The Dominican Republic for $1000 for Two: Day 1. Getting to know the country

How much money to take to the Dominican Republic

Your budget for a trip to the Dominican Republic depends on the type of tour. In this article we will detail how much to take for a tour AI (“All Inclusive”), and how much money you need for the tour BB (“Just Breakfast”) or RO (“No meals”).

Meaty delicacies at the buffet

According to accounts of experienced tourists, Dominican All Inclusive quality surpasses Egypt, and Turkey, and even Tunisia. Tourists are offered good rum “Brugal” and good beer “Presidente”.

The assortment of dishes on the buffet even in 3-star hotels is decent. In the photo on the right you can see the range of meat delicacies, click on the photo to enlarge. Such a variety in Turkey and Egypt can be found only in the most expensive hotels.

If you bought an All Inclusive tour, then there is no need to eat extra food outside the hotel. You can forget about these expenses.

All Inclusive costs

Tourists have two main expense items on AI: excursions and souvenirs. However, some tourists go only for the sea, the beach, the sun lounger and the sun, and do not plan to go out of the hotel. In this case the costs are limited to souvenirs, and may not exist at all.

In any case, take $100 to cover unexpected costs. For example, in the store will fancy some souvenir, or want to tip your favorite waiter or bartender.

Remember! If there are health problems, the insurance does not cover the entire cost of medical services. The insurance only covers the amount above $30, and these $30 the tourist must pay for himself. This system is called “deductible”, all the insurance in the package tours necessarily with a deductible.

Prices for tours

The Dominican Republic – a small country, from Punta Cana in the east to the border with Haiti in the west is only 340 kilometers. Expensive excursions do not happen here.

A tour of the island of Saona is beautiful

A popular excursion to the island of Saona costs $ 70-90 dollars for an adult and 50-70 per child. It is one of the most expensive, but also the most interesting. See the photo on the left, click on the photo to enlarge. In most cases, this tour includes a seafood dinner and alcoholic beverages, which affects the price.

A trip to see Altos de Chavon costs $30-50 for an adult and $20-30 for a child.

A trip to Manatee Park costs $20-30 and $15-20. But it is much easier and more convenient to get here from hotels in popular resorts by their company bus or by cab.

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A sightseeing tour of Santa Domingo with a visit to the Columbus Lighthouse costs $90-100 and $65-80.

Gifts and souvenirs

The most popular gift from the Dominican Republic for tourists is coffee. The average price per pound is 230-250 Dominican pesos. The most common way to measure weight in the Dominican Republic is by the pound, not by the kilo. One pound = 0,45 kg. See our page “Dominican peso” for the current exchange rate.

Dominican amber.

Cigars cost from $3 each. Buying cheaper is not recommended.

The famous Dominican rum Brugal can cost and 5 dollars, and 25, and 125, depending on the variety. As a gift, we recommend the medium variant Brugal Extra Viejo from $25 a bottle. Read more in our article “Dominican Spirits”.

If you decide to buy jewelry made of amber (especially blue amber) or larimar stone, such a purchase is unlikely to fit into the budget. Such a purchase should be planned separately. Decent pieces of larimar and amber cost from $100 and up.

Costs without All Inclusive

The main cost items for tourists in this case: food, water and soft drinks, alcohol.

Meals at cafes and restaurants

A meal at a café or fast-food place costs 300-400 pesos. For example, a Big Mac combo lunch at McDonald’s costs 330 pesos.

At a restaurant, a two-course lunch or dinner with dessert and soft drinks would cost 700-1200 pesos, depending on the level of the restaurant.

Eating in stores

If you can cook, the item of expenditure on food will decrease several times. Prices for food in the Dominican Republic are slightly higher than in Russia.

Rice, potatoes and pasta cost about 50 pesos per kilo. Chicken – 250 pesos, beef – 350 pesos, cheese – 350-450 pesos per kilo. Apples, bananas and other fruits – 40-60 pesos per kilo.

Fruit in a supermarket in Santo Domingo

Note that in hot tropical climates food spoils very quickly. Do not pack large quantities, and pay attention to the expiration dates when buying food in stores. Use the same day for meat, especially chicken, when you buy it.

Drinks

A 1.5 or 2 liter bottle of water in the store costs 20-30 pesos. A can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi costs about 30 pesos. A cup of coffee at a cafe costs between 70 and 100 pesos.

This expense item should not be underestimated. Dominican Republic is a hot country, you will be thirsty all the time. We recommend to buy water in large bottles, 5 liters is better, take soda in a store by 1.5-2 liters. It will be much cheaper that way. A 0.33 can of cola is 30 pesos, a 2 liter bottle is only 70-80.

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Alcohol

For beer lovers we recommend the All Inclusive only. In the store for a bottle of 0,5 liters you will pay 80-100 pesos, in Russia beer is 2 times cheaper. Beer on tap in pubs and cafes is 200-300 pesos per 0,5 liter.

Souvenir Shop

Preferring strong alcohol is easier, the bottle of demolition rum 0,5-liter costs 5 dollars, in Russia now even the best vodka costs more dearly.

Cigarettes

A pack of local cigarettes costs from 100 to 200 pesos. Now we will not elaborate on this subject, better read our article “Cigarettes and smoking in the Dominican Republic.

Important note!

Prices may vary from resort to resort. If the resort is small with only a couple of stores, merchants may jack up prices. Tourists have nothing to compare, they take inflated prices at face value.

If you see unexpectedly high prices in the store, get a cab and go to the nearest large town, where there is a normal store. Cab prices in the Dominican Republic are reasonable, read our review “Taxis in the Dominican Republic.”

How much money to take?

– If the tour is All Inclusive, and you are not interested in excursions, and you only need the sea and the sun. Take $100 for contingencies, tips and payment of the insurance deductible.

– If the tour is All Inclusive, but you want to see the sights and buy gifts. Take $ 200 per person to pay for excursions, $ 100 for gifts and souvenirs, and $ 100 for contingencies.

– If the tour is not All Inclusive. Take extra money for food at the rate of $ 40 per day per person, a budget option “without the chic. If you want to eat a variety of high-quality food in a restaurant, take $ 70 a day per person.

Have a nice holiday in the Dominican Republic, and read our other interesting articles about this country (links below).

Going to the Dominican Republic

Nika Savchak is a polyglot and foreign language teacher. She has lived in New York for five years, travels to hot countries and is preparing for a big trip to Asia. She went on a long trip to Central America in the winter and has already told us how she discovered another face of El Salvador, “the most dangerous country in the world.” The new story is a ready recipe for a self-guided trip to the Dominican Republic, which included the colonial capital and trendy bachata-dancing towns, beautiful bays, waterfalls among the jungle, and even a chance encounter with the crew of the “Last Hero” analog.

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Many people have a slightly dismissive attitude toward the Dominican Republic: as if it were like Turkey, but further away and more exotic. There you can take beautiful pictures from your honeymoon and seal yourself on a popular beach in Punta Cana, drinking cheap rum.

I have not been to a hotel in Punta Cana. But I was in the real Dominican Republic: walking through the ugly Duarte market of its capital, cooking bananas in a tin bowl for mangoes in the tiny kitchen of my Dominican acquaintance; sharing a shuttle bus with Haitians in the south. I didn’t see all-inclusive hotels, but I saw children playing with plastic bottles in the dusty streets of Dominican towns; I saw skinny dogs crossing the road and sleeping in the shade of palm leaves; I talked about life with a black woman my age who was missing some teeth but had several children. I didn’t eat “European breakfasts,” but I ate fried bananas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drank strong country coffee. I saw Dominican mountains and coves with azure-colored water. I saw a godforsaken paradise-what else could I call a place of such unearthly beauty and such earthly despair?

Behind the facade of one of the tourist meccas of the Caribbean hides a country with a past and a present far removed from the carefree pictures in the travel campaign brochures. Read Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel The Feast of the Goat and watch documentaries about the Dominican Republic’s relationship with its island neighbor, Haiti, and you’ll see what I mean. Di-Ar (that’s what the locals call their country) is much deeper than the bayou of the popular island of Saona.

Planes fly to the Dominican Republic regularly from most of the world. I, on the other hand, sailed to Di Ar by ship from Puerto Rico (ticket price $100). At the port I paid a fee of $10, got my visa stamped for thirty days, and without any problems embarked on a ten-day solo trip through this controversial Caribbean country. The Dominican Republic is not a popular destination for independent travelers. But, oddly enough, it’s easy enough to travel there solo! The island is well-developed public transport of all kinds. The so-called “tourist shuttles” I have not seen (although they certainly exist in the most popular places like Punta Cana), but there are large comfortable buses that travel long distances – they, along with the usual buses, and I moved around.

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Itinerary: Capital Santo Domingo – Eagle Cove – Puerto Plata and Cabarete – the Samaná Peninsula

“I didn’t eat ‘European breakfasts,’ but I ate fried bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner and drank strong country coffee.”

The capital of Santo Domingo

The capital, Di-Ar, frankly, was not to my liking at all. It’s a big, chaotic, rather insecure city with nothing much to see except the historic colonial center. Two days is more than enough time.

I stayed in one of the sleeping areas of the city with a host via couchsurfing, where I tasted all the pleasures of ordinary Dominican life in the form of tropical cockroaches in the kitchen and cold water in the shower. But you can find hotels and hostels in the historic city center for any wallet. Do not even think to settle somewhere on the outskirts – all the attractions are in the center. And they are quite a lot, because no matter how you look at it, Santo Domingo – this is one of the oldest Caribbean cities, which is inextricably linked to the history of the conquest of America. And while the city outside the center and business districts are dilapidated shuttles, crowded cabs, spontaneous markets, gas stations, and brothels, the historic center is the place to make a movie. A fairy tale about pirates, conquerors and sailors, because every building there has its own story, and sometimes it’s not clear where it ends and where fiction begins.

Walking around the center, you will come across the Alcázar de Colón (Alcázar de Colón, Plaza de España, Calle La Atarazana 2), which originally belonged to the son of Christopher Columbus and for 60 years was the headquarters of the Spanish conquests of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Cuba, Peru, Jamaica and Colombia! It is now home to a historical museum and admission is $10. The museum contains furniture and household items that once belonged to the Columbus family, clothing and jewelry, and paintings from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Although many pieces of furniture are replicas, they perfectly capture the spirit of the era of conquest and give an accurate picture of how the wealthiest of the conquistadors lived.

The photogenic ruins in the city center are the remains of the very first hospital in the New World, built in the early 16th century (Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, Calle Hostos 356) . This building later served as a “template” for the construction of other hospitals in Spanish America. It survived many historic events, pirate attacks, revolutions, but an earthquake in 1908 almost completely destroyed it and for more than a century it has remained standing, inhabited only by pigeons.

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The most impressive cathedral is the Catedral Primada de las Americas (Calle Isabel La Católica) which is the oldest in the western hemisphere. It is where the remains of Columbus were found at the end of the 19th century. Unfortunately, not a single object from the time of the Basilica’s construction has remained inside: the most famous pirate of the Middle Ages, Drake, used it as his headquarters during the occupation of Santo Domingo. It is not difficult to guess that all the property of the cathedral was looted and the cathedral itself was vandalized by its temporary occupants.Now the service in the cathedral is held every day at 5 p.m.

The remains of Columbus are no longer in this basilica; you have to go to another part of the city to get them. There, on the periphery, in the huge monument Faro A Colon (Calle Luperón 2) stands the tomb of the most famous discoverer in history. From the outside the mausoleum is a rather ugly gray concrete building in the best traditions of mausoleums, but inside it looks more like a Catholic cathedral. The body of Columbus drifted for centuries between Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. And about one hundred and fifty years ago, a worker working on the restoration of the building found an unremarkable box that was signed “Mr. Columbus.” Naturally, the Dominican Republic happily claimed that these remains were the true remains of Christopher Columbus. But neither they nor the remains stored in Seville, Spain, have yet been subjected to DNA analysis, so the story remains shrouded in mystery to this day.

In addition to these classic sights, I recommend stopping by the Resistance Museum (Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana) . It is a museum about the years of rule of the brutal Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The modern Dominican Republic owes a lot to him, both good and bad. In the museum, you’ll see photos, videos, and newspapers about that dark period of Dominican history and the people who fought against the tyrant’s dictatorship. Admission costs $2, and for a small additional fee you will be given an audio guide, which I highly recommend taking – it will help deepen your understanding of the museum’s information.

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