Traveling to Dominican Republic tips
The colors of the Dominican Republic (Photo: dominican republic flag button image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com )
The Dominican Republic has year-round warm weather, fine resorts and renowned restaurants, and it does most of its exporting to the United States. As such, the Caribbean nation has become a popular tourist destination and a site for business negotiations. Whether you're traveling for a bit of sunshine, to make a deal or a bit of both, observing certain cultural traditions and mannerisms can enhance your visit.
Time Your Trip
Save on your airfare and accommodations by traveling between mid-April and mid-December. This is the Dominican Republic's low season, and according to the travel-information resource Dominican Republic Guide, hotel prices decrease by as much as 50 percent. Consider traveling in mid-August; August 15 is the date of one of the two annual Dominican Carnival festivals-a massive display of national pride replete with parades, costumes, food, music and dance.
Bring more than your beach and vacation clothes. Dominicans have a keen sense of fashion and an admiration of designer clothing-particularly styles from New York, according to the cultural information resource Every Culture. Dominican men, for example, generally wear short pants only at the beach or while performing hard labor. Women in rural areas wear skirts and dresses, but jeans are acceptable in the cities.
Eat Like a Local
Whether you're eating at a restaurant or dining with a native family, the day's biggest meal happens around noon and can last up to two hours, according to Every Culture. Popular dishes include la bandera, a meal of white rice and red beans with stewed meat, so named because its colors evoke the national flag. Other popular dishes include sancocho, a stew of meat, plantains and vegetables. If you try the fish, prepare to sweeten it with coconut.
If you're eating with a family, bring a gift, such as chocolates or pastries, according to the cultural etiquette information resource Kwintessential. Sit according to the hostess' directions, and wait to eat until the host says "buen provecho." Keep your hands above board, and never rest your elbows on the table. To signal that you're finished eating, put your knife and fork across your plate, with the fork tines down and the handles to both utensils to the right.
Learn Business Etiquette
Accommodate your business associates by respecting their native language and knowing their ways. Prepare all written materials in English and Spanish. Trust and networking go especially far in the Dominican business world. Don't be offended or frustrated if meetings drag on and have frequent interruptions; Dominican businesspeople cherish friendly small talk, and they frequently talk over one another without any intention of disrespect.
If you're trying to sell something or reach another sort of agreement, use non-aggressive sales techniques, and prepare to bargain. Dominicans are skilled negotiators, Kwintessential writes.
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