I have almost a year planning a trip to a country in South America, and since I am such a planner, I like to plan everything I will do well in advance, too much in advance I would say.
That said, I don’t like “traditional tourism”, where everyone goes, I would like to get to know neighborhoods, mingle with people, walk the streets freely.
Then the question came to my mind, what are the dangerous neighborhoods of the country I plan to visit? why don’t I have a similar topic on my website where I expose what are the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic?
Having explained the argument of the topic, and that it is not just something to highlight negative things about the Dominican Republic, I start with the ranking of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic.
Statistically speaking, they are all located in the city of Santo Domingo.
Los Guandules is a neighborhood in the north of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a large conglomerate of shacks on the banks of the Ozama River.
It is a very vulnerable neighborhood, with 137,000 inhabitants (15% of the total urban population), 33% of households living in poverty and 16% unemployment.
Although in Los Guandules as in any other neighborhood you can take a “village bath” in Los Guandules there is absolutely nothing to see, and in fact, there are parts of the neighborhood that should not be visited.
The only time I went to this neighborhood, I did it for an urban planning project at the university, I was walking around with a camera taking pictures of the banks of the Ozama River.
Many people started to look at me with an astonished faces, and an elderly man called me and told me “what are you doing with that camera!, get out of here, they have already tracked you down”.
I don’t think I’ve ever walked so fast in my life when I got out of there…
Like the previous neighborhood, la ciénaga is also on the edge of the Ozama River, like all other neighborhoods, Los Guandules has many young, honest, and hardworking people.
But the pitiful reality is that these people are not in the majority, this neighborhood is full of dangerous people.
Once I was able to visit it, a university friend lived in this neighborhood, I could feel the atmosphere of danger and tension in the neighborhood, even though I visited in the middle of the day.
I know this neighborhood like the back of my hand, I was born and raised there, it seems to me that Cristo Rey is the second largest sector in all of Santo Domingo, and one of the most dangerous as well.
Cristo Rey, as I remember it in my childhood, was not such a bad neighborhood, but as the years went by things got worse.
There came a time in Cristo Rey, that we had to go out to buy dinner at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, because we could not go out at night, every night there was shooting.
Most of the young people who grew up in my environment died in the “street”, others are out of the country, and a few managed to overcome.
In spite of everything, I miss the neighborhood, for me, it was wonderful to live there…
Villa Consuelo is a very commercial area and at the same time a very dangerous neighborhood where you have to be very careful.
Once, out of ignorance, when I was looking for my first house to live in, I only found an apartment there.
I asked the lawyer and landlord: “tell me the truth, is it dangerous around here?”, the lawyer looked at me, he spent a few seconds thinking and told me “my son*, you look like a very nice person, look for a house somewhere else”.
*In the Dominican Republic a person is called “mi hijo” (my son) out of compassion or sympathy.
Capotillo is recognized throughout Santo Domingo as one of the most dangerous and violent sectors of all.
Only once I entered this sector, I was intimidated the whole time, the reputation of this sector is so well known that even the Dominican police has limits to enter.
Honorable (?) Mention
Let’s put it this way: you can give me a mansion in this neighborhood and I don’t want it.
No offense, but this neighborhood creeps me out, having grown up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods like Cristo Rey, the times I went to La puya I couldn’t help but feel threatened.
Besides the fact that I saw horrible things happen in this sector.
Other honorable (?) mentions: Villas agricolas, Villa francisca, Villa Juana, Ensanche Espaillat, La Zurza, Gualey, San Carlos, barrio 27 de febrero.
Lately, I saw an attempt to make tourism in the neighborhoods of Santo Domingo, maybe it can work someday, but I think we are still a little far from that.
An example of that is the Comuna 13 neighborhood in Medellin Colombia, which is a tremendous tourist attraction.
If you really want to take a “village bath” (meeting with ordinary people) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, avoid these neighborhoods, if you plan to visit anyway, be very careful, maybe someday they will be worthy of a tourist tour.
Read this topic if you are interested in knowing which are the 5 richest neighborhoods in Santo Domingo Dominican Republic.