One of the best places to shop in Santo Domingo’s colonial quarter is Calle El Conde, an open-air shopping centre several blocks long. Here you will find everything from street vendors (eating there is not recommended) to designer clothes at extremely low prices. There are some very nice outdoor restaurants that are great places to people-watch and drink Presidente (their most popular beer).
During the day there are also some tourist shops where you can buy inexpensive gifts for the family at home, including authentic paintings and beautiful jewellery. There is also a very nice cigar shop at the end of the shopping centre, opposite the cathedral. Clothing, on the other hand, is usually very cheap and often of good quality. Most prices can be negotiated. US dollars are accepted in most places.
Currency in Dominican Republic
The Dominican currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP). In February 2016, the exchange rate was 45.72 DOP to the US dollar.
You can change your US dollars and euros into Dominican pesos at airports and ports, but the rates are not very high. It is best to take only as many pesos as you need and exchange them later at your destination or withdraw pesos from an ATM using your credit or debit card. Note that you cannot exchange your Dominican pesos for US dollars or euros in most countries, so do this before you leave.
In most towns you will find a Banco Popular and a Scotiabank – their ATMs allow withdrawals with Visa, Mastercard and Maestro. They usually set a very low limit, but allow several withdrawals at once. Even if it is possible to withdraw money directly from the bank, most will categorically refuse this option and refer you to their ATMs. If you are not fluent in Spanish and willing to argue with the staff, you will have to obey (and therefore pay a fee for each withdrawal – between DOP100 and DOP200). Depending on the season, the limits change – in high season the limits are higher, in low season they are lower. It is always a good idea to try a value ending in 900 if the 1000 does not work (e.g. if 4000 is over the limit, try 3900 first before trying 3000).