The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular Caribbean countries to visit, and is the most populous after Cuba. Most tourists visit for the year round great weather and the wonderful beaches but you can also pick up a few good souvenirs and specialities to take home with you which will make the trip even more worthwhile.
Dominican Republic coffee is some of the most popular after Brazilian and Columbian coffee. The rich flavour and dark colour is a distinguishing feature of Dominican coffee and tourists bringing this home with them will certainly get their caffeine kick every morning.
Whilst the coffee is dark, it’s surprisingly sweet in taste. Santo Domingo is one of the most popular brands; however you can find lots of different varieties around especially via smaller merchants.
Larimar is a unique blue cloudy gemstone which is only found in the Dominican Republic. You can easily buy jewellery and other items with larimar in for a surprisingly affordable price. In Santo Domingo there is a larimar museum which has a wide selection of gems on display and for sale.
The Dominican Republic also has supplies of gold and amber, which you will often see for sale alongside larimar.
As the Dominican Republic is a large producer of sugar cane, it’s also a large producer of rum. There are several distilleries based on the island which you can take tours of. Rum is popular throughout the Caribbean, and the Dominican Republic also has its own unique spin on rum in the form of Mama Juana.
Mama Juana is a blend of rum, red wine and honey soaked in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. Locals see the drink as a herbal remedy and drink is as a shot. It can apparently remedy flu, aid digestion, and even cleanse the blood! It tastes similar to port, and each region of the Dominican Republic has its own variation, so be sure to look out for this unusual drink.
Cigars and Tobacco
If smoking’s your thing then the Dominican Republic is a great place to pick up some hand-rolled cigars. The country is one of the biggest exporters of cigars and tobacco in the world, and they are easy to find and cheap to buy.
Popularised in the 1980s by Dominican artist Lilliana Mera Lime, faceless dolls have become a symbolic souvenir of the Dominican Republic. Usually made out of ceramic, the dolls are fairly inexpensive and are available at most gift shops and local stores. The dolls are faceless to represent the Dominican Republic’s diversity in its population and that they represent a variety of groups from the world over.
As with any trip, make sure you check what you can actually bring back with you, as there are some restrictions on alcohol, tobacco and food items.
Bill Weston writes on a variety of subjects including hotels in the Dominican Republic. For more information visit http://www.bluebayresorts.com/