It ranges from difficult to impossible to get magazines or newspapers from home, but virtually all hotels will have some form of US news on the TV and many of the high-end hotels get BBC as well. There are virtually no English-language newspapers and magazines available in the country, but there is a vibrant Spanish-language local media that can keep you up to date on the world’s events.

Century-old Listin Diario is the most reputable of the Dominican daily newspapers, a broadsheet that has weathered a dozen different repressions of the free press over its history and still produces the best investigative journalism in the country, along with excellent sports coverage and a decent international roundup. El Siglo is a more recent arrival and a bit more plebeian in its outlook, mixing equal-opportunity haranguing of the three major political parties with good coverage of local music events and a heavy accent on violent crime. Hoy is less enlightening than the other two, with rather perfunctory political coverage and a major focus on sports. You should be able to find the Miami Herald at the airports and The New York Times in high-end hotel gift shops; the odd copy of Time and Newsweek is available in bookstores.

On Dominican radio, you’ll find only one American and European pop station in most areas, surrounded by a dozen Latin stations and at least one with 24-hour Pentecostal programming. Flip around a bit and you’re likely to come up with a station playing old-style merengue périco ripao. In the most rural mountain areas, however, you’ll be lucky to tune in to even one station. If you’re in the south of the country, flip to Radio Millon at 107.9, which features the golden age of Latin music, a real treat and a nice break from the omnipresent thud of merengue everywhere else.

Dominicans have access to cable television, which sends out over eighty channels, half in Spanish and half English-language American fare with subtitles, including CNN, various sports channels, the American networks and a number of others that will be familiar to North Americans. Without cable you’ll be stuck with, at most, six local stations; one or two will feature the dregs of American cinema past – some with subtitles, some dubbed – while the rest focus on merengue videos, Venezuelan and Mexican soap operas, local talk shows and baseball games.