Is Las Terrenas Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On February 23, 2024
Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Safety Index:
52
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Situated on the northeastern coast of the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic, is the charming coastal town of Las Terrenas.

The town, a popular tourist destination and expat haven, is known for its white sand beaches, picturesque views, and a plethora of outdoor activities.

Whether you’re looking to explore the town’s colonial architecture, for a backpacking adventure, or just relax in the region’s crystal clear waters, Las Terrenas will not disappoint.

Tourism is the backbone of Las Terrenas’ economy and the country continually invests in the town’s infrastructure.

99.2% of those traveling to the region do so for leisure, making it the ideal place to unwind and get away from the stresses of everyday life.

When traveling within the States or overseas, safety is always a top priority.

Let’s take a look at the top safety concerns when visiting Las Terrenas and debunk some popular myths about this beautiful country.

Warnings & Dangers in Las Terrenas

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

The United States, Australian, and Canadian governments recommend using extreme caution when visiting the Dominican Republic due to potential criminal activity. Tourists who have recently traveled to Las Terrenas report feeling very very safe. However, they do recommend that you remain vigilant, avoid secluded areas, and keep valuables secure at all times.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM

According to a recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Dominican Republic is one of the most dangerous countries to drive in. Poor road signage and aggressive drivers contribute to more than 3,000 deaths each year in the Caribbean country. The safest mode of transport from the Santo Domingo airport to Las Terranes is via taxi. Taxi services can be booked ahead of time and average USD 149.00 plus tip. While Las Terrenas is a very walkable city, it encompasses 43.67 square miles. Travelers have several options for getting from one place to another. 1. Scooter and ATV rental - This option enables you to explore every facet of the city and tour the many off-road beach paths. Rentals range from $35 to $55 per day, with discounts for longer rental periods. 2. Moto concho - Moto taxis are a safe and affordable option for getting around town. Just hop on the back of the motorcycle and the driver will get you to your destination. Prices start as low as $1 and increase depending on time and distance. 3. Car rental - If you’re traveling with family or prefer something a little roomier, you can rent a vehicle at the airport or through one of the local car rental companies.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

With a crime index of 21.66, Las Terrenas is considered a very safe city for travelers. To ensure you don’t become a victim of crime, use common sense whenever traveling to a new area, be aware of your surroundings at all times, and never hide all of your cash in one place.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

Located in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic faces the threat of a hurricane an average of six times annually. If you are traveling during hurricane season, which lasts from June through November, it’s important that you stay up-to-date on the latest local weather. Lodging management can provide information regarding the safest place to hunker down should a hurricane make landfall. Earthquakes are another natural threat to this Caribbean country. Should one occur during your visit, it is critical that you know what to do. Once the threat has passed, tune into a local television or radio station for further instructions. While rare, tsunamis are a threat after an earthquake in the Caribbean.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

While Las Terrenas residents claim crime in the area is virtually non-existent, no country can guarantee your safety. To avoid incidents, do not flash money, jewelry, or other valuable items. Travel in pairs whenever possible and refrain from walking alone after dark.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

The Dominican Republic’s terrorism index is 0.00 and has remained that since 2002. Despite these numbers, travelers are encouraged to follow the Travel.State.Gov website for changes and potential threats.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Like many countries across the globe, the DR has seen an uptick in poverty since 2019. Since poverty and crime often go hand in hand, there is a minor threat of scams and theft while visiting the island.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

With a 92.86 safety rating for walking alone during daylight, Las Terrenas is very safe for solo female travelers. There are some cultural differences, however, that you’ll want to be aware of. The Dominican Republic has a reputation for being ultra-masculine. A few tips to follow as a solo female traveler include: • If you’re unsure or feeling uneasy about a situation, ask for help. Most Las Terrenas residents speak English and are very friendly. • Avoid walking alone after dark and don’t walk down empty streets or alleys. • Never take a drink from a stranger. • Dress conservatively, particularly when out at the town’s local clubs and bars. • Be firm when turning down any unwanted attention.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Avoid drinking the local tap water, even if the resort/hotel claims it is safe. Bottled water is readily available throughout the DR. Travelers should drink a minimum of ten glasses per day to avoid dehydration from the Caribbean sun.

Safest Places to Visit in Las Terrenas

With a safety index of 78.34, you are more likely to injure yourself exploring the city than becoming a victim of crime.

In addition to a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene, Las Terrenas promises endless hours of outdoor fun.

If you enjoy the beach, you will feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.

Las Terrenas offers miles of beaches and crystal-clear water.

From whale watching to surfing, kiting, and horseback riding, your adventure opportunities are endless.

The most popular beaches in Las Terrenas, Samana are:

  • Playa Coson
  • Playa Ermitaño
  • Playa Las Ballenas
  • Playa Bonita
  • Punta Poppy

When you’re ready to leave the beach, the city offers a number of other outdoor activities.

A hike or horseback ride to El Limon Waterfall is a must-do before leaving the country.

Don’t forget to take your bathing suit for a dip in the natural pool before heading back!

An ATV ride on the coffee trail is a great way to see the local coffee plantations, fruit-bearing trees, and plush tropical landscape.

Los Haitises National Park is the Dominican Republic’s national treasure.

Accessed by boat, the park features over 600 square miles of rock formations, mangroves, caves, and caverns.

The park’s caverns boast the highest number of Native American pictographs and petroglyphs in the DR.

Places to Avoid in Las Terrenas

While Las Terrenas prides itself on being virtually crime-free, locals offer some advice to ensure your safety.

Travelers are safe walking the streets alone.

In fact, it has a safety rating for walking alone at night is 82.14.

However, it’s best to avoid empty side streets and any other area that feels closed to outsiders.

Las Terrenas offers beautiful weather and warm waters year-round.

However, it’s important to remember that a beautiful day on the beach doesn’t mean the waters are safe.

If danger flags are raised on a beach, do not go in the water.

Rip currents are a genuine danger, taking hundreds of lives each year.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Las Terrenas

Any time you travel to another country, it’s important to research and learn about potential dangers, of the natural and human kind, as well as any cultural differences.

  1. The Dominican Republic has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug use. Engaging in this illegal activity could result in a harsh prison term.
  2. While pickpocketing isn’t prevalent in Las Terrenas, there’s always the potential in tourist areas. Secure your cash and belongings, both in your hotel and when exploring the area. Do not flash your cash or any expensive items. Blend in with the locals as much as possible.
  3. Always change your money at a bank or an official money exchange service at the airport. This will ensure you receive the best exchange rate and avoid becoming a victim of a scam.
  4. Exercise caution when taking money out of the cajeros (ATM). Be aware of your surroundings during this transaction, particularly when entering your PIN.
  5. Mosquitoes in the DR carry diseases such as chikungunya and dengue fever. Bring insect repellent and apply it regularly.
  6. We know it’s tempting to feed and pet stray dogs and cats in the area. However, there have been reports of rabies from animal bites. It’s best to leave the animals alone.
  7. Protect yourself from the sun. Temperatures in Las Terrenas average 87° F. It’s important to apply sunscreen regularly, shelter in the shade, and hydrate throughout the day.
  8. Many beaches in the DR do not have lifeguards. Do not swim while intoxicated, heed all beach warning signs, and use common sense when out in the water.
  9. Be careful if you decide to explore outside the city in your own vehicle. Pay attention to all road signs, adhere to the speed limit, and never hit the road at night.
  10. Crimes are more likely to occur after dark. Avoid the beaches and never walk home alone at night.

So... How Safe Is Las Terrenas Really?

Despite the U.S. government’s travel advisory, Las Terrenas is a safe and relaxing place to visit.

In fact, almost 50% of the region’s population are expats from France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Holland, and the U.K.

In 2019, the Dominican government created a new section of the Ministry of Defense called CESTUR.

This branch’s primary goal is to ensure the safety of tourists.

If you need assistance when visiting Las Terrenas, these policemen are there to help.

Las Terrenas has a crime-to-safety index ratio of 78.34 to 21.66.

This means that your overall safety far outweighs the city’s criminal acts.

It has even been described as one of the “safest places on Earth.”

Even paradise has its downsides and hurricanes are Las Terrenas’.

In the last 150 years, 140 hurricanes have affected the DR.

The country averages 6 weather events a year, with the last major one occurring in 2022.

The region also experiences the occasional earthquake.

It’s important that you know what to do and where to go should one occur during your stay.

In 1946 and 1953, strong earthquakes resulted in tsunamis, so be sure to include this when preparing for a natural disaster.

How Does Las Terrenas Compare?

CitySafety Index
Las Terrenas52
Punta Cana64
Santo Domingo31
Sosua77
Samana78
Playa Rincon64
Jarabacoa54
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

Tourists visiting the area for 30 days or less are not required to obtain a visa. While a visa isn’t required, you may need to show proof of the following: • A completed electronic ticket both before entering and leaving the country. This is often referred to as a Tourist Card. • Valid passport for at least six months. • Have at least one blank page in your passport. • Documentation regarding your return flight and any documentation that may be required at your next destination. • Sufficient funds matching your length of stay. These requirements are subject to change, so you must check the Embassy’s website for the most current information. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa. Visa applications should be submitted 30 to 60 days before your trip. Your application must be submitted with your original passport, so make sure you go through a traceable carrier. Business visa applications must be submitted in person at the consulate’s office at: Consulate General of the Dominican Republic 1038 Brickell Avenue, 1st floor Miami, FL 33131 Contact them by telephone at (305) 358-3220 first to ensure the office is open when you arrive.

Currency

Currency

The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (RD$). The exchange rate is very favorable for those traveling from the United States. Since the rate changes regularly, you’ll want to check the current exchange rate prior to your arrival. Due to higher competition, you may be able to get a better exchange rate at a local bank in Las Terrenas. However, it’s often safer to complete this exchange upon arrival at your entry port. Traveler’s checks and major credit cards are accepted at most establishments in Las Terrenas. U.S. dollars are also accepted in most places as well. Just be sure to leave your U.S. coins at home.

Weather

Weather

The Dominican Republic is blessed with beautiful weather year-round. Pack light clothing and prepare for warm weather. If you’re staying at a resort, you’ll also want to pack some nice clothing for more formal affairs. If you plan to visit any churches, museums, or monuments during your stay in the DR, dress respectfully. Shorts and short skirts are not permitted.

Airports

Airports

Four airports serve the Las Terrenas region: 1. El Catey (AZS) is the closest and is about 20 minutes from Las Terrenas. 2. Las Americas (SDQ) at Santo Domingo is a 1.5-hour drive from Las Terrenas. To get there, you will travel on a toll road, which costs approximately 1,000 pesos one-way. 3. Puerto Plata (POP) is a 3-hour drive from your final destination. 4. Punta Cana (PUJ) is the furthest from Las Terrenas and is about a 4-hour drive to the city.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

In many cases, traveling overseas is free of any major hiccups. However, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that unforeseen things occur that could keep you grounded. That’s why we recommend always purchasing travel insurance when planning a trip abroad. Travel insurance can cover you for a myriad of events, including: • Flight delays • Illness or injury, both before and during your trip • Stolen or lost baggage • Medical emergencies while overseas While the local U.S. embassy or consulate can help you out of some situations, their powers are limited. That’s why the U.S. government recommends that everyone purchase travel insurance as part of their travel package. Travel insurance costs vary depending on your age and destination. The average cost ranges from $35 to $200 or 5-6% of the total cost of the trip.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Las Terrenas Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 24° C
Feb 24° C
Mar 24° C
Apr 26° C
May 26° C
Jun 27° C
Jul 27° C
Aug 27° C
Sep 27° C
Oct 27° C
Nov 26° C
Dec 25° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
272828292930303031302928
Low
°C
202020222324242423232221
High
°F
818282848486868688868482
Low
°F
686868727375757573737270

Dominican Republic - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Bayahibe52
Cabarete53
Jarabacoa54
Las Terrenas52
Playa Rincon64
Punta Cana64
Samana78
Santo Domingo31
Sosua77

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