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There's been quite a bit of news lately about tourists going MISSING in some parts of the Caribbean. The most current and shocking story lately has been about the missing female, high school student in Aruba. However, linked to that story are others about young women whose drinks have been drugged by bartenders or others, leading to assaults and rapes, etc. Obviously this is the type of crime which governments like to keep under wraps lest the news about such crimes discourage tourists from bringing their coveted money to these countries. Often these types of crimes go unsolved for just that reason.
Whether male or female, young or old, it is advisable that when you are out on the town, do so in the COMPANY OF SEVERAL OR MANY WELL-KNOWN friends; NEVER leave a bar or restaurant with casual OR NEW acquaintances (you might be lucky, but you might not); watch while your drinks are being prepared if possible; open your own beer bottles or watch as your draft is being pulled; be aware of who is around you when returning to your accommodations. NEVER GET DRUNK AND BECOME VULNERABLE. Do not carry around large amounts of cash or be obvious with your money.
Updated Sep 14, 2009
If you can get a good exchange rate in your home country, then bring some Dominican pesos with you. Then bring US dollars you can exchange as you need, or an ATM card you can use to withdraw money from (read my ATM machine tip).
The best place to exchange money would be the banks. They usually publish their rates on screens or white boards, visible to anyone who comes in, so browse, compare and sell your dollars to the bank that offers the most. Under no circumstances, do NOT exchange dollars at the black market (usually present where the tourists are) because they usually give BAD rates and who knows, maybe even fake money. Dollars and Euros are wide accepted in the touristic places and big cities but imo it's always cheaper to pay with the local currency.
Written Oct 22, 2007
A sankie pankie is a man who shows tourist women (or men sometimes) a good time on the island, will take her to discotheques/bars/restaurants, will try to get into her pants and will most definitely make her fall in love....only so that she starts sending him money (mostly via Western Union). The goal for these people is to have the women to bring her to their home countries, where then they ditch them after getting the visa/residency. Some even go to the extreme of marrying the women, who unfortunately fall for their charm.
Sankies, as they're known in DR, can mostly be located in touristic areas and in almost all cases work on the animation teams at all-inclusive hotels. With that said, I by all means do NOT mean that all resort workers are sankies.
So how can you be sure that the guy is a sankie? I'd say that while they're *very* good at scamming tourists, the usual signs are (in no particular order):
- They say you're the most beautiful woman they've ever seen
- They can pay for the outings at the beginning, but normally it's the woman that ends up paying for everything
- They say "I love you" or "I want to marry you" quite quickly after meeting you. That is to say, they hop off the getting to know you stage of a (normal) relationship.
- If you, by any chance, give him your contact information, be prepared to hear him asking you for money because "my mom is sick and I can't afford to buy medication", "my brother is in jail and I can't pay the bail", " died".
A woman who "works" as a sankie pankie is called sankiette.
Updated Feb 2, 2008
"It's not safe to wander out of the resort" is something you'll hear at the resort and it can't be farther from the truth. I'm not going to lie and say that it doesn't happen because it does and it has BUT as long as you practice common sense you should be fine. That is, don't show off your money, don't walk around with a lot of bling bling, leave your valuables at the hotel and be aware of your surroundings because you'll most likely stick out.
Why do they do this, you wonder? My speculation is, because they want you to consume the products they sell at the hotel (the non-national alcoholic beverages and the restaurants that aren't included in your package, as well as the excursions from the tour reps).
Your resort will most likely have a tour rep with different tours to places close by and some far. IMO some of the tours are well designed and they have the advantage of including transport to and from the hotel, so if you think they're not to expensive then go ahead. If you're the adventurous type, you could take a public bus to the nearest city and explore it, or take a bus to a farther away city or must see. Where to go and how to get there will depend mostly on where your resort is located. IF you take a cab, negotiate a rate before getting in.
Another good idea might be to google where you're staying and looking into tour operators and what excursions they have, so that you can have something to compare to and haggle.
Updated Feb 2, 2008
Use same common sense as if in any city.
If you choose to rent moped, stay with it.
If you carry money or passport, would recommend a money belt under shirt.
Did not see theft occur, but did hear of it happen by the Puerto Plata airport employees..
Use common sense, do not dress fancy or wear much jewlery. Try to fit in.
For the most part, we did not feel the Dominican Republic was unsafe if you use common sense. Many hotel reps actually try to scare you into thinking it is not safe to go out alone. This is not true-is to get you to pay their drivers and get cut of your money. You can venture out and be safe and many tourists do.
Updated Dec 23, 2004
Avoid being ripped off by shady cab drivers by calling one from one of the big cab companies, or if you happen to be in a touristic area with tourist taxis, agree on a price before getting in.
Serious taxi drivers will have a laminated "ficha" (their ID) with their name and photo hanging from the inner rear view mirror so that it's visible. When you call a taxi company, they'll tell you the taxi number that will pick you up at the specified address, and sometimes even the car color. If they don't give you this information ask for it.
Updated Sep 17, 2007
inside a all inclusive resort there are no warnings
if yu have the oportunity to go out just take the everage messures to face any danger as yu do in every part of the world. arrassment is the biggest problem with dominican people, but ignoring is the best way to avoid it.and when on a tour with guides they provide that locals don´t aproach tourists and ask for a small coin.
Updated Oct 1, 2005
DO NOT drink tap water!
It may cause health roblems and may change your stay at this paradise into nightmare.
So, for drinking purpose use only bottled water unless you prefer... drinks...
But... to be honest - I don't know what is worse: drinking the tap water or drinking the drinks at the quantity you would drink water... ;)
Written Sep 29, 2003
Be carefull of mosquitos that are very annoying.
I advice to clothe your body in the early evenings, especially when you seat near the water and protect yourself againts that intruders...
If not - someone may thing you are very joyful looking like "dancing" all the time while scratching yourself... ;)
Updated Sep 29, 2003
If you don't have to - do not rent a car unless you will take one with the driver.
Driving in Dominican Republic is... how to explain... well, it could be most exciting thing you will do here... ;)
It seems that traffic regultions don't exist here. But if they are they are surely not respected.
Written Sep 29, 2003
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