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Shopping in Dominican Republic


In the Dominican Republic, best buys are products made on the island including amber jewellery and decorative pieces. These are a national speciality; some pieces encase insects, leaves or dew drops within the ancient petrified pine resin. Larimar or Dominican turquoise is another popular stone. Milky blue and polished pink pieces of conch shell are also made into jewellery. Rocking chairs, woodcarvings, macramé, pottery, Taino artifacts, Creole dolls, baskets, limestone carvings and CDs of salsa and merengue also make good buys. Bargaining is recommended.

Hand made candles are popular gift/souvenir items, as they are generally less expensive than can be found elsewhere. Decorative and scented candles – using locally grown coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. – can usually be found at most shops in Dominican Republic tourism destinations.

The Dominican Republic is the biggest cigar-producing country in the world and most of that is done in the Cibao Valley region of the country (near Moca/Santiago). Cigar aficionados believe many of the Dominican Republic-made cigars are superior in quality to the much more famous Cuban cigars. You will find a variety of cigar types, in different brands and price ranges, in almost all of the supermarkets and tourist gift/souvenir shops in most tourism destinations. Cigar speciality shops tend to offer higher-end, brand name cigars.

Shopping hours are generally Monday-Saturday 8 am-noon, and 2:30 pm-6:30 pm,

Santo Domingo

The Colonial Zone offers plenty of shopping opportunities, especially if you are looking for Ambar and Larimar, the traditional stones of the DR. Don't forget to haggle, as all the shop owners adjust their prices for this purpose. You will also find a ton of Haitian art for sale everywhere at great prices. If that's your thing, great, just remember its not Dominican. The main boulevard in the Colonial Zone is El Conde, a pedestrian boulevard lined with all kinds of shops and eateries mostly aimed at the locales. There is also a very nice cigar shop at the end of the mall across from the cathedral.

If you are feeling adventurous, have a cab take you to the Mercado Modelo nearby. This indoor labyrinth of shops can be overwhelming for a new tourist but, don't worry, it is safe. Then again, you might feel safer asking the cab driver to escort you through the maze of shops and kiosks offering every imaginable kind of souvenir, jewellery, stone, artwork, etc.

If you want to experience American-style shopping there are plenty of options but here are the three most popular: Plaza Central, Acropolis Center and, for those of you willing to venture into Santo Domingo Oriental, MegaCentro. While MegaCentro is farther away than the others, it is the largest mall in the Caribbean and is a destination in and of itself.

Please remember when shopping at the malls, this is an island where practically everything being sold is imported and, worse yet, taxed at 16% (ITBIS or Value Added Tax).





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