Shopping in the Dominican Republic

Homegrown souvenirs are the best option when shopping in the Dominican Republic

Photo credit: © Christopher Bosum
 

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.

Where to Shop

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.

Gifts and Souvenirs

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.

Faceless Dolls

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.

Mamajuana

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.

Cigars and Tobacco

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.

The chart below has some key facts concerning 4 of the gift and souvenir shops in the Dominican Republic.

Gifts and Souvenirs In the Dominican Republic
Name Phone Location
Atenciones Y Regalos Vip (809) 540-8323 Downtown Santo Domingo
Letty Regalos (809) 473-4485 Downtown Santo Domingo
Sabor Criollo Gift Shop (809) 685-0525 Downtown Santo Domingo
Tienda Ofelia (809) 688-7004 Downtown Santo Domingo

Specialty Shops

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.

One of the area's more interesting speciality shops is Arte Berri. They are located in downtown Santo Domingo. Tour the grounds of Arte Berri between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. If you are looking for something specific and want to call in advance, do so at (829) 343-4514.

Another good option is Duendes del Caribe, which is located 0.5 mi. (0.9 km) to the north of Arte Berri. In an unassuming building in the city's Colonial Zone is Duendes de Caribe, a cozy art gallery featuring vibrant local art works for sale. This is a great place to see what is inspiring local artists as well as pick up a gift or souvenir that will last much longer that typical trinkets. They are located at 17 General Cabral.

Golden Arrow Diving: Owner and operator of this dive center, Denis, has a passion for scuba diving that is hard to match. He opened the center in 1999 in order to train other divers while pursuing his love for cave diving, and is hands on in the education of all guests. The property can be found at 10 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Street.

Look through the following table to read more about specialty shops in this general area.

Specialty Shops In the Dominican Republic
Name Type Phone Location
Arte Berri Art Gallery (829) 343-4514 Downtown Santo Domingo
Arte De Carolina Art Gallery (809) 687-6677 Downtown Santo Domingo
Bicicentro Santiago Bicycle Shop (809) 533-4404 Santiago De Los Caballeros
Charet Agora Jewelry Store (809) 412-5079 Central the Dominican Republic
Club Car Golf Equipment and Pro Shop (809) 620-2406 Downtown Santo Domingo
D' Guillermo Galeraa Churchill Art Gallery (809) 955-0232 Downtown Santo Domingo
D'Guillermo Galeraa Aybar Art Gallery (809) 955-0232 Downtown Santo Domingo
Duendes del Caribe Art Gallery (809) 686-5073 Downtown Santo Domingo
Forever Crystals Agora Jewelry Store -- Central the Dominican Republic
Galeraa Bodden Art Gallery (809) 732-0000 Downtown Santo Domingo
Galeraa De Arte Nader Art Gallery (809) 544-0878 Central the Dominican Republic
Golden Arrow Diving Dive Shop (809) 566-7780 Central the Dominican Republic
Joyeria Las Americas Jewelry Store (809) 244-4885 0.9 mi. West of Central Puerto Plata
Joyeria Michelle Agora Jewelry Store -- Central the Dominican Republic
Kitexcite Kite & Surf Center Kite Store (829) 962-4556 1.2 mi. Northwest of Central Cabarete
Mildred Gomez Art Gallery Art Gallery (809) 508-2008 Downtown Santo Domingo
Mundo Golf Golf Equipment and Pro Shop (809) 378-1616 Downtown Santo Domingo
Museo de Arte Moderno Art Gallery (809) 685-2156 Downtown Santo Domingo
Planet Bike Bicycle Shop (809) 535-2152 Downtown Santo Domingo
Quinta Dominica Art Gallery -- Downtown Santo Domingo

Clothing and Apparel

Interested in shopping for clothing? Consider dropping by Brooksfield Agora -- it's located in central the Dominican Republic. Located on the second floor of the mall, Brooksfield specializes in "A Way of Life." The clothing available is made in the tradition of Italy, but with a style suitable for a country club. Guests can find them on Avenida John F Kennedy.

A second place to consider is 7 Camicie Agora -- which is located just a few steps away from Brooksfield Agora. Located on the second floor of the mall, 7 Camicie Agora specializes in sophisticated clothing made in Italy for men and women who seek out quality clothing that will last. You can find them on Avenida John F Kennedy.

A third apparel shop you might enjoy is Oysho. This shop, which is located on the third level of the mall, is all about providing women with clothing that is at once feminine, flirty, and comfortable. While there are a few items that you might wear out to a special occasion, casual is key here. They're located on Avenida John F Kennedy.

The table below provides some key facts regarding the 20 apparel shops in the Dominican Republic.

Clothing and Apparel In the Dominican Republic
Name Type Phone Location
7 Camicie Agora Boutique -- Central the Dominican Republic
Addidas Agora Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store -- Central the Dominican Republic
Anthony's Agora Department Store (809) 534-3232 Central the Dominican Republic
Barone Agora Formalwear Store (809) 683-2582 Central the Dominican Republic
Bershka Agora General Clothing Store (809) 338-3044 Central the Dominican Republic
Brooksfield Agora Boutique (809) 633-2111 Central the Dominican Republic
Cortefiel Agora Boutique (809) 547-2933 Central the Dominican Republic
Desigual Agora Boutique (829) 544-7349 Central the Dominican Republic
Kenneth Cole Agora Boutique -- Central the Dominican Republic
La Senza Agora Lingerie Store -- Central the Dominican Republic
Moda Y Estilo Fashion Boutique (809) 241-9340 Santiago De Los Caballeros
Onda de Mar Boutique -- Central the Dominican Republic
Oysho Boutique (809) 338-3050 Central the Dominican Republic
Punto Intimo Agora Lingerie Store (809) 338-0784 Central the Dominican Republic
Sport Line American Agora Swimwear, Beachwear and Sportswear Store (809) 540-7777 Central the Dominican Republic
Stradivarius Agora Women's Clothing and Accessories Store (809) 338-3055 Central the Dominican Republic
SuiteBlanco Women's Clothing and Accessories Store (829) 544-7392 Central the Dominican Republic
Tingola T-Shirt Shop (809) 683-6910 Central the Dominican Republic
Trucco Shop Agora Women's Clothing and Accessories Store (809) 378-2015 Central the Dominican Republic
Zara Agora Boutique (809) 338-3033 Central the Dominican Republic

Food and Grocery

Alcohol

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.

Hungry? El Catador is found in downtown Santo Domingo. Hardwood floors, deep, rich colors, and leather arm chairs decorate the wine tasting room at El Catador, where you can sample wines and snack on cheese and prosciutto. Then, choose amongst over 500 bottles of wine to take home with you. The property can be found on Av Lope De Vega 50.

Another option is Super Super Surf Liquor Store, which is located 97.9 mi. (157.5 km) to the north-northwest of El Catador. Not just for local surfers, Surf Liquors is the only full service liquor store in Sousa. Set just off the main highway, the shop has the appearance of a corner convenience store, and is filled with all of the goods you need to throw a great party. To contact them, call (809) 571-3862.

Supermercado Playero: They are open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you're looking for something specific, try calling them at (809) 571-1821.

You can look through the following chart for more information.

Food and Grocery Stores In the Dominican Republic
Name Type Phone Location
Bravus Licor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 241-4637 Santiago De Los Caballeros
Delidalia Bakery (809) 528-7886 San Cristobal, Central the Dominican Republic
El Catador Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 549-6215 Downtown Santo Domingo
Janet's Super Market Grocery Store -- 0.6 mi. East of Central Cabarete
K M Licor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 537-1522 Downtown Santo Domingo
La Cuchara de Madera Bakery (809) 683-6544 Central the Dominican Republic
Licoreraa El Viejo Jack Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 471-7532 Santiago De Los Caballeros
Mercado Modela Grocery Store -- Santiago De Los Caballeros, Northwestern part of the Dominican Republic
Platinum Licor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 482-5118 Downtown Santo Domingo
Ron Depot Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 987-1414 Downtown Santo Domingo
Super Super Surf Liquor Store Beer, Wine, and Liquor Store (809) 571-3862 Sosua, Northern part of the Dominican Republic
Supermercado La Cadena Grocery Store -- Central the Dominican Republic
Supermercado Nacional Santiago Grocery Store (809) 226-8080 Santiago De Los Caballeros
Supermercado Playero Grocery Store (809) 571-1821 0.6 mi. Northwest of Central Sosua
Xocolat Agora Confectionery and Nut Store (809) 549-5036 Central the Dominican Republic

Duties, Taxes, and Tips

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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