It is one of the most common concerns of tourists and travelers to the stunningly beautiful, but rather impoverished DR. One wants to know what to look out for. In general, we never had a safety issue in the DR. And most travelers simply don’t have a problem with danger in the DR. Why is that?
The truth is that Dominican people are one of the friendliest we have ever met. People are really happy and smile all over at all times. They joke, talk shit and they openly flirt. They truly enjoy the laid-back Caribbean vibe, the beaches, and the warm weather just as much as travelers do.
The truth is that Dominican people are one of the friendliest we have ever met.
On the other hand, there is an issue to keep in mind – the DR is a fairly impoverished country. There is a large income disparity between wealthy and poor people. And a middle class, like in the USA is non-existing. The result is a population of “Haves” and “Have Nots”. Some people are rich, while others are quite poor.
So…is the DR safe for travelers? Not completely. There are some robbery and theft in the country, sure, but violent crimes and murders are not that common.
How to Stay Safe in the DR
While petty crime can be common in the DR, you’ll be able to stay fairly safe with just a few precautions. Here are some tips to ensure your safety in the DR.
Stay in Safe Areas
The most important part about being secure in the DR is where you lodge. If you stay in well-run hotels or Airbnb listing in the cities, you shouldn’t have any safety concerns at all.
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: Naco, Piantini, Zona Colonial and Bella Vista.
Get a Doorman
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. Make sure to treat the doorman right. Buy him a beer or a slice of pizza, or throw a small tip his way every now and then. You’ll gain his loyalty and you have nothing to worry about.
Speak some Spanish
Speaking some 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. Try Duolingo, Babbel or Italki to learn some Spanish.
Avoid Trouble Yourself and do not trust everyone that you meet.
There are people that come to the DR in search of prostitution and to a lesser extent, drugs. When you’re engaging in these type of acts, you’ll find a great chance of danger. If you truly are concerned about safety in the DR than avoid prostitutes, chapiadoras, and drugs. You’ll nearly eliminate the chance of bad things happening to you by doing so.
Often travelers let their guard down on a vacation, or maybe the Dominican rum will do it for them. Though you will meet many kind and well-intentioned Dominicans during your visit to the DR; we advise you not to trust everyone.
Take care in the following situations
-You shouldn’t go to a random person’s house you just met some hours before.
-You shouldn’t believe that a Dominican guy (or girl) you met a day or two ago is madly in love with you. He or she is for sure a Sanky Panky.
-You should not believe that a bottle of water costs $8 dollars or more.
-You shouldn’t do any drugs in the DR because someone told you it is ‘legal’ here. (ITS ABSOLUTELY NOT!)
Keep in mind: If it doesn’t sound legit; don’t believe it. Period.
Please make sure you use protection.
Yeah, that’s right…. You have to use protection to stay safe. This is as normal in the States as it is in the Dominican Republic. So, wear your seat belts in a car and always wear a helmet on a motoconcho. And use sun protection at the beach to avoid a sunburn.
just dress casually in the DR
Bermuda shorts, sneakers, and tees. (by Mr. Marvis)
Don’t flash your wealth
This may be the most important safety tip we can advise you. Do not flash wealth in the DR. If you roll around with gold jewels, expensive watches, and fancy designer clothing – there’s a good chance someone will try to rob you.
If you walk around talking on your iPhone X all day long there is a good chance someone will try to snatch it from you. Be aware that with poverty around, you’ll find petty crime around every corner.
That is why we stay low-key. We typically roll around in casual chino shorts, linen tees or shirts, sneakers and a decent, but inexpensive watch. While there’s nothing too fancy about my attire, this type of wear looks good and helps you avoid any trouble while traveling around the DR and going out at night.
Is the DR safe? In our opinion, it surely is. You just need to use common sense and pay for proper lodging. Don’t flash your wealth and keep your guard up until you’re familiar with a certain area. In 2018, 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. Happy holidays!