Deciding on one or more places where you would like to base your travels in the Dominican Republic to can be tough. There is a lot to do here and a lot to see. While most people come to the beaches, there is a lot more to see. One way to get more information is by contacting an Office of Tourism nearby where you plan on staying. Tourism offices have brochures and other helpful information on what you will find in the area and customs you need to be aware of.
The problem with going strictly by the brochures is that they paint an extremely rosy picture of the location conveniently leaving out anything that might be taken negatively. For example in one brochure there was an article discussing women traveling alone in the country. Their only statement was “Women can walk or take a taxi to museums, restaurant, nightclubs, or shopping centers”. While yes, that is true, that also doesn’t mean it is safe. In the many of the strongly tourist areas and resort areas you are probably safe to travel alone depending on how confident you are in foreign situations. However, in most cases this really is not recommended.
As a tourist you do stand out and will be the focus of a large number of people either trying to sell you something or in some cases do harm, this actually is true in most countries. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and start to look more and more like a target. It is always best to travel in groups of 2 or more if you plan on doing any excursions. If your plans are to be staying in a resort or all-inclusive hotel and going mostly between the hotel and the beach you are likely safe by yourself but do some internet research first on the best ways to stay safe. You will find many “stay safe tips” that apply to traveling in any country not just the DR.
There are different Offices of Tourism for different areas of the country, while most of them should have general information it is likely best to choose one closer to where you plan on staying. If you are in the United States you can dial these numbers with out a country code. Just dial as you would a number in the states. However, be sure you have an international long distance plan. Without an international plan long distance companies can charge over $8.00 per minute. If you don’t want to start up a plan for just a few long distance phone calls, search online for an international calling card, they are a bit of a hassle to use, but you can make your calls to the DR for about 10 cents a minute with them and you don’t have to make any changes to your long distance plan to use them from any phone.
The Tourist Police (POLITUR)
The Dominican Republic has a Tourist Police (POLITUR) that can provide assistance to tourists. It would appear that the advantage of going through the Tourist police is that they have people that can speak most of the more common tourist languages. They can be contacted on the free telephone number 1-809-200-3500. From what I’ve read it is also a good idea to talk to the local police if you or someone in your group speaks Spanish.
Offices of Tourism:
|Rio San Juan
|San Jose de Ocoa
|San Pedro de Macoris