Just a quick note in case you are doing some traveling and plan on bringing your Smart phone. The Department of Transportation has banned the Samsung Galaxy 7 phone from all flights to and from the United States.

This ban means that you can not take you phone on the plane either as carry on or in the checked in luggage. NOr can these phone be shipped as air cargo. That pretty much mans that if you are now traveling and have the phone you are going to have to leave it if you want to board a plane to the US.

This ban went into effect on Saturday Oct 15, 2016. Samsung has suspended the manufacture and sale of the Galaxy 7 phone and has a voluntary recall in effect.

Why did the Galaxy 7 get banned?

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Dengue Mosquito

Dengue Mosquito

With the recent increase of rain in the Dominican Republic is coming an increase in the number of mosquitoes and mosquito bore diseases like Dengue. New dengue cases are being reported through out the island on a daily basis so it is time to start slathering on the mosquito repellent again!

The Dominican Republic has a history of dengue as can be seen by the other Dengue reports from past years. Most cases are preventable. Basic tips like putting some chlorine in any rain water that you might save, putting screens on your windows, applying insect repellent and removing any areas where water may get trapped and become stagnant can greatly reduce the mosquito population and reduce the spread of the disease.

When traveling in areas where there is a denser population of mosquitoes (more…)

(9/24/15) The Dominican Republic definitely has it’s share of national holidays! Today’s holiday  is called “Our Lady of Mercies” (La Virgen de las Mercedes). 400 years ago she was proclaimed as the patron saint of the Dominican Republic and the whole island of Hispaniola.

What this usually means is much more drinking and partying on the streets. For this reason it would be a good idea to limit travel if you can and try to stay off the main highways as much as possible. The death count on the highways frequently raises considerable during “Dias de Fiesta” or holidays.

Our Lady of Mercies” is a catholic celebration and a national holiday. Many banks, government institutions and other businesses will be closed today to observe the festival.

As with many of the Catholic saints, this saint is said to have (more…)

The trucker’s union Fenatrado plans on having a “show of force” tomorrow Tuesday the 23 of September which is very likely to cause traffic jambs and problems with transportation through out the Dominican Republic. One of the largest unions Fenatrado is planning to park their trucks long main roads as a “show of Force”. While they claim this isn’t a protest or that they are trying to cause any change in the government this is very likely to increase the danger of traveling on the main highways tomorrow.

So, if you are planning any longer trips this week, you might want to consider avoiding  Tuesday.  We have spent hours sitting in buses in the past during truckers demonstrations as they block roads, or make the paths on the main highways so small that only motorcycles can get through.

These demonstrations also quite often spark violent conflicts, gunfire, heavy traffic congestion and overall irritation, so if you can avoid it  I would recommend not doing any traveling in the Dominican Republic tomorrow.

Right now if you plan on staying in the Dominican Republic the chances of you getting the Chikungunya Virus is very good. Well over ¾ of the people I know here have gotten the virus. Even after taking all the normal precautions it still gets passed around. If you are here for vacation and you are looking up information on how to treat it, sorry there isn’t much to do but take some pain medicine and wait it out.

However what you do while you are waiting it out can make a big difference on how comfortable you are and how long it lasts. Pushing through and remaining active will just complicate things and may even lead to more serious complication as you will see from the experiences I relate below.

The short answer for treating Chikungunya is: There is no real treatment; you just try to lower the symptoms. If you go to a hospital the first thing they will usually do is connect an IV and try to get you hydrated. With the IV they will often give you pain killers, vitamin B and also an anti-inflammatory.

Chikungunya Symptoms

While Chikungunya usually doesn’t kill, it is a very painful disease. It usually starts with pain in the feet  or other joints (more…)

We frequently have friends and relatives flying into the Dominican Republic which brings up a topic of safety. Is it safe to fly into the Dominican Republic with a nighttime arrival? Often to save money this is something we have to deal with, in general the answer is no. It is best to get a flight that arrives during daylight hours, but there are ways around this problem.

Best price Flights

The single most expensive part of your trip to the DR is likely to be your flight. It is pretty common to be able to save hundreds of dollars on your round trip ticket by adjusting your takeoff and arrival dates. Often though you can find much cheaper flights on late night arrivals. Most people don’t want to have to deal with getting a taxi to the resort or their final destination in the middle of the night. However this posses several safety issues in the Dominican Republic.

Dangers of Nighttime travel in the Dominican Republic

Unfortunately the streets are not very safe at night in the DR. The US consulate highly recommends to avoid driving at night here for good reason. Vehicles are often not (more…)

If you are planning to visit Dajabon to check out the Haitian market there it would be a good idea to put that trip on hold. The market is all but shut down this week and protest are being held in the city due to the Dominican Government restricting access into the Dominican Republic from the Neighboring Haitian town of Quanaminthe into Dajabon.

At this point there doesn’t appear to be much violence in the protests on the Dominican side, mostly the burning of tires (a Dominican Favorite activity when upset) and crowds gathering that need to be dispersed. Still, it is not recommended for foreigners to be in the area when there are protests, it doesn’t take much for them to turn violent and foreigners if present are an easy and visible target.

Haitian Market

One of the main reasons foreigners check out Dajabon is for the Haitian market that is open twice a week on (more…)

I was reading about a hot air balloon accident that happened a few days ago and it got me to thinking about the safety of many of the excursions and other tourist (and non-tourist) activities in the Dominican Republic. This particular incident was with a Hot air balloon company in Higuey called DomBall. Apparently they had a “rough” landing and had to come down in a sugar cane field. None of the 12 passengers were hurt and in the end “all is well”. But this got me to thinking of the many other potentially life threatening activities available here and the general regard for safety concerns I normally see here.

Let’s start with a joke. In this joke it was mentioned “I’m not saying I want to kill all stupid people, I’m just suggesting that you remove all the safety labels from common items (i.e. ‘CAREFUL the coffee in this cup is very hot!’) and let nature run its course.” This kind of illustrates what seems to be a general attitude in this country.

Let me give just a few examples of things I’ve seen

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The National Meteorological Office issued alerts today (10/22/12) for several towns due to saturated ground and a tropical wave that will be coming through today. Barahona, Azua, Bahoruco, Pedernales, Independencia, San Juan de la Maguana and Elías Piña provinces were all among towns in the weather alert.

This latest storm is expected to cause rivers and streams to rise and possibly bring floods and landslides to the affected areas. Along with the rain, thunderstorms are expected.

Caribbean Thunderstorms

The Dominican Republic has some of the most impressive thunderstorms I have ever seen. I like to sit out on the (covered) deck and watch the storm go past. But, along with a good light show, is a greatly increased chance of damage to your inversor (inverter), power regulator, batteries and other electrical equipment in the house.


I have a cut off switch for my house where I can disconnect the incoming power line (whether we are currently getting power or not) before it reaches any of my equipment to protect them from power surges. These storms have in the past either came in faster than I expected or happened while I was out of the house and I ended up needing to do a bunch or expensive repairs, so I am pretty diligent about using this switch now.

If you haven’t got one installed it’s a good idea to do so. All you need to do is put a double pole, single throw, knife switch in line with your incoming power which you pull down when a heavy storm like the one that caused this alert, passes. A little prevention can save you a day or two without battery backup while you inversor gets repaired as well as quite a bit of expence.

Cows heading Home in Fantino

Cows heading Home in Fantino

Something you have to get used to while driving the rural streets of the Dominican Republic and sometimes even the streets of the larger towns, is sharing the streets with livestock. The term “when the cows come home” refers to the way a cow (usually) just ambles along at a slow pace, and really takes meaning when you find yourself coming up to a herd in the street that is completely unaffected by your desire to pass.
In most cases the owner of the herd is nearby and will try to get the animals to move to one side of the road so you can pass, this has various degrees of success depending on what is distracting the cows at the time. So, this often means weaving through the cows if you’re on a motorcycle or waiting till they pass if you’re in a car.

Weaving through a herd of cattle can be a little nerve wracking at first. Some of the bulls are very large and as you sit on your bike, you find yourself looking up to the head of the Bull or at best eye to eye with a set of horns. Considering that he might take offence to you getting between him and his harem this isn’t exactly the most comfortable place to be.

Really though, the animals are quite used to people and motorcycles and if you don’t do anything to startle them, you are usually pretty safe. I just try to take it slow and anticipate which direction the individual cows might decide to take.

Accident Laws

Accidents are frequently caused by animals in the streets, especially at night. With few street lights in the rural areas you often don’t see the animal until you are very close. While the speeds people travel here are relatively slow compared to the States (usually 20 – 40 mph), this can mean a lot of damage and at times death when there is a motorcycle accident.

One typical case that recently happened in my area was a motorcyclist traveling at night who hit a horse in the street. This accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. (more…)

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