So on the first day, you will need to go out and buy some stuff for your new home especially if it came unfurnished. NOTE: Your first actual day may be in a hotel or a hostel (cheaper). In this post, you will find out how to shop and a list of most items you would need on the first day.
Where to shop – find a major store like a Plaza Lama, La Sirena, or Unidos will be close to you. Also be aware of where a hardware store may be in case you need to go there. You can find out where the major malls are but you won’t find everything there.
Hours – Plaza Lama and La Sirena are opened by 9 am and close at 9 pm Mon- Sat. I am not too sure of Sunday hours. Most hardware stores except for Ferreteria Americana are closed by 5 pm. Most mall store hours are until 9 pm for the stores but until midnight for food court if there is a movie theater in the mall. Some grocery stores are open until midnight (SuperPola) but others close by 8 pm.Jumbo in Agora Mall is open until 10 pm. There are two grocery stores that are 24 hours but are somewhat limited in inventory – Hola and Dragon de Oro. Both are close to the street called Tiradentes and Romelo Betancourt. As are any late night street food.
Paying – All major stores accept most all credit cards except American Express and maybe Discover. Smaller stores only accept cash. They will ask you if you want a “comprobante fiscal” since you don’t own a business here you would reply “no”. More about these tax vouchers can be found here. NOTE: Most places don’t accept returns. They will let you test everything electrical there including light bulbs.
- Fan – its the first thing you need on a tropical island. Fans are more expensive than I think it should be. I have seen them in really big groceries stores like Super Ole or Jumbo and in stores like Plaza Lama and La Sierena. I bought a stand up one that looks like a regular fan for about $25 USD and I really don’t feel it even when I am in front of it and on high. So I bought another one, for about $40 USD (Hamilton brand) and it was on the wall unit and that one blows very cold air. I have even had to turn it down. to the first setting. There are some fans that are already modified for a car battery so that when the electricity goes out you still have a fan. I have seen these in people’s home but I haven’t found it in store. I am told you can get it in a store but you can also modify it yourself if you know a little bit of the mechanics however I read this article about an eco-cooler that has been created out of empty plastic soda bottles and they have cooled down a house about 41 degrees Fahrenheit without using electricity (see article here) so I did my own experiment on the useless fan and I can feel it where the air blows through the plastic soda bottle. See my post on my experiment.
- 5 Gallon bottled water – call your local colmado for this and have them bring it filled to your door. Ask how much it will be including the bottle. Usually, most people prefer Planeta Azul brand. When you refill you just give them your old bottle and take the new one filled. Remember you would want to cook with bottled water. I use about 1 a week. Just the water costs about $65 DOP in any colmado.
- A pump for the 5-gallon bottle or something to hold it in.
- Trash can for the bathroom (& trashbags – can be the plastic shopping bags).
- Electric Mosquito Racquet (maybe even an electric light that also attacks and kills mosquitos and flies. About $200 DOP and found in any hardware store.
- Trash bags and Trash can for the kitchen – They come in quantities of 15 and can be found mostly in a bag don’t look for a box and don’t look for a large section.
- Dishwashing detergent
- Toilet paper and toilet cleaning brush.
- Soap (may want to get shampoo and conditioner)
- Broom, dustpan, mop, and mop bucket
- Vinegar (for cleaning or anything else you use it for)
- Bed, sheets, and pillows to sleep in. Don’t bother with thick sheets or with comforters at least not to use, maybe for decoration.
- Light Bulbs -They don’t come with the house or apartment unless fully furnished. You’ll find it at any hardware store and major retail stores. You should test the bulb before buying it. The bulb tester is usually at the end of the aisle with the light bulbs.
- Locks and Chains -for the house doorways or anything unlocked that leads to the outside and for your gas tank too. You’ll find it at the hardware store (ferreteria).
- Napkins or if you are a little green -cloth napkins
- Pots, pans, plates, cups, and silverware
- Refrigerator- unless it was a furnished apartment this unlikely is included. Any Plaza Lama or Sirena would have this. They can also be found in any appliance store. They can cost as little as $275 USD for a smaller one. Remember that you may not want a big refrigerator with lots of space cause you will unlikely have it filled. You don’t want a lot of food to spoil at the same time when you lose electricity. Plus the bigger one uses more electricity. This is one you definitely want to be delivered. Remember refrigerators need to be transported standing up. Delivery is usually within 3 days.
- Stove and matches – unless it was a furnished apartment this unlikely is included. Any Plaza Lama or Sirena would have this. They can also be found in any appliance store. These can cost as little $150 USD but ask about guarantee and warranties. The less expensive models don’t have specific baking temperature numbers…you just have to wing it. Many people don’t use the oven cause it uses a lot of gas. This is also one you might consider delivered.
- Gas Tank – you can buy an empty tank in the hardware store (ferreteria) or in the main Propagas station (Right now I don’t recall where the main one is but you can go to any Propagas gas station and ask). You would get the tank filled at the gas station. Remember how you can get this filled up before you buy a large size. The smallest tank filled is heavy. A small one cost less than $45 USD to fill and depending on how much you use it may last a couple months. Mine has lasted 3 months., Also you may need additional tubing for the gas tank and the gas tank valve so makes sure you find out where your line is and how much tubing you will need. The good people at the hardware store will help.
- A light that has its own battery so you plug it to charge and when there isn’t any electricity you can use it. You could also buy candles or other light alternatives. Rechargeable light is the safest cause you can leave it on and fall asleep. Although you don’t want to do that, you may need it.
- Washer and Dryer -Any Plaza Lama or Sirena would have this. They can also be found in any appliance store. These can cost as little $175 USD for a small Dominican Washer/Dryer. Please read my article on doing laundry in the DR. An American Washer which you are accustomed to costs about $450 USD. Don’t forget to ask about guarantee and warranties.
- Laundry wash bucket and hose (if you bought a Dominican Washer/Dryer)
- Clothes pins to hang clothes and clothes line
- Detergent and other laundry stuff.
Do you know of anything else that should be added to the list or any other information someone may need to know on their first day? If so, please comment below.