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Vacationers in the Dominican Republic have more than a few places to choose from when it comes to shopping locales, particularly in Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. Make sure to leave a little extra space in your luggage, because you are sure to find some items that you want to bring home with you.
The Dominican Republic has a number of products that are made regionally, and make great souvenir options. Amber jewelry, ceramics, cigars, coffee, faceless dolls, larimar jewelry, mahogany furniture, mamajuana, rum, soapstone carvings, visual arts, wood carvings are all popular options. Of course, the basic souvenirs that you will find anywhere you go (t-shirts, post cards, shot glasses, etc.) are available in abundance.
Rum is practically synonymous with Caribbean, and the Dominican Republic is no exception. At least 15 types of rum are distilled in the Dominican Republic, so take your pick. Beer is popular as well, however, fine wines are hard to come by.
Because of the low cost and duty allowances, cigarettes are a popular buy. They are available by the carton-load, and the best value will be found in supermarkets. The Dominican Republic is the highest producer of cigars in the world, and many argue that the quality here greatly outshines those made in Cuba. On top of that, it is perfectly legal to transport them back into the United States.
Coffee produced in the Dominican Republic is sold at high prices around the world, but while in the country you can get it at a great value. Coffee is grown in the Bani and Cibao Altura region.
Faceless dolls made of ceramics or clay are created to depict life on the island. The dolls are dressed in traditional clothing, and set with woven baskets on their heads or doing common jobs.
Although all sorts of jewelry can be found in abundance in the Dominican Republic, amber and larimar are the most popular. These gems are both mined in the Dominican Republic, and jewelry items made of them are great gifts to purchase if you are looking for high value souvenirs.
Mamajuana is perhaps the most unique of all the souvenirs sold in the Dominican Republic. A mixture of bark, herbs, honey, rum, wine, and sometimes animal parts, this concoction is said to aid in digestion and increase sexual vitality.
The locally made artwork, which encompasses everything from carvings to paintings, are available in the Dominican Republic at a great value. The paintings are not unique – many of them are copies of popular Hatian designs – but they are colorful, simple, and well-done.
...unique products for you to choose from...
In the Dominican Republic, visitors will often find that the resort they stay at has a shop on site, filled with clothing, souvenirs, books, and more. While this is convenient, these shops tend to be over prices, and if you have the option, you'd do better to head out and shop elsewhere.
Punta Cana is where to go for souvenir and craft shopping, and there are also a few outlet malls that sell high-end luxury items such as clothing and accessories. Plaza Bavaro is the largest shopping complex in Punta Cana. It is an open air market, meaning that visitors must walk outside to travel between each shop. Here, there are 50 shops, restaurants, and a bank. Palma Real Shopping Village is one of the most recent additions to shopping in Punta Cana.
Puerto Plata has a nice mixture of boutiques, souvenir shops, and malls for visitors to choose from. Turisol Complex is the largest mall in the area, featuring 80 stores. Centro Commercial Playa Dorada and Plaza Isabela are also in Puerto Plata, along with several jewelry shops.
When it comes to shopping in Santo Domingo, many vacationers stick to the shopping centers and malls, like the Acropolos Center and Americana Departmentos just because they are easy to locate and have a large concentration of shops in one area. Yet, there are other locations to consider, such as independent shops and boutiques in the downtown and historic district, where some of the best local souvenirs can be found.
|Acropolos Center||Santo Domingo|
|Americana Departamentos||Santo Domingo|
|Artesany Center||Punta Cana|
|Bella Vista Mall||Santo Domingo|
|Blue Mall||Santo Domingo|
|Coral Mall||Santo Domingo|
|Diamond Mall||Santo Domingo|
|El Cortesito FleaMarket||Punta Cana|
|Malecon Center||Santo Domingo|
|Mercado Colonial gift shop||La Catolica|
|Mercado Modelo||Santo Domingo|
|Modelo Market||Santo Domingo|
|Multicentro La Sirena||Santo Domingo|
|Palma Real Shopping||Punta Cana|
|Plaza Andalucía I y II||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Bavaro||Punta Cana|
|Plaza Cataluña||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Central||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Dorada||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Fernández I y II||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza La Lira I y II||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Lama||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Las Américas I y II||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Naco||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Paseo de la Churchill||Santo Domingo|
|Plaza Punta Cana||Punta Cana|
The Dominican Peso is the official form of currency in the Dominican Republic, and you will need to exchange your money when you arrive on the island, as the U.S. dollar is not widely accepted. Additionally, the Dominican Peso is not available for exchange anywhere but on the island. Major credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and large stores.
Typical operating hours in the Dominican Republic are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily, with a a two to two and a half hour break around lunch time. Read more about business hours of operation here.
It is important to note that while turtle shell items are sold by some vendors, they are illegal, and should be avoided at all costs.
There are a lot of unique products for you to choose from when you shop in the Dominican Republic. Whether you bring home a faceless doll, some rum, or a packet of mamajuana, when you shop in the Dominican Republic you know you've not only made a purchase but a memory.
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