If you are planning to do some Island hopping from the Dominican Republic to Antigue it might be a good idea to avoid using LIAT Airlines for now. The pilots strike is causing flights to be canceled leaving passengers stranded at the Dominican Airports. It was stated in a press release from LIAT that “Only a limited number of flights were able to operate from (more…)

We frequently have friends and relatives flying into the Dominican Republic which brings up a topic of safety. Is it safe to fly into the Dominican Republic with a nighttime arrival? Often to save money this is something we have to deal with, in general the answer is no. It is best to get a flight that arrives during daylight hours, but there are ways around this problem.

Best price Flights

The single most expensive part of your trip to the DR is likely to be your flight. It is pretty common to be able to save hundreds of dollars on your round trip ticket by adjusting your takeoff and arrival dates. Often though you can find much cheaper flights on late night arrivals. Most people don’t want to have to deal with getting a taxi to the resort or their final destination in the middle of the night. However this posses several safety issues in the Dominican Republic.

Dangers of Nighttime travel in the Dominican Republic

Unfortunately the streets are not very safe at night in the DR. The US consulate highly recommends to avoid driving at night here for good reason. Vehicles are often not (more…)

While this isn’t really a Dominican Republic topic, it is of concern for those living in the DR want to be able to use the internet while in the States. I thought it might be good to describe my experience with Virgin Mobile and their pre-paid wireless internet plan while I was visiting the United States.

My goal was to have a temporary modem style internet connection during my recent visit to the US. Not wanting to get tired to a 18 month plan when I only plan on being in the States for a couple months I started checking online for pre-paid internet plans. There are actually several available but Virgin Mobile seemed to have the best plan for the best price. You can check things out at www.virginmobileusa.com.

U600 USB Modem or Overdrive WiFi

My plans were to stay in the California Bay Area for about a month before heading up north. Virgin Mobile has an online chat so I started a conversation with one of their representatives. The Bay Area has a 4G network so I opted for one of Virgins 2 4G modems the U600 USB modem or the Overdrive Wifi modem.

First question I had for the representative is whether the U600 will work with Windows 8, their website only mentions comparability with up to Windows 7. The representative assured me that it would work with Windows 8, to be sure asked again if she was sure of that, the answer was yes, it had been tested. GREA! the U600 was about half the price to buy in comparison with the Overdrive modem. The following questions were about the 4G coverage.

The 4G coverage is important because with the Virgin Mobile plan you get 2gig of download with 3G but if you can receive 4G you get unlimited downloads for the same $35 per month. The First 10gig is at the highest speed which then drops down to 2 meg downloads for the rest of the month.

So, I purchased the modem and had it delivered to where I would be staying in the States. Once I got to the States I would then activate the modem.

Virgin Mobile Tech Support

I should have figured that things were going too smoothly. (more…)

Dominican Republic Tourist CardAmong the changes that the Dominican Republic has made recently in regards to residency and visa requirements one thing has managed to stay the same, the entry tax or Tourist Card. This is a $10 usd tax that all non-residents (this some exceptions) must pay upon entering the D.R.. After you arive in teh Dominican Republic while at the airport you will need to find the line to buy the tourist card before you head over to customs.

Countries Exempt from the Tax

There is a list of countries that are exempt from paying this entry fee and purchasing a Tourist Card when entering the Dominican Republic. If you have a passport from one of these countries you can go straight to the customs line bypassing the extra step of buying the card.

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Ecuador
  • Urguay
  • Japan
  • Israel

Exit Tax

There is also a $20 usd exit tax (more…)

During a recent bike trip with my son we made a quick stop at Dajabon. Dajabon is one of the border cities between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While this wouldn’t be considered one of the safest tourist locations there are some points of interest in Dajabon.

A couple days a week there is free movement across the Rio Masacre as items are moved to be sold mostly on the Dominican Republic side of the river. Large shipments of canned and Jarred food items a well as clothing make their way to Haiti as relief shipments which are often sold at the border and then shipped throughout the Dominican Republic. Much of this can be purchased at the market area near the border. Food and other items from the Dominican Republic are also sold to be shipped across the border to Haiti.

During the rest of the time the border gate is closed to most traffic and border fences are set up to at least provide a line between the two countries although these could easily be passed. In fact while we were standing next to the fences (shown below) a young Haitian boy (about 10) crossed the river and started begging for money. (more…)

Over the past weekend my son and I decided to take a bike trip and journeyed up to the North Western portion of the Dominican Republic. We decided to stop in Monte Cristi and make that our hub for looking around this portion of the DR. Monte Cristi is a sleepy little town that seems to get most of its income from the fishing industry and very little from tourism.

Mount Morro in Monte Cristi

Mount Morro in Monte Cristi

Monte Cristi beaches

There are a few small beaches in Monte Cristi. The larger one (Playa Juan de Balanos) is at the end of one of the main roads heading toward Mount Morro. Sitting next to the beach is one of the nicer hotels we seen in the town. This is also the area where you will find most of the fishing boats. While there were a few in the water, while we were there (November) most of the larger boats were dry docked.

The other beaches we found were small patches of sand, or in the case of one was mostly rocky. Interesting to look at but not exactly a great beach for sunning.

Monte Cristi Nightlife

I didn’t catch the name of the nightclub but if you happen to visit for the night just follow the sound of the music. There was one large dance and night club in the center of town which was surrounded by smaller bars. I normally choose to avoid these locations. If you are white, you pretty much set yourself up as a target. They don’t get a lot of tourists so as my son and I were walking down the street looking for a place to eat, as it was starting to get dark we attracted a lot of attention.

Monte Cristi Hotels

Being that Monte Cristi is more for locals than tourism it is pretty easy to find a cheap hotel. (more…)

American Airlines - American EagleSince moving to the Dominican Republic my family and I have had many opportunities to test out the various airlines that service the DR. American Airlines has never been our favorite. Several of the planes American and American Eagle use are very crowded (I’m 6’1”), the lines for the ticket and check in counters are always among the longest at the airport and on the majority of my trips to the States I’ve had to wait at least once while they work on some equipment failure. Since American Airlines filed bankruptcy back in November of 2011 things have continued to get worse.

Before I continue Yes, there are a number of other companies that fly out of the DR including Delta and JetBlue (my favorite), however, flights to California for a family of 4 are pretty expensive. The difference in ticket prices from the different airlines can be as much as $200 – $300 per ticket. That adds up when you are working with four tickets at a time. So, we usually try for one of the lower priced tickets at the time we want to fly which at times is American Eagle. Given the choice we will usually pay a little more so we can fly with JetBlue but this time the difference was too high.

So, let me describe our most recent experience. Given the choice we will usually pay a little more so we can fly with JetBlue but this time the difference was too high so ”bite the bullet” and book with American.

Santiago International Airport (STI)

Santiago International Airport (STI). For this flight only my wife and one of my sons were heading out. So I unloaded their bags helped them check in and went up to the second floor observation lounge to wait to make sure they got through customs alright. Usually when heading out of Santiago customs goes easily and this time was no exception. The plane though was a different story.

While sitting up in the lounge I noticed them struggling with the door to the plane. There are two main doors on the front of the plane one swung out and the other appeared to move in and then slide over. The main door that they use is the sliding door. While I wasn’t watching for the unloading part, apparently they couldn’t get the door to open and they used a second staircase truck to unload everyone out the other door.

This was actually pretty entertaining as they hammered on the door, tried prying it, shouldered it a couple times, jabbed screwdrivers into the rolling mechanism, and then finally called some sort of tech support (I couldn’t hear anything but it was a rather animated conversation punctuated by occasional rattling of the door. (more…)

Lifestyles Resort Puerto Plata

Lifestyles Resort Puerto Plata

UK to Dominican Republic Travel Tips

The Dominican Republic is one of the most important Caribbean islands and one of the preferred holiday destinations for many UK holidaymakers. According to the Dominican authorities, more than 200,000 British tourists visit this Caribbean nation each year, and it is not difficult to understand why.

Although relatively small in size, this island offers a variety of attractions that go beyond its beaches and nightlife. The Dominican Republic is home to no less than 14 national parks and to numerous historical towns and villages that will delight the visitor with their rich heritage. The island’s capital, Santo Domingo, is a designated UNESCO site thanks to its well preserved examples of colonial architecture. There are 26 golf courses located in some of the island’s most stunning locations, and as a result, the Dominican Republic is a premier destination for golf enthusiasts from all over the world.

And of course, there is the beach life. The coastal towns of Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, and La Romana are home to miles of beaches of breathtaking beauty, which are often the backdrop for weddings, honeymoons, and other special occasions. The popular resorts of the coast also make for a great base from which it is possible to explore other destinations, like the coffee growing mountains of the interior and other less well-known fishing villages on the island’s eastern coast.

However, being 9 hours away from the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic still remains a long haul destination, and as such, booking a holiday to this Caribbean island can be an expense that turns out heavy on the pocket. If you are planning the holiday of a lifetime in the Dominican Republic and want to know how to go about finding the best deals to the island, this article will tell you everything there is to know about it.

Tips for finding the best deals from the UK to the Dominican Republic

(more…)

Hurricane Sandy map 10-25-2012

Hurricane Sandy map 10-25-2012

While those of us living in the middle and upper portions of the Dominican Republic have had constant rain and power outages (more than normal), there is far more damage due to Hurricane Sandy in the South and South west portions of the island.

By midday today (10/25/12) 625,000 people have been evacuated and 62 towns cut off due to overflowing rivers like the Yaque Del Sur and downed bridges. 11 provinces are on high alert with 48 communities in Azua cut off from the Yaque del Sur overflowing.

Higuero International Airport (aili) cancels flights

While the Las Americas International Airport (aila) is still operating normal, the Higuero International Airport north of Santo Domingo has had to cancel several flights due to the downpours.

Hurricane Sandy Causes Power outages

While this one has been a little tougher to prove, apparently the entire countries power system went down early this morning. While I frequently have power at this time (my time of writing this article), we lose power so often it is hard to tell for sure if it is just our time to have our power turned off or if the outage is due to the storm.

Either way, if you are running on inversor, it would be a good idea to (more…)

Due to the hurricane predictions for Tropical Storm Isaac, JetBlue is allowing for a fee waver for passengers that want to make flight changes to and from Punta Cana, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Puerto Plato, and La Romana.

Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to have hurricane force winds by the time it reaches the Dominican Republic later today causing delays to flights to Dominican international Airports.

For more information on JetBlues ticket fee waver you can go to (more…)

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