Dominican Republic - Facts

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  • The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, one of the Greater Antilles. It is the most visited destination in the Caribbean with its year-round golf courses being one of the major attractions. The other third of the island of Hispaniola is Haiti, culturally very different from the Dominican Republic.
  • The DR has a population of over 10 million and the official language is Spanish, although English and French are mandatory foreign languages in both private and public schools.
  • The national currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP), but the US$, the Euro, the Canadian dollar and the Swiss franc are accepted at most tourist sites.
  • The time zone is Atlantic Standard Time (UTC-4)
  • The DR 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. See Weather for more details.
  • Foreign yachts are welcome in most places and marine 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.
  • One particularly attractive stop is at Samana Bay, on the east coast. This is an area to which humpback whales migrate for the breeding season.
  • Luperon, on the north coast, has a well-sheltered harbor/hurricane hole and is popular with many.
  • There are some relatively new large resorts that have marinas within their complexes at Punta Cana, Casa de Campo and Cofresi (Ocean World Marina) west of Puerto Plata.
  • Because of the prevailing NE winds, the south coast offers more protected anchorages and attractive harbors, ranging from Punta Beata in the west to Isla Saona at the far eastern end of the island.
  • 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 that should be reviewed, studied and understood before a trip is made to the eastern Caribbean. See publications.
  • 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 centers, repair facilities for yachts are virtually non-existent although minor repairs can be dealt with by ordinary workshops. See Yachting Essentials for more details.

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  1. March 29, 2024 at 2:12 AM
    Noels says:

    Just checked out of Puerto Bahia Marina for international waters. We have been in DR for 30 days plus 5 days. We were required to pay Customs $75 US each for the extra 5 days. Immigration we were asked to pay $30 US cash after inspection of the boat and no receipt was issued.

  2. March 6, 2023 at 11:32 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Denise Simpson reports:
    “There was increased cruising boat traffic for many areas of the Dominican Republic in February where large numbers of vessels arrived direct from Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Many filled the slips at the English speaking Marina Puerto Bahia Samana. Both Marina Puerto Bahia and Ocean World Marina have English speaking officials on-site for check in. Marina Puerto Bahia welcomes pet (dogs and cats) – with special SSCA rates. This child-friendly marina has a large number of cruisers of all age groups, solo as well as families. They seen to be having a good time with activities organized at this marina.” []
    New satellite imagery marine charts are now available for the Dominican Republic for free, downloadable from, thanks to Bruce Balan (sv Migration). While they are MB Tiles, when used appropriately, they fill in many areas/harbors with both land and water detail.

  3. December 8, 2022 at 9:57 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Reported by the Panama Posse []
    A Panama Posse 63’ motor yacht was on passage from Port Antonio, Jamaica for Boca Chica DR. Just after rounding Cabo Beata, 1.5 miles SE of the Cape, and turning north, both propellers became fouled in a massive bunch of fishing lines and the motor yacht was dead in the water with 6-8’ waves at 4-5 seconds. They issued a MAYDAY call and a 350’ container ship responded. Even in daylight the rescue was tricky and dangerous in the conditions. The container ship managed to get a line to the motor yacht, but they collided during rescue and the motor yacht suffered some cosmetic damage. The container ship towed the yacht through the night in rough seas to the port of Rio Haina. Once there, a pilot boat towed the motor yacht to a commercial mooring and quickly returned with a scuba diver. He removed a trash bag full of ropes and lines from the props and the motor yacht could then get underway for Boca Chica.

    If you are rounding Cabo Beata it is recommended to stay in deep water, which will put you off shore at least two+ miles to avoid fishing lines.

  4. September 30, 2022 at 5:34 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Feedback from Denise Simpson, Luperon, post-Hurricane Fiona:

    Samana town anchorage.

    Unknown mooring heres, test in hard by backing down in reverse and inspect. Not an ideal place to leave your boat unattended during hurricane season as was witnessed during hurricane Fiona 2022. If you stay with your boat go to Los Haitises national park into the mangroves for good protection, as seen during hurricane Fiona 2022. A lot of boats broke loose in the town anchorage during Fiona!


    There were lots of walkabout boats prior to, during and after Fiona 2022. The only contractors with legal moorings are Papo – WhatsApp +1 (809) 272-0131 and Handy Andy – whatsapp (829) 484-4538, who are also the only ones permitted to work in the harbor legally under ports permit and offer Boatwatch plus full harbor services. Then there are illegal moorings put in by cruisers over the years often with abandoned boats on them for many years (in the main harbor about 74-80) where lines to the moorings rot through or they drag what’s left of the concrete mooring blocks, break the main rode or break anchor or drag. Often if these illegal moorings with no ports permits or service schedule are open, some long term cruisers may try to rent these moorings out.

    It’s always best to stay with your boat in Luperón in and out of season, as even though it’s known as one of the worlds best hurricane holes, there are often walkabout boats in high winds.

    During season if you are on one of Andy or Papo’s moorings, you can get them to check it prior to a blow and get a safety line attached, put on triple lines to the mooring, get them to clean your bottom to be able to try to motor into the wind to take the strain off the mooring or your anchor and hope for the best regarding the many unattended – often unknown – boats out there, coming down on you.

    As always the safest spot is in Juan De Dios canal, however that is now littered with wrecks that environment is looking at ways to clean up, or private docks that are protected from the winds take up the majority of the N side which is the safest side, so it’s the main anchorage or the marina at Puerto Blanco with limited depth and anchors to hold you off and try to go between the main dock and the mangroves on the N side, so there is less chance of walkabouts from the harbor coming down on you.

  5. March 6, 2021 at 7:05 PM
    florasailing says:

    At least for Samana, SeaClear does not work as it cannot be selected as a port of entry.
    The eticket migration website does not work for cruisers either, other than stated on Noonsite. The only arrival than can be selected in the online form is by air transport.

  6. December 19, 2020 at 3:43 PM
    fabianeder says:

    We arrived in Punta Cana / Marina Cap Cana two days ago. Immigration and clearance straight forward, around 110 USD (42ft, 2 persons). Marina Crew very helpful and friendly.
    No Covid-19 protocol, but the Marina is a safe place in both matters, health and crime. A pretty nice place, More on the marina in the comments to the place!

    1. January 17, 2021 at 10:19 PM
      humpell says:

      Hi, so you only do clearances one time you arrive?
      Because i cant create the eticketvisa
      There no option for sailboats only plane
      I will arrive from caïcos to puerto plata
      (Sry about my bad english)

  7. November 23, 2020 at 11:23 PM
    aaronfreed says:

    re: arrival from puerto rico. i just checked in at la romana. i had engine issues so i sailed to bayahibe and then got a car. i paid $20 to customs, $20 to the port, $40 for boat clearance, and $63 to immigration. that is a total of $143 for one person on a 25-foot sailboat. a fellow cruiser that i just met paid a similar amount. no COVID test was required, and i did not have to fill out a health form, though i had been advised that some sort of declaration would be required.

    1. November 23, 2020 at 11:26 PM
      aaronfreed says:

      additional note: i tried to get entry into caso de campo to check in. however, the gate agent (it is controlled entry) informed me that only boats in the marina could check in there. ergo the la romana check-in.

    2. November 24, 2020 at 9:32 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Thank you Aaron for this really useful feedback – I have added the details to the Casa de Campo page.

    3. December 2, 2020 at 3:23 PM
      klabautermann says:

      Hi, thanks for the post. Did you just anchor south of the bridge and then dinghied ashore to check in?
      Jan from s/y Akasha

  8. April 28, 2020 at 5:02 PM
    GDYKids says:

    We had an outstanding experience at the Puerto Bahia marina in Samana. It is one of the nicest marinas I have ever visited worldwide!
    Arriving from PR (and earlier this year from Sint Maarten and St Lucia) in mid March 2020 to a truly safe haven there. The marina management and the DR officials couldn’t be more helpful welcoming us and about 20 other vessels. Wish we could stay there at the “locked in paradise” as we called the WhatsApp group created. Unfortunately, due to commitments in the US we had to leave in late March and sail straight to Florida with a very poor experience in the Bahamas, Long Island. The Bahamian authorities denied even refueling and essential supplies.
    Again, Marina Puerto Bahia in Samana, the DR should not be missed by any cruiser to and from the Caribbean! The only “risk” is that you may just want to stay there forever… 🙂

  9. April 2, 2019 at 4:01 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    We stayed in Samana Bay in the Bahia Marina which I highly recommend. Very protected Harbour with Security 24h so I left my boat for 3 weeks. Immigration, customs, and all Administrator are in the Marina Office.

    As you are there you may use the Resort Swimming pool for free. Nice Restaurant and free Cocktail Party once a week. The Marina was not on my C-map, but on Navionics. Easy entrance and helpful staff. My recommendation for the north coast of DR.

    Wolfgang Weber
    SY Elise

  10. April 21, 2018 at 2:50 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    We arrived in Luperon in March 2018 and have spent nearly a month and a half here. The people are some of the friendliest that we have ever encountered. No issues with theft or safety whatsoever. The pricing is a welcome break after coming from the Bahamas. We pay $2 a day for a mooring, $1 per 5 gallons of water and lunch at Las Velas is $3.

    We have also used one of the local canvas shops for a $300 dinghy chaps. Patulas Restaurant has become one of our favourites along with Wendy’s Bar and Las Velas at Puerto Blanco. Kat, the owner of Paula’s has been very helpful in recommending and even organizing some of the trips throughout the Island.

    The waterfalls are only a short ride away from the harbour and are a must do. One of the best beaches we have ever seen is also a relatively short, yet beautiful ride to Cambioso. La Isabella is another short ride with a fun beach. Santo Domingo, although on the south side of the island is about a days trip on what are surprisingly modern busses.

    We have done so much here in the Dominican Republic and all the while safely moored in Luperon Harbor. Don’t just stop at Georgetown in the Bahamas, come down to Luperon!

  11. February 11, 2018 at 10:21 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Anybody? A USA produced boat, 18 years old to import in DR taxfree possible based on CAFTA or NAFTA? Should be possible but what then with sales tax. Is there still a sales tax after 18 years…? If nobody has the answer: Wich tax lawyer to contact? but gets

  12. February 4, 2017 at 5:40 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    I was not suggesting the extortion was part of the holdup. I was just writing these facts as a result of our detention.

    My point is only if you go to DR be careful, you won´t sail the way you want. That’s it.
    I’m sailing for nearly 30 years all over the world, so I’m quite aware of what should happen or not.

    Anyway, thank you for justifying the DR point of view as you did, but I’m quite sure there are more reports of robbery and attacks than disasters at sea.

  13. February 3, 2017 at 2:04 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Posted on behalf of Frank Virgintino – author of the DR Free Cruising Guide:

    The real issue is one of safety and you will find it throughout the Greater Antilles and for good reason. Heading east from Cuba, Hispaniola or Puerto Rico, strong NE winds, E winds and SE winds can cause difficult conditions especially near capes and highlands – such is the case between Salinas and Barahona/Punta Beata. I once spent 7 days “locked up” in San Juan due to strong NE winds, because the Coast Guard would not let us depart.

    The Coasts Guard of the Greater Antilles is very aware of vessels moving in high winds and large seas. Frequently motors quit on boats due to sludge in the tanks clogging filters and many times boats are lost and crew injured or worse. In the case of the Dominican Republic, when winds become strong, the Coast Guard in Santo Domingo review wind and sea conditions and make a “small craft” decision for the entire island. Sometimes it is extended to include commercial craft as well.

    The writer of this report suggests that the hold up was related to extorting an extra tip. There is no question that tips are a way of life in these countries, but in the case they describe, the orders did not come from Salinas, they came from Coast Guard Central in Santo Domingo. Once the Coast Guard there decides that “small craft warnings go up”, it is no different than in the States; boats are advised to stay in harbour. In the DR, because of the need for a despacho, truly one cannot leave. This can lead to upset and frustration, but it comes out of a commitment of the Coast Guard doing their job.

    Let’s take the reverse. High winds and large seas are the conditions and the Coast Guard allows boats to depart. Someone loses their boat and/or gets hurt and then asks “why was I allowed to depart in those conditions?”

    When we are cruising, all manner and sorts of things happen and not always to our satisfaction. However, to cruise happy (and safe), as we visit different countries, we must realise that we subject ourselves to their jurisdiction and judgement. While we may be captains and masters of our little ships, we are subject to local laws and customs.

  14. January 28, 2017 at 1:59 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    There is a new administrative disposition in the DR. It is supposed to protect the sailors and the fishermen from bad weather risks.

    The Armada is still giving the «despacho» but now, under the order of a «weather coordinator». Colonel Perratas Mieres is the official in charge for the time being, and believe me, he will protect you more than any «mother hen» could ever think of.

    For example, when 25 knots of wind is forecast at Puerto Plata and Samana (Atlantic coast), he will hold all despachos for the Caribbean Coast too, even if it´s forecast 5 to 8 knots gusting 12! The result is you cannot leave the place you’re in! It´s like if someone, in your birth land, says: «Fresh wind forecast in the Great Lakes – California Coast is closed.»
    This is why we had to stay 4 supplementary days in Salinas.

    To get an international despacho, we had to go to Barahona, an easy 30 miles step from Salinas.
    There, same story. 7 days and 30US$ for prolongation of the stay! Winds between 5 to 15 knots, seas 1 to 2 feet. And it lasted 7 days.

    We tried to explain the «boat is built to cross oceans» and we have «weather knowledge and facilities to get forecasts», but the commandants of the Armada are totally afraid of Mieres, and would only check the SMS sent by the colonel, answering us: «Mañana… maybe».

    Colonel Mieres sees no difference between a light fishing boat and a 40-foot long-range cruiser. I really believe he sees no difference between 10 knots and 35 knots of wind either.

    At least, when the wind started to blow a little, Mieres decided everything will be delivered soon.
    It took 1 more day to get everything in order -40 US$ of mandatory propane included (but not due), to be freed from our chains, and I mean it because you really feel like in prison in your boat.
    Thank you to Sarayu for their support all along this unsupportable episode. This is an experience I’ll hope to never experience again.

  15. November 16, 2016 at 12:32 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    There is a chandlery contact in Luperon on the north coast.
    On the south shore in Boca Chica near the yacht club is a marine store.
    Also in the south in Santo Domingo is a marine dealer called Automarine. They have full chandlery as well.
    Our thanks to Frank Virgintino for this prompt summary.

  16. November 14, 2016 at 1:33 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Hi everyone, I am looking for somewhere to buy some basic emergency flares in the DR, preferably in Samana or along the North coast. We are on a charity kayak expedition and unfortunately were robbed of our flares and a number of other items. Also looking for somewhere to make some basic fibreglass repairs (or at least buy the supplies for).

  17. March 18, 2016 at 1:02 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    From March 2016:
    1.8 USD per foot for a berth in Boca Chica Marina (Zarpar).
    Officials are friendly, but they all tell you to talk to the agent at the marina (who will charge you 250 USD). So when checking out I would strongly advise starting the process early. There is no need to pay the agent anything.

    Total cost for me ended up being the 75 + 15 + 15 USD (i.e. the boat + two persons – all paid to the Immigration office at the port on entry) plus 20 USD to the coast guard after the boat had been searched and we were clear to leave.

    It took 2 hours arguing before I could leave though, but better that then paying 250 USD to the agent.

    I’m on a budget, knowing what I know now, I would have skipped the DR and gone straight to Isle La Vache in Haiti. Free anchorage, and no hassle.
    The Capitan of Marina Zarpar is a good man! But the agent there is willing to say a lot of rubbish to have you pay him.
    Olav Grottveit
    SY Rainmaker

  18. February 28, 2016 at 8:48 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Engine failed and sailed into the pretty bay in the South near El Soco, Romana. Moored in front of the top-end hotel. Within half an hour friendly policeman arrived in the hotel dive boat. Told us we had to leave and I explained engine kaput. Gave him $20.00 and he said we could stay only behind the little island in the centre of the bay. So he towed us there and we sailed off in the morning. Anchored off Isla Catalina, no problem, likewise Isla Saona.

    Engine broke off Boca de Yuma and anchored 50 yards upriver in 2 meters, delightful place. Again policeman arrived with fisherman gave him $30.00 and coffee, Very helpful guy and called a mechanic for us. Left 2 days later. Anchored in Miches and early morning taken off to Police station. Usual transaction all very nice and dropped back to the boat after checking despacho and stuff.

    Anchored in Sosua North end of the beach. Fair swell. No official visitors here. It is a shame they have this unusual policy about no anchoring in the DR, but great officials. Recommend smiling and being friendly!

  19. October 26, 2015 at 8:47 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Posted on behalf of 4Tux:
    March entry to Puerto Plata: $12.50 per person for tourist visa document (immigration) for 30 days. That has recently been extended officially to a 60 day tourist visa. Other fees for entry were $75. A grande total of $100 for two persons and a vessel. Luperon is charging about double that amount for entry plus harbor entry fees, anchoring fees, landing fees.

  20. January 11, 2015 at 12:44 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    I arrived in Luperon in 2009 by sea, and have swallowed the anchor and moved inland. So I cannot provide a first-hand account of check-in and check-out as currently practised, but several Luperon expatriate residents have recently reported that very few boats are visiting Luperon. Some that have reported being charged undocumented fees by the current port captain.

    For example, one recent boater reported being charged for only staying a few days and “not spending enough money in town”. Naturally, such rumours are difficult to substantiate. Port captains change every six months or thereabout and some are honest – but since the traffic rate is now so reduced it will be relatively difficult to obtain current information.

    On the bright side, the Puerto Blanco marina has had a facelift and is under new and invigorating management (NW corner of the bay).

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