Hints & Tips
About Life in Punta Cana Village and Dominican Republic
Punta Cana Village
Punta Cana Village is one of the most attractive areas for the upper middle class in the Dominican Republic. It’s a mix of traditional and modern designs with every house to be unique. It was established by Punta Cana Group a few decades ago and is constantly expanding and evolving. Punta Cana Group is a very powerful company with US funds that privately owns Punta Cana Airport, Punta Cana Resort and a lot of other assets.
Local residents are a lively mix of expats and locals that share the space. It’s an extremely safe neighborhood without crime, it has community space with a large playground, strip of restaurants and shops, big school, tennis courts, swimming pool, gym. We have a very famous Spanish singer as a neighbor – Diego El Cigala.
Punta Cana Village is gated community and in general a very safe neighborhood. But what we like about Punta Cana Village is that it does not have many fences – all houses are open same as in USA and Canada, there is no barber wire and no guards with big guns on the perimeter.
The population consists mainly of expats, upper management from hotels and affluent inhabitants of capital Santo Domingo who come here for weekends. All gates are staffed 24/7 and there are security guards patrolling the area on motorcycles. But the neighborhood does not have any fences between houses, there are no barber wires and all guards are unarmed. In general, the tourists are super protected in this country as they provide a major stream of revenue and there is a political will to make the country safe for visitors at any cost.
Payments in Punta Cana
You can use credit card in most stores. However, we recommend getting to any bank (we use the local Scotia Bank branch) and withdraw 10,000 pesos (around $200 usd) from an ATM using your debit card. You can use local cash for tips(its called “Propina”), street purchases, toll roads and just in case. US Dollars are accepted in most places. When using your credit card and given the option to pay in Dominican Pesos or your country currency – please always select Dominican Pesos, conversion rate is always better. The current exchange rate is about 54 pesos for 1 usd, but for convenience everybody uses 50/1 rate which is very easy for calculations. The cash in Spanish is called “Efectivo”, and indeed it’s very effective.
Spanish is the main language. Due to the tourism industry – many locals speak good English. A lot of people from Haiti work here in hospitality and construction, they all speak a variation of French (Creole). We recommend always having your mobile internet available and please master Google Translate if you would need to talk to locals who don’t speak a common language with you.
The prices for Taxi/Uber are relatively cheap here, but as foreigners who don’t speak a language – you can be taken advantage of. The standard Uber trip is between $5-$20 for most locations. Always consult with the Uber app to see the prices and add 30% to know what the real taxi fee is. Uber is paying very little to drivers here, so sometimes they don’t move even when they accept the ride. You can write in chat that you will pay extra in cash. Usually giving 20-30% more makes a difference and they start moving.
Foreign driver licenses are valid in the Dominican Republic for 90 days after you arrive in the country. Driving itself – always expect unexpected. The drivers here are impatient but they will never try to hit your car – they will move around you no matter what you do and in general they are not aggressive. But always watch out for somebody making an unexpected move, or some object on the road, or motorcyclists traveling without lights/helmet in the middle of the night.

Police is pretty corrupt here, most problems can be solved on the spot with 500 pesos or $10. But they cannot charge you without a valid reason. Valid reasons – speeding, texting and driving, alcohol, missing papers, etc. Even if they don’t speak English – use Google Translate.

Like everywhere in the world, the car inside the roundabout always has a priority over cars on the sides, but most Dominicans don’t know this rule, so drive with care as there are a lot of roundabouts in Punta Cana.
Internet (Mobile/Home)
There is a Hi-Speed internet (20 Mb / 10 Mb) inside the house with range expanders in bedrooms and family room.

For mobile internet we recommend getting a new sim card at Blue Mall, the telecom company name is Claro. Here is the google Maps link. You will need to bring your physical passport. The cost of the Sim Card is about 200 pesos ($4) and the internet costs here 145 pesos ($3) for 5 days / 5 Gb. You can load your account with enough money for your stay and ask them to activate right at the store.

Usually you need to buy Internet every 5 days using the following combination keys on your phone:
Call number *112# -> 1. Compras -> 1. Paquetes Libres – > Option for 5 days (sometimes it gives you 15 days but very rarely) -> 1. Si.
Please record your phone number, you can add money in any superstore or pharmacy or gas station. Just need to say that your provider is Claro and number.
Drinking Water
Tap water is not drinkable in the Dominican Republic, so be very careful where you drink from. Always take filtered water with you or buy bottled water. It’s very easy to get Ameba or other stomach viruses here. We have 2 WaterDrop filtered water taps in both kitchens, please wait for about 30 seconds until it gets under 35 particles and fill the jars with water beforehand if you don’t want to wait each time.