Travel Planning for your Stay in the Dominican Republic
The decision has been made, the ticket is booked and anticipation is rising! Are you ready for your adventure in the Dominican Republic? Sure there are still some issues that are racking your brain: Do I need vaccinations? Where can I get the visa? What must I bring? Here we give you a few tips for your trip to the Caribbean to help you relax and get you well prepared to start your internship.
To travel to the Dominican Republic you do not need to apply for a special visa ahead of time. It is important that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after date of entry. If you stay longer than 30 days in the country, the tourist visa can be repeatedly extended at the Immigration Office for a fee.
You'll also need a tourist card. This is a special tax that you have to pay to enter the Dominican Republic as a foreigner. It is valid for 60 days and can also be extended if necessary. The tourist card costs $10 and can be easily purchased at the airport upon arrival to the country, or online before arrival, from the Embassy of the Dominican Republic. We do recommended to order them online before departure as to save yourself the wait at the immigration counter at the airport.
For entry to the Dominican Republic it is mandatory that you acquire a private international health insurance. The Foreign Office specifically points out the need for such private travel insurance.
What to Pack
You are about to fly to the Caribbean! The Dominican Republic has a lovely tropical climate. You will almost always have warm weather. You will mostly need light clothing and of course you cannot forget your bathing suit. If you are planning to make a trip to the mountains, we advise you to bring some warmer clothes, as it is definitely cooler and can be a bit crisp up there. Besides your flip flops, make sure you pack a pair of good shoes. You will need them for certain activities, especially if you like to get out in nature.
While at work it is important that you wear appropriate clothing. Do not show up to work in very short shorts or skirts, hot pants or midriff tops. Use common sense when packing for work. Bring a couple longer dresses and skirts that are cool and comfortable and you will get a lot of use out of them. You may also be asked to wear a particular uniform. This varies depending on the internship position.
You shouldn't forget the following things:
- International health insurance
- Flight tickets
- Bikini / bathing suit
- Sun block, sun glasses and hat
- Flash light
- Mosquito repellant
- Mosquito net
- Proper shoes
- Specific mediations if needed
There are many things, which are useful to pack, but actually not necessary. But we found the following recommendations from our internship coordinator in the Dominican Republic quite useful:
- Washing line
- Books, cards
- Sleeping bag
Regarding your health, you should be sure not to forget anything you know you will need and be aware of issues that may arise during your stay. It is definitely advisable that you get a health check with your doctor in good time before your departure. Bring your vaccination card to your doctor so you can discuss any required or recommended vaccinations. At your local pharmacy they can advise you as to what cannot be missing from your travel first aid kit. Since the hygienic conditions abroad do not fully meet the same standards of your home country, it may take you some time to get accustomed to the local cooking and eating habits. Therefore, do not forget your Imodium or Tums! Of course, all trainees should not forget to have the necessary supply of any prescription drugs or other medications you know you need.
If you should come into a situation where you need medical help on site, there are free health care clinics in the Dominican State hospitals, as well as in Haiti. There are also many private doctors and dentists on the island. A visit there costs about $15, depending on the examination. Remember that you need to show proof of travel insurance for entry. And of course, in emergencies our local partner is always there to help.
Your local coordinators are there to take care of you and will do anything to assure you feel safe. They are available around the clock, beginning from the moment you arrive! They will pick you up directly from the airport and take you to the bus. By bus you will travel from the capital to your future place of residence by the sea. The small town is considered safe, peaceful and welcoming to foreigners. Of course, upon arrival we will inform you in detail regarding all questions of safety, but here are a few tips in advance about the Dominican Republic to help avoid trouble and inconvenience:
- There are strict, harsh penalties (including imprisonment) for dealing with narcotics of any kind - So, just say NO!
- There are many police security checkpoints on the island. So you should always carry a copy of your passport with you.
- When planning trips, it is advisable to organize them a few days ahead of time in order to avoid negative surprises. It’s best you stick to official tour/trip organizers or simply take up offers from our local partner.
- Respect that a majority of the population is Catholic and they take their religion seriously. Be careful not to offend anyone with anti-religious statements.
- Avoid walking around in the big cities after dark or walking alone in the woods. Always let someone know where you will be going.
- Leave your valuables at home! Bring only what is really necessary.
If you follow these safety tips you should have no worries and feel quite free to enjoy your time in the Dominican Republic to the fullest. Just be smart!