Many first-time visitors ask: Is the Dominican Republic Safe to Travel? Traveling to the Dominican Republic can be an exciting experience. The country is beautiful, the people are friendly, and generally safe in the resort areas. On your vacation in the DR you can find yourself discovering a completely new world. But, whether you’re a newbie or an expert, there are a few things to keep in mind before traveling to the Dominican Republic.
This blog will take a look at what makes the Dominican Republic safe to travel, its dangers, and how to make the most of your vacation.
Safety and Security
The Dominican Republic is friendly and welcoming, and most visits to the country go smoothly. However, there are high levels of crime especially in the urban areas of Santo Domingo and Santiago, ranging from opportunistic crimes such as purse snatching and pickpocketing to violent crime. The resort areas along the Caribbean coast are considered significantly safer.
Petty crime, including pickpocketing and robbery, occurs throughout the country sometimes. Robberies can occur from automobiles, where motorcycle thieves take bags and valuables from passersby and sometimes jump out of car windows at red lights to steal their belongings.
Simple precautions to avoid a negative experience:
- Do not take expensive jewelry, large amounts of cash, or valuables such as smartphones or cameras abroad.
- Use the hotel safe if possible to store valuable items and your personal documents.
- Do not leave bags or other items on chairs or tables in restaurants or bars.
- If you are traveling in a car, drive with the doors and windows closed.
Risk of Scams
In the Dominican Republic, the risk of being scammed depends a lot on the precautions you take. When withdrawing money from your account use a ATM that’s located in a safe location like your resort. If withdrawing outside of the hotel, beware of strangers near the ATM or trying to distract you.
Like in most developing countries, cab drivers may try to make you pay more by providing incorrect fare information. Make sure to agree on the fee for your trip prior to getting onboard of the Taxi or booking your transportation online.
The Dominican Republic has one of the highest rates of traffic fatalities in the world. Traffic accidents are common, especially during vacations such as Christmas and Easter. Drivers often do not follow traffic rules, change from one lane to another, and rarely give a signal. Many cars are in poor condition, headlights and rear-view mirrors do not work. Drunk driving is common. Road quality varies, although highways connecting cities and tourist areas are good.
- Avoid driving when visiting the Island
- Hire a local company for your airport transfers
- To explore the island book a guided excursion
Risk of Natural Disasters
The Dominican Republic is located in the hurricane corridor of the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Season starts in June and spans until November. The most likely months for a Hurricane or Tropical storm to hit the island is between mid-August to October and most resorts have proven Hurricane shelters on site to ensure the safety of international guests.
There are also earthquakes known to hit the center of the Dominican Republic. The island of Hispaniola is an active earthquake area, but the risk of earthquakes in the coastal areas is minimal.
Safety and Water Sports
Swimming pools or beaches may not be staffed and emergency and rescue equipment may not be available. The sea can be dangerous, especially during the storm season (June-November). Do not enter the water if you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Summary: Is the Dominican Republic Safe?
Every year millions of international visitors travel to the Dominican Republic. It is very popular among Europeans and Americans because it is a very safe country to visit and you should keep this in mind when planning a trip to the country. It is full of petty crime and violent crime, but if you follow our recommendations you will have nothing but a magical and unforgettable experience in this beautiful country.
We hope you found our article about the Dominican Republic’s safety helpful in deciding if the Dominican Republic is a place you would like to visit. Whether you’re planning a vacation there, or have questions about safety, we hope our article was able to help!