The Dominican Republic is a collection of idyllic islands nestled in the Caribbean. It boasts a beautifully rich culture, plenty of natural wonders, long white-sand beaches, and delicious gastronomical offerings. Sadly, if you confine yourself to the four walls of a hotel room or resort, you’ll miss out on some of the most inviting sights and experiences.
One: Learn to Recognize and Prevent Danger
No matter where you travel, tourists often stand out and in doing so invite the attention of criminals. You can avoid many risks by leaving your expensive clothing, jewelry, and bags at home. If you have a purse or camera, keep them close to your body or in a secure backpack. Pickpocketing is a common crime on these islands, so consider having a family member send money to the Dominican Republic as you need it. By carrying less cash, you can avoid losing it all in one go.
Two: Hire a Local Guide
This doesn’t mean picking up an unlicensed tour operator. Many high-end resorts attract taxi drivers who may happily drive you around to some of the hidden wonders of your particular island. Rates are generally posted at the taxi stand, but you may be able to negotiate lower rates if you hire the driver to guide you around the island for several hours. Just be aware that many locals get commissions for sending tourists to expensive shops.
Three: Research the Islands Before You Go
Although you’ll benefit from the convenience of having a local driver taking you around, it is important to know where you want to go and how you’ll get there. For example, if you plan to travel to the caves of Los Haitises National Park, you should book the tour before you get to the islands, and then as you make your way to the tour, you can watch for opportunities to interact with local people in bustling villages. Advance research is also a great way to be sure you are on the right island to experience your favorite destinations.
Four: Carry Bottled Water
Of course, on an island, you are surrounded by ocean water and dazzling waterfalls, but if you drink that water or tap water, you’ll probably get sick. When you order drinks, don’t get ice, unless you know that it didn’t come from the tap. You should also check any bottled water to be sure the cap is intact before you buy it. It’s also a good idea to watch any drinks being made. Some travelers to the island country have reported that drugs were slipped into their drinks. Be aware and alert, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Five: Approach Souvenir Purchases Carefully
Remember that you can avoid a lot of trouble by not carrying around and displaying a lot of cash. Get as what you need conveniently through services such as Sharemoney.com, and only show a little bit at a time. As suggested above, you can avoid most scams by being alert to the possibility. For example, you should understand that many street vendors claim to be selling real pearls and other fake goods for inflated prices. Be especially careful around the public beach at Dominicus at Bayahibe, the Sosua Beach in Puerto Plate, Boca Chica in Santo Domingo, and several Punta Cana beaches.
Whenever you visit another country, there’s a potential for dangerous situations and tourist scams. The more you know about those potential risks, the better you can prepare to avoid them. You could always simply stay in your resort or hotel room, but there’s so much to see and experience when you get out and explore. A bit of research into the islands, their risks, and delights, can help you enjoy a vacation made memorable to getting away from the crowds and finding your own path.