Energy Cell La Vega Dominican RepublicOne of the necessities of living in the Dominican Republic is a cell phone. Few homes have the good old hardwired phone that we grew up with in the States so pretty much everyone, including kids, has a cell phone here. You have a choice of either using your phone from the States of buying a new one here. Either way you are probably going to visit a cell phone shop. One of shops I’ve worked with quite a bit is Energy Cell in La Vega, Republica Dominicana.

There is quite a variety of quality of phones available here. Cell phones can be picked up for a little as a quiniento or about $15 USD with the usual low end price being about 1500 pesos and the high end going over 16 mill (16 thousand pesos) for a blackberry or iPhone (at the Claro Store). The phones come prepared to be used here in the D.R so all you need to do is buy a provider chip, buy some minutes and you are ready to go.

If you want to pick up a little higher quality phone (which really helps with all the text messaging you will be doing here) and yet not get stuck on an 18 month long contract your best bet is to pick one up used. You can often find relatively recent iPhones and Blackberries a small percentage of the new price at phone shops. (more…)

First let’s point out that my experience with Viva’s internet is only 7 days. So you can’t call this a long term review of their services. How ever during the 7 days I have been in Jarabacoa there have been internet outages with Viva 3 of the seven days.

The first day we got here (on a Monday) Viva was having problems so there was no internet service for the first half of the day. Once that cleared we received Internet (using their MiFi 2200) at a rate of about 1mbs for the rest of the week. My computer is setting right next to the Wifi so I was getting excellent reception, likewise the MiFi 2200 appeared to be getting pretty good reception. (more…)

Viva MiFi 2200

Viva MiFi 2200

The Dominican Republic Viva’s solution to wireless uses the MiFi 2200 wireless mobile hotspot modem/router from Novatel using their “Freedom My Way” service. This modem/router can be connected directly into your computer using a 2.0 USB port or can be easily configured for wireless connections. Below are the main features:

  • Internal battery that can provide up to 4 hours of connection without being plugged into power.
  • Simultaneously connect up to 5 wireless computers
  • Wifi 802.11 b/g
  • AC charger
  • Security Type – WPA-TKIP

Checking Status

There are two ways to check the status of the MiFi 2200 remotely and physically.

When physically checking the status of the MiFi 2200 you have two lights on the unit, a rectangular led on the edge of the unit (Service Status Indicator LES) and a round circle on the top (Power Button and LED indicator). (more…)

Claro Dominican Republic offers the choice of two different routers with their internet service. The ZTE MF29 is a small desktop style router and the ZTE MF30 is a portable mobile hotspot router that can be powered by its internal battery or a power adaptor. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so, which one do you choose?

First, both offer the latest Wi-Fi security. Make sure with if you are using either one you turn this security on. If you don’t you run the risk of someone else connecting to the internet with your internet service and using up your band width, or worse, (more…)

Apple iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S available in the DR

Good and bad news for Dominican Republic iPhone users! The Good News? Apple has announced that it will be making the new iPhone 4S available in the Dominican Republic as an “unlocked” version. Bad News? As expected not all features will be available in the DR. While both Orange and Claro will have the unlocked version available to their customers they will both have different features available.

According to Apple, for Claro the 4S iPhone will be locked to the carrier, have access to MMS and Claro hotspots in the Dominican Republic but will not offer authorized unlocking or visual voicemail. Orange includes the feature of having authorized unlocking but likewise will not offer the “Visual Voicemail” service.

Some of the more interesting features of the new iPhone 4S includes: (more…)

Residencia Del Paseo Entrance

Residencia Del Paseo Entrance

For our most recent visit to Las Terrenas my wife and I decided to check out La Residencia Del Paseo, this is a three story hotel in the heart of Las Terrenas. There are studios for 1-2 people and duplexes for 2-4 people. The rooms have hot water, 24 hour power and free WiFi internet.

Location

For us La Residencia Del Paseo was in the ideal location. In the morning I liked to walk over to the Boulangerie Francaise to pick up breakfast, there is also a nice colmado in Plaza Taina to pick up ice, orange juice and other items for breakfast. This colmodo is pretty well stocked and will have most of the small items you’ll need including beer, rum, vodka, fruit and snacks as well as larger cooking supplies .

Right next door to the Hotel is a small outdoor mall (a Centro Comercial) called El Paseo de la Constanera. I will be writing quite a bit more on this mall in a future post, but for the sake of this article it’s good to know you will find clothes, gift stores, a store with things like sun screen and health items etc. Pretty much anything you might need will is within a hundred yards of La Residencia Del Paseo. There are also two ATM where you can withdrawal money, the money will be dispensed in Pesos. For this reason I don’t recommend bringing a lot of cash or travelers checks with you. It is easier to take your money out as you need it instead of carrying a lot with you.
While the hotel is not directly on the beach (very few are in Las Terrenas) it is a very short walk away. You pretty much just cross this mall and then a street and you are at the beach. This is also one of the closest hotels to many of the restaurants and beach bars (nice areas next to the beach to have a drink). (more…)

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….. (more…)

Calypso Beach Hotel

Calypso Beach Hotel

The Calypso Hotel is a smaller hotel located about a 5-minute walk from Boca Chica’s beach. While walking to the beach from the hotel you walk down streets lined with some of the local artwork most of it having an island flavor to it and also quite good.

One of the advantages of having the hotel a little ways away from the beach is that it is also a little ways from the very noisy Calle Duarte (Duarte street) where most of the Boca Chica nightlife is centered around. It would be hard to call anywhere in the Dominican Republic “quiet” but the small distance from the particularly loud areas help.

One of the main highlights of this charming little hotel are the employees. We got to know several of them pretty well in our stay; all are friendly and do their best to make your stay enjoyable. If you stop by, say hi to Andreas, Rafael and Rosa for us! The staff also goes to great efforts to make sure that the hotel is clean at all times. The pool and the patio areas are well maintained and comfortable.
(more…)

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