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Frequently Asked Questions

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Travel Info

Getting here, Passport, Exchange rate information

Do I need a passport to visit the Dominican Republic?

A valid passport is required for the USA, Canada, Britain, Australia and all other EU nations.

For information about acquiring/renewing a US passport, please see http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html

Do I need a Visa?

Visas are not required for travel from USA, Canada, Britain, Australia and all other EU nations. If arriving from a different nation than those listed, please check with your local embassy for more info.

What is this Tourist Card I keep hearing about?

A Tourist Card is required for all international travelers except for those arriving from Argentina, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, Peru and Uruguay.

The card can be purchased at the airport after getting off the plane for roughly $10 USD and will be presented at customs. It is good for 30 days of travel in the country.

Tourist cards can also be bought ahead of time online here: https://www.dgii.gov.do/Tturistaweb/home

What kind of currency do they use?

The national currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso (DOP) and although the exchange rates tend to fluctuate they generally hover around:
$1 USD = 45 RD$
€1 EURO = 55 RD$

For exact exchange rates and more currencies please visit: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter

Throughout the country the USD is generally accepted, though it is recommended to have some pesos handy for tips and other purchases.

Booking

Reservation Policies, Setting up Flights and Transportation

What is the hotel cancellation policy?

For direct reservations, if cancellation occurs 14 days or more prior to the arrival date, we will refund 95% of your deposit. If less than 7-14 days notice is given, you may receive up to 50% refund. If less than 7 days is given, your deposit is forfeited.

If you purchased a voucher or gift card, there is no refund available, but we will allow a one-time rescheduling free of charge.

What airport should I fly into?

Samaná International Airport (AZS) is the closest airport, though flights are quite limited and only come through select cities. You should expect to pay no more than $100 for the 60 min taxi ride to the treehouse.

Santo Domingo International (SDQ) is probably your next best option. Taxi service from Santo Domingo to the treehouse can be arranged for you and costs $150 dollars for up to 4 people. It is a 2.5 hour taxi ride from Santo Domingo.

If neither of the above airports works for you or your dates, it might be worth considering a flight into Punta Cana International (PUJ), a 4.5 hour drive away.

Should I rent a car?

Driving in a foreign country can often times be a stressful and overwhelming experience for those not accustomed to the somewhat chaotic conditions that can be found here. We usually recommend going with a Taxi service unless guests are feeling adventurous and have some knowledge of Spanish.

If you’re up for it, renting a car can give you a little more freedom to move around and see more of the country. We advise such travelers to only use reputable companies when renting and to make sure to find out whether insurance is included in the price that has been quoted to you.

Travelers should also note that many of the roads around the Treehouse Village and throughout Samaná are not paved and are not very well suited for the types of compact cars that are typically offered by rental companies, so if you can get a larger vehicle with higher clearance this would be ideal.

What if I want to take the bus?

• Traveling via bus is the cheapest option, but is only for experienced travelers who have a decent command of the Spanish language. For those flying into Santo Domingo, this would mean taking a taxi from Santo Domingo International (SDQ) to the Caribe tours bus station, purchasing a bus ticket to Samaná and taking the 3-hour bus ride, then catching a taxi from the Caribe tours bus station in Samaná to the Treehouse Village.

Still a little lost?

See our Getting Here page for a more in depth guide.

Safety

Guidelines for Safe Travel, Wildlife, and Bugs... Eww!

Is there anything I need to worry about when it comes to safety?

The Dominican Tree House Village is nestled in a naturally protected valley and is surrounded by a very loyal and tight-knit community of locals that help preserve the peace and tranquility of El Valle (The Valley). Many describe it as a paradise and it truly is a safe haven.

Unlike other resorts in other parts of the Dominican Republic that discourage you from interacting with anyone outside the resort, we strongly encourage you to go out into the community and meet and interact with the locals and get to know them. They are an invaluable part of the experience and genuine, authentic cultural exchange is something in very short supply these days so please take advantage of the opportunity!

The Tree House staff consists of some of the friendliest and most genuine members of the community. They truly are world class. We stand by them 100% and you can count on them treating you like family.

It gets quite dark at night and there are many elevated areas within the project you could potentially fall from if you’re not careful. We strongly recommend you bring a headlamp for traveling between areas within the project at night.

What if I am a woman?

Like in many Latin-American countries, the Dominican Republic is a long ways away from gender equality. You’ll find here that very traditional gender roles are adhered to – men typically work (or play dominos) and women stay at home to take care of the kids.

Although I can’t guarantee you won’t get a little extra attention from local males, the Dominicans in this area are very used to seeing tourists come and go and they are generally very respectful and polite. We regularly receive a lot female travelers, many of them traveling solo, and I haven’t seen this impede or negatively affect their experience in any way. You very well may find that the guys here are more well-mannered than a lot of the men back at home!

What if I am a man?

Life continues on like normal. You shouldn’t have to worry about receiving any unwanted attention. 🙂

Do I need to worry about bugs or mosquitos?

We’ve got a large collection of bottles of bug spray that people have left with us, surprised by the lack of bugs and mosquitos that they were expecting to find here. We are in the jungle so I definitely can’t guarantee you won’t see the occasional beetle, lizard, or snail, but there really are virtually no mosquitos and there are a few things that contribute to this and the general lack of bugs:
– We have a large population of fruit bats that eat mosquitos and moths and keep insect levels low
– There is no standing water at the project
– All of the rooms and the main areas are elevated high above the jungle floor
– We regularly fumigate with an organic spray

All of our beds have a mosquito net over the beds to keep out bugs at night, this is more for peace of mind more than anything else.

Although you should be completely comfortable and mosquito-free while at the project, it may be still useful to bring some repellant for while out and about on tours or exploring other areas.

What about other wildlife?

Many people are surprised that iguanas are the largest “wild” animals you’ll find on the island. Aside from domesticated farm animals, most animals and creatures on the island are quite small and mild. It’s mostly just birds, butterflies, frogs, toads, lizards, turtles, and snails. There’s nothing poisonous or venomous to worry about on the entire island. Snakes and spiders are very rarely seen at the project.

Amenities

Room types, Bathrooms, Food

What are the rooms like?

The rooms are anywhere from 10-40 feet off the ground. They are incredibly sturdy and well built. Some are on stilts, and a few are in trees. You have incredible views of the jungle foliage.

The room has privacy curtains, a comfortable bed with a mosquito net around it, a locking chest for your valuables, and towels for bathing that are not to be taken off-property.

If you plan on having food in your room, bring a sealing container to keep it in.

All rooms have bathrooms either right next to or just nearby the Tree House.

Do the rooms have electricity?

Yes. There is a 110v electrical outlet in each room. Please refrain from bringing or using large appliances as you may overload the circuit.

The outlets are located at the foot of the bed and on one of the posts on the outside of the bannister facing the jungle.

Is there a place to store my valuables?

Yes. The rooms have a locking chest to store your valuables, however since you are traveling to a foreign country and will be engaging in a variety of outdoor physical activities, we do not recommend bringing any extra valuables beyond what you need for your trip. We discourage bringing any expensive jewelry or non-essentials, basically anything that cannot be easily replaced.

What are the bathrooms like?

Our bathrooms at the Dominican Treehouse Village are simple, clean, and will never be more than a short 20 second walk from your treehouse. Each bathroom has a large shower, toilet, and sink.

Is there internet available at the Tree House Village?

We do not have internet available for guests to use on the property, but there is a small Wi-Fi cafe just outside the property, about a 5-minute walk away. You can use this to check messages and check-in with family, though it’ll probably be a little slow for anything requiring a lot of data. Getting your Netflix fix in will probably have to wait until you get back home 🙂

Will my cell phone work in the area?

⁃ In town, there is cell phone coverage (extra charges may apply – call your carrier to get an international plan before traveling to save money).
⁃ At the Tree House Village, there are a couple of pockets of coverage depending on the weather. Cell phone coverage is not reliable at the Tree House Village.
⁃ On excursions, cell phone coverage is hit and miss.

How do meals work?

A hearty Breakfast and Dinner are served buffet-style at the restaurant each night with a variety of options to satisfy different tastes. Everything is fresh and hand-prepared.

Lunch is usually served either at our partner restaurant at the beach or while out on one of our all-day excursions.

If you have special dietary needs, we can cater to most alternative diets. Please just let the front desk know upon arrival so that they are aware and can accommodate you during your stay.

How does all-inclusive work?

Water and soda is complimentary for all, but guests that purchase an all-inclusive package also get unlimited access to Rum drinks served at our bar. Beer, Wine, and Specialty drinks are not included with any package but can be purchased at an additional cost. Alcohol consumed off-property is not included.

Breakfast and Dinner are included for all tree house guests, for Lunch all-inclusive guests need to make sure to pick up vouchers for our partner restaurant from the front desk each day.

What can we do there? What activities are available?

There are many activities you can do while in the area. Some are included and some have extra charges depending on your tour package. Some nearby activities include:
⁃ Zip-line (on property)
⁃ Waterfall rope swing (on property)
⁃ Swimming pool
⁃ Bike ride through jungle and beach
⁃ Horse ride to waterfall (Cascada Limon)
⁃ Whale watching (mid Jan – mid Mar)
⁃ Off-road Playa Rincon Tour
⁃ Snorkeling + Boat Trip Playa Fronton
⁃ Shopping in town (20 min away)
⁃ Scuba diving
⁃ Bird watching
⁃ Night games
⁃ Relaxing around the fire pit
⁃ Stargazing at night

Trip Prep

Packing, Cash, Tipping

What kind of footwear should I bring?

Bring sandals or shoes that you can get wet. Flip flops are fine, but if you want to do bike rides and walks, etc we recommended sandals that cover your toes.

What all do I need to bring?

Make sure to bring:
– Original passport
– Spending money
– Beach towel
– Headlamp
– Travel Insurance strongly recommended (and purchasable online)
– Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
– T-shirts
– Shorts
– Swimsuit
– Sunscreen
– Toiletries
– Personal medication
– Light sweater (November – May)

Optional:
– Your favorite snacks and comfort foods (and a sealable container!)
– Close-toed sandals
– Sun hat
– Camera
– Day pack
– Sunglasses
– Binoculars
– Baby wipes
– Insect Repellant
– Goodies for the kids at the village (staff always appreciates a treat or two also )

How do I pay for stuff?

While at the Tree House, tours/excursions, bar drinks, and onsite room upgrades can be paid for with cash or credit card. You’ll only need cash for tips, items bought at Michael’s stand, and your taxi if it isn’t already included in your package. We cannot take tips using credit card.

Credit Cards are very rarely accepted in this area so you’ll most likely need cash for any purchases you make while not at the Tree House Village.

Should I convert my cash to pesos?

If your primary currency is USD, your dollars will be accepted pretty much anywhere you go. We take both USD and Dominican Pesos (RD) at the tree house village, but we are unable to give cash back from a card and we are unable to exchange currency for you.

If you think you’ll be spending a lot of cash while outside the resort it may be worth converting your USD to Pesos ahead of time at the prevailing rate. Doing this will allow your cash to go roughly 15% further than it would otherwise, but in order to reap this benefit you’ll need to make sure you exchange your money at the prevailing, commission-free rate. Again, this is roughly 45 Pesos to the Dollar. If you fail to exchange money ahead of time most places will usually treat your dollar as if it were 40 Pesos to the Dollar.

PLEASE NOTE: Dominican Pesos are not the same as Mexican Pesos. If you show up with a bunch of Mexican Pesos there won’t be much we can do other than offer our sympathy and a free shot of tequila 🙂

How much money do I need to bring?

This really depends on how much shopping and splurging you intend to do while you’re here, a healthy budget of about $30-$40 USD a day should leave you with plenty to tip, buy some piña coladas or a cerveza (beer) or two at the beach, and still have plenty left over to bring home a couple souvenirs and some fresh coffee to remember the experience by. As always, how much you want to make it rain is up to you.

All-inclusive guests can get away with spending nearly nothing additional except for tips, so tighter budgets are possible, although in doing so you may miss out on some local products and drinks you might otherwise enjoy. Budget accordingly!

ATMs are available, but aren’t the easiest to get to, so we definitely recommend bringing enough cash for the entire length of your stay.

How does tipping work?

We do not have any mandatory charges for tipping or gratuity, and we do not expect anyone to tip unless they have received exemplary service.

For those wishing to give, here is a very loose guide as to how much of a tip would be appropriate in different circumstances:

For services that take no more than a few minutes such as taking bags to your room or other small gestures, a small $1-2 tip is appropriate.

For anything requiring a longer span of attention and service, such as your taxi or guides on the Zip Line, a $5-10 tip would be appropriate.

For anything that requires extensive attention and service such as guiding for all-day excursions, a $10-20 tip is appropriate.

Once again, these are just guidelines, please give what you feel is appropriate.

Our staff works hard and is considerate of every guests’ experience. If you would like to tip our staff, there is a tip box at the bar that gets shared between all of our workers and you can leave a tip there for everyone at the end of your stay if you wish.

How can I be sure that my experience will be awesome?

The Tree House Village Project is a labor of love for everyone involved. We are constantly seeking to improve upon and preserve this awesome little sanctuary in the jungle. Many of the best parts of the experience now started out as suggestions from previous guests. I can’t emphasize how important your feedback is to us on all parts of the experience. Please let us know how we’re doing at:

http://dominicantreehousevillage.com/feedback/

Hopefully that helps!  Please direct any further unanswered questions to:
booking@dominicantreehousevillage.com