Dominican Republic Culture

Don't get mad...just wait 'til 'manana'

How do we explain what the Dominican Republic culture is like?

I suppose an appropriate anecdote to introduce Dominican Republic culture would have been to say:

" I invited a couple of Dominican friends around to dinner at 7.00 pm to discuss what I should write. One arrived two hours late and the other one...well a couple of days went by and I'm still waiting for them to turn up!"

The Mañana Syndrome

For most visitors to the Dominican Republic getting accustomed to the serious 'manana syndrome' here can take a bit of time...

Okay, so it can be an uphill struggle getting tradesmen to come round and do a little job, and yes maybe you'll wait an unexpectedly long time for a barman in an apparently quiet Dominican Republic hotel bar to get round to pouring you drinks, and sure that lovely local couple you met and agreed to meet for a dinner date may still be due to turn up and your table was booked for over an hour ago...

Just Keep Smiling...

But hey, look around you...the sun is shining, no-ones in a hurry, everyone's smiling and relaxed, no-one looks stressed (except for the odd tourist wondering why their beer still hasn't arrived!)...just relax and get into the local 'groove'.

Joking apart this aspect of Dominican Republic culture the 'manana syndrome' can be very trying for visitors to get used, but prepare yourself in advance and do your best to take a deep breath count to ten, and above all keep smiling, when you feel like it's taking forever to get served somewhere, or check-out of your hotel, or waiting for a bus to arrive!

When you are on a Dominican Republic vacation you shouldn't have a care in the world, the locals rarely do, and they have had more cause than many in the past to be seriously aggravated by things!

Maybe the fact is that the Dominican Republic culture seems to be summed-up by such apparent complacency because they realise that sometimes you have to wait several generations before things take a turn for the better.

"Do as the Romans Do"

The sooner you learn to 'do as the Romans do' (you know what I mean?) the more you'll enjoy your stay in the Dominican Republic. And above all TRY not to get 'aggressive' about the laid-back way the locals seem to be about things. You will find that this reaction generally meets with you 'being ignored'! If you can try and remain 'chilled' and smile (just like the locals do) you'll suddenly find yourself feeling much more at home.

Some other aspects of Dominican Republic culture (If that's what you can call them!) that may take some getting accustomed to, include driving habits and communication skills.

Cross-roads and...

Let's say that many of the roads in the Dominican Republic are not the worlds best! This however does not discourage Dominican's from driving as if they are first class racing circuits. Extreme caution is advised when first trying to acquire your Dominican pedestrian skills. The roads are one place where the Dominican are NOT slow to do things!

Car and bike drivers tend equally to lack observation and 'defensive driving' skills. The car horn is also commonly (and frequently) used as a greeting, or a warning that they are there…in other words in a constructive rather than a 'critical' way…it just takes a bit of getting used to.

...Crossed Wires!

With respect to communicating effectively, insofar as this is another potentially challenging element of Dominican Republic culture, it should always be remembered that the Dominicans are a very 'literal' race! Combine this with the tendency for Dominicans to try to avoid upset or offence by proffering the answer they think you want to hear and this can lead to accidentally acquiring some interesting mis-information.

Dominicans are genuinely friendly happy people, most of the time. It's not an act it's their way of life. Ask them the right questions and they will be happy to be as helpful as they can. But remember that unless you ask a question in a totally unambiguous way you might find the answer you get isn't much help!

Also that good old 'manana syndrome' can strike again. Dominicans really don't like to offend...so if they think they might, by say telling you they can't possibly come and do that little job for you for instance, you've guessed it they'll be there 'manana' meaning in this case...sometime...never!

But what about other aspects of Dominican Republic culture?

Well yes, I guess you're right, we've missed a few important topics.

What we've decided to do is provide an insight to those essential cultural topics such as:

  • Music

  • Food

    On separate pages, so just click on the relevant links and you'll be taken there.

    If you have any other questions about Dominican Republic culture that we don't seem to have touched on, well we know we're not perfect...so please contact us ...but remember to ask your question in the right way...we are Dominicans after all! :)

    Ruth & Esther






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