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    St. Kitts & Nevis: Nevis Island. Go Now!

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Social Life in the Dominican Republic


The Dominicans are conservative in most aspects of their lives and this is best seen in their behaviors, dress, and dining etiquette. They tend to dress and act conservatively, much of which is based on the doctrines of their Catholic faith. However, there is also great variety in the way the Dominicans behave as the country is quite diverse ethnically and geographically.

As a visitor to Dominican Republic try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing conservatively (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Dominican Republic Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.


The traditional dress of the Dominican Republic is heavily based on Spanish clothing, but also has influences from Africa. The Tiano people generally wore nothing prior to Spanish arrival (other than perhaps a loin cloth or a shirt called a nagua). With the Spanish arrival the dress shifted to dresses for women and shirts and pants for men. The dresses were Spanish-styled long free-flowing dress, often times with short sleeves and numerous colors and patterns on them. For men the pants and shirts were simpler and a hat was a common accessory.

Today the traditional dress of the Dominican Republic is still worn on some special occasions or holidays, but few people wear it on a regular basis. More common today is modern western-styled clothing, which varies based on personal preference more than anything else. However, the people tend to dress on the conservative side, especially in cities and inland; although conservative, the dress tends to be rather loose-fitting so it is a bit cooler.

As a visitor to Dominican Republic try to dress for the occasion as private resorts are filled with swimsuit-clad foreigners, but in the cities, and in particular in churches, the dress is much more formal and conservative. There are no issues with wearing shorts of short-sleeved shirts in Dominican Republic, but don't wear anything too revealing or short and try to avoid these clothes in more formal settings. Lastly, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is often restricted so check with locals before doing so.

This page was last updated: December, 2013