Electrical current is 110 volts, 60 Hz. American-style
two-pin flat blade plugs are standard.
Spanish is the official language, but English is spoken
in the main tourist centres.
Hotels and restaurants generally include a 10% service charge as
well as tax, but additional tips should be given for good service
as often the charge does not go to the staff who provided the
service. Waiters usually receive 10% extra for good service. For
other services including taxi drivers, tipping is discretionary
depending on the service provided.
Due to the recent unrest in neighbouring Haiti and the ongoing
unpredictability of the security situation, it is inadvisable to
travel across the border to Haiti. There is a low terrorism risk
and incidences of violent crime are infrequent. Visitors should
take normal precautions against petty crime, however. The Dominican
Republic is vulnerable to hurricanes from June to November.
Being polite to others and having respect for elders is integral
and is expected from visitors. If taking a photograph of a local,
one should ask permission first and then offer a gift afterwards.
Dominicans take care in their appearance and form judgements based
on what people wear; they are likely to look down on tourists that
are unkempt or wear clothes that are too revealing.
Santo Domingo is the centre of business in the Dominican
Republic. Good working relationships are vital and trust is an
integral part of doing business in the Dominican Republic; knowing
the right people is half the battle won. Appearances are considered
important and therefore dressing smartly is advised. Meetings are
initially rather formal and a polite greeting accompanied by a
handshake is common; expect small talk. Business cards are usually
exchanged on introduction. Punctuality is important. Although
English is widely spoken and understood, it is still useful to have
all business material printed in English and Spanish. It is
important to be polite and courteous at all times. Business hours
are usually 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm Monday to Friday.
The international access code for the Dominican Republic is +1,
in common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed
by 809 or 829. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant
country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom); the outgoing code
is not required for calling North America. The local mobile phone
operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most
major international operators. Direct international calls can be
made from numerous telecommunications centres located in all towns
and cities. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and
Travellers to the Dominican Republic over 16 years do not have
to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 1 box cigars; 1 bottle of alcohol,
unopened and maximum of 2 litres; and up to 2 bottles of perfume
for personal use. All animal products are prohibited.