Dominican Republic : Safety by CityDominican Republic - safety as a country
Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and, at the same time, the oldest European city in the Americas.
The old city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
You can quickly explore the island on short trips without much planning.
There are incredible dunes within an hour’s drive, most of the time deserted.
There are amazingly beautiful waterfalls also within an hour’s drive (Salto de Socoa, Saltos de Jima).
Go there on a weekday and you will be the only one there – it’s a magical experience!
Dominicus and Bayahibe and their beautiful white sand beaches are less than 2 hours away and you can keep walking East into the National Park until you are the only one on the beach.
Warnings & Dangers in Santo Domingo
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Overall, Santo Domingo is safe to visit, though it has many dangers and is ridden with crime. You should be aware that tourist hotspots, restaurants, shops, and public transportation are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists on the streets, too.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transportation is not too safe, especially at night. Avoid public transport whenever you can, since this is where robberies and pickpocketing take place. Always call a reliable taxi instead of hailing one on the streets.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
As for pickpocketing, it is not as big of a concern in Santo Domingo, as the violent crime but you should exercise caution and keep your money and your valuables elsewhere, like in hidden pockets of your clothes and never keep all of your money in the same place.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There has been a Zika outbreak in Santo Domingo and the rest of the Dominican Republic, so remain protected from mosquito bites at all times. It isn't rampaging right now, but the remainder of the virus still exists. Another natural disaster threatening this city is the hurricanes.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There have been cases of mugging and even kidnappings which usually involve criminals targeting a foreigner, taking them hostage and driving them to the nearest ATM to withdraw everything from their bank account.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
The risks of terrorist attacks in Santo Domingo are low, but since they shouldn't be ruled out, you must remain vigilant at all times and aware of your surroundings.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
There is a high risk of getting scammed in Santo Domingo. Be wary of weird people around ATMs or anyone trying to distract you. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Many women have traveled to Santo Domingo and had nothing but a great time. However, this country isn't the safest in terms of females traveling solo since there have been reports of women being attacked or shamed, so be careful, especially at night.
So... How Safe Is Santo Domingo Really?
Santo Domingo, though gorgeous, isn’t a safe city to travel to.
It is ridden with both petty crime and violent crime.
You might encounter criminals impersonating police officials, making taxis or private vehicles stop and then robbing the travelers at gunpoint.
As for the worse areas, Cristo Rey, Los Prados, Villa Mella, San Carlos, etc. are the neighborhoods that can have more of a ghetto feel to them, therefore they can be perceived as dangerous.
That said, most of the city is unsafe, you can get mugged practically anywhere.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s not safe to wear flashy clothing or jewelry if you’re a pedestrian, you will attract the attention of muggers.
The bad and good qualification is more a matter of perception.
Depending on the day and time some of the “bad” neighborhoods are safer than the “good” ones.
Another form of crime dangerous for tourists is the break-ins, even in the luxurious all-inclusive resorts: people have reported having their rooms broke into, including the safes.
Others have been sexually assaulted at their resorts after having a spiked drink.
There have also been cases of criminals impersonating repairmen and maintenance staff entering rooms and then assaulting or even killing tourists.
How Does Santo Domingo Compare?
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- Visas - No tourist visa is required to enter Santo Domingo, for any stays shorter than 30 days. Make sure your passport is valid at the time of entry. If you are not sure about your visa status, contact your nearest Dominican Republic embassy for further details.
- Currency - The Dominican peso is the official currency in Santo Domingo. ATMs can be found throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted in most tourism-related establishments.
- Weather - Santo Domingo has a tropical climate, characterized by hot weather during the entire year, with two seasons in winter, a dry and a rainy season lasting from late April to October. The island is prone to hurricanes especially from June 1 to November 30.
- Airports - Las Américas International Airport is an international airport located in Punta Caucedo, near Santo Domingo and Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Santo Domingo, because it would cover not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Santo Domingo Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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22 Reviews on Santo Domingo
very safe went there for like 6 or 7 hours and I saw nothing happen we went trough the whole city and saw nothing happen
Wonderful Dominican Republic
Traveled to santo domingo four times. Stayed at lovely hotel boutique colonial zona. Walked the streets across the city alone during the day and never had a problem. The supermarkets, restaraunts etc are on a par with any world city. Been to punta cana too, it was wonderful. DR is a caribbean gem 😎
…Lamentable,antes Republica Dominicana, o Puerto Rico, o Haiti, hasta 1983,era ok.,hoy se pudrio. Linda
This article is exaggerating greatly
I have taken many trips to the Dominican Republic and alway make Santo Domingo my starting point. Sometimes, I may stay in the capital city my entire time in the country.
I have NEVER, EVER had any issues in terms of being a victim of crime or being scared to walk anywhere, EVEN AT NIGHT. I have stayed in Gascue, Zona Colonial, Zona UASD, Piantini, Naco, Evalisto Morales, Los Prados, Arroyo Hondo, Santo Domingo Este, Villa Mella and Villa Juana. I never had a problem. The Dominicans I have met have been cool and always invite me to chill, play dominoes and drink Presidente (the national beer).
Yes, Santo Domingo has crime like any other major city. But as a tourist who has walked many streets in the city, I never ever once been a victim of crime or even close to such.
To say that Santo Domingo is unsafe is totally a lie and unfair to masses there who will treat a tourist like a king/queen and be very hospitable in the process.
I’ve been to dangerous cities in the world and Santo Domingo does not even come close to being one.
Been in the Zona Colonial and robbed at gunpoint, been in Bellavista and after waking in the street decided to go back quickly to the apartment and from there took an Uber even to go to the supermarket.. years ago I felt safer than now.
It's a 5/10 for safety
This is not entirely accurate, sure, there is crime, but not as much as this page is trying to portray. I would say that do not stay out past 11PM unless you with a group, that’s all,
I am Dominican American, and I have been living in Santo Domingo since 2000. I am glad to say that what you wrote in your article is totally untrue. The city has it’s areas that would be considered dangerous as any other major cities in the world. However, all around it is quite safe. I was wondering has the person who wrote this piece ever been to Santo Domingo? This city is not a backwoods alley where people come with guns a blazing.
DO NOT TRAVEL
Walked 5 mins down the street (Washington ave) while staying at the Sheraton Santo Domingo. It’s a mess. Not at all safe…was bombarded by 4 men asking for money and following us. We had to cross the street and return right back to the hotel and haven’t left since.
It is torn down and a total shame. I would never recommend anyone traveling here. It’s not safe. I’ve travel to different country’s and this is awful.
This event can happen anywhere in the world, and yes all US big cities have this is
Point is – it would NOT happen anywhere in the world. If you compare this thing with big USA or South American cities – yes, but if you go to most of the EU cities, this would never happen. Also, if you go to east Asia, despite poverty, those things don’t happen. To justify this way will not make things better or places more attractive to other people that, in theory, would visit your country.
I feel safe there
Wow to this article. Please research properly because it sounds like you have never been there. For starters, the probabilities of getting picked pocketed are pretty much in line with so many other countries. I visited Paris and Barcelona 2 years ago and had to be extremely cautious of my surroundings and how I kept my purse aligned. Any country will be unsafe if you are walking in certain neighborhoods and exhibiting flashy belongings.
You cannot seriously put Los Prados in the same category as the others mentioned. I lived in SD many years ago and Los Prados is a middle-class neighborhood.
I just came back from spending 4 days in Punta Cana, 2 days in Cap Cana, and 4 in Santo Domingo. I visited La Zona Colonial and did lots of walking, my kids fed pigeons at the park, we went to a chocolate museum, etc, and we had a wonderful day. At no point did we feel unsafe.
By the way, SD is full of amazing culinary experiences. It is filled with great restaurants that I highly recommend. This visit I tried Maracas (wow!), Central Gastronomica, Nipau, and Sonoma Bistro. All excellent and safe :).
In conclusion, in any country you go to you must take precautions, but please don’t install this crazy fear of something that is not as high as you make it to be.
It’s not a safe city. Don’t believe anyone that says otherwise. Last time there I saw a man beating a woman in the street. Not slapping her around, but actually gut punching her like she was a man. And not a pretty city. I go there to visit family. Otherwise there’s no good reason to visit. The colonial zone is nice but very small. Overall an unattractive city.
I totally agree. I will never recomment anyone to come
As I’m sure everyone that has written a comment about their safe amazing experience is wonderful to hear but if it’s So safe why is it when I researched safe places in this country this city was one if the only red ones saying extremely dangerous? It could be a different experience for everyone
Pay attention, avoid bad areas and it's just like other big cities
Santo Domingo has its share of problems and some areas are quite dangerous, although not all. So it all depends on where you are. At night, don’t go alone and during the day avoid the more dangerous areas in the city and you will have a nice time. There are things to see and do here and it can be a pleasant experience.
Well DR is very safe if we compare DR with Brazil, Venezuela, and some other countries around the world.
We always welcome foreign people and are always willing to help people no matter if do not speak English or not.
We are a Bighearted country and feel free to come.
My daughter and I started our trip 1/24/20022. We had a lovely, carefree time. Our Hotel Raizon was in a safe area and we walked to the colonial zone. We didn’t experience any problems. We had wonderful taxi drivers and found the people friendly wherever we went.
Stop thinking illogically reviewers
Everyone in all of these areas keep saying how inaccurate this article is. While it’s likely that there’s some truth to that, we need to understand that no matter where you go everyone will have different experiences. If you and I both go to Somalia, and you have an amazing time with no issues and I’m murdered, chances are you would be totally fine with going there again (if you didn’t know I’d been murdered obv). So while some of you are saying that whoever wrote this doesn’t know how amazing this area is, this person is taking the average crime rates, average terrorism rates, etc., and in your mind they might be wrong because your trip was amazing, but they’re trying hard to give you straight up facts. So stop giving this website such a hard rating.
First time in the Dominican Republic. I spent a month- 8 days in SD, then a few weeks up North on the coast and back to SD for the last few days.
I have travelled a fair bit, lived in various places. My first week in SD I stayed about a 14 minutes walk from the Colonial Zone off Calle Bolivar. Area was ok.
On my return I stayed (am staying right now) a about 25 minutes walk from the Colonial Zone on Calle Monte Christi. Seriously dodgy area! I walk everywhere. I’m not stupid, but walking around during the day a number of Dominicans old and young have specifically and pointedly told me ‘be careful’, ‘don’t walk here’. I could not walk around in the evening or early evening. You can feel the vibe as you meander up side streets- it’s like large carnivores watching prey (as a Croatian guy who’s married to a local and living in SD the last 10 years told me). I didn’t know when I booked it. Renter was clever ‘near Colonial Zone, blah, blah’. The place is like a war zone! Yes, if you stay within a few blocks of the Colonial Zone it’s fine, go beyond and now you see reality.
If I come again I will go straight to costal areas. I stayed too long in SD. You can see all there is: Colonial Zone, Metro, Teleférico, Faro de Colon, etc in 3 days.
It's not dangerous, be smart and enjoy this beautiful contry
Honestly, I don’t understand reviews that say that is dangerous to get drunk in public etc… I was in the dominican republic for 3 weeks and travelled along all the island and hardly felt in danger. Of couse it is not Europe but you just have to behave normally, not looking like a scared tourist. Do they overprice everything for tourists? yes, but it is still waay cheaper than Europe, I am sure you’re going to be able to afford everything. Is the police corrupted? of course, if you break the law the easiest way to get out of trouble is to bribe them, it is the way it works there, but if you respect the law I honestly doubt they will come bother you! Is there more criminality in general? Sure, just be smart, don’t go around at 2am walking aloe in a non-touristic area! Is it a dangerous place to visit? No! you just have to understand that you are in the real world, not a utopic place where everyone is happy and rich, people there struggles to make it to the end of the month! Resorts are even more safe than any european city but by staying in a resort you will not see the real country, you’ll not see anything at all! So please visit and enjoy this beautiful country but use you r common sense… people living there are just trying to live a decent life, most of them (like in most of the world) don’t have bad intentions!
not cheap as people say
I’ve just returned from 2 weeks in the DR and stayed at Sosua, Santo Domingo, Santiago. It is very expensive. Meals in restaurants work out more expensive than the UK where you can get a meal for £8. McDonalds, Burger King, KFC are all more expensive than the UK. Food in Supermarkets is more than in the UK, even when you convert to £. However it is safe. I walked every day even at night on quiet streets and it was safe in Sosua