U.S. Updates Its Travel Advisory For The Most Popular Caribbean Country

The US State Department reviewed its travel advisory for the Dominican Republic on June 18 and determined the country’s safety situation remains stable, unlike neighboring Haiti.

According to the agency, the D.R. continues to rank at Level 2: Exercise increased caution,” meaning that visiting this country is as safe as traveling to Spain, Italy or France. 

But don’t let this fool you into believing that visiting the Dominican Republic is as safe as visiting a European capital. 

“Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault, is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic,” reads the advisory.

In recent years, the country has created a special tourist police force and launched a 911 system that has boosted security in some key tourist hotspots. 

However, the wide availability of weapons among the population and an inefficient criminal justice system prevent the country from reducing its biggest crime concerns.

Travelers’ safety varies from place to place. Resort areas like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata are heavily protected due to their dependence on tourism.

But crime can be an issue in some areas of Santo Domingo, including Gazcue, Cristo Rey, Arroyo Hondo, Naco, and Villa Agricola. Violent crimes such as theft, muggings and even murder have been reported.

To help you have a safer trip, the US government has some recommendations for Americans traveling to the D.R. Here is a summary of the key points: 

  • Do not try to resist any robbery attempt. Your life is more valuable than money. 
  • Leave valuables back in your accommodation and dress down to avoid unwanted attention from potential thieves.
  • Locals know their country. Follow your resort personnel’s advice about safety and places you shouldn’t visit.
  • Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to help locate you if an emergency happens.

Other safety recommendations include sticking to safer districts, such as Zona Colonial. 

Above all, don’t wander alone at night and don’t go to explore remote areas without the company of a legal tour operator.

Tourism in the Dominican Republic booming in 2024

On the bright side, the island’s allure is undeniable. Between January and April, it welcomed 4 million tourists, breaking all previous tourist records.

During this period, the country received 3,039,302 air travelers, 10% more than last year, and 1,139,381 cruise passengers, 15% more than in 2023, said the Minister of Tourism, David Collado.

“Combining all these figures, we have 4,178,683 visitors in the first four months of the year, which represents another record,” Collado said.

Americans are the country’s biggest market, accounting for 53% of all arrivals.

The Dominican Republic is forecast to surpass 11 million visitors in 2024, breaking all historical records.