Is it Safe to Travel to the Dominican Republic?

published on July 16, 2019 by

Since April, the news media has reported daily on a series of tourist deaths at Dominican Republic resorts. Most involve tourists who drank something from the resort’s mini bar. Wide-ranging theories about what happened to them include alcohol poisoning, bootleg liquor laced with battery acid, and cyanide. What’s happening in this beautiful idyllic island? Is it still safe to travel to the Dominican Republic? We think so and here’s what the experts say:

Christopher Richardson served in the US Department of State from 2011 to 2018 as a Foreign Service Officer in both Nicaragua and Pakistan. In an article he wrote for Washington newspaper, The Hill, he said, “Though these deaths are tragic, it’s dangerous to rush to judgement on the causes of the deaths in the Dominican without evidence—there are perfectly explainable causes for the deaths.” Often natural causes are the cause of traveler deaths, and can be expected with millions of Americans traveling abroad each year.

Reporter Daniel Engber in Slate Magazine, says toxicology results for some of the deaths will be out in mid-July and should answer some of the questions about the causes. “The dozen deaths reported this month represent just a few percent of all the ones that would be expected to occur in any year of U.S. travel to the Dominican Republic.”

The truth is, anyone can get sick when traveling. The good news is that most of us don’t. Travelers can stay healthy and happy on their vacation adventures with these simple tips:

  1. Stay in a Reputable Hotel or Resort – Higher end hotel brands, particularly those based in the United States are likely to have high standards for cleanliness. They also want to avoid negative publicity at all costs, so you can be sure they are watching what’s happening in the Dominican Republic closely.
  2. Wash Your Hands – Use soap and water or hand sanitizer after touching surfaces (particularly during airline travel) and before eating. Use wipes to clean remotes, seat belt clips or anything you touch around your seat. Do the same in hotel rooms.
  3. Stay Hydrated – Drink lots of water. It’s important on the plane, as well and in humid, hot climates. Avoid ice if you are unsure of the quality of the water. Drink bottled beverages and check to make sure they are sealed properly before consuming.
  4. Get Your Shots – Make sure you are updated on all your shots, and extra ones you need for the country you are visiting.
  5. Exercise and other Health Considerations – If you’re flying, get up and walk at frequent intervals. Keep up your exercise program on vacation even if it’s just walking. Try to get enough sleep. Bring the vitamins and medications that you normally take. Stay away from foods that you are unsure of, or that you know can cause you stomach upsets.

With any travel there is a small amount of risk, but the rewards of travel are immense. The Dominican Republic offers picture perfect beaches, virgin rainforests, majestic mountains, and a history-rich, vibrant country which Christopher Columbus visited and admired in the 15th Century. Use the same caution here as you would in any country.

Tags: ,

Comments (3)

    • Avatar for Joe C.
      Joe C.
      Jul 22, 2019

      Why take the risk? I would wait until the facts come out.

      • Avatar for Vanessa W.
        Vanessa W.
        Aug 18, 2019

        No, thank you!

        • Avatar for Jose P.
          Jose P.
          Sep 26, 2019

          You 2 looks like have ever got out of your room