When the question about the Punta Cana currency is raised, travelers are often unsure: Dominican Pesos or US Dollars? What is the better currency to have when traveling to Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic? Or is a credit card sufficient so you don’t have to exchange money in Punta Cana?
Exactly those questions are answered in the following article. We’ll show you what is the difference between US-Dollar and Dominican Pesos, if you really need to go to a money exchange in Punta Cana, what’s the best for tipping in the resort, which exchange rates to expect at different places and if it is cheaper to travel with the Dominican Republic currency instead of only having US-Dollars.
- What is Punta Canas’ currency?
- What currency does Punta Cana use?
- Money exchange in Punta Cana
- ATMs in Punta Cana
- Conclusion: which currency in Punta Cana do you need?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Punta Canas’ currency?
The currency of Punta Cana is the Dominican Peso, which is also the national currency of the Dominican Republic. The shortcode of the Dominican Peso is DOP.
Currently, as of December 2022, 1 USD equals approx. 55 DOP, which means that for 1 US-Dollar you are getting 55 Dominican Pesos when exchanged for the interbank rate.
However, effectively, the Dominican Peso and the US-Dollar can be used likewise in Punta Cana due to its status as the most important tourism destination in the Dominican Republic. The following article will give you some more details, on which occasions it is better to use the US-Dollar and when you shall better use the local currency of the Dominican Republic, the Dominican Peso when paying with cash money in Punta Cana.
Historically, the DOP is the currency of the Dominican Republic since 2011, even though the first Dominican Peso was issued in 1844. Before 2011, the “Peso Oro” was the Dominican Republic’s currency for a long time and therefore also valid in Punta Cana.
Seen over a long period, the Dominican Peso is historically devaluating compared to the US-Dollar. While in 2011, 1 USD was only worth 38 DOP, you get now around 55 DOP for your dollar, which shows the strength of the greenback. However, since Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic, the currency Dominican Peso has shown remarkable strength. From a ratio of 58:1 in July 2020, the Peso strengthened to the an exchange rate DOP to USD of 53:1 in September 2022. Just since then the US-Dollar is outperforming the Dominican Peso again, which leads to the current exchange rate of 55:1.
What currency does Punta Cana use?
Travelers are often asking what currency Punta Cana is using. As often, the answer is “it depends!”. Let’s have a look into the different use cases of Punta Cana’s money, depending on if you are in a hotel respectively all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, if you enjoy one of the various Punta Cana excursions or if you are on a road trip through the Dominican Republic.
The currency of Punta Cana in hotels
When staying in an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, you basically won’t see or experience the currency of Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic, the Dominican Peso. Everything is priced in US-Dollar – not only your booking but also the spa, the souvenir shop, any additional experience or your room upgrade you might want to take. Therefore, you won’t need any Dominican Pesos.
Even for tipping in Punta Cana, you can use US-Dollars. Resort workers are used to US-Dollars and they can easily pay with it for their daily needs, such as supermarkets or when using public transport in Punta Cana. Therefore, you don’t have to exchange your money from US-Dollar to Dominican Peso, neither for the all-inclusive resort nor for tipping. The US-Dollar can be considered Punta Cana’s second currency.
If you feel tempted of paying too much during your holiday, you can continue reading here to see how you can save during your all-inclusive holiday.
The currency of Punta Cana during excursions
The same situation as for the hotels does also apply to excursions in Punta Cana. They are all paid in US-Dollar (usually you pay for them upfront via credit card anyway) and the only money you need in Punta Cana during your tours is (usually) for tips, souvenirs, snacks/drinks and/or photos. Both currencies of Punta Cana are accepted, you can pay all those costs in Dominican Peso or US-Dollar, but there is no need to exchange USD into DOP.
The currency of Punta Cana when staying in an Airbnb
The situation is a little bit different when staying in an Airbnb in Punta Cana. Compared to your all-inclusive holiday in Punta Cana, a vacation in an Airbnb lets you take part in the real life of the Dominican Republic. Therefore, the Dominican Republic’s currency might be of greater use to you.
When staying in an Airbnb in Punta Cana, you can use both currencies in Punta Cana – US-Dollar or Dominican Pesos. As mentioned above when talking about the “real life” of the resort workers, both currencies are accepted in Punta Cana. However, change will always be given in Dominican Pesos when paying at supermarkets, convenience stores, fruit stalls, public transport in Punta Cana or any other kind of service.
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This also means, that it is not necessary to exchange money in Punta Cana, as you can pay everywhere with US-Dollars. However, it is recommended. The reason is that if you pay with US-Dollars and you get your change in Dominican Pesos, it might happen (intentionally or unintentionally) that you get either an unfavorable exchange rate for your change or the vendor tries to give you fewer Pesos than he should. Just imagine you’re paying the amount of 1235 Pesos with a 50 US-Dollar bill, do you know in 2 seconds how much change you are supposed to get?
Probably not. And exactly that’s the reason why I would recommend heading to a money exchange in Punta Cana or an ATM to get some local Pesos, Punta Canas currency No. 1 – and also the official currency of the Dominican Republic.
If you’re staying in an Airbnb which is more kind of a villa and you have a chef coming to you to cook and a grocery service, you don’t need Pesos either.
The currency of Punta Cana during road trips
Last but not least, if you’re planning a road trip in the Dominican Republic or only in the area of Punta Cana, Dominican Pesos are also highly recommended, if not mandatory. Especially when venturing out off the beaten track and exploring all those adventures and secret spots the country has to offer, all prices will be marked in Dominican Pesos. Even though US-Dollars are also accepted in most businesses outside of Punta Cana, it will save you money, time and hassle to get used to paying with Dominican Pesos – it is simply the main currency of the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana.
Money exchange in Punta Cana
Ok, now you know what is the principal currency of Punta Cana. Just in case you decide to get some Dominican Pesos, you might wonder where you can find the best money exchange in Punta Cana.
Money exchange in the airport
Money exchange at Punta Cana International Airport – or any other of the Dominican Republics’ airports – might be the first idea you have when thinking about where to get some Dominican Pesos. However, it is not the best idea.
Even though they advertise commission-free money exchange at Punta Cana Airport, the exchange rates for US-Dollars in Dominican Pesos are usually pretty bad. Expect to pay (at least) a 5-10% markup on the official rate (sometimes also 15%), hence the exchange rate will be somewhere between 47 and 50 Pesos for 1 US-Dollar.
The next time I am at the airport in Punta Cana, I will check on my own for the current US-Dollar exchange rate. 😉
Money exchange at the hotel
Using the money exchanges in the Dominican Republics’ hotels, particularly in Punta Canas’ all-inclusive resorts, is nearly as bad as at the airport when you want to obtain Punta Cana’s currency for your US Dollars. Usually, the exchange rate also has a markup of around 5-10%, mostly closer to the higher end of the range.
This being said, if you exchange 100 USD for Pesos, you will only receive around 5000 Pesos instead of 5500 Pesos, according to the current exchange rate of 55:1.
Note: It is not recommended to travel to the Dominican Republic with large sums of money (mainly for your peace of mind). Therefore, make sure to check out the ATM section below.
Money exchange in the city
If getting Punta Cana’s money at the airport or the hotel is too expensive, you might want to use a money exchange office in Punta Cana’s city center, which is called Bavaro. This is possible and you’re getting very good exchange rates, usually with a markup of just around 1-2%, sometimes even less. However, it also depends on where you go. If you exchange your money in Punta Cana close to the tourist areas, such as Corales or Punta Cana Village, you still will pay higher prices, usually around 2-4% more than the interbank rate. If you head to Friusa, the local center of Punta Cana, you find money exchange offices with the best US Dollar to Dominican Peso rate.
Still, please keep in mind two things:
– You have to factor in the costs of getting to these money exchanges in Punta Cana. If you pay 20 US-Dollar for Uber or taxis back and forth, it might be cheaper to just use the less attractive exchange rate in your hotel.
– There is a theoretical risk of getting counterfeit money. While this usually doesn’t happen so much if you go to an official money exchange in Punta Cana, the risk is much higher if exchanging with street vendors or touts. You’ll get even approached by some of them at the beach.
Some of the more recommendable money exchanges in Punta Cana are (use at your own risk):
- Casa de Cambio Friusa, +1 809-556-2702 (close to the big Friusa junction)
- Agente de Cambio, Downtown Punta Cana (at the Sunix gas station)
- Caribe Express Bavaro, +1 809-552-0862 (at Avenida Espana)
- Caribe Express Bavaro Friusa, +1 809-552-0313 (close to the big Friusa junction)
Money exchange at banks
The last option to change your US-Dollars into Punta Cana’s currency, the Dominican Peso, are the public banks. Here you’re getting the best exchange rates, usually very close to the interbank rate and similar to the money exchange offices. When exchanging money in Punta Cana at a bank, you just have to factor in two things:
– some banks (but not all of them) require a local bank account to exchange different currencies
– usually, the lines are pretty long, so you have to wait a bit
The most common banks, which are also all present in Punta Cana and Bavaro, are:
- Banco Popular
- BHD Leon
- Banco Santa Cruz
Most banks are located either at Punta Cana Village, Downtown Mall Bavaro or in the Friusa area.
ATMs in Punta Cana
As you can see, getting money in Punta Cana for an attractive rate is not too easy. There are different options for obtaining Punta Cana’s currency, but all have their little drawbacks.
Therefore, for me, the best option to get the currency of the Dominican Republic in Punta Cana is via an ATM. They are readily available in the entire country. Without having them counted, I would say that there are at least 20-30 ATMs in Punta Cana, maybe even more.
All ATMs from official banks dispose of Dominican Pesos at the official interbank rate. For most ATMs, there is a 150-250 Peso usage fee (3-5 USD), hence it makes sense to get a bit more than just 50 USD (respectively the equivalent in Dominican Pesos). The maximum you can take from any ATM varies between 12000 and 20000 DOP (approx. 230 – 400 USD) per transaction, even though there are few ATMs without a limit (Banesco for example). You just have to check the fees from your credit card company for withdrawals at foreign ATMs, but I know that there are many travelers (especially from Europe) who can withdraw money from ATMs worldwide without additional costs.
Besides the ATM usage fees, which are hard to avoid, there are several advantages of ATMs when looking for money in Punta Cana:
- 100% security, no counterfeit money (which is, however, not a big problem in the Dominican Republic)
- Usually, there is always an ATM close to you
- ATMs from official banks available at the airport and in several all-inclusive resorts
- Best exchange rate between US-Dollars and Dominican Pesos
- No need to bring large US-Dollar amounts into the country
ATMs in Punta Cana can be found at Punta Cana’s International Airport, at many all-inclusive resorts (even not at all of them), in the big malls (Downtown Mall, Blue Mall), in Corales, El Cortecito, Friusa and Punta Cana Village and all bank offices.
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Conclusion: which currency in Punta Cana do you need?
For most of the trips to Punta Cana, you’re fine with US-Dollars. Especially when staying in all-inclusive resorts and heading on organized excursions in Punta Cana, you won’t need any of the local currency of the Dominican Republic. Tipping in US-Dollar is fine as well. Just if you’d like to venture out to the countryside and explore the Dominican Republic on a road trip, for example when renting a car in Punta Cana, Dominican Pesos come in handy.
When getting money in Punta Cana, the easiest option is to use an ATM. They only supply the official currency in Punta Cana, Dominican Peso, and have the best rates. Just check the terms and conditions with your credit card company and you are good to go. Money exchanges office are an alternative if you don’t want to use your credit card, but it might be tricky to get attractive exchange rates between US-Dollar and Dominican Pesos in this case.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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CHRISAuthor, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.
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