The Dominican Republic can be considered as a safe country for tourists, lodging hotels and tourist zones maintain strict security regulations, different from those of the rest of the civilian population, there is a national police agency (CESTUR), dedicated only to protect tourist areas.
It is part of the personality of Dominicans to be friendly and warm among ourselves, and much more with people from abroad, tourism represents an important source of employment for a large part of the Dominican population and for the country it represents over 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The average Dominican knows very well the importance of tourism and tourists, both commercially and humanly, here we try to make the experience of the visiting visitor as pleasant as possible, I can say that this is not a matter of money, it is rather pride and hospitality.
Anyway, my grandmother always told me “every head is a world”, not everyone thinks the same here, this life is not a bed of roses, the Dominican Republic is not “Alice in Wonderland” ,it’s wonderful and beautiful, but it’s a third world country where many people just try to survive day by day, so I’ll give you some tips to make your travel experience in the Dominican Republic as safe as possible:
Keep these important phone numbers for emergency in the Dominican Republic
In case of emergency you can call 911
In less populated areas where access to 911 is difficult, you can call the tourist police CESTUR at 809-200-3500, they also have a mobile application.
National police at 809-682-2151
Internal Affairs Department of the National Police at 809 688-1777, contact this number if you suffer any harassment by a police officer (ask you for money)
Tap water is not safe to drink in the Dominican Republic
It is not recommended to consume the tap water in the hotels or residences of the Dominican Republic, it is recommended the consumption of bottled water, which is obtained abundantly in any trusted place such as a market, store or hotel.
In the Dominican Republic, the quality of drinking water supplied by the corporation is affected by different factors, such as distribution, the state of purification systems, storage and inadequate levels of maintenance in operation plants.
The water supplied is suitable for different body cleaning uses, but it is not recommended for consumption If you will travel with newborn babies, make sure to provide normal bottled water, not highly mineralized.
Be cautious of alcohol in tourist centers in the Dominican Republic
Everything in excess hurts, resorts include all the free drinks and food you can consume during your stay, some people are not aware of the amount of alcohol they consume, some alcoholic beverage mixes are also not recommended or mix alcohol with certain activities, such as swimming.
Alcohol works as a vasodilator in our system, causes disorientation and decreased muscle strength and reaction capacity when I was a small child, my dad worked in Puerto Plata’s Playa Grande, and frequently, I saw how lifeguards rescued intoxicated tourists They went deep into the beach, that was scary for me.
If you dislike to walk barefoot, use non-slip shoes to walk around damp or wet areas, such as the edges of a pool area. Be very careful when mixing medications with alcohol, if you are taking medications periodically, please consult with your doctor before making your trip.
Do not mix alcoholic beverages with energy drinks, it is not recommended, try to eat something at least one hour before drinking alcohol.
Transport safely in the Dominican Republic
Avoid using common public transport in the city of Santo Domingo (cars, buses), it is uncomfortable and oversaturates the vehicle with passengers, most rarely have air conditioning, is uncomfortable in very hot hours, you are also likely to be a victim of a pickpocket.
You can rent a vehicle in an agency or you can use Uber in Santo Domingo, it’s safe and practical, (I was an Uber driver in the city a while ago), Uber has expanded to the cities of Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana and San Pedro you just have to download the application for your Smartphone, it’s simple to use, in Santo Domingo Cabify also works, which is another transport platform similar to Uber.
Most of the roads in the country are in very good condition, but if you drive and you do not know the highway very well be very careful, some potholes may appear and some animals cross in the middle of the highway, the highways are properly signposted, but you must Beware of sharp curves.
Avoid traveling at night, many roads are poorly lit, it is advisable to travel by day to have optimal visibility.
Be careful in the beach
The beaches in the Dominican Republic are calm and beautiful, but this does not mean that it can be a dangerous place for you, you should be very careful when you enter the beach, ask the hotel management about the local conditions for swimming, do not swim alone on a totally isolated beaches.
Do not “walk in the clouds” in the Dominican Republic
“Walking in the clouds”, is an expression we use here to define a person is mentally absent at all times, unguarded and very distracted wherever he is, I’m not saying that you should be paranoid all the time, but you should be more alert to your surroundings, especially in crowded places.
A thief will avoid attacking a person who is more alert to their environment, so it is advisable as safety advice to travel abroad to develop the habit of looking at your surroundings, in any city and country in the world.
Use a safe deposit box at the resort
Verify that your room has a safe deposit box if you do not have it, then rent it, It is very important for your peace of mind that you place your most valuable belongings in a safe deposit box.
Things "have legs" here in Dominican Republic
That is another expression that we use here, when you leave some personal object of a certain value very exposed, if you neglect for a short time it can disappear from the place where you left it, when you ask the people around you nobody knows anything, it is as if Suddenly “legs would come out of the object and he would walk alone”, don’t be so distracted in crowded places.
Try not to show off in public
You can use jewelry at the resorts and places you trust, but if you go out to public places and crowded areas are not recommended, you could expose yourself to being a victim of theft.
Do not give money on the Street
You can tip for good service in certain places, but if you ever find someone asking for money on the street, however painful it is, it is not advisable to give money, usually by taking out your wallet to make a donation what you are doing is showing the place where you keep it.
Some people only dedicate themselves to asking for money, having the opportunity to do any kind of work, by giving money only the culture of poverty is being fostered.
Don’t wander around alone
You will be safe if you are in a resort and you don’t go out, but if you go out and visit the city and other places of attraction, that is excellent, just don’t go out alone, especially if you don’t know the environment very well, try to hire a visitor guided by tour guides, or go out with local friends of real confidence.
Do not use your cellphone while walking the streets
If you are lost or have to answer a call or message, stop and go to a place to do so. Being with cellphone attention in an unknown place makes you lose concentration in your environment which makes you vulnerable to accidents or assaults.
Keep your hotel door locked all the time
Not necessarily for thefts, the doors and corridors in the resorts are very similar and any drunk person could easily confuse their room.
Be careful what you eat in the Dominican Republic
Dominican cuisine is very interesting, be careful when consuming very fatty foods, perhaps your stomach is not prepared for this food, it is not advisable to eat street food, try to consume food from places of trust and that you seem well-groomed.
If you want to eat fruits, try to buy thick skin, try to wash the fruits with drinking water before consuming them, try to avoid cold salad, consume salads that are boiled or cooked.
Try to eat moderately, eating too much can cause a lot of malaise: nausea, vomiting, bloating and diarrhea.
Do not leave drinks unattended
If you are drinking in a crowded place, it is a safe practice to keep an eye on what you are drinking all the time, neglecting what you drink can put you at risk of someone putting some substance into your drink with intent to drug you.
Do not resist if you get mugged in the Dominican Republic
It is very unlikely that you could be a victim of assault, but in a hypothetical case you are, please do not oppose physical resistance, try to stay calm at all times and do not make sudden movements.
Separate your money
Do not keep all your money in one place, try to divide your money into different parts and keep it in safe places of your trust. If any eventuality happens, like a robbery, you have not lost everything.
The times I have traveled abroad I have done this, I divide the money that I carry with me in small parts and keep them in different parts, some hidden, others easily accessible, that has made me feel more secure.
Do not use your wallet in your back pocket
Using the wallet in the back pocket is one of the most vulnerable habits for a man to be robbed, if you carry money, credit cards and important documents in your wallet, you should carry it in your front pockets; It is safer, and much more practical. You can also use a frontal anti-theft bag, they are much more practical, comfortable and safe.
Take a copy of all your documents
Scan all your important documents, passport, visa, identity card, you can scan them with your Smartphone, there is an application called Cam scanner with which you can scan your documents and make a backup on your smartphone or send them by post, the application is free.
Scan all your important documents and keep a digital backup, they would be very useful in case of losses.
Do you need vaccines to visit the Dominican Republic?
To travel to the Dominican Republic, it is not compulsory to get vaccinated, you will not be prevented from entering the country because you are not vaccinated, at certain times a yellow fever vaccine certificate has been required for some specific regions of Brazil and endemic areas.
What they exist are recommendations of vaccines in general sense and vaccines depending on the special situations according to the characteristics of the trip.
Vaccines generally recommended: Hepatitis A, Tetanus-diphtheria / Tetanus-diphtheria-whooping cough, Triple Vírica.
Vaccines recommended in special situations: Hepatitis B, Influenza, Pneumococcal, Rage, Cholera, Typhoid fever.