Dominican Republic - Profile
- The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, one of the Greater Antilles; the other third of the island is Haiti, culturally very different from the Dominican Republic.
- Unlike in the past, foreign yachts are welcome in most places and facilities are steadily improving. Entry formalities are now completed quickly in most ports of entry when all the paperwork is in order. But be prepared for being boarded and inspected at almost every stop you make, including while at anchor on passage.
- There are two routes east to the Lesser Antilles. Some cruisers take the route along the north coast of the DR and some go along the south coast. There are pros and cons to each route which should be reviewed, studied and understood before a trip is made to the eastern Caribbean. See publications.
- One paricularly attractive stop is at Samana Bay, on the east coast. This is an area to which humpback whales migrate for the breeding season.
- Because of the prevailing NE winds, the south coast offers more protected anchorages and attractive harbours, ranging from Punta Beata in the west to Isla Saona at the far eastern end of the island.
- The best facilities are to the east of the capital, Santo Domingo, at Boca Chica and further east at Casa de Campo. West of the capital, Las Salinas is probably the best stop. Outside of the large industrial centres, repair facilities for yachts are virtually non-existent although minor repairs can be dealt with by ordinary workshops.
- The average cost for day workers doing cosmetic work is between US$50-100 per day, depending on whether the worker is Dominican or Haitian. Whilst this price appears very attractive, cruisers should be aware that the standard of workmanship tends to match the price and many are not entirely satisfied with the results.
- Luperon, on the north coast, has a well sheltered harbour and is popular with many. Luperon Officials however have in the past charged 'illegally high fees'. The long-term cruising community here are working hard to change this.
- There are some relatively new large resorts which have marinas within their complexes at Punta Cana, Casa de Campo and Cofresi (Ocean World Marina) - 3NM W of Puerto Plata.
Based on reports to Noonsite from cruisers, petty theft from yachts is on the rise in the Caribbean in general. Thieves are getting bolder and swimming out to yachts on moorings or at anchor, even boarding boats inside guarded marinas.
Cruisers should take basic safety precautions and use common sense when leaving the boat or going ashore at night and whilst asleep (i.e. secure the boat). Dinghy thieves operate throughout the Caribbean and best advice is to place your dinghy on deck and chain it overnight. Lock it or lose it.
Be prepared not to expect Western standards when it comes to crime and officialdom.
Luperon, a popular haven for cruisers, did have a reputation for theft in the harbour in the past. Efforts have been made to reduce theft from yachts here, however it still continues so take the necessary precautions. If leaving your boat for any length of time, research carefully and only appoint a recommended caretaker for your boat.
The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported. Also cruisers can subscribe to e-mail alerts, follow on facebook and twitter and listen to the SSB Voice Service.
The Caribbean Security Index (CSI) is a a tool to assist cruisers in assessing the probability of crime at ports and anchorages throughout the Caribbean. The CSI provides a means of assessing risk in a given area.
Also be sure to check the Noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages
Last updated January 2017.
The Dominican Republic lies in the outer tropical zone, so there is little temperature variation between summer and winter. The varied relief of the large island means a diverse climate, from warm and tropical to arid and more temperate.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page
Cruising vessels are advised to clear into the DR at either Barahona, Boca Chica, Casa de Campo, Cofresi, Luperon, Punta Cana or Samana. These ports are set up with all the official agencies and are more familiar with dealing with cruising boats.
Other clearance ports that are "habilitado" (i.e. have a Coast Guard station), will clear vessels that are cruising the country for a local despacho, but cannot be relied upon to do international clearance.
Although San Pedro de Macoris, on the south coast of the DR, is a port of entry, it is a commercial industrial port which does not cater to cruising sailors, therefore yachts should avoid it. The same applies to Santo Domingo.