Our hotel has been in Cabarete, Dominican Republic for just about 20 years now. In that time, we have certainly learned that the people of this country have a unique way of going about life and we have come to love and respect Dominican culture. We thought it would be good to pass on some the things we have come to appreciate over the years, because even though the Dominican Republic is considered a developing country, the developed world could surely learn a thing or two from the Dominicano lifestyle.
Get Back to the Basics
Dominicans consider family to be the most essential element of society. Families are very close, and they stay close forever. It’s normal to find grandparents living at home, fully integrated in the life of the rest of the family. Most young people stay living with their parents, even after becoming financially independent. When they do leave home it is only after getting married, and even then, they will try to remain in the same neighborhood as their parents. The world could surely learn a thing or two about family time and respect for elders from the people of the Dominican Republic.
Sharing is Caring
Dominicans are notorious sharers. It doesn’t really matter what it is. There is always an extra plate of food at the dinner table for a guests. There is always an extra seat on the stoop for those who were just passing by. But one thing that sticks out is Dominicans aren’t afraid to get cozy while sharing public transit. No moto is too small for an entire family and their prize rooster. Guaguas will always make room for one more passenger, because why not? The person in the front seat of a carrito always has an open lap to sit upon. *Photo by WeTravelAndBlog.com
Whenever possible, just tranquilo. This one word is sums up the people of the Dominican Republic. Tranquilo translates more directly to “calm” but in certain contexts the meaning is more similar to “chill.” If you ask a Dominican how they are doing (“Que lo que?”), the answer is more often than not, “Tranquilo!” We recommend taking this mentality back home with you, and whenever a bought of stress hits, just tell yourself tranquilo! It’s fun to say…and it works! No to mention it is a good lead in for our next paragraph. “Tranquilo. No hay problema.”
No Hay Problema
Here in the Dominican Republic, the motto is “DR Has It All” but before the ad executives got a hold of it we are pretty sure it was actually “No hay problema.” The phrase is basically the Spanish version of “Hakuna Matata.” It directly translates to “there is no problem” and you will hear people saying it all the time! Around these parts, there is almost nothing worth getting upset about! Car broken down? No hay problema! A moto will pass by soon and push your entire car with their foot all the way to the gas station. Don’t have enough money to pay the bill? No hay problema! Come and pay mañana. Don’t have a machete to open a coconut that just fell from the tree? No hay problema! Just run it over to the closest viejo and he will for sure have a sharp machete hanging from his belt and a quick chop will take care of that. Today was a rainy day? No hay problema! The sun will rise again tomorrow and it will more than likely be breathtaking.
Have More Happy Hours (not just drinks, but actual happy hours)
After a day of kitesurfing, playing volleyball, swimming and adventuring, happy hour is your chance to put your feet up, take a deep breath and relax. It certainly doesn’t hurt that happy hour at the beach bar means you can enjoy your drink without shoes on, hair still wet and salty from the ocean. But there is more to this particular idea than a few hours of 2-for-1 drinks. There is family, sharing, and relaxing. What the world can really learn from the Dominican republic is that we all need way more REAL happy hours in our day. Live your life to the fullest, and enjoy each and every moment!