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Be aware that, while there are places where you can use a credit card, the Dominican Republic is primarily a cash society. You are likely to encounter ATMs that are not on your network. Depending on which ATM you encounter you may be limited to a withdrawal of not more than 5000 or 10000 Domincan Republic pesos. The low cost of food and drink makes this less of a problem than one might first think.
Though the roads are not the greatest, you can easily travel from point to point, visiting the north coast, the Samana Peninsula, the capital, and Punta Cana. Though the route from Samana to Punta Cana is circuitous, it is comfortable. To do this, however, one should have a good and reliable vehicle and be prepared that there is a bit of a wild west mentality in Dominican driving regulations.
The north coast has some lovely accomodations. The north coast, immune from hurricanes, has two towns well worth visiting. Sosua, once a destination for Jews escaping Nazi Germany, has come to maturation with nice restaurants, shops and galleries. Cabarete, the other book end for Sea Horse Ranch, is the kite surfing capital of the Caribbean.
The Samana Peninsula, now easily reached from the North Coast, has a nice though steep road which traverses the hills and takes the traveller to the fishing village of Las Terranas. Forget about the amount of rain the Peninsula gets, and make that trip. This is the "hippie" destination in the DR and it is obvious that the laid back ambiance of this location was a big attraction for those who favor batik. Like many of the touist towns in the DR, Las Terranas is a haven for European travellers. The calm waters, reasonably priced full service but not all inclusive hotels and the great restaurants and grocery stores reflect the needs of and influence from the vast numbers of Italians, French and Spanish vacationing there.
The nation’s capital, Santo Domingo, is worth a stop if for no other reason than to visit the historic parts of this bustling city. Here, if one chooses to stay awhile, there are four and five star hotels. Possibly the best place to stay is the Colonial part of town where the choices of hotels and restaurants complement the Spanish history to be found there. Like all of the DR, there is easy internet access from the SD hotels.
From the capital to Punta Cana is an easy drive, and worth the less than three hour trip. Punta Cana is only a beach resort: don’t expect to find history, natural wonders or huge amounts of choices.
You will find, however, that almost anywhere you go or stay in this diverse and awesome island-nation, that you are more than just tolerated. You are welcome. You are MOST welcome.