For tourists visiting the Dominican Republic, shopping is one of the many fun activities they can fill their time with. And although there is the misconception that in the Dominican Republic you can buy only cigars or rum, visitors will soon find out that there are many souvenirs and beautiful objects that can be bought on the island. When shopping for souvenirs in the Dominican Republic, tourists will discover jewelry with semi-precious stones like amber, sculptures, traditional dolls, paintings or statues. Of course, clothes, bags or foods like coffee, vanilla or chocolate are other items that attract tourists. Tourists can choose to go shopping either in small, traditional grocery stores, or big, modern malls. This country of contrasts has it all.
If you want to go shopping in the Dominican Republic, you should know that most stores are opened from 9 A.M to 7 P.M. There are also small shops that open early and close around 10 P.M. If you go shopping around noon, you might notice that some independent stores are closed.
Shopping for rum
The Dominican Republic is best known for its delicious rum. You will not be able to find such tasty rum in any other country of the world, so make sure you bring a few bottles home with you. You should not worry about the price, because in the Dominican Republic, rum is very inexpensive. Most Dominicans prefer to drink rum mixed with coke and lime. This famous cocktail is called Cuba Libre. Others like to mix rum with fruit juices.
The traditional Dominican drink is called Mamajuana. It is an energy boosting medicinal drink made from different herbs, roots, rum and honey. Beginners might find that the drink is quite powerful and, instead of boosting energy levels, it makes them dizzy. Tourists who are interested in the fabrication of rum can do a tour of a famous rum factory, like the Brugal factory in Puerto Plata. As a bonus, they will also receive free rum samples and have the chance to purchase one of the best rums in the world.
If rum is not your favorite, you can enjoy a glass of the national beer Presidente, which is served in most restaurants and hotels on the island.
Shopping for cigars
The Dominican rum is the best in the world, but so are the Dominican cigars, as experts say. If you want to see a cigar factory, you can have the chance of visiting one in Santiago. On such occasion, you can also buy cigars directly from the manufacturers. In case you don't have a chance like this, you can still buy cigars from the many shops on the city streets. In resorts or close to the hotels, you will find small shops selling Dominican cigars. However, some cigars you can find in street shops might be counterfeited. Beware of too good to be true bargains.
Shopping for souvenirs
A stone you can find nowhere else but in the Dominican Republic is Larimar. It is a blue and white pectolite used to make jewelry and many other forms of artwork. Throughout the country, there are Larimar museums you can visit and find out more about this incredible stone.
Amber is another stone sold on the island. The Dominican amber is of high quality, and you might have the chance to find pieces of amber with small insects within. In Santo Domingo, there is a famous amber museum. There, you can purchase beautiful amber stones and jewelry safely. If you choose to buy amber on the streets, you must be careful not to buy fake ones. Again, you should be suspicious when you are offered a very small price for a piece.
Shopping for artwork and crafts
In every tourist center, there are numerous shops selling Dominican artwork and crafts. You can find paintings, sculptures, clothing, jewelry or bags; the choices are endless. Make sure you compare prices and styles before making a purchase. In the Dominican Republic, shopping for artwork usually implies an energetic price negotiation. The initial price quote you receive is considerably inflated, so you must negotiate until you get an offer of a half or one third of the original price. If you feel that the offer you receive is not fair, do not make a deal. There are many other vendors and shops that might offer a better price on a very similar item. The best thing would be to buy directly from the artist himself.
One of the most popular souvenirs is the traditional Dominican faceless dolls. These dolls are made from clay, wear traditional clothing, and carry flowers or a pot of water on their heads.
In the Dominican Republic, shopping can be a very fun activity that offers you the possibility to get to know the people of the country better. Whenever you go shopping, make sure not to pay too much on an item. If you are perseverant and patient, you will certainly find the most incredible bargains. Explore the areas outside your hotels, look for the best prices and the greatest quality, and make wise choices. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to discover the real Dominican Republic. Try new things, like fruits or vegetables you don't usually receive at your hotel: mango, passionfruit, coconut or guayaba are just some of the delicious fruits that will offer you the chance to have a taste of the real Dominican way of living.
Use banks, exchange offices or an ATM to change money into the Dominican peso before going shopping. Beware of counterfeiting and avoid people on the street who offer to exchange your money.
Whenever you have some time on your hands, go out and enjoy the Dominican Republic shopping experience.