The white-sand beaches, impressive mountain ranges veined with spectacular rivers and waterfalls, and saltwater lakes teeming with exotic wildlife are part of the

Dominican Republic's appeal.

 

Whether looking to party, relax or explore, the Dominican Republic has a lot to offer. Steer a small boat through endless mangrove forests in search of gentle manatees. Spy on lovesick humpback whales in the Bahía de Samaná. Get back to civilization and prepare to party. The locals throw festivals, parties and carnivals. Folks in the Americas' first European city, Santo Domingo, don't just spend their time admiring the fine colonial architecture gracing their home. This town has not one, but two complete Carnivals, complete with parades, elaborate floats, live music, and dancing in the streets. Pre-Lent Carnivals are celebrated in Santiago, Cabral, Monte Cristi and La Vega as well.

 

Check out the country's two major merengue festivals, the annual Latin Music Festival and the national surfing and windsurfing championships.

Dominican Republic Vacations

 

La Romana
Punta Cana

Passport/Visa Requirements:

 

A valid passport is required to enter the Dominican Republic. No visa is required for U.S., Canadian, U.K. or Australian citizens. A tourist card valid for 60 days may be purchased in advance at a Dominican consulate or—much more conveniently—issued upon arrival at any airport. Carry US $10 in cash to buy the card (payment is accepted in U.S. dollars only). Buy the card in an airport booth before waiting in the immigration line, and keep it to present upon departure from the country.Travelers may be asked to present proof of onward passage and sufficient funds for their stay. A US $20 departure tax is also charged upon leaving the country, although this is often included in the price of a plane ticket (charter flights may also include the price of the tourist card).

 

The Dominican Embassy Web site (http://www.domrep.org) lists the latest requirements.All U.S. citizens must now have a passport for re-entry to the U.S. when traveling by air or by sea to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean (except for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.

 

Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

 

Population: 9,823,821.

 

Languages: Spanish, English.

 

Predominant Religions: Christian (Roman Catholic), Evangelical.Time Zone: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed.

 

Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. Carry surge protection for voltage irregularities.

 

Telephone Codes: 809, countrywide area code; 829 and 849 are recently added area codes being phased in primarily for cell phone and fax numbers, as well as new landline numbers;

 

 

Tourist Offices

 

Dominican Republic: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, Calle Cayetano and Avenida Gregorio Luperon, Government Building D, Santo Domingo. Phone 809-221-4660. Fax 809-682-3806. http://www.godominicanrepublic.com.

 

Canada: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, 2055 Peel Street, Montreal, QC H3A 1V4. Phone 514-499-1918. Toll-free 800-563-1611. Fax 514-499-1918.

 

U.K.: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, 18-21 Hand Court, High Holborn, London, England WC1V 6JF. Phone 20-7242-7778. Fax 20-7405-4202.

 

U.S.: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, 136 E. 57th St., Suite 803, New York, NY 10022. Phone 212-588-1012. Toll-free 888-374-6361. Fax 212-588-1015.The Dominican Republic does not have a tourist office in Australia.

Dominican Republic Embassies

 

Canada: Embassy of the Dominican Republic, 130 Albert St., Suite 418, Ottawa, ON K1P 5GA. Phone 613-569-9893. Fax 613-569-8673.

 

U.K.: Embassy of the Dominican Republic, 139 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London, England W2 6JF. Phone 20-7727-6285. Fax 20-7727-3693.

 

U.S.: Embassy of the Dominican Republic, 1715 22nd St. N.W., Washington, DC 20008. Phone 202-332-6280. Fax 202-265-8057.

 

The Dominican Republic does not have diplomatic representation in Australia.

 

Foreign Embassies serving the Dominican Republic

 

Australia: Australia is represented by its high commission in Trinidad and Tobago, 18 Herbert St., St. Clair, Port of Spain (mail address: P.O. Box 4640, St. James, Port of Spain). Phone 868-628-0695. Fax 828-622-0659.

 

Canada: Canadian Embassy, 39 Capitan Eugenio de Marchena, La Esperilla, Santo Domingo (mail address: P.O. Box 2054, Santo Domingo 1, Dominican Republic). Phone 809-685-1136. Fax 809-682-2691.

 

U.K.: British Embassy, Edificio Corominas Pepin, Ave. 27 de Febrero, No. 233, Santo Domingo. Phone 809-472-7111. Fax 809-472-7574 or 809-472-7190.U.S.:

 

U.S. Embassy, Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo. Phone 809-731-4294 or 809-221-2171. Fax 809-689-6142. The consular section is located at Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson at Maximo Gomez.

What to wear

 

Dress is casual in most of the country, but certain situations call for more conservative attire—the importance of good dress cannot be overstated. Pack plenty of loose-fitting cotton clothes. If you want to blend in, don't wear shorts in cities and save your swimsuit for the ocean or the pool. Women should cover their shoulders and knees when visiting cathedrals, or risk being turned away; this also applies to men wearing shorts.

 

If you plan to dine at nice restaurants and visit the nightclubs in Santo Domingo or Punta Cana, be sure to pack some semiformal attire (at least slacks and a collared shirt). Los dominicanos, as the residents are known, dress with class when they go out, as much as their budgets allow. Suits and ties and cocktail dresses can be left at home unless you anticipate business meetings, fine dining at classy restaurants, or a night at a classical concert.