Dominican Republic Currency (Dominican Peso History + Facts)

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If you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic, you’ll need to know about the country’s currency. The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP). It’s abbreviated as RD$ and is represented by the symbol “$”. The peso is divided into 100 smaller units called centavos.

Dominican Republic Currency

The history of the Dominican peso dates back to the country’s independence from Haiti in 1844. The first Dominican peso was introduced at par with the Haitian gourde and was divided into 8 reales. The country decimalized the peso in 1877, subdividing it into 100 centavos.

Whether you’re exchanging currency before your trip or withdrawing money from an ATM in the Dominican Republic, it’s important to understand the value of the Dominican Peso and how to use it. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of the Dominican Peso, as well as some interesting facts about the Dominican Republic’s currency that you may not know.

Historical Journey of The Dominican Peso

The Dominican Republic has had a tumultuous economic history, which has had a significant impact on its currency. In the early part of the 20th century, the country was occupied by the United States, which led to a period of economic growth. 

However, this growth was short-lived, and the country experienced a period of instability in the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, the value of the Dominican peso fluctuated wildly, and inflation rates were high.

History of Coins

The Dominican Republic’s currency history spans from the issuance of its first coins in 1844 to the evolution of the Peso Oro in the 20th century. Before the country adopted decimalization, it issued a single coin denomination, the 1⁄4 real, in 1844, made of bronze. In 1877, the introduction of decimalization brought three new coins: the 1, 2+1⁄2, and 5 centavos, along with 1⁄4 centavo coins issued between 1882 and 1888.

In 1891, the Dominican Republic joined the Latin Monetary Union, adopting the franco as its currency. Coins of 5 and 10 centesimos were struck in bronze, and 50 centesimos, 1, and 5 francos were struck in silver. After the abandonment of the franco, silver coins were introduced in 1897, including denominations of 10 and 20 centavos, and 1⁄2 and 1 peso. The designs of these coins closely resembled those of the franco.

Older Coins include the 1877 One Centavo, 1891 One Franco, 1891 Ten Centesimos, 1877 2.5 Centavos, 1877 Five Centavos, 1891 25 Five Francos, and 1848 Cuarto de Real.

The Peso Oro era began in 1937 with the introduction of coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 centavos, and 1⁄2 pesos. Limited numbers of 1 peso coins were minted in 1939. All coins featured the national arms on the reverse, while all except the 1 centavo bore a crowned allegorical Indian head on the obverse. The 1 centavo depicted a palm tree, the symbol of the ruling Dominican Party. Coins were identical in weight, diameter, and composition to U.S. coins. A 1955 commemorative coin set marked the 25th anniversary of Rafael Trujillo’s reign. However, after Trujillo’s assassination in 1961, a significant number of silver one peso coins were recalled and melted down.

In 1963, the silver content in the 10, 25, 50, and 1 peso coins was reduced. The 1963 issue commemorated the centennial of the republic, adding the crowned Indian head to the 1 centavo, replacing the palm.

After 1963, the Peso Oro became a fiat currency, with base metals replacing silver in higher denominations. In 1967, 10, and 25 centavos and 1⁄2 pesos were reintroduced in copper-nickel. From 1976, 1 peso coins were struck only as commemoratives. In 1983, a coin series featuring figures important to Dominican history was released, dropping the outdated “gramos” denomination reference. 

The content of coins changed from copper-nickel to nickel-plated steel in 1989. In 1991, non-commemorative 1 peso coins were reintroduced in copper-zinc, followed by bimetal 5 pesos in 1997. In 2005, a bimetal 10 pesos and a copper-nickel 25 pesos were introduced. Due to inflation, coins below 1 peso are now rarely found.

History of Bills

The history of Dominican Republic banknotes can be traced through distinct periods. In the first peso era from 1848 to 1905, paper money played a crucial role. It began with provisional issues of 40 and 80 pesos in 1848, followed by regular government notes for 1, 2, and 5 pesos in 1849, and later, 10 and 50 peso notes in 1858. Additional denominations were introduced, including 10 and 20 centavos, 5 and 40 centavos, and 1, 2, 5, and 10 pesos in subsequent years, with the Spanish issuing notes in 1862.

Two private banks, Banco Nacional de Santo Domingo and Banco de la Compañía de Crédito de Puerto Plata, issued paper money between 1869 and 1889, offering various denominations. The Banco Nacional de Santo Domingo also issued notes in 1912 denominated in dollars, referred to as pesos in the Spanish text.

The Peso Oro era, from 1947 to 2011, saw the introduction of peso oro as a local coinage in 1937. Initially, no paper money accompanied this introduction, and U.S. notes continued to circulate as the national currency. In 1947, the first peso oro notes were issued by the Central Bank in various denominations. These notes were gradually withdrawn from circulation, with low-value notes introduced in 1961 to address coin shortages.

Currently, banknotes in circulation include denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 2000 pesos oros. In 2005, 10 and 20 peso bills were replaced with 10 and 25 peso coins. A new 20 pesos oro polymer banknote was released in 2010, and limited editions of the 500 and 2000 peso oro notes were issued for historical celebrations.

All current banknotes carry a specific phrase in Spanish, translating to “This bill has the liberatory strength to be used as payment for all public or private obligations.” In 2010, a 20-peso oro banknote printed on a polymer substrate was issued, and in 2011, the Central Bank announced a shift to denominating banknotes in “Pesos Dominicanos” instead of “Pesos Oro” from 2011 onwards. In 2014, plans were made to issue a new family of notes with updated designs and enhanced security features.

The history of the Dominican peso is closely tied to the economic history of the country. The country has experienced periods of growth and instability, which have had a significant impact on the value of its currency. However, the Dominican Republic has managed to maintain a stable currency in recent years, which has helped to promote economic growth and stability.

Inflation and Buying Power of the Dominican Peso

In the Dominican Republic, authorities noted a decrease in year-on-year inflation from October 2021 to October 2022, reaching 8.24%. This represents a 140 basis points drop from the peak of 9.64% observed in April. 

The central bank anticipates a further decline to around 7% by the end of 2022, moving towards the target range of 4% with a 1% margin of error up or down by the second quarter of 2023. 

Despite a general slowdown in inflation across Central America, the IMF’s recent Economic Outlook report cautioned that headline inflation might reach its highest point by the end of 2022 and stay elevated for a longer period than anticipated, decreasing to 4.1% by 2024.

The Dominican Peso

In 2014, the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic announced plans to release a new family of banknotes featuring updated designs and enhanced security features. The proposed notes include denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, and 2,000 pesos, each with distinct colors and depicting significant national symbols, historical figures, and landmarks on the front and reverse sides.

50 pesos

The 50 pesos has a purple color with the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor on the front and the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia on the reverse. 

100 pesos

The 100 pesos has an orange color with the Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, Juan Pablo Duarte, and Matías Ramón Mella on the front and The Count’s Gate on the reverse.

200 pesos

The 200 pesos has a pink color with the Mirabal Sisters on the front and the Monument to the Mirabal Sisters on the reverse.

500 pesos

The 500 pesos has a green color with the Salomé Ureña and Pedro Henríquez Ureña on the front and the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic on the reverse. 

1,000 pesos

The 1,000 pesos has a red color with the National Palace on the front and Columbus Alcazar on the reverse.

2,000 pesos

The 2,000 pesos has a blue color with Emilio Prud’Homme and José Rufino Reyes Siancas (composers of the national anthem of the Dominican Republic) on the front and National Theater on the reverse.

Currency Usage in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Peso is widely used throughout the country and is the only currency accepted for most transactions. You can exchange your foreign currency for Dominican Pesos at banks, exchange booths, or hotels. However, it’s important to note that exchange rates may vary, so it’s wise to shop around for the best rates.

Most businesses in the Dominican Republic accept major credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you, especially if you plan on visiting smaller towns or local markets. Keep in mind that some businesses may only accept cash, so it’s important to have some Dominican Pesos on hand.

Is USD Accepted?

Yes, USD is widely accepted in the Dominican Republic. Many businesses catering to tourists, such as hotels, restaurants, and shops, will accept USD. However, it’s important to note that the exchange rate may not be favorable, so it’s always a good idea to carry some DOP with you.

Currency Exchange

When traveling to the Dominican Republic, you will need to exchange your currency for Dominican pesos (DOP) to use in the country. The most common way to exchange currency is through banks or exchange offices, which are widely available in tourist areas. However, it is important to note that exchange rates may vary depending on the location and institution, so it is recommended to compare rates before making a transaction.

Where to Exchange Currency

You can exchange currency at banks, exchange offices, and some hotels in the Dominican Republic. Banks generally offer the most favorable exchange rates, but they may have limited hours and longer wait times. 

Exchange offices are more convenient and have longer hours, but their exchange rates may not be as favorable as banks. Some hotels may also offer currency exchange services, but their rates may be higher than those of banks and exchange offices.

What to Know Before Exchanging

Before exchanging currency in the Dominican Republic, it is important to know the current exchange rate and any fees that may be charged. You can check the current exchange rate online or at an exchange office. 

Some institutions may charge additional fees, such as commission or transaction fees, so it is important to ask about any additional costs before making a transaction. It is also recommended to exchange currency in small amounts as needed, rather than exchanging large sums at once. 

This can help you avoid carrying large amounts of cash and reduce the risk of loss or theft. Additionally, it is important to keep your exchange receipts in case you need to exchange currency back to your home currency before leaving the country.

Overall, exchanging currency in the Dominican Republic is a straightforward process, but it is important to be aware of the current exchange rate and any additional fees that may be charged. By comparing rates and exchanging currency in small amounts as needed, you can ensure that you have the necessary funds to enjoy your trip to the Dominican Republic.

Choosing Between USD and Dominican Peso

When deciding whether to use USD or DOP, there are a few factors to consider. First, you’ll want to check the exchange rate to see which currency will give you the most value for your money. It’s also a good idea to consider the type of establishment you’re visiting. Some businesses, such as street vendors and small shops, may only accept DOP.

Another factor to consider is convenience. If you’re traveling with USD, you won’t need to worry about exchanging your money before your trip. However, if you plan to use DOP, you may need to exchange your currency at a bank or exchange office.

Ultimately, the choice between USD and DOP comes down to personal preference and convenience. If you’re unsure which currency to use, it’s always a good idea to carry both and exchange as needed.

Exchange Rate

When exchanging currency in the Dominican Republic, several factors can affect the exchange rate you receive. Understanding these factors can help you get the most out of your currency exchange.

The exchange rate is the biggest factor in determining how much money you will receive when exchanging currency. The exchange rate is the value of one currency about another. Exchange rates can fluctuate constantly, so it’s important to keep an eye on the exchange rate before exchanging your currency.


Convenience is another factor to consider when exchanging currency in the Dominican Republic. Some exchange bureaus may offer more convenient locations or hours of operation but may charge higher fees or offer lower exchange rates. It’s important to balance convenience with the exchange rate and fees to get the best deal.


Fees can also affect the amount of money you receive when exchanging currency. Some exchange bureaus may charge a flat fee for exchanging currency, while others may charge a percentage of the amount exchanged. Additionally, some ATMs may charge a fee for withdrawing cash, so it’s important to check with your bank before traveling to the Dominican Republic.


When dealing with currency in the Dominican Republic, consider these helpful tips. Firstly, carrying smaller denominations of Dominican Peso (DOP) is advisable since some establishments might not have change for larger bills. In tourist areas, many establishments do accept US dollars, although the exchange rate may not be as favorable.

Additionally, ATMs are widespread in the Dominican Republic, providing convenient access to cash. However, it’s a prudent idea to check with your bank before traveling to ensure that your ATM card will function smoothly in the country. 

While using ATMs, exercise caution by being aware of your surroundings, and opt for machines located in well-lit areas for enhanced safety. These precautions contribute to a smoother experience with currency transactions during your time in the Dominican Republic.

Cost of Living in the Dominican Republic

The cost of living in the Dominican Republic is generally lower than in many other countries, particularly in the major cities. However, prices can vary depending on the area and the type of goods or services you are purchasing. For example, food and transportation tend to be relatively affordable, while housing and healthcare can be more expensive.

According to Numbeo, the cost of living index in the Dominican Republic is 43.86, which is lower than the global average of 100. This index takes into account the cost of various goods and services, including housing, transportation, food, and entertainment.

If you are planning to live in the Dominican Republic, it is important to consider the cost of housing. According to Expatistan, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 20,000 DOP per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost around 40,000 DOP per month. Utilities such as electricity, water, and gas can add 5,000 DOP per month.

In terms of healthcare, the Dominican Republic has a mix of public and private healthcare providers. Public healthcare is generally free or low-cost, but the quality of care can vary. Private healthcare tends to be more expensive but offers higher quality care. It is recommended to purchase health insurance if you plan to live in the Dominican Republic.

Overall, the cost of living in the Dominican Republic is relatively affordable compared to many other countries. However, it is important to consider the cost of housing and healthcare when planning to live in the country.

Don’t Get Scammed Tips

When traveling to the Dominican Republic, it’s essential to be aware of potential scams to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to avoid scams in the Dominican Republic:

  1. Beware of Taxi Scams

Use authorized taxi services or reputable ride-sharing apps. Confirm the fare before starting the journey, and make sure the meter is used.

  1. Avoid Unsolicited Help

Be cautious of overly helpful strangers, especially at tourist attractions. Politely decline unsolicited assistance, as it may lead to demands for payment.

  1. Secure Your Belongings

Keep your valuables, such as passports, money, and electronics, secure and out of sight. Use a money belt or hidden pouch for important documents.

  1. Be Wary of “Free” Offers

Avoid accepting unsolicited offers for free tours, drinks, or gifts. There may be hidden costs or pressure to make a purchase.

  1. Check Your Bills

Verify your bills in restaurants and shops to ensure correct pricing. Be cautious of establishments that don’t provide a clear price list.

Remember that being vigilant and informed can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to scams. Always prioritize your safety and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your belongings while enjoying your time in the Dominican Republic.

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