The Dominican Republic is located in the heart of the Caribbean and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. There are four very important things in the Dominican culture: family, music, religion and food. Music like merengue, bachata and salsa can be heard in every corner of the country and it’s thought by many to be one of the most authentic places in Latin America. The villages of Samana and Las Terrenas are scenic, quiet and peaceful places, with pleasant and welcoming people, and the area where the volunteer programs are carried out is very safe.
This is general information, you will find specific information on each project in its section. Depending on each program, different information will be included and there will be different arrival and cooperation timetables.
Programs in THE Dominican Republic
Volunteer programs in the Dominican Republic are open all year. Some programs, such as those related to teaching, may be subject to a variation of start dates, depending on the school calendar. All volunteers are asked to take part in the projects from Monday to Friday, between 4 to 5 hours a day.
The work in the different volunteer programs is scheduled from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You must keep in mind that the schedule may vary depending on the project in which you participate.
The volunteers tend to use the weekends to travel and get to know the country.
In the Dominican Republic, there are several accommodation options. Depending on your interests and on what you look for in your trip as a volunteer, you can stay in the apartments for volunteers or in the homes of Dominican families.
The different accommodation options available to the volunteer are the following:
Option 1: Accommodation in the volunteer apartments. These apartments are located near the projects and local beaches. The rooms are shared with volunteers of the same gender. There are also common areas that you can use. This type of accommodation does not include meals, but you have access to the Internet (Wifi).
Option 2: Another way to learn a little bit more about the culture and the people of the Dominican Republic is to live in the homes of families selected by the organization. The houses also have common areas and rooms shared with volunteers of the same gender. In this type of accommodation you have meals included.
As soon as you arrive in the country, our coordinator will take you to the accommodation in volunteer apartments or family homes. Depending on the time you arrive, you will be given the induction and orientation to the place and the program.
To participate in an international volunteer program with Adventure Volunteer, it’s necessary that all interested volunteers meet some minimum requirements, such as:
- Age: You must be of legal age. You can be a volunteer if you’re 17 years old, but in that case we will need a signed permission from your parents or legal guardian. In the case that you are under 16, you can only become a volunteer if you are accompanied by an adult.
- Training or experience: It’s not necessary to be an expert or have all the experience of the world. What we are looking for are volunteers who are eager to help and to dedicate a bit of their time to activities that help in the development of vulnerable children, youth, women and communities.
- Time: We require your participation to be at least 2 weeks, since the schools and animal centres that we work with require our support in a continuous manner.
- As a volunteer, you are expected to be empathetic, communicative, responsible, and capable of adapting and working in a team.
The cost of the program varies depending on the type of accommodation you are interested in.
For example, if you are interested in staying in the volunteer apartments, the cost starts at €495 per 2 weeks. In case you decide to stay with Dominican families selected by the organization, the cost of the program is €775 for 2 weeks.
For more information about the costs, you can check each program.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
- Airport pick-up
- Accommodation in family homes or volunteer appartments
- Two meals a day during your volunteering (in families)
- Orientation and induction
- 24/7 assistance from the Adventure Volunteer team
- Monitoring and evaluation of the program
- Volunteering certificate
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
- Flights to and from the Dominican Republic
- Visa, if necessary
- Health insurance
- Internal transportation
- Return to the airport on the last day
- Extra drinks or meals
- Traveling in or out of the country
Arrival at your destination
Upon your arrival in the Dominican Republic, you will be met by the responsible coordinator or driver of the organization. They both speak Spanish and English fluently and are very helpful, patient and friendly. They will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it on the way out and will take you to your accommodation.
You will be given orientation and induction during which we will tell you the basic rules of the volunteer or family house and where it’s located. We will also explain everything about the volunteer program that you will take part in.
You will have a room to share with other volunteers of the same gender. In the apartments for volunteers the WIFI connection is available. You have access to all the common areas.
Depending on where you stay, the breakfast schedule might vary. You will be informed on the day of the orientation.
In the Dominican Republic, there is warm climate all year round. Its location near the equator provides pleasant weather conditions, with average temperatures of 30°C during the day and 22°C at night.
The official currency in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso. You will find that at ATMs the $ sign is the same as RD $. At the airport you can exchange your currency from € or US $ to RD $.
There is a fee of around 4 €/$ for withdrawing money at ATMs. The maximum amount, which can be withdrawn at a time, is RD$ 10,000.
At some tourist destinations, you can pay with dollars, as well as RD$. The amount of money you will need during your stay will depend largely on the excursions you make and the places you visit.
Depending on where you are coming from and the flight offers, you can choose to arrive at Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) or Presidente Juan Bosch International Airport (AZS), as they are both very close to where the volunteer programs are developed in Samana or Las Terrenas. You should also keep in mind that the arrival dates are weekdays.
When you arrive in the Dominican Republic and they ask you about the purpose of your trip, you can say you’re visiting a charity. But you are still a visitor/tourist during your stay in the country!
Every visitor or tourist arriving in the Dominican Republic needs to buy a tourist card. This tourist card can be obtained on arrival at the airport. The only requirements to obtain a tourist card are a valid passport and the payment of a $10 fee (also possible to pay in euros). The tourist card is personal and valid for one year from the date of purchase. It allows you to stay in the country for 30 days. If you stay longer, you can extend your stay by paying an additional fee for each additional month you stay in the country. This additional fee will be charged at the airport on the day of your departure.
Its official name is Santa Bárbara de Samaná. It’s located in the northeast of the Dominican Republic and is famous for huge amounts of coconut trees in the tropical zone, many of which are spreading towards the sea. You will find many fantastic beaches that surround the peninsula of Samana and that you can explore during a day trip or during the whole weekend.
It’s a small tourist town on the north coast of the Samaná peninsula with beautiful beaches. The beaches are 5 minutes away from the school, where the volunteers work. There are also two beaches for water sports (Playa Bonita and Playa Coson). This place is also known as a great kite surfing spot.
Salto El Limón
This is a spectacular 55-meter-high waterfall, about 20 km from Samaná. To get there you have to walk or ride a horse for about 30-45 minutes through the rainforest. There are guides to walk you to the waterfall or for horseback riding; the costs are negotiable and depend on the number of people (100-500 pesos / person) plus 50 pesos for the entrance to the waterfall park.
Cayo Levantado is a small island in the bay of Samana with a beautiful beach and the possibility of snorkeling or diving.
Los Haitises National Park
This is a national park with mangroves, creeks, humid subtropical forests, seagrass meadows, pirate hideouts and pristine cays scattered along the coast. You can also observe an abundant variety of birds.
All the places mentioned can be visited in a day. In Las Galeras and Las Terrenas it is advisable to spend a night or the whole weekend. Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata or Jarabacoa are also good places to spend a whole weekend. There are suggestions for hotels and Airbnbs in the volunteer house.
Will someone be waiting for me at the airport?
During the registration process for some of our programs, we request your flight information (company, flight number, and time of arrival) to coordinate your pick-up the day you arrive. That day an Adventure Volunteer coordinator will be waiting for you at the airport exit, they will be wearing the organization’s t-shirt and will recognize you by the photo you send us.
It’s the first time that I undertake an international volunteer program, can I volunteer with Adventure Volunteer?
Yes, you can become part of the Adventure Volunteer family of volunteers. Even if you don’t have any experience, the important thing is your desire to help. From the first moment that you contact us, we will guide you on the possible programs in which you can participate. We also seek for our volunteers the programs that are most suitable to their knowledge and skills.
Can I volunteer with a friend or a partner?
Of course. You can organize your solidary trip with a group of friends, your family, alone or as part of your university placement.
When I finish my volunteering, can I request my certificate of participation?
Of course! Any volunteer who participates in a volunteer program with Adventure Volunteer is provided with a certificate at the end of their volunteering. The certificate contains your name, details of the duration of your volunteering and it’s signed by the president of the organization.
- From the moment you fill in the registration form for a program in the Dominican Republic, your place will be reserved for 7 days.
- To confirm your place definitely, you must pay a €150 deposit within these 7 days. Once the deposit is paid, your place will be guaranteed and you will formally become part of the Adventure Volunteer family.
- As soon as you make the payment of the program deposit, we will send you an email to confirm that your place is guaranteed. After that, you will receive another email with additional information explaining everything you need to know to prepare your trip. The rest of the payment is made one month before you join the project.