Beware of SOME street vendors - Caonabo's revenge
With this I don't mean candy sellers, but food street vendors. It's just that these people cook their food without any hygienic methods/ways whatsoever and your tummy might not be used to it, causing what's known as Montezuma's revenge, except that here we call it Caonabo's revenge. If you happen to fall victim of this outrageous state of mind and body while on vacation, drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated and try some Pepto Bismol or another diarrhea pill/treatment that you know of. I don't know if home remedies are a good idea because I've never suffered from this - as a local I'm immune in my country hehe ;) Read more on the link below.
Useless trivia: Caonabo's revenge is the same as Montezuma's revenge but Caonabo was a Taíno chief that gave Columbus a lot of headaches with his hot temper, as he wouldn't cooperate as easily as the other chiefs.
I am preparing to go to the CECIP hospital in Santo domingo in April for a breast reduction and lipo. I just wondered how your procedure went. Is there anybody out there also going for a procedure in April. Has anybody had a breast reduction and lipo done there
There's a lot of men, women and kids begging for money. Us locals don't give them anything so I wouldn't recommend you do either, no matter what trick they come up with: injuries in fingers, hands or legs, handicap people, people saying they need money for a prescription, etc. These people just want to buy booze with that money.
Of share-a-taxis, street sellers and others
If you're on a carro público or share-a-taxi or if you dare to drive, be careful of those sellers selling everything from fruit to cell phone chargers. And be especially careful about those "windshield cleaning people": they have the ability of throwing their sponge to our windshield from afar and meet it right on target, without you giving your consent to have them wash it for you. Most of the time the water is dirty so the job isn't all that good.
You might also meet beggars in all sizes, shapes and of all ages. Give them money if you feel like it but shut your window immediately (if you're driving) or keep your valuables safe and at your sight at all times.
While in a share-a-taxi, keep your purse/bag as safe as possible and put your wallet in your front pocket, where it's more difficult for a thief to take it without you noticing. Thieves "develop" ways to rob you while going to your destination without you even noticing, like the "bag" trick: the thief sits next to you and lets his bag "rest" on you. While you both accommodate, the thief takes advantage of the wallet that gets slightly out of the back pocket and take it. Then he excuses himself and gets off the car, leaving you broke. OR they might open your purse and steal whatever they can come up to.
(Read about share-a-taxis on my Transportation page.)
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Amber and Larimar shopping
Most of the time the amber and larimar jewels some street sellers (and some souvenir shops) sell at Calle El Conde are fake. And they look so much like the original that it's difficult to spot, so what can you do to be sure you're getting the real deal? Buy your amber/larimar jewelry at the Amber or Larimar Museums or from a reputable jewelry store/merchant.
For more info, read the articles I submit about amber and larimar. They also have some tips on how to test fakes from original pieces.
And last but not least, it's against the law to export rough pieces of amber.
If you need to withdraw money, use the ATM machines located on a bank's premises and do it while the bank is open. This in case the machine "eats" your card so that you can get it right away.
Also the usual: be aware of your surroundings, look out for weird looking people and protect your pin code with your body and hands as much as you can. Also check in case the ATM machine has been tampered with and what not. There are plenty of articles on the Internet about this. Some say it's a good idea to have a separate ATM card with little money in it, and that you transfer money to it from your main account whenever needed. That could help you out in case that your card gets skimmed (even after taking all precautions).
Less is more
The less jewelry you wear, the better. Thieves are attracted to bling bling, even if it's cheap or fake. Also, if you're not going to use your expensive cell phone, leave it in the safe of your hotel or locked inside your suitcase.
Also, and although this is a given there's a lot of people that miss it or ignore it, don't flaunt your money. Take with you the cash you might think you need and put it safely in your front pocket. It's a good idea to take an ATM card and withdraw money if needed.
- Women's Travel
Of motoconchos (mototaxis)
Thieves on motoconchos will definitely try to snatch a purse or bag off someone if they see it hanging carelessly. So hang your purse/bag on the side of the sidewalk that's close to buildings and have a good grip on it. There might also be 2 thieves, the one driving and the other jumping from the motorcycle and robbing you for what it's worth. IF this does happen, it's better (or less bad?) to give them what they're asking for and try to get away unscathed.
If you happen to ride a motoconcho be aware that you will not be provided a helmet to wear.
Beware of hustlers
On areas having a lot of tourists there's bound to be hustlers trying to push you inside their shops to sell you stuff at high prices. Do not give into them.
Always haggle. It's possible that the shop next door has the same item (or a better one) for a better price.
- Budget Travel
Hustlers near the casinos
Most of Santo Domingo is quite safe during the day, and even at night. A few times I went by myself into the city at night and did not feel threatened in the centre (El Conde and area). Independencia and el Malecon west of Parque Independencia, however, become more and more sketchy as you go west towards the casinos and hotels like Meliá SD. In particular, any men walking alone or without women will be accosted and harrased about brothels in the area. I'm not talking just catcalls. You will be followed, yelled at, insulted and have men block your way. Police don't really care to intervene either, as I saw them do nothing as men solicited and picked up prostitutes along Independencia.
Health Warnings for Santo Domingo
If you're spending much time in Dominican Republic, especially if outside of Santo Domingo, make sure to wear mosquito repellent with maximum concentration of DEET. They have had major outbreaks of dengue fever (ugh) & malaria over the last 12-18 months. If you're going to be out in the countryside much, you should definitely start (& complete!!!) an anti-malarial treatement.
During the few weeks after your visit to DR, if you come down with fever, aches, "flu-like" symptoms: visit a doctor immediately (in 1-2 days max, not 1 week or more) and tell them that you have travelled to a country with recent dengue/malaria outbreaks. These illnesses are quite deadly if not treated promptly & _properly_. Both of these illnesses are often misdiagnosed in "world" travellers, and mistakes can be fatal.
Oh yeah, don't drink the water either.
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Watch out for Metal Ceiling Fans!
This is kind of funny. The first night we were in the Dominican Republic, one of our girls sleeping on the top bunk stood up and busted her head open with the metal ceiling fan that was right over her. Just thought I'd say WATCH OUT!!! Its okay if you do get hit though, you can go to the nearest clinic where you'll be the only car on the parking lot at 1 a.m. and you'll get treated really well and get stitched up for about $23 american dollars! And in less than a week, they'll have your stitches out... really good service!
Street Sign merely Suggestions
Coming from America, where you can get a ticket for going 2 miles over the speed limit, you will be surprised how in Santo Domingo, street signs seem to be merely suggestions rather than strict regulations. A month ago, when I went on a mission trip we saw a "One Way" sign pointing left, but traffic was going right. Funny! It's an exciting adventure driving through the highways cause you hear alot of honking going on. A local traffic custom is that the larger the vehicle, the greater the right of way, regardless of the traffic laws. Driving is aggressive and erratic, and drivers often do not yield the right of way even when road signs or signals indicate they should. Okay.. here's a funny story about traveling at night: One of our girls busted her head open with a metal ceiling fan the night we arrived and had to be rushed to the emergency room after 12 a.m. Well, on the way there, the guy that was driving ran a redlight and one of our sponsors going w/ them asked what that was about and the guy said "its the quarter-to-one rule... run the red light." Then they came to a green light and he brought the car to a full stop. What was that about?? "Quarter-to-one rule... the other person is probably running the red light." So just watch out but have fun!!
a beach i wouldnt swim in
someone along the Santo Domingo coast i came across this beach. Situated right noext to some nice ancient monuments it took aay the gloss but also made me reflect on a people that has different values to Western countries.
Beware of pickpocketers
In santo domingo, like in every city in the world basically, you have to be careful of your belongings. There are always people in the streets who are asking to help you, asking you for money or even children who would come by themselves asking for money or selling something.
Just make sure you're not alone. I always encounter these things, and its usually harmless people but you can never be to cautious. When you're driving in and around the city or walking to the Malecon or around the airports. If you are in a hotel resort, you basically have nothing to worry about.
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