There is a lot of tourists concern about the series of unexplained deaths in different resorts of this popular Caribbean destination in the past 12 months. All people appear to have died in somewhat mysterious and seemingly not unrelated circumstances.
It’s surprising the amount of reports that have surfaced this past week of travelers canceling their vacation plans after following the news of the 12 Americans that have died, afraid of the situation saying they don’t want to be next.
But consider this as you debate whether to cancel your plans regarding travel to Punta Cana or as you’re deciding not to make them in the first place: Travel, despite how it can sometimes appear to the skittish, is inherently safe. Statistically, you are much more likely to come to harm near your home than far away from it. For instance, a stat I’ve long found astonishing: 70% of all auto accidents take place within a 10-mile radius of where you live.
Also, the Dominican Republic gets more than 2 million visitors annually; the seven fatalities in the last 12 months constitute 0.00035 percent-while of course deeply tragic for the families involved, it is a statistically negligible number. The U.S. Department of State rates the Dominican Republic with a Level 2 travel advisory, which means “exercise increased caution.” (There are four such levels.) Other countries that currently have a Level 2 include the Bahamas, Brazil, China, France, India, Jamaica, Morocco, Spain, Turks and Caicos, and the United Kingdom (among many others few people would think of avoiding out of fear).
Still, if you choose to go to Punta Cana in the near future (those low season rates are great), here is some general advice:
Tips for Staying Safe in Punta Cana
Be aware of your surroundings
Sometimes looking for information on different travel websites can help, Google or getting into TripAdvisor to read the reviews of the resort you are staying in can help you make your decision. Don’t forget to ask a local If you are already in the destination, no one best then a local can tell you to which places to go and which places you want to avoid, you can always approach to the lobby and ask for advice on places to visit.
Hire a Good Local Guide
A reputable guide not only can steer you clear of troubled neighborhoods, but also can act as a buffer when encountering panhandlers, pushy street vendors, potential con artists, and other sketchy characters during your travels.
This is where our service comes handy, we only work with the best tour operators in the area and even assign you a dedicated tour specialist that will be available to you 24/7 via phone, email, WhatsApp. Remember to always follow the advice of resort and tour operators regarding local safety and security concerns.
Never Leave Valuables in Your Car
Car break-ins are among the most common crimes in the Caribbean. If you must leave items like cameras or other valuables behind, lock them in the trunk or put them out of sight, such as in the glovebox.
Use the In-Room Safe
Most hotels have an in-room safe that can be used to store valuables when you’re out on the beach or touring. It only takes a second to program the lock, and using the safe to store your jewelry, passports, etc. could save you lots of money and hassles.
Don’t Take Valuables to the Beach
You don’t want to leave purses, wallets, or jewelry unattended while you go for a swim. Just take whatever cash you need or a single credit card; leave the rest in the room safe.
Avoiding Drugs in Punta Cana
As with other destinations, visitors to Punta Cana should never buy illegal drugs. Not only is it inadvisable to be in an altered state in a place you’re not familiar with, but the legal consequences are also severe. Visitors are not exempt from strict drug laws, intended to keep the Dominican Republic from becoming a major drug trafficking transit point. Still, some beach vendors and taxi drivers do try to sell drugs to tourists. Just say no.
In the end, to-go-or-not-to-go is going to be your call.
I never categorically advise someone to travel to a place they feel nervous about or try to talk them into a destination. Such decisions have to be personal ones. Each one of us has different concepts of risk, different levels of tolerance for risk (or even for uncertainty), and different ways of dealing with it. All I can say categorically is that while the “big bad world” is indeed big, I strongly believe that it is rarely bad.