Thinking of spending time in the Dominican Republic? Not only is the island nation rich in opportunities for surfing and beachcombing, but it remains a bit of a secret – although not for long. Tourism is on the rise, drawing in people who crave natural beauty and unique travel experiences.
Why not give back to this beautiful country while appreciating its cultural riches and natural landscape? One of the primary needs in the DR is language education, but there are multiple ways to help residents improve their lives. Many people in the DR live in small villages, and even a few weeks of your time and energy can make a lasting impact in their lives. At the same time, you will gain a new perspective and real-world skills that you can carry with you throughout life.
Here are the things you need to know before you sign up to volunteer in the Dominican Republic, including a look at the programs that will connect you with meaningful ways to give back to others.
Know Before You Go
The Dominican Republic is a dynamic island nation in the Caribbean. Sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, DR is not only full of vibrant culture, but it has a diverse geographic landscape. As a traveler here, you’ll have access to coastal beaches, mountain terrain, desert shrublands and more. Many of the volunteer opportunities you will find are in small towns and villages across the different types of landscapes.
While the Dominican Republic has enjoyed economic and political security for about the last 20 years, its history of civil unrest still lingers to a noticeable extent in some areas. As a result, while the DR has one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas, many of its residents are still pulling themselves up from poverty. Volunteers can provide aid in a few meaningful ways, including teaching English to locals. As the island nation becomes more of a tourist destination, the ability of its residents to communicate with English-speaking travelers will exponentially increase job prospects. Many communities can also use help with childcare and basic medical care.
During your time volunteering in the Dominican Republic, you should prepare to live in a tropical rainforest climate. Near sea level, the average temperature is 82 degrees, while up in the mountains the average temperature dips to about 64 degrees. In the north, the wet season extends from November to January. Throughout the rest of the DR, the most rainfall occurs between May and November.