We have prepared some FAQ’s for you to get to know our beautiful home country of the Dominican Republic and some of the most important information.
What are the entry requirements for visiting the Dominican Republic?
Most foreign visitors must have a passport and purchase a Tourist card at the airport for $10.00 USD when they arrive. Citizens of certain countries may need a visa. To confirm your individual situation, it is best to contact the Dominican Republic Embassy or Consulate in your country.
How long am I allowed to stay as a visitor?
Each country usually has an individual agreement with the Dominican Republic on this issue, and the necessary documents. Generally, most individuals are permitted to stay 60-90 days with a Tourist card or visa.
Are there any fees for my arrival or departure?
As mentioned before, for those requiring a Tourist card, that is purchased on arrival at the airport for $10.00 USD presently. There is a $20.00 USD departure tax that must be paid prior to leaving. Some airlines include this tax in their ticket prices. It’s wise to check with your airline.
Do I need a return flight ticket?
All non-residents should purchase a round trip ticket to indicate that they intend to depart the country.
Which airport should I choose for my arrival in Sosua?
The most convenient airport is the Gregorio Luperon International Airport (POP) which is a quick 10 minute drive from town. Another possibility is the Santiago Airport (STI) which provides additional options. It is a longer 1.5 hour drive from the area.
What type of currency should I bring?
The local currency is the Dominican Republic Peso or RD. U.S. dollars are the most easily exchangeable; however British Pounds, Euros, Canadian dollars, and others can be exchanged for pesos at the applicable daily rate. Currency exchange and banking transactions are available at a number of local banks within walking distance. The exchange rate at present is approximately $36.00 RD per $1.00 USD
Banco Santa Cruz – www.bancosantacruz.com.do – 809-571-2222
Banco Popular – www.bpd.com.do – 809-571-2555
Banco De Reservas – www.banreservas.com.do – 809-320-3407
Banco Progresso – www.progreso.com.do – 809-571-2815
Banco Leon – www.leon.com.do – 809-571-1204
Scotiabank – www.scotiabank.com/do – 809-200-7268
What is the local time zone of the Dominican Republic?
The entire country lies in the Atlantic Standard Time zone (AST) which is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC) minus 4 hours. The country does not follow any Daylight Savings time shift. Therefore in the spring and summer when the east coast of North America is on Daylight Savings Time (EDT), the time is the same. During the fall and winter when that area reverts back to Eastern Standard Time (EST), it is one hour later in the Dominican Republic than it is there.
What are the requirements for longer stays or relocating to the Dominican Republic?
For those who intend to stay longer than is allowed by their Tourist card or visa, residency status should be obtained through the Immigration Authority in the Capital of Santo Domingo. The first step is to obtain temporary residency that is valid for one year. At the end of that first year, a second procedure will convert that to permanent residency status which will be renewable every two years. The associated procedures are handled by lawyers in the country.
What medical facilities are in the area?
In the Sosua there is a brand new state of the art hospital CMC Sosua. The facility and staffing are competitive with North American facilities of its size.24/7, ambulance service etc. is a call away. In Cabarete the Servi-Med center is available 24 hours a day for emergency medical assistance. A well equipped private clinic, Clinica Bournigal is located in Puerto Plata 30 minutes away. Other excellent medical services are available in Santiago about 1.5 hours drive from Sosua.
CMC Sosua – 809-571-4696
Servi-Med Sosua/ Cabarete – 809-571-2903
Clinica Bournigal Puerto Plata – 809-586 2342
Clinica Corominas Santiago – 809-580-1171
Clinica Union Medica Santiago – 809-241-0328
Is medical insurance available?
Yes. There are reputable professionals in the area that can provide information about global health insurance policies for coverage both in the country and elsewhere throughout the world including the U.S.
Are vaccinations required to move to the Dominican Republic?
Presently, there are no necessary vaccinations prior to moving to the area.
Can I bring my pet to the Dominican Republic?
Yes, there are procedures that are fairly straight forward for the transport of dogs and cats into the country. Birds require a quarantine period and are not recommended for shorter stays. Pets are generally allowed, however there are some guidelines regarding containment and walking in common areas.
Do I need to speak/understand Spanish?
You can get by without since many people working in the tourism related businesses whether Dominican or foreign understand some English, and possibly other languages such as German, French, Italian, etc. Usually with a little kind effort on the part of both parties, you will get by just fine. Learning a few key words and phrases can be fun. It can also provide extra enjoyment in your experience by providing a better opportunity to communicate with local people. Dominicans definitely appreciate those who make an attempt to speak their language and are generally helpful in assisting with your efforts.
For more formalized Spanish language education there are good language schools in Sosua.
What are the bilingual educational options in the area?
Schools in Sosua range from free public schools, to private institutions teaching a U.S. curriculum in English. Classes in private schools are normally taught in English but are bilingual and usually attended by children of many nationalities. Students must meet a certain level of English fluency for entrance. Tuition varies considerably with the maximum between $2100-$5300 USD per academic year depending on the age of the student. Additional charges may apply for lunches, uniforms, books, and materials.
Schools that are accredited by the Dominican Ministry of Education offer certificates that are valid for entrance to Dominican, European, and U.S. universities. However, those planning to attend higher education in the U.S. may wish to attend a school that has been accredited by the U.S. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Those interested in studying in Europe should consider a school where the International Baccalaureate curriculum is used. Only the International School of Sosua is accredited by SACS.
International School of Sosua – 809-571-3271
The Learning Center – 809-571-0478
Garden Kids – 809-571-2857
Is Sosua safe?
Yes, but there can be dangerous areas in every town, city, and country in the world. International statistics have shown that many other areas of the world in the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe have crime statistics that exceed those in the Dominican Republic. Poverty is a predominant cause of criminal activity throughout the world. Common sense goes a long way in contributing to your safety. This means not leaving valuables unattended, wearing flashy articles, visibly displaying large quantities of cash and avoiding more isolated areas especially at night.
Ocean swells can be much larger in the winter months of December through March creating bigger waves, a larger shore break and stronger undertow. The summer months tend to have smaller swells resulting in calmer and safer ocean conditions. Many water sport activities can be enjoyed or arranged right from those beaches; snorkeling, sailing, water skiing, body boarding, wind surfing, ocean kayaking and others.
Glass Bottom Boat
Boat tours are available in the area to allow the entire family to view the underwater habitat through the crystal clear water.
Many opportunities abound all around the Sosua area to enjoy kayaking the gorgeous tropical coastline when conditions allow.
A short walk from the property, are two excellent dive centers. Please visit their web sites for additional information. At Sosua by the Sea Hotel www.northcoastdiving.com , and Casa marina Reef Hotel www.aqua-center.com and Hippocampo Dive Center www.hippocampo.com
Surfing and Boogie Boarding
Most of the traditional surfing and boogie boarding is enjoyed at Playa Encuentro.
One of the kite boarding capitals of the world is Cabarete Beach. Cabarete is a 15 minute drive from Sosua. Kite boarding is an exciting sport which requires the proper training and is available right there on the beach.
Wakeboarding and Water Skiing in Cabarete
These activities are available on rivers and ocean areas where the conditions have been deemed safe for these sports.
Horseback Riding in Sosua and Cabarete
Riding the local trails and beaches can be a pleasurable activity for the entire family. Many of the operators Creole horses are known for their tame good nature.
Equestrian Center at Sea Horse Ranch
Tours are generally available Mon.-Sat. at 9 AM and 3 PM. Sundays upon request. Phone: 809-571-4462 . It is a 5 minute drive away.
Equestrian treks can be arranged ranging from 1- 4 hours. Phone: 809-571-1373 . The ranch is a 10 minute drive east towards Cabarete.
Mountain biking and bike rentals are easy to arrange. The Cabarete area is a paradise for this activity due to its miles of dirt tracks and mule trails.
El Choco National Park/ Laguna Cabarete y Goleta
This lush and protected area was designated a national park in 1992. It consists of pastures, a lagoon and jungle area. There are tropical plants, exotic birds, fresh water springs and caves that have been dissolved out of solid rock. The entrance is 2 km from Cabarete. Anywhere from a couple hours to an entire day can be spent enjoying the area. It is recommended to visit with a guide to provide detailed information and directions.
Islabon Jungle River Tours
The tour departs from Islabon which is 5 km east of Cabarete. This tour allows kids of all ages to explore the river by boat. A walk down the jungle trails to a mini zoo complete with iguanas, snakes, turtles, North American Crocodiles and ravens adds to the fun and excitement.
Fun City Action Park
This go kart racing park is 2 km east of Puerto Plata. It has tracks and several types of cars. Go karts, sprint, midget and grand prix style. There is a restaurant/ snack bar onsite and hours are generally from 10 AM-8 PM.
Columbus Water Park
This water slide attraction is 2 km west of Sosua and the largest of its kind in the Caribbean. The park has several different types of slides, as well as pools. There are also restaurants and shops. Hours are typically 10 AM- 5 PM.
Oceanworld Marine and Water Park
This marine park is located 5 km west of Puerto Plata in the resort area of Cofresi. It has the world’s largest dolphin lagoon, the only sea lion encounter of its kind, and the world’s first shark interaction pool. All of this along with tropical fish, reptiles, exotic birds, and even tigers.
Golfing enthusiasts have a number of available options. Most famous is the spectacular “Playa Grande Golf Course” just 50 minutes away. This “Robert Trent Jones, Sr.” signature course is world renowned for its 12 ocean front holes that have earned it the nickname “Pebble Beach of the Caribbean” The course plays along high ocean bluffs and hills that provide breathtaking views of the ocean below. To provide both challenge and enjoyment for a variety of levels, tee choices produce course lengths from 4488 to over 7000 yards .
A bit closer to home, 25 minutes in the opposite direction is the “Playa Dorada Golf Course” designed by the same golf course architect to be an 18 hole par 72 course.
Presently in the planning stages is the Sea Horse Ranch Golf Course. It is being designed in the beautiful rolling hills of the Choco area of Cabarete. The 18 hole par 72 course will challenge even pro level golfers in the beautiful green hills complete with panoramic ocean views.
The Damajagua area is located 30 km to the west and has an area consisting of 27 waterfalls ranging from .5 to 15 meters in height. A 30 minute hike will take you to the first of the waterfalls you may climb. The ability to proceed from there is dependent upon one’s skill and fitness level. It is advisable to arrange your trip to the area with a tour operator.
From late January through March of each year, thousands of North Atlantic Humpback Whales migrate to the Samana Bay region of the North Coast of the Dominican Republic several hours east of Sosua. Boat tour operators will take you out into the bay to get as close as is safe to watch these incredible large marine mammals frolic in the sea. Despite their size, Humpbacks are one of the most active and acrobatic of the whale species.
How are the communication, electrical and transportation systems on the north coast of the Dominican Republic?
How is the communication system in the Dominican Republic?
The main telephone service providers on the island are Codetel and Tricom which have offices found in most major towns, cities and tourist areas. Cellular phones in the Dominican Republic operate on 1900 MHZ, the same frequency as those in the U.S. The rest of the world including Europe operates on 1800 MHZ. Internet service is generally available throughout the more populated areas of the country. It is available in private residences, some hotels, and at internet cafes.
What is the electricity voltage in the Dominican Republic?
Generally, the electricity operates at 110 volts like in North America. However, voltage irregularities are quite common sometimes providing less or surges of far more. It is recommended to use surge protectors or voltage regulators for expensive electronics and computers. Most residences provide both 110 and 220 volts with two independently operating 400 KW power plants with full voltage regulation.
Can I rent a vehicle in the Dominican Republic?
Yes, there are a variety of rental agencies to choose from at the airport or in Sosua. You can find more information in the “Yellow Pages”. To rent a car; you need your passport, and driver’s license. As a permanent resident you would need a local driver’s license which is easy to obtain. There are also local taxis and busses that can provide transportation should you desire not to drive.
What is the weather like in Sosua?
The Dominican Republic climate is semi-tropical and the average yearly temperature is 77 F (25 C). During the summer, the high temperatures range from 89 F ( 31 C ) to 95 F ( 35 C ), while in the winter months 75 F ( 24 C ) to 90 F ( 32 C ). Traditionally August is the hottest month and January is the coolest. There can be two rainy times on the island, one in late spring and one in the fall.
What is the best time to visit Sosua?
Sosua is a year round vacation destination, so anytime is a good time. The majority of visitors from North America and Europe come to the area from December through April seeking a warm tropical break from the cold environments in their countries during that time of the year. During the summer months, visitors are mainly from European countries.
Is the Dominican Republic affected by hurricanes?
The North Coast of the Dominican Republic has historically been one of the safer areas of the country and Caribbean with respect to hurricanes. As a matter of fact, there has not been a major hurricane of category 3 or higher in the actual statistics.