Dominican Republic Souvenirs

During your visit to the Dominican Republic you may want to take back a reminder of your trip, or a souvenir for family or friends back at home. The most popular options are cigars and rum, but there are so many others that make great gifts and keepsakes. In the Dominican Republic you’ll find stores of all sizes, from local artisans, to larger modern stores. With many different kinds of items, you’re sure to find some that suit your taste and budget. Here are just some of the many popular and unique items you’ll find across the country.
 

Dominican Art

Dominican Art


 

Amber or Larimar

Larimar is a semiprecious stone that’s only available in the DR. Its beautiful blue and white patina makes it popular in jewelry making and as a collectible stone. Throughout the Dominican Republic you’ll find specialty shops where you can learn about these beautiful, unique stones and purchase them as pieces or as jewelry. Amber is especially beautiful, and you can visit the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata or a number of smaller shops for stones and jewelry items.

Jewelry

Throughout the Dominican Republic you’ll find jewelry made with amber and Larimar described above, and also with a variety of other precious and semi-precious stones. The most common type of jewelry you’ll find, however, is inexpensive beaded necklaces available in local markets and artisan shops. Look around a bit to find your favorite before making a purchase.

Artwork

Dominican artworks have both African and Spanish influences, and can be found at many of the local markets around the country. They usually feature bright colors and beautiful patterns. If you can, try to purchase artwork from artists directly to ensure they are getting the proceeds from their work, and that what you’re purchasing is truly authentic. You can also find some beautiful sculptures made of mahogany and terracotta, as well as small pots and other objects that make great souvenirs. You should expect to haggle some over pricing, especially when purchasing from smaller markets.

Traditional Crafts

One of the most popular craft items are traditional dolls made from red clay. They are dressed in traditional clothing, and carry baskets, small flowers, or other items. These small, faceless dolls make a unique and beautiful souvenir, and have a wonderful history, as they remain faceless because it is impossible to portray the diversity of Dominican culture in just one face. You can find them in many different gift shops in city centers, side streets, and around large resorts.

Vanilla

You can find very good vanilla extract for reasonable prices in most grocery stores in the Dominican Republic. There are some shops with especially good vanilla around the Plaza Bavaro, and more across the country. This would make a great gift for a baker, maybe with a bottle of Dominican rum to make a very special rum cake.

Coffee

You can find really good Dominican coffee all over the country in supermarkets, and also in local markets from around $5 at the high end of the spectrum. Don’t wait until you hit the airport though, because prices will increase sharply. The most popular coffees are Santo Domingo and Induban coffee, and both are widely available. Whole beans will keep for a long time, so they are a fantastic way to enjoy memories of your trip.

Rum

The Dominican rum distillery Brugal is located in Puerto Plata and is a great place to pick up a bottle of the country’s signature rum, but this brand can also be found in shops across the country. You shouldn’t pay more than $12 for a good bottle of aged rum, and slightly less for non-aged. Bringing some back with you will help you relive your vacation long after you’ve returned home, or it can make a thoughtful gift. Enjoy it with citrus or cola like the locals do.

Cigars

The Dominican Republic is known for its high quality cigars, and you can find Dominican cigars in small and large shops in all its cities and around many of the hotels. If you have a chance you should definitely visit a cigar factory where you can see the whole process of how they’re made and rolled. Don Lucas is one of the larger factories where you can see how cigars are made and purchase some to take home. You can also find them in many smaller shops.

Mamajuana

This is a traditional Dominican drink made from a blend of rum, wine, honey, herbs, and barks. It is used by locals as a health and digestive drink. The taste is strong, and has a definite bitterness, but is overall pretty mellow. In stores you can find mamajuana bottled and ready to enjoy, but you can also purchase a blend of herbs to make your own at home (be mindful of your country’s food quarantine laws). Purchasing the dry ingredients is an easier way to transport this unique beverage home with you. Click here to learn more about mamajuana.

Any of these products would make great gifts for your friends or family, or ways to help you remember your trip after you make your way home. If you can, try to start your search at the beginning of your trip so you can get a better idea of pricing and options available to you. Also be ready to haggle with vendors over prices.

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