People and Culture in the Dominican Republic

A country of rich culture, breathtaking nature, and captivating history, the Dominican Republic is a  destination that offers welcoming people, enchanting architecture, and miles of white sand beaches.

(Read more about the Dominican Republic!)

Remember how your parents used to tell you to keep your elbows off the table during meals? Or that it’s rude to slurp your soup? Well there’s good news guys, these American cultures and customs don’t always translate to other countries! While the local people you meet won’t expect you to be fluent in their language, culture and customs, it is important to familiarize yourself with them.

Do you know how kissing, snoring and other things sound in other languages? That’s right, even sound effects can be translated!

The most important thing to remember while you’re abroad is that things will be different. But, different doesn’t mean wrong. Be open, be curious, and read more about the culture you will be stepping into. Get excited about LIVING the life you’ve only dreamt and read about until now!

People and Culture in the Dominican Republic

Official name: República Dominicana

Population: 9.4 million

Capital City: Santo Domingo

National Dance: Merengue

Geography: The Dominican Republic is a country in the Caribbean Sea and borders Haiti to the west.

Famous People: David Ortiz, Oscar de la Renta, Sammy Sosa

Non-verbal communication:

Dominicans indicate “come here” with the palm down and waving the fingers together inward. In order to hail a taxi or bus, wave a finger or fingers, depending on the number of people who need a ride. Also note that Dominicans tend to point with a set of puckered lips instead of using a finger to indicate.

Other customs to be familiar with:

Only begin your meal after the host says “Buen provecho!” (Enjoy your meal!)

A common meal in the Dominican Republic is “la bandera dominicana” which consists of white rice, red beans and stewed meat, the colors reminiscent of the country’s flag. Another delicious treat is the pastelito, a fried pastry that is filled with onions, beef, tomatoes and seasonings.

When you are not holding any utensils, make sure to keep your hands above the table but remember – no elbows on the table!

When you are finished eating, put your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs facing the table and the handles of both utensils facing to the right.

Phrases to know before you go:

Excuse meForgive me

Good morning

Good afternoon

Good evening


How are you?

I am fine, thank you

I am sorry

I am grateful



Thank you

You’re welcome



Buenos días

Buenas tardes

Buenas noches


¿Cómo está usted?

Estoy bien, gracias

Lo siento

Estoy agradecido


Por favor


De nada