go to zona colonial,el conde,and Franks exchange directly across from Kentucky Fried Chicken...or Polo Rey,next block down from KFCI will be in town this weekend and want to know were to get the best exchange rate. I will be near Instituto Cultural Dominico Americano in santo domingo. thx
been here many years and have never seen a street exchanger of money on el conde...too many police...now on duarte or up town,there are many and I never exchange on the street,.....too dangerous...As a "Gringo" I would NOT want to create an obvious pattern of cash banking (usually people doing exchange, change cash or checks for cash). El Conde has changed over the years, and it's been a bad change. There are a lot of hoodlum hanging around. Some may just try to approach you and try to offer a "better" rate, maybe in order to drag you to a street guy with a not really better rate, fake money, or playing a hand (counting) trick on you or simply to try to get off with all of it, your camera and cell phone too.
Rates to not change much from bank to bank... less than 1% for small amounts. Amounts over USD 1000.oo can be negotiated at the max rate with the simple asking "... a que curso me cambiaria mil dolares o mas?".
NEVER change in hotels, or at the airport exchange booths here, as they'll rip you off for 10% or more. Some exchange offices "casas de cambio", can have bank rates too and some a serious and reputable and will look after their Gringo clients and giv'em tips on how to behave when they see them handle themselves too loosely. They also operate outside of banking hours. I still prefer banks and not to use the ones in a touristy neighborhood.
Am I paranoid? I don't know, but I have NEVER had one issue of being assaulted of plaid here, in Ecuador, Chile or Colombia for now more than a decade. Maybe I'm just lucky... maybe I am just cautious.