Lifestyles restaurant food poison

Take Care when at restaurants

OK, this one seems pretty obvious. Avoid Food Poisoning. Definitely should be high on the list of things to avoid on any vacation including your exotic vacation to the Dominican Republic. But… the question “How to Avoid Food Poisoning?” can be a little harder. This is something even the most experienced traveler can fall victim to at times as can be seen by my most recent experience.

Food Poisoning at Lifestyles Resort

If you’ve read much of my blog here you have probably heard me mention Lifestyles Resort in Puerto Plata several times. This is kind of a favorite “cheap” vacation for my family. We also have a large number of friends that visit the resort on occasion, so it isn’t unusual for between 10, 20 even up to 50 of us to be there at one time. Over this last weekend (April 5-8, 2013) we had about 12 friends that stayed the weekend and ate at the VIP party that they hold each Sunday night.

All of us have been to the party several times before, usually with no incident. This time however was a little different. Likely because we have all eaten at this resort so many times we got a little careless, although we were unable to point to a specific error that all of us made. Out of our group of 12 people 2 got serious food poisoning and were throwing up most of the next afternoon and into the evening. 4 more myself included, got minor food poisoning and fared with only stomach cramps and a strong lack of desire to eat the next day.

Being that the food at Lifestyles was the only food any of us ate from Friday up to that fateful Monday afternoon when we were all sick it is pretty sure that the problem came from what we ate at Lifestyles Resort although the food could have come from any of the restaurants in the Resort. Most of the restaurants that are offered by Lifestyles Tropical and Cofresi Palm provide food for the party.

Likely the problem came from the food being under-cooked before the party, with the expectation that the cooking would be finished as they heated up the food at the party location. Several of us noticed the lobster was the wrong texture and likely under cooked and others mentioned the fish (which I didn’t have).

Avoiding Food Poisoning

While it is pretty tough to be 100% sure about any food offered at a restaurant you can take precautions. First be wary of any uncooked food, especially sushi, salads and peeled fruit. If not handled properly these have a much higher chance of passing on parasites and amoebas.

If the food is cooked don’t eat it if it doesn’t appear to be fully cooked, i.e. it is not hot or the texture doesn’t appear to be correct.

This is especially true when eating at buffets and even more so when the food for the buffet needs to be transported and reheated on location as it was for this party. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid the party altogether, just be selective as to what you decide to eat.

What to do if you get Food Poisoning

If needed Lifestyles Resort has a clinic on the premises between the Tropical Resort and Cofresi Resort. You can call the front desk and have them send a doctor to your room (for a charge). Depending on how sick you are they may have you go to the Clinic overnight so they can give you an IV to keep you hydrated.

Even though two of us were throwing up, none of us needed that much attention. In the case of my wife, I was able to talk to the front desk and ask for them to make some chicken broth soup to help settle her stomach and give her a little something to eat until she felt better the next day. The rest of us just decided to live with it and were feeling somewhat better the next day (as we were traveling home).

Parasites, food poisoning and sometimes just a lack of tolerance for eating the richer foods often found at resorts (not to mention the additional alcohol) means that you always have the chance of stomach problems when you head to different countries and resorts. Don’ avoid going on that dream vacation to another country but take caution when choosing your food, drink lots of bottled water and if necessary you can visit the local clinic if you do get sick. Clinics at the resorts are used to the problems associated with foreign travelers and are usually very competent and helpful.