Is the Dominican Republic safe for travelers?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
On the whole, passengers have to buy tickets the day before travel, though Caribe Tours allows you to reserve online.
According to roughguides.com: Caribe Tours (t 221-4422, w: www.caribetours.com.do) 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: www.metroserviciosturisticos.com) 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, Puerto Plata and Santiago.
You also find that Cabify operates in Santo Domingo. You can use these rideshare apps freely just as you would in any other country.
Got Travel Insurance for Dominican Republic?
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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 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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