The Dominican Republic is a tropical paradise perched between the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans, where visitors can discover some of the world’s best beaches, luxurious hotels, amazing food and a wide variety of exciting pursuits.
It’s definitely true that the Dominican Republic is a beautiful country, but a trip there isn’t always a chance to relax and enjoy the coastline. Visitors who are careless run the risk of being attacked or swindled while on an island.
The Dominican Republic has a Level 2 warning from the U.S. Department of State as of February 1, 2023, meaning that visitors should take extra precautions due to violent crime, such as armed robberies, sexual assaults, and murder.
Most resort areas are now safer for tourists to visit thanks to the establishment of a 911 system, a professional tourist police force, and numerous resources. However, it is imperative to exercise caution when entering cities. Tourists are perceived as wealthy, easy targets who can be easily recognized from a mile away.
Santa Domingo’s capital city has several high-crime areas, including Arroyo Hondo, Cristo Ray, Gazcue, Naco, and Villa Argrola. As a result of the high rate of theft, armed robberies, and murder, these areas are best avoided. La Duarte is one of the riskier streets to visit in Santa Domingo because it is so congested and chaotic.
Despite the natural splendor, the majority of the population suffers from extreme poverty, corrupt leadership, and high rates of violent crime.
Every year, the Dominican Republic receives millions of visitors. Unfortunately, despite the intention of having a relaxing tropical vacation, there are a lot of criminals hoping for an unsuspecting traveler to fall for one of their many finesse games.
Taking a taxi from the airport to a resort is convenient for many people, but it’s also one of the most common ways that tourists get ripped off. If the taxi driver doesn’t use a meter, he or she can charge outrageous fees for even a short trip. It is recommended to arrange ground transportation with a hotel, tour company, or travel agency.
City taxis operate similarly to airport taxis in that they frequently overcharge for trips and anticipate that their uninformed passengers will cover the cost. Similar to this, the Uber scam has the driver claim that the app isn’t functioning properly, and that the passenger must pay cash for the ride. This fee is significantly higher than what the passenger would have paid through the app.
The camera scam, described by Traveling Lifestyle, involves a local giving a visitor their camera and asking them to take a picture. When the camera is returned, they drop it and demand payment from the traveler while blaming them for the damage.
Do yourself a favor and refuse to take anything from anyone.
Punta Cana, on the other hand, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic and a very secure place to stay at any of the many resorts there. The Tourism Police are also heavily deployed in this part of the Dominican Republic.
If you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic, here are some safety precautions you should take:
Please review the travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State.
To receive notifications and make it easier to find a missing traveler in an emergency, sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Avoid going for a solo stroll, especially at night.
When at the beach in particular, never leave your bags unattended.
Never let drinks sit unattended.
If you are being robbed, hand over your belongings and stay safe.
Refrain from showing off your wealth.
Listen to the tips of the resort staff and tour leaders.
You should not leave the resort unless you have a prearranged guided tour.
Make a back-up plan in case something happens.
If you intend to stay at a resort, make sure to research which ones are the safest, and abide by the rules for a fun and safe experience on a gorgeous island with wonderful people.
Evie Blanco is a journalist with nearly a decade of experience who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, New York. She is extremely well-versed in hip-hop music and culture and is always aware of any developments within it. Whether it’s the latest in pop culture, a fascinating foreign destination, a truly amazing new restaurant, or breaking news, she loves to write about it all.
This story was originally published February 22, 2023, 2:30 PM.