The Downsides of the Dominican Republic

As you have probably heard, this is a great country. It’s fun, it’s lively, and you can enjoy a high quality of life here. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Nowhere is, so it’s important to tell you about the downsides of the DR and what negative aspects you can expect to encounter.

Hustlers

Dominican are natural born hustlers, and I’m not just talking about the men. The women can be even bigger hustlers. It’s a relatively poor country, and it seems everyone here is trying to make some extra cash to buy food or to support their children. For example, if you ask a local Dominican guy for directions then he will sometimes offer to walk you to your destination. But just realize that he expects a tip.

The Dominican women want men to take care of them. If you go on a date with a Dominican girl, she will sometimes ask for money at the end of the date. She will tell you that she is hungry or needs money to take care of her child. Never give them money, especially if you don’t know them very well.

Shoe Shine Kids

These kids annoy me more than anything in this country and that is no exaggeration. These are young kids, usually around 4 to 10 years old, that walk around the streets looking to shine your shoes for about 50 cents. When they see a foreigner then their eyes immediately light up with dollar signs. Sometimes they can be bold and get right in your walking path to try and stop you in your tracks. If you say no then they will resort to option number 2, which is to start begging you for money. You need to give them a firm no and do not engage in conversation with them. These kids pester foreigners the most, but they also solicit the locals. They are most prevalent in the outdoor tourist areas where there are many people walking.

Service

If you want high quality service at restaurants and stores then you’ve come to the wrong country. This is the Caribbean and the culture is laid back- people aren’t in any type of rush. This can translate to terrible customer service. At restaurants you could be waiting a while to order food, or you could ask for your check and then receive it 10 minutes later. Often times the server will forget to bring you the check so you then have to remind them. Higher-end restaurants and the American chains are an exception. The service is usually good at these places.

The service is not much better in retail stores or supermarkets. If it gets busy then you can expect it to take a while to check out. Most of the cashiers have two speeds: slow and really slow. Also keep in mind that the local Dominicans will notice that you are a foreigner and some will try to cut in front of you. Malls are an exception here, there is usually good service in malls.

Conclusion

These are three of the major downsides, although there are other minor inconveniences that you may experience during your stay. Some of these factors do drain on you over time, and it can make you miss living in a more developed, 1st world country. It’s also worth noting that some people are more annoyed than others about these inconveniences.

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