Shopping in the Dominican Republic: More than just Rum and Cigars…

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When you go shopping you will discover that the Dominican Republic has a lot more to offer than just cigars and rum. You will also find jewelry with amber, larimar and other precious and semi-precious stones, paintings, sculptures, statues, traditional faceless dolls, vanilla, coffee, chocolate as well as clothing, bags, calendars, picture books and decorative items for the home. It is a land of contrasts and you’ll find both simple colmados (grocery stores) and modern shopping centers, bigger and nicer than in many European cities.

Most shops open their doors at 9.00 (9 AM) and close at 19.00 (7 PM). Smaller stores will close a little earlier or those in tourist areas may stay open until 22.00 (10 PM). You will find that the independently run shops may close for several hours in the middle of the day.

A total different Dominican Republic shopping experience is buying from street vendors. In the Dominican Republic everybody sells everything. Buying goods from street vendors requires a ritual. The price of goods doesn’t depend on the goods, but the price depends on the perceived buying power of the client. Bargaining is standard and a sport. The Dominican vendor likes to be challenged and when you bargain well, the vendor might call you – with a big smile- a ‘tigress’. Which can be considered as a compliment by the best street vendors of the world.

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