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Is the Dominican Republic Safe or Dangerous Country?
The Dominican Republic is a generally safe country for tourists : most tourists stay in hotels and resorts on the East side of the island, where the only major risk is getting a bad sunburn. On the other hand, large cities like Santo Domingo or Santiago can have some rough areas where tourists are prime targets for petty theft. The Dominican Republic is ranked 76th on the ranking of world’s safest countries.Dominican people are very friend, tourists are very welcome (representing c. 20% of the country’s GDP), and most visitors travel unharmed, but on the other hand don’t let negligence ruin your trip. Stay alert and be aware. It is advised to travel with tour guides when going to remote locations or visiting the cities where the risks are higher. The most dangerous cities of the Dominican Republic based on homicides are Independencia (34.5), Peravia (26.4), La Altagracia (23.4), Duarte (23.1) and Barahuco (22.2), and the top top five cities for robberies were: Santo Domingo National District, La Vega, Peravia, San Critóbal and Santo Domingo Province (source OSAC). The main threats for tourists are scams, petty theft and muggings. In Santo Domingo, the safe areas are the Zona Metropolitana (Piantini, Naco, Evaristo Morales) and Zona Colonial (excluding Santa Bárbara). If you want to venture to other areas, it is best to ask locals about the safety of said neighborhood. To prevent snatch-and-grab attacks, do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, consider using a money pouch or belt, hide your camera, leave your passport in the safe of your hotel. It is unadvised to take public transport if you are travelling alone in large cities – prefer taking taxis or renting your own car. If you rent a car -which is not recommended by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, be very careful : the roads are often in bad shape, and pedestrians often cross the road regardless of traffic – the Dominican Republic is the second country on the WHO list of traffic accidents. Visitors might prefer hiring a driver or a cab. As unlikely as it is, if you ever get mugged or carjacked, DO NOT RESIST. Your assailants could think that you are armed, and could stab or shoot you. There are health issues in the Dominican Republic: the HIV rate is very high (2% of the adult population), there are risks of mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria and Dengue (very rare), or the more recent outbreak of the Zika Virus. Pregnant women should check the CDC website before travelling. In case of emergency, call the nationwide emergency number is the 911. The Tourist Police can be called at 1-200-3500. For more details, see city specific advice or take a look at our travel articles.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK :
The Dominican Republic is an overall safe country. It is ranked 76th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK :
There is a medium pickpocket-related risk in the Dominican Republic (DR), in public transport and crowds. Keep an eye on your belongings, and a few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.
MUGGING RISK :
Dominican Republic is an averagely safe country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice. There have been reports of kidnappings against US tourists in these cities Santo Domingo, María Trinidad Sánchez, Santiago, Santo Domingo Province and Valverde.
SCAMS RISK :
There are a some scammers and con-artists trying to take advantage of tourists, particularly in large cities and around major landmarks in the Dominican Republic. Beware of weird people around ATMs, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK :
Public transport should be avoided for solo travelers at night, prefer hiring a driver or a cab.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK :
There can be some occasional natural hazards in the Dominican Republic. Beware of wild animals and protect yourself against mosquitoes which can infect you with the Zika Virus.
TERRORISM RISK :
DR is a very safe country in respect to terrorist threats.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK :
There has been several reports of attacks and shaming of women travelers. Do not venture alone in shady neighborhoods of large cities, or isolated villages.