The Dominican Republic doesn’t only have beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife, it also is a great shopping destination. Here you can find vibrant street markets, high-end boutiques, luxury shopping malls, handicrafts, fine jewelry, clothing, gift shops, and local art. The Prices range from very inexpensive to very expensive, you’ll find something no matter what your budget is. The following tips will help you find the best Shopping options in the Dominican Republic.
Shopping in Santo Domingo for local items
Are you looking for the perfect souvenir? Some of the more popular local souvenirs are designer clothes including guayaberas, local art, Dominican cigars, coffee, chocolate sweets, sweets, macadamia nuts, leather handbags and belts, amber and larimar jewelry, faceless dolls, beer, and rum.
The largest collection of souvenirs in the Dominican Republic can be found at the Mercado Modelo, walking distance from Santo Domingo’s Colonial City. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday arts and crafts are sold at the park on the corner of Padre Billini and Arzobispo Meriño streets in the Colonial City.
If you are going for a wide variety of shops, El Conde street in Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial is perfect for you. This pedestrian street is charming and offers a wide range of souvenirs. Here you’ll find all types of shops selling souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and more.
Shopping in the Dominican Republic for local art
You will find typical Dominican paintings everywhere. They are recognizable by the colorful and tropical artwork. This style of art is originally from Haiti, but the Dominican renewed the style by adding new symbols from the Tainos Indians. Most paintings sold in tourist shops are mass-produced, to acquire paintings of quality and originals, you’ll have to go to reputable art galleries.
Original statues from the pre-Columbian period cut out of stone are forbidden to be sold. Only in museums, you will be able to view these. The Indian replicas, representing fertility, happiness, and other “wishes”, are made in terracotta and can be bought in souvenir shops.
In most tourist shops you will stumble upon ceramic dolls, made from red clay, with outfits painted in traditional designs. The dolls depict Dominican country life with some dolls balancing baskets or pots on their heads, some milling coffee, and some holding bouquets of flowers.
Shopping in the Dominican Republic for Larimar
Larimar, also known as “Stefilia’s Stone”, is a beautiful rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic. Colors vary from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue. You will find tourist shops selling the stones or jewelry made out of it across the island. But if you go to the locations where these substances are mined, it’s possible to get large chunks of the stuff for a bargain. Local miners sometimes even sell bits of amber with insects embedded inside them. Some souvenir shops sell fake larimar, the museums of larimar and amber in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata can show you how to identify fakes. A good place to go for quality jewelry is Harrisons, a high-end Dominican jewelry store with outlets all over the country. You will find an array of beautiful craftsmanship at these stores for half the price the same piece would cost at home.
Shopping in the Dominican Republic for cigars
Dominican cigars maintain a reputation for being some of the finest in the world, as many of the most talented cigar-making families from Cuba relocated to other Central American nations to pursue their craft following the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba in the 1960s. The Dominican Republic rose to prominence as a desirable cigar-making region in the decades following the embargo. Today, the country is home to many renowned brands, including Arturo Fuente, Ashton, and Davidoff, as well as a number of famous Cuban-legacy brands, such as Cohiba and Montecristo. Cigars could be purchased at any tourist shop across the country. But for a freshly rolled packet that’s boxed while you watch, you’ll have to go to one of the major cigar towns that surround the city of Santiago, such as Tamboril or Moca.
Shopping in the Dominican Republic for rum
The roots of rum go deep in the Caribbean. The region’s very first distillation of the spirit took place all the way back in the 1620s when it was discovered that molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining on Caribbean sugarcane plantations, could be fermented into alcohol.
Rum is another popular souvenir for visitors, as the local dark, aged rums are among the world’s finest. All over the country, you can buy gift packages of Barceló and Brugal’s very best “ron añejo”. In San Pedro de Macoris you can take a tour of the Ron Barceló rum factory where you will learn about harvesting and distillation. The factory is open to the public from 9:30 am to 3 pm, Monday through Thursday, and Friday until 2 pm. Tours are offered in English, French, and Spanish.
At Cap el Limon we’d be happy to organize you a private shopping tour. Please feel free to reach out for details.