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Hey! Yes, you! You’re almost coming to visit Punta Cana and wanted to check out this blog to prepare yourself? Well, throw that attitude out of the window, because we Dominicans like to do things Caribbean style, which is on our own time. But fine, now that you’re still on the other side of the ocean, be in the know. These are the 10 things you will definitely need to pack for the Dominican Republic. Are you Punta Cana proof?

1. Patience

Hi. You’re in the Dominican Republic now. We have our own time schedule here and we don’t care about anyone else’s! Or, is there a time? Does time exist? If we’re all just doing things during the day, playing dominoes, wandering around, sitting on the beach, and working hard, doesn’t that just mean there’s a ‘day’ and a ‘night’? Accept it and be patient! You’re in a good place to not be worried about buses or food arriving in time.

2. Mosquito spray

These cute local animals LOVE interacting with new people! There’s not a day going by they don’t introduce themselves to clueless tourists. So bring it all: layers of clothes at night, mosquito spray, a net – you’ll be needing it to be absolutely Punta Cana proof. 

3. A Dominican sim

Nothing as handy as being able to use a phone, locally. You’ll have internet and will be able to call local friends, hotels and Airbnbs. Some small supermarkets deliver groceries at your apartment, so it’d be useful to be able to contact them. In the Dominican Republic, you buy a local sim at a company like Claro and charge it everywhere! Check out the different options and see what’s right for you. There’s a big Claro office at San Juan Shopping Centre.

4. Pesos

We know you can pay with dollars at most places, but pesos are easier as local shops and services often hand you cash back in pesos. If you want to truly local, take the bus or buy an empanada on the street, you will need pesos. As everyone uses a different exchange rate, this is a pretty safe decision too.

5. Some basics in Spanish

Yup, Punta Cana is a tourist destination. However, not everyone speaks English! Locals appreciate it if you take the time to learn their language. Or at least a bit. A few sentences can help you find the things you need and communicate a bit easier. Donde estas …? Where is …? Cuanto cuesta …? How much does … cost? And a simple ‘hola, como estas?’ does wonders, too.

6. Your haggling skills

Many Western tourists find this difficult because they think haggling is an insult, but in the Dominican Republic, you’re good to go! Ok, maybe not in a chain like Zara, but whether you’re buying fresh fish at the local market or some mamajuana  – there’s always some pesos to subtract! If you think of haggling as a game, it’s more fun when you actually win. Try it!

7. Sunscreen

We understand that you might enjoy looking like a lobster. That feeling of burnt skin, all crispy and red and soar against those wooden chairs, yum. Did this sentence raise the hair on your arms? Good! People who don’t apply sunscreen are dumbos! There, we said it. There’s no excuse, really. So be cool. Be hip. Buy a trendy pack of the cream and rub, rub, rub. This you will definetely need to be Punta Cana proof!

8. An interest in superstitions

Of course, you always want to be respectful towards the culture of the country you’re visiting. And sometimes, this isn’t always easy. The Dominican Republic comes with superstitions and taboos too, all there to baffle you. You ready? Ok. Don’t shower after you eat. Because you might.. drown? We don’t know. It’s just uncool.

The next one: don’t open the fridge if you’re really hot and sweaty. We know you want to! But don’t. Your face might freeze in midst of all those hot and cold elements fighting each other, and forever stay that way. No need for botox, this way! Whatever you want.

Then thirdly: when landing in the Dominican Republic, you need to clap. It’s polite, it’s a ritual, it’s a moment you share with the locals. Praying might happen too. Soak it all in!

9. Your hips

We know you have hips and they’re hard to leave behind, but when was the last time you really used ‘em? As the birthplace of both merengue  and bachata, and huge fans of reggaetón , you will dance and dance some more in the Dominican Republic. In Punta Cana, we have many cool clubs that will have your hips in a twist, craving more movement. Don’t be afraid, don’t be stiff! We’re all here to enjoy ourselves.

10.Casual clothes

Yup. Did you read our lobster comment? We’re an island in the Caribbean, we’re not a runway for swimwear fashion. While you enjoy prancing around in the tiniest bikini, we might just be on our way to work. So, let’s all share Punta Cana in a respectful way – swimwear is for actual swimming, casual clothes for daytime wandering. LOVE!

Now you’re ready!  You are Punta Cana proof. We’d love to hear about your Dominican experiences. Tag us, please? Insta & twitter @bestofpuntacanaofficial!