Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean on the island of Hispaniola. Haiti occupies the eastern part of the island. The population is approximately 9.9 million people. Spanish is the official language, but both Spanish and English are taught in schools. The Euro and US dollar are commonly accepted especially in tourist areas.

The Dominican government is a democratic republic with a president as chief of state and head of government. The country has a close relationship with the United States. which is its main trading partner. The US dollar is commonly used in most commercial transactions. The economy depends mainly on the service sector, tourism, natural resources, and government services. Despite being recognized as one of the largest economies in the Caribbean, unemployment and income inequality remain problems for this country.

Christopher Columbus reached this island in 1492 and established the first permanent European settlement in the Americas at Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo was the site of the first university, cathedral, and castle in the Western Hemisphere. The Dominican Republic is known for its all-inclusive beach resorts and has become the Caribbean's most popular tourist destination. The country is also known for its love of baseball, friendly and hospitable people, and for its music and dance, particularly the merenge.

Currency DOP: Dominican peso
Language Spanish. English is also widely spoken.
Capital Santo Domingo
Recent Alerts 3
Latest Alert November 20, 2017 - Diphtheria occurs sporadically in several countries in the Americas

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Dominican Republic. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

With the exception of the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago, all areas, including resorts, are at risk of malaria, especially in the western provinces of Dajabon, Elias Pina, and San Juan. Within the confines of all-inclusive resorts, the risk is low, but excursions into the surrounding countryside increase the risk of acquiring malaria.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in the Dominican Republic through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in the Dominican Republic.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in the Dominican Republic, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks occur in the Dominican Republic.

Schistosomiasis

The parasite that causes schistosomiasis is found in the Dominican Republic. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Cholera

Spillover from the Haitian cholera epidemic has caused outbreaks of cholera in the Dominican Republic. There have been no outbreaks in tourist resorts.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in this country. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Dominican Republic.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Dominican Republic.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malaria medication is recommended for travellers visiting the Dominican Republic, except for those who will stay within resorts and the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago where the risk is very low. The U.S. CDC recommended medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, mefloquine and doxycycline. The WHO and NaTHNac recommend chloroquine only.

Safety and Security in Dominican Republic

Emergency Numbers

911 For Santo Domingo, Santiago and the north coast (including Puerto Plata)
+1-809-455-1551 For emergency fire and ambulance services in Punta Cana-Bavaro
+1-809-538-3763 For emergency fire and ambulance services in Samana
+1-809-200-3500 English-speaking tourist police. For assistance and to file a police report.

Personal Safety

The Dominican Republic has a moderate crime rate. Violent crime against tourists rarely occurs in the Dominican Republic, however, petty crime, such as theft and pickpocketing, is common. Travellers should ensure their personal belongings, valuables, and travel documents are kept secure at all times, especially in urban areas. Thefts from resorts, hotel rooms, and hotel room safes can also occur. Travellers should avoid showing signs of affluence. Never leave personal belongings unattended on the beach. Thefts from checked baggage at airports can occur, as well as from carry-on luggage while travellers are going through security. Avoid packing valuables in your checked baggage.

Swimmers should be aware that beaches may not have lifeguards or adequate safety equipment available, and strong undertows can be very dangerous in certain areas. Travellers should remain in well-marked and supervised areas, and visitors to beaches should avoid walking on deserted beaches after dark.

Never accept drinks or food from strangers or casual acquaintances. Pay attention to how drinks are prepared and served, and never leave drinks unattended as there have been reports of female travellers being drugged. If a sexual assault or other crime occurs, the crime must be reported immediately as no criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint to the Dominican authorities.

There is a high rate of road accidents in the Dominican Republic. Roads in the Dominican Republic are good overall. However, drivers may not follow standard rules of the road, and vehicles may not be in a good state of repair. Drinking and driving is a common problem. Avoid driving outside a main city at night.

Political Unrest

Political demonstrations and protests sometimes occur in the Dominican Republic, but rarely in tourist areas. Always avoid public gatherings and political protests in foreign countries as the situation can become violent without warning.

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