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Safety in the Dominican Republic

Safety in the Dominican Republic

Recent reports in the media about the unfortunate deaths of tourists during vacations in the Dominican Republic have made us want to comment and put the record straight.
Whilst we are sympathetic to the death of anyone whilst on vacation, we feel the need to point out some important factors being missed by this sensationalist reporting, which are giving a completely skewed picture.
Firstly, the Dominican Republic actually comes number 25 on a list of countries published by Forbes, where American tourists have died whilst on vacation.  That means, obviously, that there are 24 other countries where more Americans have died whilst on holiday.
Secondly, we are very familiar with the types of people and types of vacation in question here.  Cheap packages, including flights, transfers, accommodation, food and all drinks are sold far too cheaply for the hotels to be able to provide even the basics of safe catering, let alone continue to maintain their properties.  These large hotels rely on volume and lots of it: Once the airlines and transfers are paid, these hotels are receiving approximately $7 to $10 USD per tourist, per day, for all their welfare needs whilst on holiday.  Ask yourself, would you go to a restaurant where you could eat 3 meals and drink as much as you want for less than $10?  Would you then do that for 7 days in a row or longer?
This type of tourism is not sustainable.  Hotels operating like this cannot re-invest in any kind of long term planning and they cannot provide good food, good drinks, good accommodation, or pay their staff decent wages.
Lastly, we are specifically aware of drugs such as viagra and cocaine being involved in several of the deaths, mixed with alcohol and high Caribbean temperatures.  Add to that, some of the people who sadly died were clearly not in the best physical shape and were already on long-term medication.
Current media reports are choosing not to report the simple fact many Americans die whilst on vacation all over the world, especially unhealthy ones, or ones who partake in illegal activities.  As we already said, the Dominican Republic is 25th on the Forbes list and the figures this year are no different from previous years.  Americans are certainly not being targeted and there is no reason at all to avoid the Dominican Republic.
As expats ourselves, we feel 100% safe in Cabarete, or anywhere in the Dominican Republic for that matter.  We also brought up two children here.
Tips for a safer stay in our paradise (or anywhere)
  • Stay hydrated, avoid imbibing too much alcohol and drink far more water than you might otherwise do at home (it’s a hot, tropical climate)
  • Stay away from buying or consuming drugs.
  • Just because prescription drugs are easily available over the counter in the DR, doesn’t mean you should buy and consume them; consult a doctor in your home country for good medical advice.
  • Keep your sunscreen topped up at all times.

More info on surfing Dominican republic in this 2019 surf guide

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