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Is It Safe to Travel to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic?

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Crime in Punta Cana
Things to Avoid
Safety Tips

Is Punta Cana safe to visit? How safe are the resorts in Punta Cana? With its beautiful white sand beaches and luxurious all inclusive resorts, Punta Cana is a popular tourist destination—and for good reasons! There’s so much to do, from lounging by the ocean with a cocktail to going on fun adventures and exploring Dominican nature and culture.

But before you book your flight, you probably want to ask: “How safe is it to travel to Punta Cana?” 

The answer is it is VERY SAFE to visit Punta Cana! Tourism is the main industry in Punta Cana and Dominican authorities go above and beyond to ensure tourist safety everywhere in Punta Cana and Bavaro (where most hotels are located!). 

However, like in all parts of the world, there are some things to be aware of so you can make the most of your Punta Cana visit. Let’s get started?

Is Punta Cana Safe to Visit

Crime in Punta Cana

Violent Crime

Punta Cana is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. The crime rates are low and violent crimes are pretty much unheard of. Hotels and resorts are very well-guarded and do not allow people who are not staying in them on the property, aside from the members of the staff. 

Natural Disasters 

Natural disasters — like hurricanes and tornadoes — are pretty mild and are not a risk year round. The hurricane season officially runs from June to November, with August and September being the highest risk months. 

Traveling to the Dominican Republic during the hurricane season is typically nothing to be afraid of! You can expect the weather to be a bit more rainy than usual and some days there may be heavy rainfall, but extreme situations that result in lack of electricity or some kind of an emergency are very rare. 

So, if you’re wondering “is Punta Cana safe to visit during the hurricane season,” the answer is YES! 

Transportation and Taxis

Most tourists travel around Punta Cana by taxi and you can expect it to be pretty similar to what you’re used to back home: safe and convenient! 

The first time you’ll come in contact with Punta Cana taxis will likely be at the Punta Cana International Airport when you arrive. You will see multiple drivers waiting for tourists just outside the airport exit. You can pick any driver that looks good to you, but make sure to check that they are a legitimate taxi before getting into their car. You can pay in US dollars and simply give them the name of your hotel. 

Punta Cana International Airport is just a short taxi ride away from most Punta Cana resorts, so it’s a quick trip to the well-protected tourist area. 

If you decide to leave your resort, you can use the same taxi driver to get around, so make sure to get his number if you’re satisfied with the service! Otherwise, you can also ask your hotel reception to get you a taxi service. 

There is also public transport available or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the Dominican phenomena of “moto conchos,” or moto taxis (basically, a taxi but on a scooter!). However, public transport is often crowded and runs on an irregular schedule. It is not unsafe per se, but it may be uncomfortable and different from what you’re used to at home. 

As a general rule, keep your belongings near and don’t flash expensive electronics and jewelry when using public transport, such as buses and “guaguas.” 

“Moto conchos” or moto taxis are probably the most popular way to get around Punta Cana and Bavaro, but it is less safe than private taxis and can result in road accidents. We’d recommend staying away from moto conchos and calling your taxi driver instead. 

→ Looking for beaches to explore? We share our list of best beaches in Punta Cana here! 

Pickpocketing 

You are safe from pickpocketing in your resort, but there is a medium risk when you are exploring Punta Cana outside of your hotel. Public transport and large crowds are high-risk zones, so try to avoid them if possible.

The general rule is to stay vigilant, keep track of your belongings and surroundings, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. WIth these precautions, your chances of getting pickpocketed in Punta Cana are pretty low! 

Scams

The Dominican Republic is a relatively poor country and especially in Punta Cana tourists are the main source of income for many. This is why sometimes locals can try to play tricks on you to get more money from you, such as charging you more for a taxi ride or fruits at a local fruit stand simply because you look like a tourist. 

These scams are almost never violent and losing a few dollars here and there is usually the worst thing that can happen. However, pay attention to people who look strange or out of place, loud groups of people, and other suspicious activity to maximize your safety! 

Saona Island excursions are one of the safest ways to explore the Dominican Republic outside of your resort. 

Tourist Scams in Punta Cana

Things to Avoid 

If you’re still wondering “Is Punta Cana safe for travel,” let’s go over some things to avoid to make sure you’re always staying safe during your Punta Cana vacation! 

Do not flash your cash 

This is an important one. If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, you will likely not be carrying any cash around since everything is already included in your stay. However, if you decide to leave your hotel and explore Punta Cana, don’t take large amounts of cash with you and don’t show it off. 

Luckily, the Dominican Republic is a very affordable country and you won’t need to carry a lot of cash around to fully enjoy your adventure! 

This rule also applies to jewelry, expensive electronics, and any other valuables! Keep your phone close and your jewelry in your hotel room! 

Avoid Public Transportation 

Public transport in Punta Cana, such as buses and “guaguas,” is pretty unreliable and often crowded, which exposes you to a slight pickpocketing risk. It’s always best to use a taxi when you’re traveling around Punta Cana. Plus, it’s much more comfortable and not that expensive! 

You can ask your hotel reception to call a reliable taxi service for you. 

Avoid Moto Conchos 

Moto conchos — moto taxis — are a popular and fun way to get around Punta Cana, but you’re more likely to get into accidents when you use them than when you use a taxi. Opt out for a taxi for the safest way to get around Punta Cana! 

Avoid Large Crowds 

When exploring Punta Cana outside of your all-inclusive resort, avoid large crowds because they may be a hotspot for pickpocketing. If you’re out enjoying Punta Cana nightlife, pay attention to your belongings and always make sure you know where they are. Overall, the pickpocketing risk in Punta Cana is low, but you’re never too safe! 

Avoid Unlit Areas 

Punta Cana bustles with delicious restaurants, amazing nightlife, and lively beach bars and is generally a very safe, welcoming space for tourists. However, there are also some areas outside of these tourist spots that are not well-lit and may be less safe. Try to stick to populated areas with other tourists, especially if you’re traveling by yourself. 

→ Looking for the perfect Dominican Republic adventure? Try our Bayahibe diving tours

Female Travelers: Stay Vigilant 

This issue is unfortunately common all over the world and Punta Cana is no exception. Solo female travelers need to be especially vigilant about their surroundings when they leave their all-inclusive resort and it’s best to not do it by yourself. 

Dominicans are friendly and fun-loving people, but the culture can be a bit macho, which can sometimes create uncomfortable situations for female travelers. However, these situations are rare and overall, Punta Cana is a safe destination for female travelers! 

→ Looking for an adventure close to your hotel in Bavaro? Try our half-day Bavaro diving tours

Safety Tips

Ready to have fun in Punta Cana? We put together a list of safety tips that can make your visit to Punta Cana even more enjoyable! 

Use Common Sense

This one is pretty simple. Exercise caution in Punta Cana like you would in any other part of the world! 

Don’t flash your cash and valuables because it can make you a target for pickpockets. Pickpocketing and scams are NOT common in Punta Cana, but flashing expensive possessions exposes you to unnecessary risk, so don’t do it! 

Similarly, use private taxis over public transport and moto conchos because they’re objectively the safest way to get around Punta Cana. 

And if you’re exploring Punta Cana’s awesome nightlife, don’t walk alone in poorly lit areas and stay close to the well-protected resort areas. Learning a few phrases in Spanish is also helpful! 

Overall, trust your gut! Punta Cana is a safe tourist destination, but it’s important to always use your common sense and avoid doing things that you wouldn’t normally do back home. 

Use Mosquito Repellent 

The Dominican Republic has so many adventures to offer, from visiting cacao and coffee plantations to going on amazing Punta Cana day trips!  

While you’re out and about exploring the Dominican Republic off the beaten path, it’s important to always wear mosquito repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika and Dengue. 

These diseases are NOT common, but going on adventures is much more fun when you know you have absolutely nothing to worry about! 

Watch out for “Sanky Pankies” and “Chapiadoras” 

This one may sound a bit odd to you, but hear us out! There are certainly many successful love stories about Dominicans and foreigners, and, most of the time, you have nothing to worry about when dating in Punta Cana. 

However, there are also some stories about foreigners being scammed by Dominican “sanky pankies” and “chapiadoras,” men and women who start pseudo-relationships with foreigners and attempt to ask them for money, claiming to have sick relatives or another kind of an emergency that requires immediate financial assistance. 

“Sanky pankies” and “chapiadoras” are often extremely affectionate and may claim to be in love with you after just a few days of knowing you. The biggest tell is that they move very quickly in your relationship, bringing you to meet their parents and family and making plans for the future right away. Unfortunately, they usually have multiple “girlfriends” and “boyfriends” that they’re scamming at the same time. 

It’s basically the Tinder Swindler, but Dominican style! 

Trust the Right People 

Punta Cana is about MUCH more than all inclusive resorts. While we all love to lounge on the beach with not a single worry on your mind, sometimes you’re in the mood to do something more adventurous! 

When you decide to leave the resort area and to go on a boat tour or a land adventure, it’s important to put your trust into the right people. Our exceptional local experiences offer authentic and personalized experiences that let you explore the beauty of the Dominican Republic safely.

We’re locals who live in and love the Dominican Republic and can’t wait to show you everything that this beautiful island has to offer! 

Ready to go on your next adventure? Check out our exclusive Dominican Republic excursions

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