Dominican Republic insider guide

Understanding cultural nuances for a more fulfilling trip to the Dominican Republic

The years I spent growing up in the Dominican Republic served not only to expose me to a different language and norms, but also to different customs and traditions I embrace even today. Every time I return to the island, I embrace the opportunity to share these nuances with others.

Often times, when I visit with family or friends, I notice that some of the customs I learned as a child have become a bit watered down or ignored. It seems that locals believe that most visitors to the island would find these traditions too foreign to enjoy, or that visitors just wouldn’t consider them. However, I believe that in order to truly enjoy a destination and understand and connect with its people, you have to take in the customs like locals do with each other. Here are a few of my favorite Dominican Republic traditions worth sharing.

Drink coconut water from the fruit, not a glass

Some resorts don’t offer fresh coconut water, and if they do, they do so in a glass with ice. I am convinced that the flavor of the coconut water dies the minute it is served in a glass. Drinking coconut water this way might look more civilized, it might even be a bit more comfortable (as the coconut itself can be quite heavy), but it isn’t the most delicious. The best way to drink coconut water, the way I always drank it growing up, is straight out of the fruit. Most vendors sell coconuts along the side of the road or on the beach. For a few pesos, they will chop one open with a machete and even give you a straw, which really is as fancy as I like to get. If you can’t find a vendor, you always can pay a local to climb up a tree, knock one down for you, and crack it open. However you get one, just remember, if you are drinking it out of a glass, you are doing it wrong.

Viewfinder tip: Try mangú, a traditional dish made with mashed green plantains. It’s ugly, but delicious! 

Ask for the concón when ordering rice

The concón is the crunchy rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot when you cook it. Most people think it is burnt rice, but really it’s the layer that collects most of the oil and salt during the cooking process. That means it’s the most delicious part. Most outdoor excursions in the Dominican Republic offer an authentic Dominican lunch made by a local cook, but the cooks don’t offer concón to the tourists. Personally, I see this as a huge disservice. My cousins and I often would race each other to the kitchen anytime we heard the scraping of the pot that indicated it was concón time. We enjoyed the crunchy bits of fried rice with beans or sauce from stewed chicken or beef. If you happen to find yourself in a local eatery, ask the server if there is any concón and give it a try. 

A serving of concón

Learn local greetings, in Spanish

One of the things I have noticed when traveling to the island with foreigners is that they take for granted how important the basic greetings really are. Even when you’re in a resort, you should greet locals with a “Buenos Dias” (Good morning) or a “Buenas Tardes” (Good afternoon). I know that for many people the intimidation of a foreign language inhibits these types of hellos, but for Dominicans, this type of effort goes a long way. Dominicans recognize that hospitality and service are major economic drivers for the country and they take pride in offering the best service they can. Greeting them in their native language is a thoughtful way to appreciate their hospitality. (I believe this is a practice we should embrace everywhere we may travel, too.)

If you make a local friend, go dancing

In the Dominican Republic, a game of dominoes is not just a time to play. It’s also a time to talk about sports, politics, and about anything else that might come up. Not everyone gets welcomed to join in this ritual, so if you are invited, accept. The same is true for dancing. People in some countries like to hang out at cafés, others like to hangout at pubs. Dominicans like to dance. If you make a good enough friend during your visit and this person invites you to dance, consider it a compliment, regardless of your ability to merengue or bachata. Just do like Dominicans do, and enjoy life to the fullest. This is what the Dominican Republic is all about.

What are your favorite cultural traditions?

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Carol Cain

Carol Cain is a travel and food blogger who enjoys sharing her adventures, with or without her beautiful family in tow, in the hopes of inspiring others. Originally from Brooklyn, Carol has studied and lived abroad, experiences that have nourished her wanderlust. Her travel stories have appeared in both print and online publications, as well as via broadcast outlets where she has appeared for both Spanish and English media, including Telemundo, CBS, NBC, and ABC. Stop by on Twitter and say hello!

Latest posts by Carol Cain (see all)

  • outinha.com

    عايز تحجز فندق ، شالية ، يخت ، فيلا أو شقة ؟
    أوتنها دوت كوم -Outinha.com هو أفضل موقع فى مصر للحجز اون لاين بارخص الاسعار ، يقدم الموقع خدمات مختلفة فى كل أنحاء مصر
    حجز الفنادق (الغردقة ، العين السخنة ، شرم الشيخ ، مرسى علم ، الاسكندرية ، راس سدر ، دهب ، سيوة ، الاقصر و اسوان ، الساحل الشمالى )
    ايجار الشاليهات (الساحل الشمالى ، العين السخنة ، راس سدر، شرم الشيخ ، مرسى مطروح ، الاسكندرية )
    حجز الكروز و الرحلات النيلية (القاهرة ، الاقصر و اسوان )
    ايجار اليخوت (شرم الشيخ ، الغردقة ، مرسى علم ، العين السخنة ، راس سدر)
    ايجار الشقق السكنية و السياحية فترات قصيرة فى جميع انحاء مصر
    ايجار فيلات فترات قصيرة فى جميع انحاء مصر
    حجز داى يوز ( القاهرة ، الفيوم ، العين السخنة ، الاسكندرية )
    يمكنك اضافة شقتك ، شاليهك ، و اليخت الخاص بك بسهولة للموقع الخاص بنا
    كما يمكنك الحجز اون لاين عن طريق Outinha.com او عن طريق الاتصال على الأرقام الخاصة بنا
    01022000039/01022000049/01022000059 و 01155770022/01155770033/01155770044/01155770099

    http://outinha.com/ Outinha.com أوتنها.كوم – حجز فنادق مصر – شاليهات – فيلا – يخت – كروز
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/28/ Outinha.com أوتنها.كوم – حجز فنادق شرم الشيخ
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/21/ Outinha.com أوتنها.كوم – حجز فنادق الغردقة – فنادق سهل حشيش يخت الغردقة – ايجار يخوت الغردقة – الجونة
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/37/ Outinha.com أوتنها.كوم – حجز فنادق العين السخنة – حجز شاليهات العين السخنة – ايجار شاليهات العين السخنة – بورتو السخنة- يخت العين السخنة – ايجار يخوت العين السخنة
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/36/ Outinha.com أوتنها.كوم – حجز فنادق راس سدر – حجز شاليهات راس سدر – ايجار شاليهات راس سدر – يخت راس سدر – ايجار يخوت راس سدر
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/35/ Outinha.com أوتنها.كوم – حجز فنادق مرسى علم – يخت مرسى علم بورت غالب – ايجار يخوت مرسى علم
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/33/ Outinha.com حجز شاليهات الساحل الشمالى – شاليهات مارينا- فيلا مارينا – فيلا الساحل – بورتو مارينا – يخت مارينا أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/31/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق طابا أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/29/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق دهب أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/1/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق القاهرة- ايجار شقة القاهرة – ايجار فيلا – عشاء نيلى – نايل كروز القاهرة أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/2/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق الاسكندرية- ايجار شقة الاسكندرية – ايجار شقةالعجمى – ايجار المنتزه -أوتنها.كوم
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/3/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق الجيزة – ايجار فيلا – عشاء نيلى – نايل كروز الجيزة- الأهرامات – ابو الهول – الصوت و الضوء أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/8/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق الأقصر – نايل كروز الأقصر و أسوان – وادى الملوك – معبد الكرنك – البر الغربى – معبد الأقصر
    أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/14/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق أسوان – نايل كروز الأقصر و أسوان – القرية النوبية – السد العالى – معبد فيلة أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/34/ Outinha.com حجز فنادق سيوة أوتنها.كوم –
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/27/ Outinha.com حجز شاليهات مرسى مطروح – ايجار شاليهات مطروح – حجز فنادق مرسى مطروح – بورتو مطروح أوتنها.كوم –

    يسعدنا دائما خدمتكم فى اى وقت
    فريق عمل أوتنها.كوم

    Would you like booking Chalet, Yacht, Villa or Apartment
    Outinha.com is the best online booking website in Egypt , with best prices , listing different services all over Egypt
    Hotels Booking (Hurghada , Ain Sokhna , Sharm El Sheikh , Marsa Alam , Alexandria , Ras Sedr , Dahab , Siwa , Luxor , Aswan , Sahel (North Coast)
    Chalet Rentals ( North Coast , Ain Sokhna , Ras Sedr , Sharm EL Sheikh , Marsa Matrouh)
    Nile Cruise Booking (Cairo , Luxor , Aswan)
    Yacht Rental and Booking (Hurghada , Ain Sokhna , Sharm El Sheikh , Marsa Alam , Ras Sedr , Dahab , Sahel (North Coast)
    Apartment Rentals , and short term rentals all over Egypt
    Villas Rentals for short term all over Egypt .
    Day Use Booking (Cairo , Fayoum , Ain Sokhna , Alexandria )
    You can add your own Apartment, Chalet, and yacht easily to our website Outinha.com. And you can book online at our website Outinha.com or through calling us at below numbers
    01022000039/01022000049/01022000059 01155770022/01155770033/01155770044/01155770099
    Thanks A lot
    Outinha.com Team

    http://outinha.com/ Outinha.com Hotels Booking Egypt – Yacht – Cruise – Chalet – Apartment – Villa
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/28/ Outinha.com Booking Sharm EL Sheikh Hotels – Resorts
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/21/ Outinha.com Booking Hurghada Hotels – Resorts – Chalet – Yacht
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/37/ Outinha.com Booking sokhna hotels – ain sokhna chalet – yacht – porto sokhna
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/36/ Outinha.com booking ras sedr hotels – ras sedr chalet – yacht
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/35/ Outinha.com Booking Marsa Alam hotels – Marsa Alam yacht – port Ghalib
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/ar/user-city-list/33/ Outinha.com Booking North Coast Hotels – Booking Sahel Hotels – Porto Marina – Yacht – Marina Villa – North Coast Chalet – Marina Chalet – Sahel Chalet – Sahel Villa
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/31/ Outinha.com Booking Taba Hotel
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/29/ Outinha.com Booking Dahab Hotels
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/1/ Outinha.com Booking Cairo Hotels – Cairo villa – Cairo Nile Cruise – Cairo Nile Dinner – cairo apartment rent
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/2/ Outinha.com Booking Alexandria hotels – Alexandria apartment rent – Agamy Apartmnet rent – Montazah Booking
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/3/ Outinha.com Booking Giza Hotels – Pyramids Hotels – Sphinx Hotels – Giza Nile Cruise – Giza Villa – Giza apartment rent – Giza Nile dinner
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/8/ Outinha.com Booking Luxor Aswan Nile Cruise – Booking Luxor Hotels – Booking Luxor Resorts – Karnak – Kings Valley – Hatshepsut
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/14/ Outinha.com Booking Luxor Aswan Nile Cruise – Booking Aswan Hotels – Booking Aswan Resorts – High Dam – Nubian Village – Philea Temple
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/34/ Outinha.com Booking Siwa Hotels
    ——————————————————-
    http://outinha.com/en/user-city-list/27/ Outinha.com Booking Marsa Matrouh Hotels – Chalet Rent Marsa Matrouh – Porto Matrouh