The Dominican Republic is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. It’s white sandy beaches and large resorts that cater to tourists from all over the world is helping to make this small island country even more enticing.
One area of the Dominican Republic has become a hub for tourists; it’s the city of Punta Cana located on the easternmost side of this island.
While the resorts in Punta Cana are first class and offer everything one could want in the Caribbean, sometimes tourists want to get out of the resort bubble and see what the real Dominican Republic looks like.
But this means you have to leave the relative safety and security of the resort.
How Safe Is Punta Cana?
Punta Cana in generally one of the safest spots in the Caribbean. Because the Dominican Republic relies heavily on tourist dollars to keep their economy running, they’ve done a good job ensuring tourists stay safe while visiting the country.
In fact, the country has gone as far as creating an entirely separate “tourist police” force (called the Politur) just to look after the safety of visitors. These uniformed officers who wear dark blue pants and white shirts patrol areas in and around resorts, and Punta Cana itself.
Despite being a very safe country to visit, tourists must still remain vigilant. One of the biggest threats tourists face is petty theft. Cell phones, cameras, and wallets that are left unattended by a distracted tourist are easy targets.
Further, you should avoid walking around at night alone, though this is common sense for just about anywhere you visit. Women should be especially cautious about walking alone at night. Staying in groups is always the best bet.
When you are walking around outside the resort, expect locals to try and sell you souvenirs. If you’re not interested, a simple “No thank you,” will suffice. If you do want to buy a souvenir then you should try to negotiate a lower price.
Most of these street vendors are trying to make a living to feed their families. Showing them respect will make your interaction with them much more pleasant, even if you don’t buy anything.
Staying safe in Punta Cana is a matter of having a little common sense. This means avoiding getting yourself into situations that can compromise your safety. For example, having a few drinks with friends while watching the sunset over the ocean is perfectly fine.
But getting drunk and stumbling around the streets insulting locals will likely get you into trouble. If you need an ATM machine but the only one you can find is in a dark alley, probably not a good idea to use it.
Drawing unwanted attention to yourself either through your behavior or wearing expensive, flashy jewelry can also compromise your safety. The same common sense you apply when walking around your hometown should also apply when visiting Punta Cana.
Keep in mind that the Dominican Republic is a developing country. When you leave the bubble of your resort and explore the area on your own, you will see many impoverished areas.
But that shouldn’t scare you because most people in the Dominican Republic are very, very friendly. Treat them like you want to be treated and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you can, learn a little Spanish before you go.
Speaking to them in their native language, as opposed to assuming everyone speaks English, will earn you a lot of respect.
The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country and a tropical paradise. Punta Cana is one of the safest places to visit in the Caribbean.