5 Dominican Republic Etiquette Tips To Keep in Mind on Your Trip

Whenever you visit another country, trying not to appear rude to the residents can be difficult. Every country has cultural norms that could define you as a rude person when you don’t intend to be or leave a great impression during your visit. The Dominican Republic is a fantastic vacation destination you can enjoy even on a budget.

Please continue reading to learn 5 Dominican Republic etiquette tips to help avoid appearing rude during your visit. Neglecting to inform yourself about the Dominican Republic etiquette standards could put you in an awkward situation while you’re on vacation.

1. Shake Hands and Be Friendly

When you meet new people during their travels, you should be willing to shake their hands with a giant smile on your face. The handshakes you give while visiting the Dominican Republic won’t be like the cold, formal ones you give in the United States. The person you meet might touch your arm or elbows during the handshake to let you know they’re happy to meet you.

  • It would be best if you maintained eye contact while shaking hands in the Dominican Republic. Eye contact is a big deal in this region.
  • While talking to new people, you might notice that they’re standing close to you. This is a common way that people like to communicate with each other, and the Dominican Republic; if you back up, they might think you’re rude or disinterested.
  • Handshakes are genderless in the Dominican Republic, so whether you’re a man or woman, you should expect to shake hands upon meeting new people of either gender.

Some countries view handshaking as a formal greeting, but in the Dominican Republic, handshakes are the standard greeting.

2. Pay Attention When People Talk To You

Initially, this might seem like a customary way to talk to anybody and any country. However, you might notice that when you talk to people from your hometown, they’ll glance at their phones or look away during communications, even if they’re listening. When you talk to people in the Dominican Republic, you should always maintain eye contact; otherwise, they’ll think you’re being rude.

  • If it helps, keep your phone in your pocket while you talk to people so you’re not tempted to glance down at it during a conversation.
  • Direct eye contact is preferable over indirect eye contact in the Dominican Republic, which takes some getting used to if you’re from a country where indirect eye contact is fine.
  • Answer any questions that people ask you and ask them related questions back. However, it would help if you avoided politics and religion during a conversation.

When you first talk to people in another country, it might not be easy to get used to how they communicate compared to how you normally communicate with people from your own country. For example, in the United States, many people don’t mind if you glance at your phone during a conversation, but in the Dominican Republic, this is extremely rude.

3. Dress Nice For Dinner

If you’re going out to eat or visiting someone’s home, you should dress nicely for dinner. Dinner is a social occasion in the Dominican Republic, and people try to dress to impress during a meal. So, if you don’t dress nicely while you go out for dinner or visit someone’s home, people will judge you negatively based on your outfit.

  • You don’t necessarily have to dress like you’re going to the Met Gala, but you avoid things like T-shirts, jeans, or sweats when you go out for dinner.
  • If you’re staying at a resort, you might notice that there’s a dress code listed for the restaurants you visit. For example, most resorts know that many people are used to dressing casually, and their home countries, so they provide casual restaurants.
  • Breakfast and lunch meals are much more casual than dinner. You’re always supposed to look nice for dinner.

The dressing standards for people on a resort or compared to people who visit the Dominican Republic are different. For example, if you’re on a resort, then you might not get looked at strangely if you wear jeans to dinner. However, if you visit someone’s home in the Dominican Republic, then they might side-eye your casual choice of attire

4. Keep Your Hands Visible During a Meal

While eating, you should never fiddle around with your lap or keep your hands under the table. However, it would be best if you keep your elbows off the table because this is seen as a rude gesture in the Dominican Republic. If you don’t know what to do with your hands and you’re still waiting for your meal, you can fold your hands on the table while keeping your elbows down.

5. Bring a Gift When You Visit a Home

When someone invites you to their house, you are expected to bring a gift. This might be a huge cultural difference between yourself and the people of the Dominican Republic. However, you don’t need to bring an expensive gift when you visit. Something like a bouquet or chocolates would be suitable for a visit. These gifts can cost under $20 and leave a fantastic impression on the people you visit during your vacation.

Dominicans pride themselves on hospitality and work hard to make people feel welcome, so bring a gift as a token of your appreciation for their work. Neglecting to bring a present with you makes you appear rude and unappreciative of their efforts.

Final Thoughts

The main thing you need to know about Dominican etiquette standards is that you should pay attention to people when they talk and be friendly. Please pay attention to people’s body language when they talk to you and try to reflect their body language, so you don’t seem standoffish. When someone invites you to their home, treat it like a special occasion and always bring a present because they’ll take good care of you.