season, although this is hit and miss. It can rain for days or even minutes and then the sun comes out in between. The Dominican Republic is not prepared for tropical rain as the streets tend to convert into swimming pools, yes, literally swimming pools. Most people who visit, stay in Punta Cana, where you have all you can eat, nice beaches, and tours you can go on! But, expect to pay a lot of money.
2. The Beaches
Some of the beaches are stunning, with swimming pool-like water, transparent, warm, and a delight to swim and snorkel in. Most people think of Punta Cana, but to be honest, it is the least attractive area on the island in my opinion. Most people have never seen such stunning waters and beaches, but the island is an island and my god do they have some paradise places to visit! Boca Chica, Bahía de las Águilas, Catalina and Saona Islands, Sosua beach, just a few to mention. Check out the photos below.
3. The Food
Banana and plantain are the main products on the Island. Their main breakfast is called Mangú. It contains puree plantain with fried cheese (it’s really good) salami, fried egg(s), and avocado. Seems strange but give it a go. The second one is Sancocho, which is a soupy dish with tuber vegetables, chicken, beef, and pork. It is also really good and full of calories, so best to have it for lunch. Piña Colada is the typical cocktail, however, it is very hard to find a place that prepares it from scratch, mostly prepared stuff and does not taste good, give Sangria a go though. The typical beer is the national beer called Presidente! Get one of these, really nice when it is hot out. If in Santo Domingo, the best place to visit is the Zona Colonial. They have many restaurants to suit all budgets and it is stunning! Rum and coke cocktail is the preferred Dominican drink, especially at parties when they buy it by the bottle. Mama Juana is considered to be the “viagra” of the country, made out of rum, honey, red wine with tree bark, and herbs. Yummy stuff, usually drunk as a shot, and a few shots, men tend to get hot! lol
4. Learn Spanish
From my experience, Dominicans are very friendly people who get along well with foreigners and try to speak English if they can help one out if they don’t understand something. Making friends here is a little challenging I have found, but there are sports clubs, gyms, and tours you can go on and make friends, learn some Spanish and do very Dominican things. I lived in Spain for 8 years, and Peru for 6 and I was already fluent in Spanish before coming here so the adaptation period for me was smooth and I can speak and understand Spanish. Two years on I am still living here. The place is expensive, but it is a beautiful island, looks small on a map but there are so many stunning places to visit and enjoy!
There is so much you can do here in the DR. It really depends on your budget, what you want to see and where you want to go. Typical “gringo” hotspots are Las Terrenas, Sosua, Cabarete, Santo Domingo, La Romana, and of course Punta Cana. I will slowly but surely start doing a post once in a while, with updated information on places to visit, what to do, expected prices, and anything I deem necessary for people to know or do!