Nevertheless here in order are the reasons why the Dominican Republic is probably to be avoided:
1-The variety of food is next to none. Everywhere I went (yes, even a Chinese restaurant) all there ever was, was chicken, beans, rice. Believe me…at the end of the month I was beginning to hallucinate chickens everywhere.
2-It is impossible to walk alone if you are a girl-anytime of the day. My friends still don’t believe me when I tell them the policemen followed me 3 blocks slowly with their police car whistling at me, making the typical ´´Psssst´´ sound and catcalling. Men on the island don’t see anything wrong showcasing their disrespect towards women because this is how they prove their masculinity.
3-Public transport in the country is limited to…absolutely anything that has wheels! My enormous burn mark is infamously called a Dominican tattoo. I have this precious souvenir from taking a moto concho (motorcycle taxi) in Samana, who of course did not wait for me to sit properly nor adjust my big travel back pack on the seat. After which he had the audacity to try to cheat me out for a 5x payment.
4-The Air conditioning giving the fact that outside is 30 degrees…is ridiculously lowered as a sign of superiority. I got a bad cold just going dancing. I wished I could order tea inside.
5-Be careful when walking since hanging cables or giant pot holes are certain to be in your way. Most sidewalks end in a huge ruin that you need to jump over or you could be falling a few meters deep.
6-The tedious bureaucracy and laziness of staff in customer service positions. Trying to visit a palace in the capital resulted in a security guard asking 2 other security guards who then told us to ask the guards on the opposite side of the palace who told us to go inside an office at the other end of the palace and ask. The employees told us to queue even tough there was no line up and they were all on their phones. One employee behind the counter told us to ask some of his colleagues because this is not his job. We did ask and the person said to call a number for visitors. We did call and they said to apply online for a pass to visit which takes a month to process and be approved. Another glorious visit to a cellphone shop provider faced me with an employee laying on the floor and resting while she had customers in the store. I cannot count the many times the waiters brought me the wrong order or just didn’t bother bringing my order at all.
7-If you think an airbnb reservation can spear you…do not be mistaken. In this post, I will include pictures of my airbnb place I reserved originally for 2 nights, but I escaped after 1. The unit came without any electricity, hot water, shower curtain, kitchen, towels, toilet paper, breakfast but at least it had a bed, about 6 huge spiders and 3 men drilling in my bedroom coming in and out all the time.
8-Tourist traps exist everywhere but Boca Chicka beach is a confirmed scam that you can trust me on. The famous beach front is barely 3 cm big because local scammers restaurateurs have built their ultra expensive restaurants basically on the water. There is no space for a towel or relaxed tanning. You have to pay everywhere you go, everything you do. And the chance that you pay the incorrect price is guaranteed. As for Punta Cana, the beaches are very well maintained by the hotels and resorts but the city is a tourist illusion. A moto concho that usually costs 20 pesos elsewhere in the country is 100 pesos there.
9-The girls in DR have a …minor obsession with nail salons, selfies and using tinder to demand money from foreigners. If you go up the north towns and beaches, you will find all the couples of retired foreigner and a 20 year old Dominican girlfriend. My own acquaintance has tried to meet women aiming for a serious relationship but he claims they only show him their nails via whatsapp and before the next date is even offered, send a text asking for money.
10-I am very environmentally conscious. I went shopping for groceries a few times and I never seen such a tradition before: the cashiers responsible for packing your groceries uses at least 3 plastic bags for 1 bottle of water for example! It is not a joke. I returned the bags and they were in shock.
- Dominicans don’t improvise in their dance moves. Weather is salsa or bachata, you need to know the steps or they’ll get annoyed.
- In the cinema (I watched hunger games 4) people won’t turn off their phones and they would laugh and yell at the screen characters. Do take a coat as it is freezing inside.
I may have discarded many locations for you over there, but don’t give up all hope.
- DO visit Las Terrenas for friendly fun and gorgeous endless beaches.Now I will take it mild on them. One morning at 6 am I had to take the bus from Las Terrenas and took a random moto concho from the road to get to the bus stop as he was going this way. He didn’t charge me anything and even smiled. Later, I waited 1 hour at the bus stop at dark (the moon was insanely amazing) with only 20 men around and no one harassed me…but then again,maybe they were too sleepy. Lol.
- Afterwards, DO continue to Cabarete with a very refreshing bar scene, beach bars lightened bright and adorable crowd. Cabarete is also a popular place to kite and wind surf.
- When in Cabarete, take a short ride to Sosua. Labeled the sex capital of the country, you can spot many Americans with young girls. But what will stay with me forever…forever in my heart is Castillo Mundo King. A modern palace built to honor aliens. A must!