Last Updated on March 20, 2023
I’m visiting the Dominican Republic in March of 2023 on my third trip, this time with my husband. My other two trips were with separate groups of girls. You’re wondering is it safe to travel to Dominican Republic in 2023, I’m here to tell you it is. From experience.
On my first visit in 2019, we stayed in the Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo then made our way to La Romana, a southeastern province. Our hotels included a Marriott Renaissance in Santo Domingo followed by the Hilton La Romana all-inclusive resort.
My second trip to the D.R. in early 2020 included a split stay between two adults-only, all-inclusive Palladium Hotel resorts in the easternmost region of the country. These were the TRS Turquesa in Punta Cana and the TRS Cap Cana Waterfront and Marina Resort.
I raved about how much I totally loved the people, the food, the history, culture and immense beauty of this region when I returned from those first two trips. So much so, that I wanted my husband to experience the same on this return trip to the Dominican Republic.
On this vacation, we flew into Santo Domingo and spent a night at the 500-year-old Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando in the capital city’s vibrant Zona Colonia with two days to explore this 15th-century town.
A private transport then took us to TRS Turquesa in Punta Cana for a week of much-needed relaxation time on the pearly-white beaches of Punta Cana. If my math is correct, that’s three trips in the last four years to a place that’s been deemed by some as ‘unsafe.’ Again, is it safe to travel to Dominican Republic in 2023, it has been for me.
Three trips in which I and my friends and my husband felt totally safe, completely at ease, and more comfortable exploring fascinating areas and strolling to restaurants at night than in many U.S. destinations.
Lies about safety in Dominican Republic
As a lifelong traveler since childhood, I think it’s only fair to come right out and mention the fallacies I’d heard about the Dominican Republic before my visits. I was repeatedly told that the city of Santa Domingo was ‘unsafe’ and that resorts in Punta Cana were suspected of poisoning some U.S. guests with tainted alcohol.
I will respond to these fallacies focusing on two factors: 1) I am a journalist that deals in fact, not fiction and 2) I spent 35-years as a registered nurse working with real, not junk science.
Travel, like anything else in life, involves a degree of risk. There’s risk in getting in your car and driving to the grocery store, risk that you could take a fall and break your arm or be diagnosed with cancer or Parkinson’s disease. Just like with driving or health issues, there are some things we can do in our travels to decrease or mitigate risk.
What’s Your Yardstick?
The first question travelers should ask themselves is what does unsafe mean to you? Some people may feel that having a large security presence means increased safety. To others, it may mean the area is dangerous and needs increased safety due to a frequency of unsafe incidents.
Travel involves a cost-benefit analysis. It always has and always will. Only you can decide if traveling to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Jamaica, or even destinations within the European Union or United States are within your safety comfort zone.
A great example of this is Kristy Mosolino, owner of Wishes Travel, who has at least one yearly get-together with a group of close friends. This year, they selected the Sanctuary at Cap Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable, delightful and safe girl’s getaway.
What’s the Source of your Information?
I do not in any way consider hearsay to be a reliable source of information. Phrases like “I heard,” “it’s been said that” or “they said it was unsafe” are meaningless without a reliable, named source or context.
My first question to someone who utters these words are, “Have you been there and are you speaking from personal experience?”
If I were a betting person (and I’m not), I’d bet they haven’t and are just repeating what they’ve heard.
If, however, the U.S. State Department is the one issuing the travel advisory, this is a much more reliable source. One or two destinations within a country however does not mean the entire country is unsafe. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Do Your Homework
When I travel to an area unknown to me, I can guarantee I’m going to do my research before determining where I stay and the activities I’ll engage in. And that’s not just international destinations.
In today’s digital world, we can search destinations, locations and reviews to determine which locations are the safest, most convenient and are the best match for our preferences.
Don’t Travel with Expensive Jewelry
Please leave the diamonds and pearls at home. You don’t need to impress anyone unless you’re being invited to King Charles’ coronation.
Showing off your jewels on vacation not only makes you a target for sales people, but also for perspective thieves and con-men.
Don’t Travel with Tons of Cash
On a recent overseas trip, I was shocked to see an older gentleman pull out his wallet to tip a valet with a billfold swollen with cash. Why would you be traveling and flashing this much money when most destinations across the globe take credit cards and have ATMs where you can get cash as needed?
If I saw his wallet, it’s a guarantee that if he’s outside the safety of the resort, someone else will make a note of this too.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This has always been the number one rule no matter where you are, even if you’re walking back from dinner in your own hometown restaurant.
Pay attention to your surroundings and your gut instinct, especially if you’re a woman, especially if you’re by yourself. If you’re out partying at 3 AM in a city unfamiliar to you, that is an increased risk no matter where you are.
Prepare and be aware and you won’t have any doubts about is it safe to travel to Dominican Republic in 2023.
Is it Safe to Travel to Dominican Republic Right Now
I have found that the Dominican Republic is indeed safe. In the capital city of Santo Domingo, the people were lively, energetic, welcoming, happy and helpful. When you see friends and families out enjoying life to its fullest at 9 PM in the historic city square, it’s hard to imagine a more fun, vibrant and safe place to be.
As for the small number of incidents in the Punta Cana region related to suspected alcohol poisoning, this was ruled out by the FBI working with Dominican Republic authorities on toxicology screenings from 2019. Furthermore, these deaths are statistically miniscule when you figure that 2.4 million visitors vacation in Punta Cana each year.
To be honest, I’ll happily take my chances in the Dominican Republic over many US cities that I believe are much more unsafe to due to guns, gang violence, police brutality and drug incidences.