Airport tips

One piece of information that will ease your travels to the island, is that you will need to purchase a tourist card at the airport upon arrival (unless you are a resident or citizen of the Dominican Republic).  The tourist card is basically a entry and exit tax - and must be paid in U.S. currency.  Currently, the card is $15 per person (as of May 2010), for a tourist stay of 30 days or less.  A second document is the customs form, that will be usually passed out by your airline before arrival.


Traveling with Children

The U.S. Embassy recommends - but does not require - any child under 18 traveling without one or both parents, to have a notarized document from the non-traveling parent(s) stating the reason for travel. This notarized letter will be a good 'back up' upon leaving the island too. Minors under 18 years of age of any nationality, who are RESIDENTS of the Dominican Republic MUST present written authorization from a parent or legal guardian in Spanish notarized by a Dominican consulate in the U.S., or notarized & then certified at the at the Dominican Attorney General's office on-island (locally known as the Procuraduria de la Republica).


Check your Passport

When you first start to plan for your trip to Puerto Plata, check the expiration date of your passport, and if necessary, send it in for renewal. This process can take a few weeks. U.S. citizens need a passport for entry & exit, as do most citizens of foreign countries visiting the island.
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Unless your hotel has already accounted for gratuities, tipping various employees is expected, depending on the amount and quality of the service. Here's a general guide:
- Bellhop - USD$1 to $2 per bag (extra if bags are heavy or cumbersome)..
- Room Service - 15 percent or at least USD$2, unless gratuity is included.
- Valet - USD$1 to $2 each time you request your car.
- Housekeeping - USD$1 to $2 per night (extra for upscale hotels or if room was particularly messy).


Local Artist at Work

For a more memorable and richer travel experience, immerse yourself in the local culture. Break away from the tour group, and talk one-on-one with the locals. Be friendly with your hotel staff, and seek information from them on what the locals do for entertainment. A smile opens the door!



Be careful how much money you choose to exchange into Dominican pesos while on the island. Travelers are only allowed to change back up to 30% of one's pesos for foreign currency upon departure. You will be given exchange receipts each time you change money during your stay, so keep them if you need to change back for dollars, pounds, etc!


What To Wear

Dress in Puerto Plata is casual. Pack plenty of loose-fitting cotton clothes. A hat will protect you against the tropical sun. If you want to blend in, don't wear shorts in the city, although young Dominicans may wear them nowadays. And save your swimsuit for the ocean or the pool. Like most other Latino societies, the Dominican Republic tends to be formal, and the importance of good dress cannot be overstated.
If you plan to dine at nice restaurants in Puerto Plata, be sure to include some semiformal attire and prepare for chilly air-conditioning. Los Dominicanos, as the residents are known, dress with style when they go out. Men can wear slacks and a collared shirt, and women wear cocktail dresses. If you are planning an excursion into the mountains, take a sweater and a jacket.



The North Coast of the Dominican Republic offers you an array of vacation and travel experiences. One of the best reasons for visiting is the friendliness of the locals, and discovering the unique and contagious Dominican approach to life. The laid back and relaxing atmosphere of the culture matches the enviable warm weather Puerto Plata enjoys year-round. You can also expect to experience the national music and dance of the island - merengue! An easy dance to learn, the merengue dance and music beckons you to happily dance away your nights at the area's bars and clubs. Another surprise you will find is the relative value Puerto Plata offers. Due to the growth in tourism and favorable exchange rates, you can expect to find your money going a long way. There is a spectrum of hotel and resort options to suit different budgets, and many shopping options. Expect to bargain in local stores, but you will find fixed prices in larger stores, and at the airport. You can also expect to set your own pace when you arrive - choose to relax your days away on the beaches, or pursue the intense experiences of adventure tourism. For example, whale watching is an option during January - March, and white water river rafting, diving, and windsurfing are available year-round.


Casa Colonial Beach & Spa

Most travelers spend hours finding the perfect airline ticket, but only minutes to research a hotel room, often going with the lowest price option.
While price is a universal factor, remember that the most important factor is your satisfaction!



Traveling with Pets

The Department of Animal Health requires the following documentation:

Cats and Dogs
Health certificate issued no more than 15 days prior the arrival date.

b. Anti-rabies vaccine, triple vacinne (distemper, lectopirosis, hepatitis) and Parvo-virus vacinne certificates showing inoculations 15 days prior to arrival date.

For more information please call the Department of Animal Health at (809)549-1302



Learn a few essential terms in the native language of Puerto Plata. For example, in Spanish 'Hola!' means 'hello', and 'gracias' means 'thank you'.
Other essential words such as food (comida), water (agua), restroom (baño), etc. should also be learned. Not only will the natives appreciate your effort, your trip will be more enjoyable in learning a new language and culture! Also, it can really help to get around easier!


Watch your weight

Do you gain weight on vacations? Many people do since they eat out in restaurants. Here are some tips for eating healthy on any vacation.

1. Don't go starving. Have a snack before you go out to eat.

2. Ask the manager for suggestions on healthier options on the menu.

3. Order the portion size you want. They may even discount your meal, but at least you won't overdo it!