Staying connected in the DR

E.T. finger lit up


Phone Home

The Dominican Republic telephone system functions in a manner similar to the one that is utilized in both Canada and the United States. Claro and Orange (France Telecom) are the largest service providers in the country. Competition includes Viva and Tricom (sold to Altice). There are a number of Internet service providers like Wind, OneMax, Orange, Claro and Tricom.

To call to the United States and Canada you just need to dial 1+ the area code and phone number. 1-800 numbers are not reachable from the DR, you will need to dial 1-880 instead of 1-800 and you will be charged an international fee per minute. To call any other country you need to dial 011 (international prefix) + country code + city code + phone number (i.e. If you’re placing a call to London you need to dial 011 44 20 and then the number you want to reach).

[infobox color=”#eef8fe” textcolor=”#555555″ icon=”bullhorn”]See international dialing codes to call outside the Dominican Republic[/infobox]

One popular option these days is to use Skype’s international calling program, it’s a fraction of the cost of traditional options and you can download it directly to your laptop, tablet or smartphone. In cities and tourist areas, calling centers and Internet cafés are typically available between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm.

Calling Inside the Country

There are three area codes in the Dominican Republic: 809, 829, 849 in order of popularity. To call anywhere inside the DR you’ll need to use one of these area codes followed by a seven digit phone number (i.e. 809-XXX-XXXX). To call to a cellphone You’ll need to dial 1 first followed by the area code and then the phone number (i.e. 1-829-XXX-XXXX).

Calling Cards

60 pesos comunicard from Claro
Calling card from Claro

After arriving in the Dominican Republic, it would be a good idea to get a calling card, Claro’s Comunicard and Tricom’s calling card being the most popular.

These cards are easily found in gift shops and supermarkets and come in various denominations (varies depending on the company). They make it cheaper to use a residential or pay-phone for national and international calls.

You can also use these calling cards from your hotel phone but first we recommend finding out if your hotel charges a “connection fee” which can range from $1.75 to a ridiculous $10! Some hotels block the calling cards’ numbers forcing you to place your international calls through their operator.

Mobile Phone Services

Bring Your Own Cellphone

If your private cell phone is compatible with communication systems in Canada and the States (quad-band and tri-band GSM), that phone can probably be used in the Dominican Republic. Roaming charges will vary depending on your phone company.

You can also ask your phone company to unlock your phone (or maybe an old one) and buy a SIM card with prepaid minutes when you arrive. A good option for families or large groups traveling to DR would be to buy cheap cellphones ($30-50) with prepaid minutes from one of the local phone companies, this way you will stay in touch with each other even if you split up at some point during your vacation.

*Phone companies from which you can buy a SIM card when you arrive: Orange, Claro and Viva

Internet Connection Options

wifi signMore and more hotels are making WiFi service a standard amenity. If you are going to need the Internet during your trip you should check with your hotel beforehand, make sure to ask if the wifi network is available from your room since some hotels may list as “wifi available” but it can only be accessed from the lobby.

An easy way to stay communicated is by signing up with a free Internet email service like Yahoo, Hotmail or Google. You can then retrieve messages from external services as long as you utilize a POP3 type account. You will have to configure preference settings before you can access mail from any browser in any part of the world. It would be advisable to test the method out before you take the trip.

Wifi hotspots are widely available in major restaurants, shopping malls and tourist areas even when you don’t see a sign just ask someone who works there if there is an available network and to please provide you with the password.

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