We highly recommend reading the State Department’s Country Specific Information about the Dominican Republic, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler program before leaving.
Below, we have a brief summary of their report, and contact information for the U.S. Embassy. Please also feel free to contact us directly with any safety questions or concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important Phone Numbers
Road Safety: Driving in the Dominican Republic is not recommended. While traffic laws exist, they are not consistently enforced, even pertaining to incidents of intoxicated driving. Cars are known to drive without lights at night, drive onto sidewalks, and drive against traffic. Road conditions also vary wildly with issues such as a lack of stop signs, uneven road surfaces, large potholes, and missing manhole covers.
While private bus lines between cities are safe, public buses within cities aren’t. Taxis often aren’t reliable, so use a company recommended by a hotel. Santo Domingo’s metro system is safe use. However, similar caution as used in crowded areas should be heeded there as well.
Health: Private hospitals located in major cities are usually able to provide sufficient care, but that can vary from institution to institution. Outside of major cities, standards may not necessarily be met. A majority of health care facilities only accept cash payments and law doesn’t require them to provide emergency treatment before payment.
Natural Hazards: Many popular beaches in the Dominican Republic have dangerous undertows, yet they lack lifeguards and warning signs.
Crime: Most people visit the Dominican Republic without issue. Petty crime is the biggest threat, however muggings do occur. If faced with an armed thief, don’t resist as they are known to become violent.
To avoid petty crime, follow similar precautions to any other major city: Don’t flaunt valuables, in particular be careful with cell phones as they’re known to get snatched. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t leave drinks unattended.