The Good news: Yes you can have Internet connection in the Dominican Republic and you can expect to get a pretty good speed. The DR has some of the most state of the art 3G equipment in the world and it covers a good share of the island.

The Bad news: They seem to have some issues getting it configured properly. Hopefully that will improve in the future.

There are a variety of ways to get an Internet connection. Which one you choose will depend on the speed you need, how long you wish to have it, and how much you are willing to pay.

Hotels: If you’re just staying for a couple weeks it is best to choose a hotel with WiFi. Many of the hotels and “All Inclusive Resorts” offer this to their guests. You can ask before booking your hotel to see if they offer this, but it is unlikely they will be able to tell you how fast it will be. The Internet is pretty new here and not many people seem to understand bandwidth.

There are other options…..

Internet Cafés: You will find many WiFi Hotspots in almost every town and city you go to. Most are small one-room shops where they may be packing in a large number of people. Some are true “Cafés” like you would expect in the United States and Europe giving you separate tables and offering coffee and other items, most are just small packed rooms where they have set up a bunch of computers on long tables around the room and share a 2-3 Mb Internet connection.

Services like Skype and MagicJack will work if there are not too many people, but start to have problems when there are more than 2-4 people in the Café. One person doing a large download can keep you from using Skype or MagicJack successfully.

If you don’t have a computer, most of these “Cafés” have ones to offer you. After you have finished checking your mail etc. be sure to go into the browser on the computer and delete the history and any passcodes that may have been saved.

Use your own equipment: Another choice is to you’re your own equipment and get a temporary Internet phone plan with one of the local providers. If you have a Blackberry or IPhone it is pretty easy to go into one of the providers (Claro seems to have the best range) pay about $5 to get a new mini sim chip to put in your phone and sign up for a plan.

If your Internet capable phone is from the United States it is very likely you will need to have your phone “unlocked”. This is a simple programming procedure, while they can’t unlock it in any of the phone shops, they will be able to send you to a shop (usually nearby) that can provide the service for about $10. Unlocking your phone simply means making it capable of being used by a provider outside of the United States

Getting an Internet capable phone (Blackberry, IPhone etc) to work to provide your computer an Internet connection can be a little more difficult in the Dominican Republic. While it is Common in the US using the same equipment, it does require being set up properly and most of the shops in the Dominican Republic seem to be unable to do this right. It is probably best to go to one of the large stores in Santo Domingo or Santiago to get your phone set up. You can read my story about my efforts to get it done at Dominican Republic Internet.

Mobile Internet Plans

Another option is getting a wireless modem from one of the internet providers in the Dominican Republic. For more information about getting set up with a wireless plan check out our post on Mobile Internet