Trip FAQs: Dominican Republic Service
- What is the packing list for this program?
- What is the weather like in the Dominican Republic?
- What kind of health precautions should I take before traveling on this program?
- Where do we sleep?
- How do we get around?
- How much money should I bring?
- How should I carry my money?
- How often can we take showers and do laundry?
- Do I really need to bring a backpack or duffel? Can I bring a rolling suitcase on this trip?
- Are there places to charge electronic devices like digital cameras?
- What is the time difference between the Dominican Republic and the USA?
- Do I need a passport?
- Do I need a visa?
- Can I join this program even if I don’t speak Spanish?
- What are the service projects like?
What is the packing list for this program?
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the trip's activities, length, climate and cultural differences. Please click here to view the Dominican Republic Service Packing list.
What is the weather like in the Dominican Republic?
In the Dominican Republic, the weather is a lot like Florida in the summer time. During the day it can be hot, sunny and humid (80’s-90’s). Late afternoons often bring showers, which will cool us off. Some days you will go to bed with only a simple cover as it is often warm enough to sleep with a thin sheet. When we ascend into the high elevation of Jarabacoa, the temperature becomes cooler (in the 50’s at night).
What kind of health precautions should I take before traveling on this program?
The Dominican Republic is a relatively clean and safe place to travel. However, ARCC does recommend that you take some health precautions before your trip. ARCC recommends, but does not require, that all students travelling to the DR be protected from Hepatitis A, Typhoic and that students take a malaria prophylaxis. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more detailed information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/dominican-republic.htm Our leaders carry a full first-aid kit and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).
Where do we sleep?
During this adventure we sleep in a variety of hotels and retreat centers.
How do we get around?
We will be traveling in a 30-passenger private coach throughout this adventure. These private buses are equipped with seat-belts and air conditioning.
How much money should I bring?
We suggest you bring about $75 per week on your trip. This is for souvenirs, laundry, and other incidentals. ARCC pays for all meals, lodging, transportation and activities. There is some time to shop for souvenirs in Santo Domingo and elsewhere during the trip.
How should I carry my money?
We recommend you bring all of your money in cash. An ATM card is a good resource for additional money as needed. In the Dominican Republic, the official currency is the Dominican Peso, but US dollars are widely accepted. We suggest that you carry about $25 of your money in small denominations (1’s and 5’s). Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted. Traveler’s cheques, although safer than cash, are often difficult to exchange in the areas in which we will travel. ATM’s are found in Santo Domingo, but are limited outside the city. At the time of writing, 1 US Dollar = 38 Pesos.
As with any international trip, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.
How often can we take showers and do laundry?
You will have the opportunity to shower every single day on this adventure, but in more rural areas, hot water might be limited. All accommodations have showers and there will be ample opportunities to swim in the ocean, river and pools! You will have the opportunity to send your clothes to a laundry service approximately once on the trip and you will also be able to hand wash your clothes throughout the trip. ARCC students are expected to pay for their own laundry service (typically ~$10/load).
Do I really need to bring a backpack or duffel? Can I bring a rolling suitcase on this trip?
Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this trip, it is important that you bring a backpack or duffel as your main piece of luggage. During the trip the group will be navigating through airports, getting on and off buses, going up and down stairways and escalators and taking short walks. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if everyone is able to carry their luggage.
Are there places to charge electronic devices like digital cameras?
There will be opportunities to plug in your electronics. The Dominican Republic uses Type A electrical outlets. These are the same standard two prong outlet we use in the US.
What is the time difference between the Dominican Republic and the USA?
During the summer, the DR is on Caribbean Eastern Time. Therefore, on your trip the time in the Dominican Republic will be the same time as New York (Eastern Time) and 3 hours later than San Francisco (Pacific Time.)
Do I need a passport?
Yes, all students traveling to the Dominican Republic need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is at least six months after your trip start date. Be sure to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place. If you lose your passport and you have a photocopy, it is much easier to replace.
Do I need a visa?
Yes. US and Canadian citizens will need a visa to enter the Dominican Republic and these can be bought for $10 once landing in country. The Dominican Republic also charges a $20 departure tax. Please bring both a $10 and $20 dollar bills to pay for both visa and departure tax.
Can I join this program even if I don’t speak Spanish?
Yes. English is widely spoken in the Dominican Republic and your leaders and local guides will be bilingual.
What are the service projects like?
The specific service projects that each group will work on depend on the needs of the communities at the time that the groups are there. Possibilities include: teaching English; leading summer camp activities; making improvements to community buildings or schools; planting trees; environmental education and village clean-up.