Think about it. It really doesn’t matter where you travel, there are safety concerns everywhere you go. Yes, some places are generally safer than others, but the truth is that bad things could happen anywhere. That is why no matter where you travel, you need to educate yourself before you go.
As for the Dominican Republic being safe, there are places that are safe and places that are not. I live here, and I have seen good and bad. I have been mugged, and I have been helped by total strangers.
If you have never been to the Dominican Republic before, here are some tips for safety.
This can be said for traveling anywhere, but especially in the Dominican Republic. I have only wore my engagement ring a couple of times. You have to remember that your goal is to blend in. You don’t want to make yourself a target for theft or con.
2. DO NOT wear one of those pouched lanyards around your neck that are obviously for your passport and money.
In theory those are the most efficient objects for travel, but in realty those are the dumbest things. Especially the ones that are see-thru. I mean seriously, people that wear them are literally dangling bate in-front of thieves.
3. Leave your passport in a safe at the resort.
No cop or authority figure is going to ask you for your passport. They know you are traveling, and they are happy you are here in their country. For safety leave your passport in the room.
4. Put the cellphone down!
Most thieves here ride motorcycles, and because traffic laws aren’t really enforced they can come out of know where. If you are looking at your phone or talking on your phone, it is very common for someone to just grab it and ride off or run.
5. Don’t leave valuables in cars.
Do not leave valuable items in the rental car, and if you have to, try and hide it. Don’t leave it in view.
6. Health Safety- DO NOT DRINK THE WATER
This is probably the number one thing that you don’t need to forget. Whatever you do, don’t drink the water. Remember the Dominican Republic is an island. You can brush your teeth, take a bath, and wash your hands, but do not drink the water.
7. Driver’s Safety- Call a transportation company like TRANSEKUR
Traffic is literally insane. It took me 4 months before I was even comfortable driving. I would have panic attacks about it. Red lights are barely paid attention to, and stop signs are never paid attention to. It’s everyone for themselves. The roads are not in the best shape. It’s common to find pot holes the size of watermelons or larger. Services like Transekur’s luxury transportation are about the same price as a taxi, so why not enjoy the quality of having your own personal driver while here.
8. If you are robbed- DO NOT RESIST
Where I am from in Tennessee, if you are robbed, you will probably fight them or go after them. Here in the Dominican Republic, do not do that. Give them what they want, and then call the cops when they are gone. Seriously, don’t get shot over a cellphone.
9. DO NOT walk on the beaches at night.
Unless your resort guarantees your safety, I probably wouldn’t walk on the beach at night.
10. ALWAYS BE AWARE of your surroundings
This is pretty generic, but you really need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Remember it’s a different country, and you are a visitor in a foreign land.
11. Try to keep at least $200 RD on you at all times
I know it probably sounds a little crazy, but keeping that $200 RD in my pocket at all times has helped me when I needed it. You don’t want to be empty handed.
12. DO NOT give beggars money
Even if they are children it is not good to give them money. Give them food, but do not give them money. When I first moved here, I did give them money. What did they do with the money? They bought alcohol, and they got use to it so they started harassing me for it. They expected it, and when I told them no more it was not pretty. The children here that ask are normally used by others (they even rent the kids) to beg in the streets. The kids never get the money.
So, is it safe to travel to the Dominican Republic? Remember the Dominican Republic is a generally safe country for tourists : most the tourists that come here stay in the resorts near Punta Cana, and crime is lower or non-existent there. The resorts and hotels always make it a priority to make your safety is their number one priority. On the other hand, large cities like Santo Domingo or Santiago can have some bad areas where tourists are targets for petty theft.
The Dominican people are generally very friendly, tourists are very welcome as they represent 20% of the Dominican Republic’s GDP, and most tourists travel unharmed, but on the other hand don’t let negligence ruin your trip. Stay alert and be aware.
And, I will say it again. Robbery, theft, and bad things can happen anywhere you travel. It is always best to do your research before you travel anywhere.