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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Santo Domingo

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Santo Domingo each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

January 21: Altagracia Day (national holiday)

The feast day of Our Lady of Altagracia, a name for Mary, the mother of Jesus and the patron saint and protector of the Dominican people, is the most important religious holiday in the country after Christmas. Every year nearly 1 million faithful make the pilgrimage to the cathedral in the south-eastern town of Higüey, where Our Lady of Altagracia is believed to have performed a miracle. Those remaining in Santo Domingo fill the city's churches reciting prayers, singing hymns and dancing with great fervour.

January 26: Duarte Day (national holiday)

Celebrates the birth on this day in 1813 of Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the three founders of the Dominican Republic, revered as the “father” of Dominican independence from Haiti in 1844. The day is marked with ceremonies at the national pantheon, the Altar de la Patria, where Duarte is buried, profusely decorated with flowers for the occasion.

Late February: Procigar Festival (local event)

Held in Santiago, the country's second largest city, known as the “Cigar Capital of the World”, in the eastern city of La Romana and at the resort destination of Punta Cana, this six-day festival attracts cigar aficionados from around the world every year. The programme includes educational seminars and presentations on the industry, tours of tobacco factories, entertainment and leisure activities, plus plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of the world's top-rated cigars.

February 27: Independence Day (national holiday)

On this day in 1844, the Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti, its neighbour, making it the only Latin American country whose commemorations do not mark a break from European colonial rule. Celebrations include not only street parties and military parades, but carnival festivities as well since the day always falls close to the beginning of Lent.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

September 24: Feast of Our Lady of Mercy (Día de Las Mercedes, national holiday)

Celebrates the Dominican Republic's second patron saint, the Virgen de la Mercedes, who represents the country and the island of Hispaniola as a whole. Numerous religious processions mark this feast every year.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures moderated by trade winds. Summers are rather hot and nights are cool in the winter. There are two rainy seasons: the first in May and June, and the second in October and November. March is the driest month of the year.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 18/64 28/82 62/2.4 Good period to go Good period to go
February 19/66 28/82 55/2.2 Good period to go Good period to go
March 20/68 29/84 52/2.0 Good period to go Good period to go
April 22/72 30/86 65/2.6 Good period to go Good period to go
May 23/72 30/86 185/7.3 Not the best period to go
June 23/73 31/88 140/5.5 Not the best period to go
July 24/75 32/90 145/5.7 Not the best period to go
August 24/75 32/90 178/7.0 Not the best period to go
September 23/73 32/90 180/7.1 Not the best period to go
October 22/72 31/88 182/7.2 Not the best period to go
November 21/70 30/86 100/3.9 Not the best period to go
December 20/68 20/68 70/2.8 Good period to go Good period to go
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Santo Domingo Las Américas International Airport

Santo Domingo's Las Américas International Airport is located about 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal A (Air France)
    • Terminal B

Getting from the airport to Santo Domingo and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via Autopista Las Américas.
    • Both short- and long-term parking are available in the parking area opposite the terminals (DOP 40 for up to 30 minutes, DOP 960 per day).
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall.
  • By minibus
    • During daylight hours, minibuses known locally as guaguas run from the airport to the city centre. They leave from outside the second floor departures level (near the exit on the left side of the building). Be sure to look for the carro público seal on the doors. Expect to pay about DOP 150 to get to Parque Enriquillo in the city centre.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the arrivals hall, and the official ones have a brown sticker on the windshield. The trip to the city centre costs around DOP 1,500.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: : +1 809 947 2225 / +1 809 947 2297
  • Website: http://www.aerodom.com

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GETTING AROUND Santo Domingo

Getting around Santo Domingo is rather complicated. It is true that the networks of bus and guagua routes serve the entire metropolitan area, but they can often be dangerously packed at rush hours. As for the city's Metro, it only travels along a few of the major thoroughfares.

By minibus

Santo Domingo's guaguas can be very useful, especially for short distances. Most of the routes start near the parks in the centre of Santo Domingo, but drivers stop all along their routes to pick up and drop off passengers. You just need to wave to be picked up and call out to the driver in order to request a stop. Most short hops within the city cost less than DOP 20.

By bus

Apart from the guaguas, there are also many modern, air-conditioned buses operated by private companies circulating throughout the city. Fares range from about DOP 10 to DOP 15, but the buses are often unpleasantly crowded.

By rail

Opened in 2009, Santo Domingo's Metro currently has only two lines running along the city's two main thoroughfares. The first line runs from north to south along Avenida Máximo Gómez amd the second runs from east to west along Avenida Correa y Cidrón. A single ticket costs DOP 20. A rechargeable fare card, the Boleto Viajero, may be purchased for DOP 60, and must be reloaded with a minimum travel value of five rides (DOP 100). Discounts are offered for reloads of 10 or 20 rides.

By taxi

Due to the rather high fares charged, taxis are not necessarily the best mode of transport in Santo Domingo. When choosing this solution, make sure to negotiate the price before the driver sets off. All taxis in Santo Domingo are unmetered. Also make sure it is understood that the price negotiated is for all passengers in your group!

By car

Renting a car is an interesting option for getting around Santo Domingo easily.

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Visitor information

Further information available online for visitors to the Dominican Republic

Guide de voyage du tourisme en République Dominicaine

The official website maintained by the Dominican Ministry of Tourism provides a wealth of information on Santo Domingo.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

1 € = 56,35 RD$

1 RD$ = 0,02 €

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the Dominican Republic.

However, the following vaccines are recommended:

  • booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
  • typhoid, hepatitis A and B

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Drinking tap water in Santo Domingo is not recommended. It is prudent to drink bottled mineral water instead.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, foreign nationals must apply for visas before travelling to the Dominican Republic. However, the Dominican Republic has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.

To find out if you will need a visa for travel to the Dominican Republic, visit the Consular Services website of the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.consuladord.com/contenidos.aspx?cid=82&lang=ES

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Spanish phrases that will make your stay in Santo Domingo a little easier:

Good day / Good morning: ¡Buenos días!

Good afternoon / Good evening: ¡Buenas tardes!

Good evening / Good night: Buenas noches

Good-bye: Adiós. See you (later): ¡Hasta luego!

Yes:

No: No

No, thank you: No, gracias

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias

I don't understand: No entiendo.

Could you repeat that: ¿Puede repetir?

Please: Por favor

What time is it: ¿Que hora es?

Excuse me: Disculpe (to say sorry) / Con permiso (to get past) / ¡Por favor! (to get attention).

Airport: Aeropuerto

Train station: Estación de trenes

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hotel

Hospital: Hospital

Bank: Banco

Telephone: Teléfono

I'm (…): Yo soy (…).

I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…).

How much is it: ¿Cuánto es?

Do you have (…): ¿Tiene (…)?

Where can I find (…): ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (…)?

Where can I buy (…): ¿Dónde puedo comprar (…)?

I'd like (…): Quisiera (…).

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Good to know

intl. access code + 1
+ phone number (calls to Santo Domingo)
-6 : 00
of time difference with
Hamburg

Banks
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Government Offices
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
120 V / 60 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Santo Domingo, tipping is not necessarily required, although always appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. It is customary to tip about 10 percent of the bill in restaurants, bars and cafés.