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Is the Dominican Republic Safe? | Gringo’s Travel Guide

Travelers to the stunningly beautiful, but fairly impoverished Caribbean nation want to know what to look out for. Whether they’ll be safe while on vacation.

I’m often not the best guy to ask. I enjoy places that are a little rougher around the edges. Thoughts of safety rarely cross my mind when choosing exotic locales to travel to. After all, I stepped foot into the raging drug war zone of San Salvador, El Salvador.

Not my brightest move.

Before I booked my first flight to the DR, I never once thought about how safe is the Dominican Republic. It didn’t even cross my mind. I just hopped on a plane and asked a buddy if the taxi would rip me off at the airport.

Then I took off to the land of stunning beaches, bachata, and wild adventures. Luckily, I learned a thing or two from my travels in the country. Including a number of Dominican Republic safety tips and tricks.

It’s pretty easy to stay safe in the Dominican Republic if you follow a few tips and tricks, like the ones found below.

So in this guide, I’ll break things down for you…including:

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Is the Dominican republic safe

My Experiences with Crime in the Dominican Republic

I’ve spent nearly six months in the DR over multiple trips and not one time did I personally have an issue with crime or violence.

I’ve been all around the country, including:

Is the Dominican Republic safe? Well, I’d say it’s safe ‘enough’ for the time being.

However, I’ve experienced minor issues, seen things and heard stories.

  • My friends and I were staying in a lovely apartment in stunning Las Terrenas, DR. There was a groundsman at night that was supposed to keep all uninvited guests off the premises. Instead, someone was knocking on our door late a night. We opened to find some random woman on our front steps saying she had seen us at the parade earlier and followed us home. WTF?! And then the doorman let her in and pointed her to our place. That’s not safe! And this was our first night in the place.
  • My friend brought his new Samsung Galaxy phone to the basketball court. He placed it inside his backpack next to the court. Then proceed to play hoops for a few hours. When he went to pick up his backpack, the phone was long gone and there was nothing he could do about it. $600 basically flushed down the toilet. You can leave valuables unattended in the country.
  • A buddy had rented a hotel room for a few weeks in a decent hotel. Around $50 a night. He was Dominican from New York and waiting for the apartment he purchased to finish construction. While working in the lobby of the hotel from his MacBook, the hotel clerk saw the $2,000 laptop. He called his buddies and arranged a room for them next to my friend’s room. One night he heard a knock on the door and there was someone in a hotel staff uniform. He opened the door to have a gun put to his head. They robbed him of all electronics, cash, and some designer clothes. Around $6,000 in total.

…And these are just stories I’ve heard or things that I’ve witnessed.

There certainly not the worst things that happen in the country. You’ll find many a tale on message boards and forums about the country.

Tales of murder and armed robbery run amuck online when talking about Dominican Republic safety and security.

However, many of these situations are easily avoidable in my opinion.

Is the Dominican Republic Safe? | My Honest Opinion

Overall, I haven’t had much of an issue in the DR. Most travelers simply don’t have a problem with danger in the Dominican Republic.

Well, Dominican people may be the friendliest I’ve ever met.

People are happy. They smile. The joke and talk shit. They openly flirt. They enjoy the laid-back Caribbean vibes, the ocean, and the warm weather just as much as the travelers.

But, there’s only one issue – the Dominican Republic is a fairly impoverished nation. Over 20% of people live in EXTREME poverty in the Dominican Republic (Source).

This means there’s a huge income disparity between the wealthy and the poor. There’s less of a middle class in the DR than in the United States.

This creates “Haves” and “Have Nots” in the country. Some people are rich, while others are quite poor.

So…is the Dominican Republic safe? Not completely.

There’s a lot of robbery and theft in the country. Petty theft and all that jazz. But violent crimes and murders are not that common.

On top of that, the Dominican Republic is a tourist destination. The country receives over 6 MILLION tourists every single year (Source). And a lot of these tourists aren’t used to taking precautions that are required in Latin America. As such, the criminals sometimes see an opportunity.

So there’s a bit of a trade-off.

By staying in nicer neighborhoods, not flashing wealth, and learning to speak some Spanish…you can eliminate the vast majority of issues.

You’ll find more Dominican safety tips below…

Dominican Republic Crime Rates | Updated 2022

Let’s not just take my word for it though.

Let’s dive into the statistics and see if the Dominican Republic is safe or not.

First and foremost, the Dominican Republic does not have a single city on the “Most Dangerous Cities in the World” list as of writing this article.

What does this mean? Well, not a ton to be honest. That just takes into account murder rates…not Dominican Republic crime rates overall.

But basically, you’re more likely to get murdered in Mexico. Or Venezuela. Or Colombia.

However, apart from violent crime and murders, there’s theft, pickpocketing, and general safety. And there’s a lot of robbery in the Dominican Republic.

In fact, nearly one out of every four homicides in the Dominican Republic occurs during an armed robbery.

In the United States, only 5% of murders stem from a robbery (Source).

The key is to not resist.

If you simply give the criminals what they want from you, it’s highly unlikely they’ll do you further harm.

Now, there’s another major factor to consider when thinking about if the Dominican Republic is safe.


Is the Dominican Republic safe for motorcycles and foreign drivers? Hell NO!

More people die in car and motorcycle accidents in the DR than they do from violent crime. Nearly 3,000 people each year die on the roads in the Dominican Republic (Source). If you want to stay safe in the Dominican Republic, never get on the back of a motorcycle. Seriously. This is my best tip.

What the U.S. Department of State Says?

Well, the U.S. Government isn’t known for issuing accurate travel warnings.

In fact, they’re a bunch of fear-mongers in my humble opinion. But they know the stats and only want to keep travelers safe.

So here is the U.S. Department of State’s thoughts on crime in the Dominican Republic:

“Significant crime exists throughout the Dominican Republic. Take precautions to avoid becoming a target. If confronted by a thief demanding money or personal items, comply with their demands. Criminals often have weapons and are likely to use them if they meet resistance. Avoid wearing items of value or carrying an item that could make you an attractive target. Be wary of strangers, especially those who approach you at celebrations or nightspots. Travel with a partner or in a group if possible (Source).”

Those are almost kind words when the United States Government is talking about a foreigner country, especially one in Latin America.

As a Level 2 threat according to Uncle Sam, you’ll want to exercise caution when traveling to the Dominican Republic.

However, the spot isn’t regarded as a war zone like many other countries in the region.

Tips to Stay Safe in the Dominican Republic

While petty crime can be common in the DR, you’ll be able to stay fairly safe with just a few precautions in the country.

If you follow these guidelines, you’re sure to have a damn good time in one of the funnest countries on God’s green earth…without worry about your safety.

So here are a few tips to ensure your safety in the Dominican Republic:

Stay in Safe Areas

The most important part about staying safe in the Dominican Republic is where you lodge. If you stay in well-run hotels or Airbnb listing in the cities, you shouldn’t have any safety concerns.

Leave your valuables in the room and use common sense.

For example, in Santo Domingo, you’d want to stay in these neighborhoods, as they tend to have lower crime rates:

Or if you’re in Santiago, you’d want to stay in somewhere like:

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All of the neighborhoods above offer police presence at all times of the day and night, along with a middle to upper-class populace.

Get a Doorman

This is HUGE in the Dominican Republic!

You’ll also want to rent an apartment that has a doorman. Now, this can be tricky because the doorman is your only line of defense in some cases and there are stories of them being bribed.

But it’s still better to have a doorman than to not have one.

Just treat the doorman right. Buy him a few beers, offer a slice a pizza, or throw a small tip his way every now and then.

You’ll gain his loyalty and have nothing to worry about. He’ll even go out of his way to keep you safe if any sh*t does ever pop off.

Ya tu sabes.

Speak a Little Spanish

Speaking a little Spanish can go a long way towards keeping you out of trouble in the Dominican Republic.

As a Spanish speaking country, you’ll be rewarded for speaking Spanish well. The majority of people you meet won’t speak any English, especially in the big cities.

So you’ll need some Spanish to communicate.

Don’t discount this step if Dominican Republic safety is always on your mind.

Avoid Trouble Yourself

Many people come to the Dominican Republic in search of prostitution and to a lesser extent, drugs. That’s just the reality of the situation. The Dominican Republic can be shady at times.

If you’re engaging in these type of acts, you’ll find a greater chance of danger in the country. That’s a fact of life.

If you’re concerned about safety in the DR avoid prostitutes, chapiadoras, and drugs. It’s really that simple, y’all.

By doing so, you’ll nearly eliminate the likelihood of bad things happening to you.

Don’t Flash Wealth

This may be the most important safety tip I can give you. Don’t flash wealth in the DR. If you roll around with gold chains, expensive watches, and fancy designer clothing – there’s a good chance someone will try to rob you.

If you walk around talking on your brand new iPhone out in the open all day, there’s a good chance someone will try to snatch it from you.

With poverty all around, you’ll find petty crime around every corner. That’s a fact of life — no matter what country you’re living in.

In the DR, I try to stay low-key. I typically roll around in an outfit like this when I go out:

While there’s nothing too fancy about my attire, these type outfits look good and will help you avoid any trouble while traveling around the Dominican Republic and going out at night.

Uber Everywhere

Lastly, just take an Uber everywhere you go – especially at night. Taxis will always try to rip off foreigners in the DR. That’s just the way things go.

In Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata…you have the option to take an Uber. Just do it. Sadly, you don’t in Punta Cana.

The price is about 1/4th of what you’d pay in the United States and sometimes cheaper.

Walking around at night is not advisable in the Dominican Republic for tourists — unless you know your surroundings well or are in a tourist area, like Zona Colonial.

Dominican Republic Resort Deaths?

During 2018/2019, there was a spate of tourists deaths in Dominican Republic resorts — specifically around luxe resorts in Punta Cana, including the Hard Rock Hotel.

In fact, over the course of those two years, 36 Americans have died while on the resorts in the Dominican Republic (Source).

Initially, many assumed foul play. That these deaths were connected in some way, shape, or foam. Potentially from resorts using cheap, bootleg booze to try and boost profits.

I also assumed something odd was going on here, and still do to a certain extent.

However, recent toxicology reports reveal that none of the recent deaths occurred due to foul play. The FBI rereleased a statement recently saying:

“The results of the toxicology testing to date have been “consistent with the findings of local authorities,” who have said there was no indication of foul play or physical violence (Source).”

This means these tourists deaths look to be caused by natural causes — not due to violent or malicious crimes. A bit of a surprise.

This is good news, though.

Furthermore, I haven’t seen many, if any, tourists deaths during the second half of 2019 and into 2020. It seems as if Dominican Republic resort deaths have tapered off completely.

As such, I believe it is once again safe to head to the Dominican Republic and experience some of the best beaches in the world. Te lo juro.

Safety in the Dominican Republic | Overall?

Is the Dominican Republic safe?

In my opinion, it is. 100% safe if you follow some of the tips above.

You just need to use common sense and pay for proper lodging. Don’t flash wealth and keep your guard up until you’re familiar with a certain area.

The DR shouldn’t be concerned too dangerous. Just keep your wits about you and be smart. By avoiding prostitution and drugs, you should be fairly safe.

Is The Dominican Republic Safe?

Is the Dominican Republic safe for travelers in 2022?

dominican republic safety

If you’re thinking about traveling to the Dominican Republic, you may have encountered some resistance due to the safety of the country.

Below we’ll look at the different aspects of the Dominican Republic’s tourism that constantly get ignored, such as the rich colonial history of Hispaniola and the Caribbean’s largest botanical garden.

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Is The Dominican Republic Safe?

Dom Rep is for those who are looking for that little bit extra to add to the sun and sand.

saona island palm trees

As you get to know the island you’ll find some of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic are within easy reach of the capital.

But is Santo Domingo safe as the Bahamas or Barbados? Or do travelers need to take safety precautions?

This guide is designed to help set the record straight.

Where is the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic is an island located within the Caribbean Ocean, and makes up two thirds of the territory known as Hispaniola.

The other third of this territory is owned by Haiti, with both sovereign nations divided by a land border of roughly 391km.

Due to its location, The Dominican Republic is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the World, as well as dense jungle and rugged mountains more in-land.

The closest island to The Dominican Republic is Puerto Rico, which is around 380km away across the ocean.

Is it Safe to Travel to The Dominican Republic?

Yes. If you consider most other Caribbean island nations such as Haiti, Trinidad, Cuba, and Jamaica, Dom Rep isn’t much different.

This guide pits Jamaica vs Dominican Republic for you to decide!

The Dominican republic’s crime rate is that of a lot of US cities, with the main safety issue being petty crime.

dominican republic at night

As long as you keep all of your belongings on you in person and don’t flash expensive items, the holiday won’t have any problems.

As far as the weather and climate go, it’s up to you whether you’d like to visit during the hurricane season or not.

Most people who visit Dom Rep are here to relax, so tourists and visitors shouldn’t feel as though their safety is at risk.

Dominican Republic Safety Facts

  • Dominican Republic rose to Level 2 for Travel Advisory in 2019.
  • This was due to armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault.
  • “The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality.” According to the U.S Government.
  • Over 6 million tourists visit every year, with most visits being trouble free.
  • Experts advise that tourists stay within resort locations such as Punta Cana.
  • The homicide rate of Dom Rep has dropped significantly in recent years, as it went from 22.1 homicides per 100k in 2012 to 10.4 in 2018.

Is The Dominican Republic Safe to Travel Alone?

The Dominican Republic is best enjoyed with loved ones or family, but we understand anyone seeking a solo getaway to Dom Rep.

punta cana beach taxi

If you do decide it’s the option to go for, below you’ll find a few tips for practical travels to get you on the straight and narrow.

Firstly, stick to the resorts. Wandering into urban areas for the fun of exploring is tricky when by yourself, as you could be robbed or worse.

Get an accredited shuttle or taxi from the airport straight to the hotel and let the relaxation commence.

Backpacking The Dominican Republic

One thing that backpackers need to consider, is that the Caribbean is notorious for hurricanes.

santo domingo dr image

Even when the season was supposed to end in November, there were surprise hurricanes in January of this year.

You’ll want to stay in an all-inclusive resort complex just because of the safety issues they have set in place, which can be little to nothing compared with other areas of the island.

Petty crime is an issue of course, but it’s an issue for most places backpackers travel to. See all my best tips for traveling alone for the first time if you are thinking of doing some solo travel here.

Dom Rep is not ideal for backpacking necessarily, but it’s extremely doable. What you’ll find here however is just the complexes and hotels that cater for the package holidays rather than free travelers.

You may want to compare places like Punta Cana or Riviera Maya against each before booking anything in advance.

All backpackers need to remember that Dom Rep is bad for robbery, so if you look as though you might have a lot of stuff worth stealing, you’ll become a target.

dominican man protest

Make sure you have everything secure, as one method of petty crime and theft used in the Caribbean is with drive-by scooters.

Secure your packs, don’t leave them lying around or on the backs of chairs, and try to remove smartphones and valuables from the table.

Only let your guard down once you’ve reached your secure hotel.

Get an anti-theft camera bag or equivalent for when walking around with expensive cameras and/or equipment.

Where to Stay in Dominican Republic

For those looking for the most authentic experience possible, then Santo Domingo is your best bet.

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The capital is full of vibrant plazas and nightlife options, where you’ll also be able to try out the best variety of local cuisines.

Punta Cana is great for all inclusive hotels, world-class beaches and entertainment options, where you’ll never be far away from top amenities such as restaurants and nightlife.

Las Terrenas is a more off the beaten path destination, which is perfect for those looking for a more relaxed, Caribbean vibe. Here you’ll also find stunning beaches, but without the crowds.

Dominican Republic Nightlife

The Dominicans sure know how to throw down, and are known to have some of the most sizzling scenes and parties in Latin America.

Punta Cana is by far the most popular and best option to head out for the night, and here you’ll find almost everything.

From massive clubs such as Cocobongo that hosts themed parties, to hot salsa clubs dotted throughout the city, there’s something for everyone here.

Santo Domingo is better for authentic nightlife, where you’ll find cool bars and clubs in the areas of Avenida Venezuela and Zona Colonial.

Dominican Republic Safety Tips

To help you with your trip, I’ve drummed up a set of safety tips to keep you from harm’s way:

  • Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets and keep your money hidden away. Bras, neck wallets, or secret bag compartments will do.
  • Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked your room, book taxis or buses through the hotel.
  • Don’t carry too many valuables. If you do take expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden, locked away, and on your person. A PacSafe backpack is perfect for this.
  • Make sure to take sunscreen. The sea breeze may fool you, but there is definitely a need to protect your skin at all times from the sun.
  • If you’re visiting between June and November, remember that this is the height of hurricane season which means you’ll need to take the necessary precautions.
  • Stay aware that walking around (especially alone) after dark is not recommended. If you must walk somewhere, stick to main roads and more populated areas.
  • If you’ll be doing a Dominican Republic road trip make sure you have a trusted person you can advice from.
  • If you’re visiting the Dominican Republic specifically to learn how to dance Bachata be sure to book in with an accredited school that you research before arriving.

Bus Safety in Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo and Santiago are major hubs for busses and there are companies that do little more than just send shuttles between the two.

dominican republic bus travel

On the whole, passengers have to buy tickets the day before travel, though Caribe Tours allows you to reserve online.

According to Caribe Tours (t 221-4422, w: boasts by far the most extensive network of bus lines – with connections to the Cibao, the Samaná Peninsula, the Barahona region, the Silver Coast, and even Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Metro (t: 566-7126, w: can get you from the capital to the Cibao, Puerto Plata, and the Samaná Peninsula.

Both of these companies have comprehensive brochures available in their stations, listing destinations, and departure times.

If you were wondering if there’s Uber in the Dominican Republic you can use the app in Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata.

You also find that Cabify operates in Santo Domingo. You can use these rideshare apps freely just as you would in any other country.

Travel Insurance for the Dominican Republic

I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.

travel insurance for latin america

If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.

On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic

In all honesty, The Dominican Republic is great to visit pretty much any month of the year!

Average temperatures range from 77-82°F, with highs of up to 88°F and lows of 72°F. For those looking for the hottest month, then August will promise a good roasting.

Rainfall varies only slightly throughout the year, and you can expect roughly 1-2.5 inches falling throughout each month.

The driest month to visit is March with around 1 inch, whilst May is the wettest with 2.5 inches.

Dominican Republic Safety FAQs

See these frequently asked questions about safety in Dominican Republic:

Is it safe to drink the water in the Dominican Republic?

As with most Latin American nations, drinking the tap water is a strict no-no, and the Dominican Republic is no exception. Whilst some water sources are treated, you can’t count on the distribution of where this is, and as such you’ll want to stick to bottled water only.

Is the Dominican Republic safer than Puerto Rico?

Unfortunately, as Puerto Rico is a US territory (and not a country), we can’t compare them using Global Peace Index statistics. However, from experience, I would say Puerto Rico is safer in most parts, although the capital of San Juan should still be trodden with care.

Is Santo Domingo safe for solo female travelers?

Many female travellers have headed to the island’s capital with no issues whatsoever. So yes it can be safe, as long as you practice safe measures such as not heading out alone late at night, and also not accepting drinks from strangers.

Is the Dominican Republic safe at night?

The nightlife scene here really is something to be witnessed. The major nightlife hubs of Punta Cana and Santo Domingo are pretty safe, just be sure to watch your drinks and not head out alone too late. In more laid-back areas like Las Terrenas, it’s pretty safe at night.

Is The Dominican Republic Safe?

All in all, Dom Rep isn’t as bad as some say it is.

After all, most travelers aren’t coming here to get into sneaky activities at night in the urban areas.

Most people come here to hit the beach and the daiquiris, so for that reason, Dom Rep is very safe.

It wouldn’t hurt to stay safe by keeping to the precautions we have suggested too though.

Traveling to the DR soon? Be sure to check out Haitises National Park which is one the crown jewels of the Dominican Republic.

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safety in dominican republic

safety in dominican republic

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Is the Dominican Republic Safe to Visit in 2022?

Is the Dominican Republic Safe to Visit in 2022?

As one of the many Caribbean islands, visiting the Dominican Republic can be very tempting. Surrounded by the beautiful ocean, taking in the fantastic breezes, and enjoying the incredible sunshine sounds like time spent in paradise.

However, before stepping foot on the island, you need to ask — is the Dominican Republic safe? As is the case with any vacation destination, all travelers must take proper research and precautions into consideration.

When traveling to the Dominican Republic specifically, there are a few extra elements that you want to keep in mind.

Continue reading below to check out our top travel tips for your time on the island and what safety concerns you should be aware of during your stay.

Is the Dominican Republic Safe to Visit in 2022?

Coconut merchant walking through water next to a beach for a guide to whether or not the Dominican Republic is Safe

Traveling to the Dominican Republic is generally safe for tourists. Some of the country’s resort areas are the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with over six million travelers exploring the island yearly.

While the majority of visitors experience a vacation without any issues arising, some fall victim to various levels of crime.

The United States has issued a Level Two advisory for the Dominican Republic, citing a boost in criminal offenses. As a result, the recommendation is to travel with an increased level of caution.

Like all countries, a common occurrence in the Dominican Republic is petty theft. These crimes include pickpocketing and bag snatching. However, one of the more severe crimes you should be aware of during your time in the Dominican Republic is armed robbery.

In addition, the homicide rate is on the rise on the island. Another concerning factor is the number of sexual assaults that have occurred in urban areas. Both of these issues have grown substantially in recent years.

Furthermore, the country has experienced an uptick in illegal drug and human trafficking due to its geographic location. Lastly, the presence of many violent gangs is common throughout the country, but most notably in urban areas.

Crime in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic sits at the position of being the third highest country in the Caribbean for crime issues. Globally, the island is ranked 80th for the amount of crime experienced in its country.

One of the most common crimes people experience during their time on the island is armed robbery. Because of the island’s geography, many guns are illegally brought into the country by boat and used criminally.

Unfortunately, many of these instances lead to homicides, which have seen tremendous growth in recent years. One of the best ways to avoid being the target of such situations is to travel in groups and only during the day.

Steering clear of dangerous areas throughout the island is something that should be a top consideration as well.

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If you’re exploring on your own, be sure to be conscious of what is taking place around you and to keep all personal items close to your body. You can easily accomplish this by using a fanny pack or an under-clothing belt.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods

Mountain view from Puerta Plata in the Dominica Republic

As mentioned above, avoiding bad neighborhoods should be a standard practice when traveling to any destination. However, this is especially so when in the Dominican Republic.

Right off the bat, you should be aware that staying on resort property for the duration of your stay is the safest situation. In addition to having security on-site, only guests staying at the property are typically admitted entrance, which lends to its safety.

When you travel to the city centers, you’ll be confronted with a higher likelihood of crime or assault. Walking through urban areas as a tourist will paint you as a target due to you standing out from the crowd.

If you decide to explore the area around the resort, be sure to check in with the front desk staff. Not only is it beneficial to have someone aware of your plans, but they can also direct you to the best places to visit and which ones to avoid.

One thing to remember during your stay on the island is that no one place is 100% safe. With that in mind, it’s critical to remain diligent at all times. This mentality is vital even within your resort, while on the beach, or when riding in a taxi.

Illegal Drug and Human Trafficking

One of the most concerning elements of travel to the Dominican Republic is the surge in illegal drug activity and human trafficking . Similar to the situation with unlawful gun imports due to the island’s geographic location, the easy access to the country makes it a haven for drugs and trafficking.

With human trafficking also comes sex trafficking, which you’ll frequently see on the streets of the most populated cities on the island.

Many non-profit organizations and government entities are coming together in a solid attempt to remedy the situation and return the victims to their proper homes or safe place. Visitors need to be aware of this when venturing throughout the island.

While many of the victims come from different countries and arrive in the Dominican Republic, tourists can be kidnapped as well. Even if slight, the likelihood of this happening is another reason for individuals to travel in groups instead of individually.

Gang Activity

Unfortunately, the Dominican Republic is a hub for gang activity as well. Some of the gangs that have a presence on the island actually come from other areas of the country and world, including Los Trinitarios, which originated in New York state.

The mentality behind many of the gangs on the island is “do or die.” This sentiment means that the members often have the mindset that they will fight tooth and nail for their group, even if it means that their own death comes as a result of their actions.

To add to this issue, the amount of guns and drugs that enter the Dominican Republic is astounding. These elements can increase the violence that is associated with gang activity.

Having many different rival groups in the country can also bring times of escalation when one is confronted by another. The Dominican Republic isn’t a large country.

In fact, the square mileage of the island is comparable to combining the American states of New Hampshire and Vermont . When you consider the amount of gang activity that takes place in such a small area, it’s easy to see why it’s such an overwhelming statistic.

Things to Consider

Dominican Republic resort for a piece on Is Dominican Republic Safe to Visit

Bruno Ismael Silva Alves/Shutterstock

Planning a trip to the Dominican Republic comes with a lot of information to take in from all angles:

  • Staying at a resort is the safest option when visiting the island. Be sure to select lodging that has additional security and adequate safety regulations for guests and visitors.
  • Traveling within a group of two or more people allows for a higher level of safety.
  • Take time to learn what areas are safest and which should be avoided. Tourists can obtain this information at the front desk at your hotel.
  • Letting others know your plans when venturing outside of your hotel or resort allows for accountability when it comes to safety measures.
  • No matter where you are, being aware of your surroundings is critical to your personal welfare. Even if you’re at a resort where you feel safe, be cognizant of the individuals around you, especially on the beach.
  • Keep all personal items close to your body. Using a belt placed under your clothing or a fanny pack that remains tight to your waist is best. These items allow you to have essential items with you but in a secure location that is hard to access by others.
  • Avoid traveling outside of your resort at night. If you need to venture outdoors, try to go with another person or stick to safe areas. Always travel with a fully charged cell phone that can make emergency calls.
  • The Dominican Republic has a high rate of human trafficking. Therefore, it’s pertinent to consider all possible safety measures.
  • Instances of sexual assault have occurred both on resort property and off, and tourists must take caution. When happening at resorts, assaults often take place on the beach.
  • There is a high level of gang activity in the Dominican Republic. It’s crucial to avoid neighborhoods where such gangs reside and to be aware of these locations.
  • It’s best to utilize cash whenever possible during your stay. There have been instances of fraud when using a credit card or ATM.
  • Have a list of all emergency numbers you can call if an issue arises.
  • Be aware that scams can take place on the island where individuals pose as police officers and threaten to arrest you unless you pay them a specific amount of money.
  • Have a general idea of what costs are associated with different excursions, services, and goods. Another fraudulent activity that can happen is being unfairly charged for items due to being a tourist and not a local resident.
  • Understand that the judicial system in the Dominican Republic is much different than in other countries. Therefore, you may not find justice for crimes committed against you even if you involve the appropriate authorities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black and white lighthouse on a clear day overlooking the ocean

Traveling to a new vacation destination can bring about emotions of anxiety and nervousness. Some of the most commonly asked questions about the safety of the Dominican Republic are below to help alleviate the stress that comes with travel.

Is Punta Cana safe to visit?

Out of the major cities that comprise the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is the safest area to visit. The site has many highly rated resorts, and the presence of the Tourism Police is relatively high.

While there are still instances of crime, most of those reported are petty thefts. However, one should still be diligent in their efforts to be aware of all surroundings and stick to safe areas.

Is it safe to stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic?

When planning a vacation to the Dominican Republic, it’s essential to know that the safest place will be when you’re at a resort. Because of the private security employed by the resort and the tourism police that frequent the resorts, the chances of criminal activity or assault are much lower than in city centers and public attractions.

However, staying at a resort should not come with a false sense of security.

There aren’t any places in the world that are 100% safe. As an individual, you need to be aware of your surroundings constantly and have others that are knowledgeable of your whereabouts at all times.

What are the safest Caribbean islands?

While the listing may vary depending on the source and current events that are taking place in the country, many places conclude that the safest island in the Caribbean is Turks and Caicos.

Following that, you’ll often see St. Lucia listed and the United States Virgin Islands rounding out the top three. It’s worth noting that this listing will also vary based on what safety elements you are looking at in the ratings.

You may get one answer if you investigate which islands are safest based on robbery. However, another result may conclude if you’re inquiring about which island is safest in terms of assault.

Is there kidnapping in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, the level of human trafficking and kidnapping in the Dominican Republic is relatively high compared to other countries. Since the island is easily accessible to many countries, the Dominican Republic has a high level of illegal activity.

While you’ll see a great deal of sex trafficking on the island, this behavior often originates from kidnapping and human trafficking.

Many non-profit organizations and governmental bodies are working together to help resolve this issue. They hope they can stop the influx of individuals arriving and safely return the victims to their home country or safe space.

Is the Dominican Republic safe for a single woman?

Although it isn’t advisable for any individual, regardless of gender, to travel alone, the Dominican Republic can be a safe option as long as all safety considerations are adhered to during their stay. Among those, sticking to a well-known resort with ample security is essential.

Additionally, you should always be aware of your surroundings and avoid questionable neighborhoods. Another critical element is to keep others updated on your whereabouts.

Whether you do this by informing the front desk, telephoning a family member, or leaving a note in your room, having a way for others to know what your plans entailed if you were to become unreachable is highly necessary.

So, Is the Dominican Republic Safe to Visit?

The general consensus among several countries is that travel to the Dominican Republic is safe. However, this comes with the recommendation to exercise additional caution while on the island due to high crime levels. With that, enjoy your Caribbean adventure!




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