Travel & backpacking tips for Santo Domingo and the DR

So you’ve booked your ticket to the hot and lively metropolis of Santo Domingo and you’re excited to uncover all the colonial charm that the DR’s capital has to offer. But if it’s your first time heading to the area, you may be unsure of what to bring, what to expect or, if you can even backpack around the country (you can, don’t worry!). That’s why we’ve compiled some backpacking tips for Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic, so you can arrive — and travel around — feeling completely at ease.


Trip planning
There isn’t a whole load of info online but backpacking tips for Santo Domingo and beyond can be found on Trip Advisor and Dr1 For a list of restaurant review sand places to eat, try Bocao.


Travelling from the airport
Taxis can be caught outside the airport and cost around $30 to get to Zona Colonial.


The view of Santo Domingo from Island Life Hostel


What to bring
As well as the usual backpacking rucksack, if you’re heading to the DR we’d also recommend;
-A light rain jacket (the weather is humid but can be unpredictable in Santo Domingo!)
-Mosquito repellant (although the capital city’s mosquitos don’t transmit malaria, the risk is higher in other parts of the country)
-A small side bag or money-purse to keep valuables secure (thefts and muggings do happen in the capital)
-A glass water bottle (re-filling your water from a filter is cheaper and easier than buying bottled all the time)


Speaking Spanish
Spanish is the national language in the DR and outside of Santo Domingo in areas with fewer tourists, many locals won’t be speaking English. If you need to brush up on your language skills on download the free app Duolingo to your phone or purchase a pocket dictionary for useful phrases and emergencies, because you will need to communicate with people!

backpacking tips for Santo Domingo
Cayo Arena, off the coast of Puerto Plata in Punta Rusia.


Where to go
The Dominican Republic is just emerging as a great spot for backpackers and if you want to go off the beaten track, we’d recommend heading to the south-west of the country and exploring the stunning and unspoiled beaches of Bahia de las Aguilas or, heading north of Santo Domingo to the waterfalls just outside Jarabacoa. Cabarete is also the kite-surfing capital of the world and attracts many visitors April-September.



Getting around
Public buses that ferry tourists and locals around the country are safe and easy to find. The most expensive route is from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana (400 pesos), but most journeys are considerably cheaper. The DR has many different bus stops and companies which operate the most well-known routes so ask at your hostel for advice on where to find them.



Island Life Backpackers Hostel offers expert advice on booking trips and excursions around the DR as well as a great hostel experience;  be sure to contact them today for a quote.