DR Tips

$10 Dominican Republic Tourist Visa

$10 Dominican Republic Tourist Visa

Have you noticed on the invoice for your plane ticket to the Dominican Republic that it includes an additional tax? That tax of $10 is called a “Tourist Visa” or a “Tourist Card” While not all airlines charge you that tax some do, even if you are exempt from the tax. There is a way to get your money back though if the $10.00 is worth the effort to you. On the official site Tourist Tax Refund Form there is a link to a form you can fill out and send in.

In case you can’t read Spanish here is the rundown of the page I am linking too. This page explains the procedure and who qualifies for the refund based on Article 2 of the degree numbered 430-17.

Who Qualifies for the Tourist Card Refund (more…)

Just a quick note in case you are doing some traveling and plan on bringing your Smart phone. The Department of Transportation has banned the Samsung Galaxy 7 phone from all flights to and from the United States.

This ban means that you can not take you phone on the plane either as carry on or in the checked in luggage. NOr can these phone be shipped as air cargo. That pretty much mans that if you are now traveling and have the phone you are going to have to leave it if you want to board a plane to the US.

This ban went into effect on Saturday Oct 15, 2016. Samsung has suspended the manufacture and sale of the Galaxy 7 phone and has a voluntary recall in effect.

Why did the Galaxy 7 get banned?


I’ve now worked with the Jw Library on 2 Kindle Fire HD, two of the new Fire 5th Generation various phones and a IPad. Except for the iPad I’ve had this problem at times with all of them. First it is good to understand that JW Library is a resourceful incentive program. Not many applications are this complex and use so many different forms of data. So you have to expect it to be slow at times. However there are two main times I have found it to slow down or even stop.

On initial startup

Sometimes hangs here on first startup

First screen of JW Library, Sometimes hangs here on first startup

Several things happen the first time you run the application after installing. It’s best to have other applications turned off the first time you use this application. Once that is done it doesn’t compete for resources too bad with other applications. Also, make sure you have a good internet connection the first time you start it up.

The application seems to download additional information the first time it starts up. Phones that access the internet slowly and other devices that are connected to a slow internet can expect to have to wait a minute or two watching a spiraling circle as the program loads. I’ve had this startup talk over 5 minutes the first time. After that the application will load much quicker. You will also need to download your first bible. Choose your language and wait for it to load. Depending on the language, the bible can be 15 to 40 MB. That will need to load before the JW Library application loads the first time.

If you have a mini sd card (additional memory) installed or you plan on adding one, do not start downloading any other literature yet!  Once things are loaded on your kindles on-board memory it is a little more difficult to get those items moved to the sd card. You need to make setting changes in two locations first.

  • Settings of your kindle
  • Settings in JW library

I’ll address these changes in a different post. To sum up this subheading, while there are things you can do to minimize the wait, in particular make sure you are connected to a fast internet, there is little more you can do than wait. I have had one phone though that never started up. I needed to delete the application and start the process again, the second time it worked.

Delays while using the JW Library Application

When you first go into a new category at times your kindle will hang. (more…)

Kindle Fire 5th Gen

Kindle Fire 5th Gen

So, your thinking about getting one of the new Kindle Fires to use for the meeting or field service! You probably have some questions on how well a $50 tablet is going to work. So did I!. I’ve now bought a couple of them, my family also has a couple of the Fire HD and my main tablet is a ipad so I thought I would give you some pros and cons, tips on setting it up, comparisons with some of the higher end tables and tips on what to do when there is a problem like the tablet locking up.

My main reason for the table is to use in the service. We show the videos a lot in the DR and there are a lot of times where I can’t read my bible due to poor light, or simple a bad eye day for me. In ether case I can read the Kindle fine. I have a better tablet that I use for the meetings. In my area it is a little more dangerous to carry around expensive electronics so I don’t like using my iPad in the service.

Kindle Fire 5th Generation

Where I would love to say I’m an expert on all the generations of Kindle Fire I’m not. So the majority of the information and tips, while they might apply to other Kindles is aimed at just this one version. The reason the 5th generation caught my eye is the price and one very large feature, the expanded memory.  It’s hard to beat a $50 tablet, that is unless it doesn’t do what you want. Therefore I will be mentioning some of the benefits this tablet has for the ministry and meetings as well as its drawbacks.  (more…)

Even the animals have to work here in the Dominican Republic. Here is a video of our security camera cleaner hard at work.

Notice the attention to detail, first clean off the cobwebs and dirt with a wet nose and finally buff the lens with a paw and then off to the next camera!

Dengue Mosquito

Dengue Mosquito

With the recent increase of rain in the Dominican Republic is coming an increase in the number of mosquitoes and mosquito bore diseases like Dengue. New dengue cases are being reported through out the island on a daily basis so it is time to start slathering on the mosquito repellent again!

The Dominican Republic has a history of dengue as can be seen by the other Dengue reports from past years. Most cases are preventable. Basic tips like putting some chlorine in any rain water that you might save, putting screens on your windows, applying insect repellent and removing any areas where water may get trapped and become stagnant can greatly reduce the mosquito population and reduce the spread of the disease.

When traveling in areas where there is a denser population of mosquitoes (more…)


If you book your vacation the right way you can literally save $1000’s.

These are not tricks or sketchy ways of saving money by staying in some dump or risking your life. These are tips to take the same awesome vacation, at the same luxury resort as everybody else, but for much, much less money.

I’ve used these tips myself and I have saved $1000’s on flights and resort packages.

Beach in the Dominican Republic
Tip #1 – Time Your Flight Right


Prices on flights can change drastically depending on the time of year and day of the week you are flying.

When I book round trip flights to the Dominican Republic from California I have seen prices range from over $1050 to $550 per person depending on timing. I save more or less $550 each time I fly just by timing my flights correctly.

For a family of 4 that would be $2200 in savings just by planning your flight dates the smart way.


When NOT to Fly:

  • School vacations. Winter, summer and spring break
  • Christmas and Thanksgiving in particular.

Everybody is flying during this time of year which causes airline prices to skyrocket.


When to Fly:

  • February to May (not including spring break)
  • September to November (not including Thanksgiving)

Ticket sales are down this time of year which causes airline prices to hit rock bottom.


What Days of the Week Should I Book Flights?

Believe it or not the day of the week you fly can change ticket prices by 100’s of dollars.


Worst Days to Fly:

  • Friday
  • Sunday
  • Monday

Avoid like the plague Friday, Sunday and Monday. These are the days everyone wants to fly.

The result: Prices go through the roof.


Best Days to Fly:

  • Wednesday
  • Saturday

Wednesday and Saturday are awesome. All my cheapest flights have been on Wednesday and Saturday.

I have seen ticket prices $200 or $300 lower on Wednesday and Saturday than the rest of the week.


Tip #2 – Book Resorts for the Off Season


The time of the year also makes a big difference on the types of prices you will find on resort packages. You will be hard pressed to find a deal during the high season.

The low season is the best time to find those unbelievable deals. I have found resort packages for as cheap as 80% off during the low season. I have paid $30 dollars a night for a resort packages that usually cost $150. For a week that is the difference between $210 and $1050.

That is a $840 cheaper per person. For a family of 4 that is a $3360 savings!

Granted deals like that can be hard to find, but 40% to 60% off deals can be found around every corner during the low season.


Worst Times to Go to a Resort:

  • November to February
  • June to August
  • Holidays (Especially Spring Break)

Fortunately, like you probably already figured out more or less the same times of year when flights are expensive, resorts are expensive as well. You can kill two birds with one stone by avoiding these expensive travel dates.


Best Times to Go to a Resort:

  • September & October
  • March to May

September, October, March, April and May are generally the low times for resorts and there are great deals on resorts all over the place for these months.

Let’s review the tips that will help you to save money on your next vacation.


To Save 1000’s on Your Next Dominican Vacation:

  1. Book flights for Wednesdays or Saturdays and avoid holidays
  2. Book Resorts for dates during September, October, March, April and May

I have personally used these tips many times and I have saved $1000’s on flights and resorts just by booking the right dates.

Play it smart, use these tips and you can save 1000’s on your next vacation.

#3 Preterit Past Tense

(“I did eat” of “I ate”)

The Spanish Preterit or Pretérito is a verb tense that was completed in the past.

  • Mi padre llegó (arrived, did arrive) ayer
  • ¿Qué pasó? (What happened?)

Some verbs can have a somewhat different meaning in the preterit form. These can take a little getting used to.

  • Tener: “To Have” Changes to “received” Tuve (I received) un regalo.
  • Conocer: “To Know” In the sense of knowing someone. Changes to “met” La conocí (I met) ayer.
  • Querer: “To Want” Changes to “tried to” Quise (I tried to) de llamarte.
  • Querer (Negative): Changes to “refused” No Quiso (he refused) a cambiar de opinión
  • Saber: “To Know” in the sense of knowing a fact. Changes to “found out” Supe (I found out) la verdad.
  • Poder: “To be able to” Changes to “succeeded. Pude (I succeeded) hacerlo
  • Poder (Negative): Changes to “failed” No Pude (I failed) hacerlo.

Fortunately there isn’t too many of these verbs where the meaning changes in preterit form so you pretty much just need to memorize them.

Right now if you plan on staying in the Dominican Republic the chances of you getting the Chikungunya Virus is very good. Well over ¾ of the people I know here have gotten the virus. Even after taking all the normal precautions it still gets passed around. If you are here for vacation and you are looking up information on how to treat it, sorry there isn’t much to do but take some pain medicine and wait it out.

However what you do while you are waiting it out can make a big difference on how comfortable you are and how long it lasts. Pushing through and remaining active will just complicate things and may even lead to more serious complication as you will see from the experiences I relate below.

The short answer for treating Chikungunya is: There is no real treatment; you just try to lower the symptoms. If you go to a hospital the first thing they will usually do is connect an IV and try to get you hydrated. With the IV they will often give you pain killers, vitamin B and also an anti-inflammatory.

Chikungunya Symptoms

While Chikungunya usually doesn’t kill, it is a very painful disease. It usually starts with pain in the feet  or other joints (more…)

#2 Spanish Imperfect Indicative Verb Tense

(Was eating, Ate, Used to eat)

  • Past tense, incomplete, continuous in the past and when completion is not indicated.
  • Action in the past at the same time as another action: My brother was reading and my father was talking. Mi hermano leía (#2) y mi padre hablaba(#2)
  • An action that was going on in the past when another action occurred: Mi Hermana cantaba (#2) cuando yo entré (#3)
  • Habitual action in the past: Cuando estábamos (were #2) en Fantino, íbamos ( From verb ir =To Go #2 Went, Used to go, would go) al Bon todos los sábados
  • Description of a Mental, emotional or physical condition of the past:
    • Mental Condition: Quería ir al reunion. Common verbs Creer, desear, pensar, poder, preferir, querer, saber, sentir.
    • Emotional Condition: Estaba (I was) contento de verlo
    • Physical Condition: Ella era (was) bonita cuando era joven.
  • Time of day in the past: Que hora era? What time was it? – Eran tres en la tarde. It was 3:00
  • An action that happened in the past, lasted for a certain amount of time and was prior to another event: Hacia (I had been) tres horas que miraba (watching) el televisor cuando mi hermano entró
  • An indirect quotation of the past:
    • Present: Dice (he says) que quire (wants to) venir a mi casa
    • Past: Dijo (he said) que quería (wanted to come) venir a mi casa

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