Safe/Unsafe

In reading the valuables topics just without stereotyping any areas - where should you stay away from thru out the Republic?

Your question is too broad.  Explain your intentions, where you plan on going, what is your intended method of transportation, for what purpose and how long are you planning to stay.

Otherwise, the answer is, everywhere you go is safe and everywhere you go is unsafe. 

Cheers.

Tourists should stick to tourist areas and use tourist agency excursions in the first instance.

Those wishing to come and reside here as residents should also start by visiting as tourists in tourist areas where their needs are catered and policed and build their knowledge of the country step by step before choosing their place to live.

Those that arrive for work purposes or through a partner will build their knowledge from their work associates or partner.

The indepedent explorer will research his/her travels more thoroughly through publications and have a travel plan.

If you are an expat with poor knowledge of Spanish you will stand out like a sore thumb anywhere including in resort areas to those who will see you are an soft target. There are large social divides in most developing countries including DR and there are many on the lower tiers of society who will look to exploit a soft target. As such you could be a risk to yourself anywhere if you behave imprudently.

Lennoxnev,
That's a good answer, but I would add that most people you will encounter in the countryside, or outside of big metro areas, are friendly and kind, and they will work with whatever limited Spanish you have (or french, depending on where you are), to communicate with you. Don't be afraid to talk to people. Don't bring valuables, dress out of place, or act special. If you are respectful and a polite visitor, people will share the beauty if the DR with you.

I agree that both the original post is way too broad and that you got a really good answer.

So tell us more please. Get specific about what you are asking us and we can respond appropriately.

For example I was told do not fly into santo domingo airport at a late hour because you could get mugged leaving the airport in a taxi.

If I am in Punta Cana area, are Veron and Bavaro safe all hours?

I read about Sosua - same thing.

DRvisitor, same answer as before.  Tell us what is is you have in mind.  You want us to share our life experiences with you, you have to share something with us.

I live in the Punta Cana, Veron, Bavaro area.  The answer to your question is the same as I would answer anywhere in the world.  No, it's not safe at all hours and frankly I do not know of a place in the world that is...

Realy Tourists should stay in Tourist Areas and use Tourist Companies to get it better?
I would suggest not stay in Tourist areas but make sure you can handle the Situation or look for a Person who can . i did travel around the World and became to know many countries because I did NOT stay in Tourist areas . Or do you mean if you have been at the Northcoast at a resort or Punta cana , Bavaro or las Terrenas you will see the Country know the Country enjoy what this beautiful Country has to offer ? Surely not .
Stay away from Tourist Areas if you want more than only be a Sheep staying with a large flock of sheep in an enclosure .
If you want enjoy this Country try to read before arrive if not speaking Spanish you will be a bit limited but also this is manageable. Search before you go on a Trip for Things you like and write down the Names and the city and position and if the Place has a name the Name , rent a car with GPS and go where you thin you would like it . Find empty Beaches find small bars and take a Translator device with it will help .
As person come to live here ask yourself if you want to live surrounded by Expats  or do you want to live in a nice Area find your Way into the Dominican society . It is always better to do this than stay outside and never become a part of the Society. Dominicans are friendly people known for their way enjoy Life and their hospitality . Yes they have some habits not such comfortable for them who do not understand their lifestyle but it will come with the Time . But stay away from this Expat Ghettos!      Learn Spanish to be a real part of it and in my Opinion the best Way learn to talk Dominican is learn it on the Street . I had a lot of Fun with it only you can not be shy  for this.                                                           Always remember ; You are a Guest in this Country !  And i ask you to try to talk Spanish and you will see many Dominicans  smile only because of the fact that you try to communicate in their language .     If you want to live like in the US or Canada or Europe this is not the Country for YOU!
If you want to become a part of the Dominican society you will find many hands welcome you.                  Bad people exist everywhere , all around the Globe!
I have a long time in this Country , above 20 years  and i have not found a Place even similar to this , if you do not disturb anybody and do not disrespect anybody you can live your life and nobody ask you how you do it . I have not seen that in many countries .
Be open mind ! And remember you are the Guest !

Actually, went to Kats Corner in Bavaro for breakfast one morning based on good reviews. I wouldn't go back because of the vibe from people in the place etc.

I grew up in the states and you knew of bad areas to stay away even during the day.

That is true everywhere and it changes over time.  So specific to these areas I can't help you. 

My advice is to ask those around you.  And listen to your own gut feelings.   

I will say that any area can become unsafe under specific circumstances.  Right now during the holidays no street is safe in terms of accidents and drinking and driving.

I regularly fly into las Américas at 2:30 am and walk out across the dark lot to pick up a rental, then drive to las Terrena. I cant tell you that a cab is unsafe. I can tell you that Santo Domingo can be a dangerous place. Anywhere in the world where there is a high concentration of wealth and poverty, and few  police with adequate support, in the same place is likely to cause that.

"That is true everywhere and it changes over time."

This was what I was getting at as most of you live in various areas full time would have a better understanding what areas are improving or not.

Only those living in those specific areas, correct

I believe, as a general statement, things are improving from a safety perspective in many areas of the island and also the Punta Cana Bavaro area.  I work with many tourists and to blatantly and irresponsibly say to someone that you don't know, that a place is safe is just as criminal as it can be.  I have seen very naive people walk into a dangerous situation in this country simply because of their lack of street smarts and lack of awareness.  I am living in The PC area as a white gringo, I have no safety issues or concerns anywhere that I go.  In many cases that works for me, not against me.  I have made many Dominican friends.  That doesn't apply to other people.  My experiences are as unique as the next person.  What I will say is to always err on the side of caution.  Nothing here is as it seems, trust no one, believe no one, expect nothing, it is and always will be the wild wild west.  Laws are convoluted and corrupt and mostly not enforced, contracts have little meaning and peoples words seldom have the value of a peso.  Anyone that disputes that is living in a dream and has not lived in the real DR....

again, only my humble opinion.

Solid advice Mike. How long have you lived in that area for?

I hear it is night and day from twenty years ago with roads, infrastructure, etc

Freedmeister :

Lennoxnev,
That's a good answer, but I would add that most people you will encounter in the countryside, or outside of big metro areas, are friendly and kind, and they will work with whatever limited Spanish you have (or french, depending on where you are), to communicate with you. Don't be afraid to talk to people. Don't bring valuables, dress out of place, or act special. If you are respectful and a polite visitor, people will share the beauty if the DR with you.

My point being is that you have to start somewhere and begin to understand the country. Even if you are a seasoned traveller you will be reading up on your Lonely Planet etc. to plan your journeys in this country. For the uninitiated, the best advice and that applies anywhere in the world and probably more so here, is to start by vacationing here and the easiest way will of course be by booking a package vacation. Learn about the country step by step.

My initiation into Dominican life was different as will be the case with other fellow expats who find a Dominican partner. I started my adventure here with my then girlfriend living in a very simple small village in the campo north of Villa Altagracia and it certainly was not a place to be wandering around as a foreigner speaking limited Spanish without family friend. Based upon that experience and my travels and life in other parts of the country I would categorically say that there are big differences in attitudes towards foreigners in various places and even in the campo.

I have stated before on this forum that the people of Samana peninsula, where you reside, are some of the friendliest I have encountered during my travels in DR. I have met such similar warm people in places like Monte Plata, in the South West and in Azua province too. But my experience is also that in places like the North Coast there is an underlying wariness/coldness/aloofness by many Dominicans to foreigners and I certainly feel that acutely too in the capital.

I read you later post and how you hire a vehicle and drive to Las Terrenas in the early hours. I used to drive between the capital and LT regularly when I was working there with SD office and I would never travel much after dark on those roads nor advise others to do so. You will recall that about six years ago motorists and even taxis were being held up and robbed at night in the Monte Plata and Arenoso turn areas. That road is too damn quiet at night even for someone well versed in driving the route.

Back to the first post. Statistics actually show that there has been a steady reduction in homicides over the past several years which is very positive. But I don't think this paints a full picture. I think there is community wide sense in many areas and certainly in the capital, of greater insecurity most especially at night and some barrios have become no go areas after dark because of drugs becoming more common everywhere from poor to rich city barrios, regional towns and even villages and in tourist area nightlife.

DRVisitor,

I have lived here for about 5 1/2 years...seems like 20!  I have been frequenting this area for more than 23 years and remember well when the road from Hiquey to the PC airport was sparse with buildings and now there are buildings everywhere and construction everywhere.  It is not the place from 20 years past.  Even we have several major Grocery stores now with the latest Nacional being built across from the Blue Mall with all the goodies an expat could expect in a grocery store.  Now we have National, Ole, Jumbo, Polo and Iberia in the area.  We have several hardware stores (ferreteria's) and many building supply stores etc.  There are only a few occasions that I cannot find what I need and our prices in some cases are in line with Santo Domingo, La Romana, Higuey...even we have some good car dealers here now.  The area is expanding quickly and things are changing every day.  Property values are increasing...

Freedmeister :

I regularly fly into las Américas at 2:30 am and walk out across the dark lot to pick up a rental, then drive to las Terrena. I cant tell you that a cab is unsafe. I can tell you that Santo Domingo can be a dangerous place. Anywhere in the world where there is a high concentration of wealth and poverty, and few  police with adequate support, in the same place is likely to cause that.

Haha...you must be on the same jetBlue flight as me.  I find it easier to get a rented car than to deal with all the taxis due to my lack of Spanish.  There is always someone at the rental counter who speaks English and is able to help.

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