Planning your holiday to the Dominican Republic? Don’t get stuck with high roaming charges on your trip. In this guide I will tell you everything you need to know how to get connected in the Dominican Republic: where to buy a local prepaid sim card, info about e-sim cards, up to date prices as per August 2023, the best 4G/5G network, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences and arrival and more about buying an international for Dominican Republic on the internet.
Looking for the best ways to get connected is the first thing I do when I get to a new country. Often that means buying a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card and as I am aiming to visit every country in the world you can already find more than 200 articles about sim cards on Traveltomtom: USA, New York, Newark, Miami, Jamaica, Canada, Toronto, Mexico, Mexico City, Colombia, Bogota, Panama City, Paraguay, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Europe, Turkey, Istanbul and many more.
If you are flying to Santo Domingo then check out my guide for buying a sim card at Santo Domingo Airport.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark this website!
Why buying a prepaid sim card for Dominican Republic
Using data roaming when traveling abroad is not recommended. First of all the roaming charges are outrageous (mostly like $10 USD a day) and data speed is limited. To avoid high roaming charges and get the fastest data speed connection Traveltomtom recommends using a local prepaid sim card.
It is the cheapest way to get data on your phone when traveling to the Dominican Republic. It simply makes life easier, think about ordering an Uber, getting directions from Google Maps, finding nearby restaurants, bars, gas stations, friends, etc. for all of that you need a working data connection on your phone.
Especially when visiting multiple tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic it is adviced to stay connected. It kills time during a long bus ride, gets you out of emergencies, helps with using translation apps, etc. I traveled extensively around the Dominican Republic for more than 3 weeks on my last trip. All the way from Monte Cristi to Isla Saona and from Samana to Santo Domingo. I rented a car for about 2 weeks to explore the best beaches in Dominican Republic.
See my Instagram account @traveltomtom for a lot of Dominican Republic travel inspiration.
Even though all the fancy resorts in Dominican Republic have fast and good working WiFi I still recommend you to buy a local prepaid sim card. Keep in mind that public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network and your data is not protected. Using a VPN is recommended in these situations.
When going on day trips from the resorts you will be offline all day, with a local prepaid sim card you will stay connected. Also handy when the WiFi signal does not reach the beach.
Traveltomtom recommends a Claro prepaid sim card for the Dominican Republic. It will cost you around $6 USD for 8 GB data for 5 days and Claro has the best 4G/5G network in the Dominican Republic and the fastest mobile data speed in 2023.
Normally Traveltomtom always recommends e-sim cards as well but for traveling to the Dominican Republic there are very few options. See below for more info. Trust me a local prepaid sim card is the best way to get connected when traveling to the Dominican Republic in 2023.
A great alternative is an international sim card for traveling in Dominican Republic. There are a couple options, check out my article with a comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2023 and find the one that suits your trip. Or take a look at an e-sim card.
Best e-sim cards for Dominican Republic
Although more expensive, an e-sim card is still the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Dominican Republic in 2023. You don’t have to visit a store or swap a physical sim card for getting online. You order an e-sim card online, receive a QR-code, follow the instructions, apply some settings and you are done!
Airalo offers the following e-sim cards for Dominican Republic:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $18 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $25 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $39.50 USD
Click here to directly order an e-sim card for the Dominican Republic online or find more info.
This Dominican Republic e-sim card from Acuntel operates on the 4G/LTE network of Claro and is a data-only e-sim. Incoming and outgoing phone calls are not supported. More info on the best 4G/5G network in the Dominican Republic later.
SimOptions offers different e-sim card plans for Dominican Republic and in fact offers the best e-sim card deal for Dominican Republic. The AIS SIM2FLY is also 5G ready, wherever there is 5G in Dominican Republic.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $17.90 USD
- 3 GB data for 15 days = $34.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 15 days valid in 120 countries and 5G ready = $34.90 USD
Where to buy a sim card in Dominican Republic
Punta Cana Airport
Being such a popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic you would expect it would be easy to find sim card stores on arrival at Punta Cana Airport. I recently landed at PUJ Airport and looked for a place to buy a sim card for Dominican Republic but there is still no sim card store as of August 2023.
When landing in Punta Cana then take an Uber for around $3 USD to the nearby Bluemall Punta Cana. It is just a 3 minute ride away from the airport and here you can find official retail stores of: Altice and Claro. See more about it my vlog about buying a sim card in Dominican Republic at the end of this article.
Santo Domingo Airport
Are you flying to Santo Domingo Airport then you are lucky as at Santo Domingo Airport you can find a Claro and an Altice store. Both operators sell prepaid sim cards for the Dominican Republic for tourists. The sim card shops at Santo Domingo Airport are open from 08.00 am to 08.00 pm.
Find out everything you need to know about buying a sim card at Santo Domingo Airport in my complete guide.
In the historic city center of Santo Domingo you can also find an Altice, Claro and even a Viva store. Use Google Maps to locate the nearest sim card store in Santo Domingo city center in case you didn’t get a chance to buy a sim card at Santo Domingo Airport. At Santo Domingo Airport you can only buy physical prepaid sim cards, e-sim cards are NOT available for tourists.
Santiago de Los Caballeros Airport
Unfortunately also on Santiago the Los Caballeros Airport there are no phone shops that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists despite the fact that there are multiple daily flights from the USA arriving. When flying to Santiago de Los Caballeros Airport you will also have to find a Claro or Altice store in the city center.
At La Romana and Puerto Plata airport there are also no phone stores.
Traveltomtom normally recommends buying a sim card online for your trip abroad. However, for the Dominican Republic there are not that many international prepaid sim cards and e-sim cards available. There is an e-sim card for the Dominican Republic available for $9.5 USD for 1 GB data, which actually is a good option for your first day until you buy a prepaid sim card in a phone store in Dominican Republic.
Mobile internet providers in the Dominican Republic
The main mobile internet operators in the Dominican Republic are Claro and Altice. There is also a provider called Viva, but since they have a rather small 3G/4G mobile network it is not a recommended Dominican Republic prepaid sim card for tourists. Therefore in my comparison of the Dominican Republic sim cards Viva is not taken into consideration and we only focus on Claro and Altice.
When buying a sim card in Dominican Republic you will need to be there in person and bring your passport. A copy of your passport is taken in the store and your new Dominican Republic sim card will be registered on your name and passport number. On top of that a photo of your face holding the sim card will also be taken and therefore you need to be there in person.
Prices Dominican Republic prepaid sim cards
In the Dominican Republic they use the DR Peso and as of August 2023: $1 USD = 56.7 DOP and 100 DOP = $1.76 USD. Prices below are in DOP.
A Claro prepaid sim card cost 150 DOP ($2.7 USD) for the registration. From my experience I can tell you it comes with a little bit of credit for making a couple phone calls. But for internet you will need to add one of the following data packages:
- 3 GB data for 3 days = 95 DOP - $1.7 USD
- 5 GB data for 3 days = 120 DOP - $2.2 USD
- 5 GB data for 5 days = 145 DOP - $2.6 USD
- 8 GB data for 5 days = 170 DOP - $3.1 USD
For more info about a prepaid sim card from Claro check the Claro website.
An Altice prepaid sim card is free is you activate one of the above prepaid sim card plans:
- Unlimited data for 1 day = 49 DOP - $0.9 USD
- Unlimited data for 3 days = 99 DOP - $1.8 USD
- Unlimited data for 5 days = 139 DOP - $2.5 USD
Altice also offers a tourist sim card for Dominican Republic which also includes calling minutes:
- 15 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + 300 DOP extra credit = 550 DOP - $10 USD
For more info about a prepaid sim card from Altice check the Altice website.
Best 4G/5G network in Dominican Republic in 2023
As prices for prepaid sim cards are more or less the same let’s also take into consideration the 4G/5G network coverage in the Dominican Republic and find out who has the best mobile network in 2023.
Also as said in the beginning of the article there is another mobile internet provider in Dominican Republic called Viva, but it is not taken into consideration in this comparison as their mobile network is much weaker compared to Claro and Altice. Below you can find the proof.
Is there 5G in Dominican Republic?
Yes, there is 5G in Dominican Republic and it is offered by both Altice and Claro. The 5G network is still very limited to Santo Domingo and Punta Cana, but it works fine based on my own experience. Claro has the best 5G network in Dominican Republic as of 2023, see the coverage maps below.
Viva 4G/5G network coverage map
Altice 4G/5G network coverage map
Claro 4G/5G network coverage map
From the above network coverage maps for the Dominican Republic we can pretty clearly see that Viva has by far the smallest network and that Claro has the best 4G/5G mobile network in the Dominican Republic in 2023
Best sim card for the Dominican Republic in 2023
As mentioned earlier, international and e-sim cards for Dominican Republic are pretty expensive and local prepaid sim cards have much better value for money.
Weirdly the data plans for prepaid sim cards in Dominican Republic are mostly valid for just 5 days. Not a big problem, but you will need to reactivate every 5 days a data plan. Luckily prepaid data plans in Dominican Republic are very cheap.
When comparing Altice and Claro for the best prepaid sim card in Dominican Republic we can see that there is not so that much difference in price. Altice is a little cheaper and gives you unlimited data, Claro offers more different prepaid sim card plans. All in all we are talking about $1 USD more or less, so not something that is going to hurt your wallet.
Traveltomtom recommends the sim card with the strongest mobile internet network. The 4G/5G network of Claro is much more advanced than the Altice network and therefore Claro is the best sim card for Dominican Republic in 2023 for tourists.
Order a sim card for Dominican Republic online
You can also buy a physical sim card for Dominican Republic online. You order this pre-activated sim card on the internet and get it send to your home address before your trip. You put it in your phone and it works instantly. Check out the following international sim card deal with coverage in more than 70 countries including the Dominican Republic:
- 5 GB data for 15 days = $49.90 USD
My experience buying a sim card in the Dominican Republic
On arrival at Punta Cana Airport I definitely expected a sim card shop, but unfortunately. When asking around some guy said he knew someone that could fix me a local prepaid sim card. But this practice is a no-go for me.
Luckily the free public WiFi at Punta Cana Airport was working very good and I located the nearest phone shops just a 3 minute Uber ride away. A couple minutes later I was in the Bluemall Punta Cana to buy my sim card for the Dominican Republic. Check out my vlog below about my arrival and buying a sim card in the Dominican Republic.
The Altice and the Claro store are next to each other and I inquired at both stores for the prices for prepaid sim cards. However, I already knew that I was going to buy a Claro prepaid sim card for my trip to Dominican Republic. Why? The 4G/5G network strength!
Especially since I was going to stay my first days about 1 hour north of Punta Cana to an area that had little phone reception in general. I booked the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana hotel and before my arrival I inquired at the resort which phone signal was the strongest in the area. Their answer was clear: Claro!
Buying a prepaid sim card at the Claro store in the Bluemall took just a couple minutes and I walked out of the store with a working data connection on my phone. The sim card registration is pretty 'funny' as they need a photo of your face with your new Dominican Republic sim card in your hand.
Here is my vlog about buying a sim card for Dominican Republic with more about my travel experiences around the country and data speed.
I only had good experiences using my Claro prepaid sim card for traveling in the Dominican Republic. There were even times I enjoyed a 5G signal but that was only in Santo Domingo and around Punta Cana airport. I was very surprised about the data speed as in the Caribbean it is not always that good. To my surprise the data speed with my Claro prepaid sim card was on average over 50 Mbps download and 30 Mbps upload according to my speed test.
Claro also worked totally fine in Samana Peninsula, towards the Haiti border and even in Mano Juan on Isla Saona there was an excellent 4G signal. I couldn't believe my eyes when I ran a speed test in Mano Juan, a little remote fishing village on Isla Saona. See the above photo.
I hope all the above tips about getting connected and buying a sim card for the Dominican Republic were helpful for your upcoming trip. IF you have any more questions then please leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out!
If you are interested what it looks like traveling to every country in the world then check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom for some serious wanderlust. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world, still many to go.
Enjoy your trip to the Dominican Republic!
Some links in this article about the best way to stay connected in Dominican Republic are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you.