Known for its affordable all-inclusive retorts and paradisiac beaches, Punta Cana attracts millions of tourists per year—but is it safe?
White sandy beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is arguably the most affordable Caribbean destination. Located in the country’s easternmost region, Punta Cana is a resort town that attracts the most tourists – Over four million visitors annually, according to Statista. The beach town is the ultimate destination for travelers looking for incredible all-inclusive resorts, secluded beaches, endless tours, and vibrant nightlife, which makes it a perfect destination for all kinds of travelers: families, groups of friends, and families.
Despite its popularity, travelers have many questions about Punta Cana, especially regarding security, after reports of incidents on the island years ago. Yet, the resort town is still considered one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, but travelers should pay attention to some details. Here is what to expect when visiting.
Punta Cana Is A Safe Destination
Travelers looking to slow down and relax should consider visiting Punta Cana. While cities like Santo Domingo and Santiago de los Caballeros have higher crime rates, Punta Cana is generally safe, especially within the resort area. Yet, tourists should still be careful of pickpockets and bag snatching.
Therefore, travel guides and hotel staff advice guests to avoid wearing expensive jewelry and valuable belongings in some areas or at night. Guests will often find an emergency card with phone numbers in their hotel room:
- 911 – Police, firefighters, and ambulance
- 112 – Directs to 911 on mobile phones
- 809-200-3500 – Tourism Police (CESTUR)
Although Spanish is the official language and travelers should know at least a few sentences, most tourism workers can speak English.
- Dominican Republic Official Language: Spanish
Pickpocketing And Mugging
Like anywhere in the world, people should be aware of pickpockets on crowds and public transportation. The risks of being mugged are low in the touristic area, but the town also has places where tourists can draw too much attention.
Scams are common in most tourist places, and Punta Cana is no different. While most people are friendly, visitors can also encounter some classic scams, such as overpriced taxis, so before entering the car, tourists should make sure the driver turns on the meter and check on a map the itinerary.
Travelers should also be careful when using ATMs and credit cards, as fraud reports have increased significantly in the last few years.
Many people have reported that after using a credit card in Punta Cana, they still receive charges months after the holiday. Paying everything in cash is highly recommended.
There are also reports that some Casinos have confusing rules for a game known as “Progressive Roulette”, which can lead to a significant money loss.
- Pioritize using licensed taxis in Punta Cana. It’s easy to identify them as they always display the company’s name on the roof. The hotel can also help to arrange transportation.
- Keep expensive jewelry at home.
- Avoid using phones, cameras, and notebooks on the streets.
- Travelers should keep their belongings where they can see them when they aren’t in the hotel.
Is Punta Cana Safe For Solo Female Travelers?
Women traveling solo are often concerned about security. Luckily, many countries and cities are perfect for solo trips, and Punta Cana is one of them. The town is generally safe for women, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be careful.
Being alone often means they will draw more attention and can be perceived as an easy target. They commonly have to deal with street harassment when walking in the city.
Although going back from a bar or club at night isn’t inherently dangerous, women should also avoid walking on certain streets alone.
Most Areas In Punta Cana Are Safe
Punta Cana revolves around tourism, so most neighborhoods are safe. Many tourists choose to stay in all-inclusive resorts, but others prefer renting a house or apartment.
In this case, travelers should pick a place within a gated community and always check the neighborhood for safety. On top of that, it’s important to choose accommodation close to the beach and other activities.
Bacaro is the best spot to stay in Punta Cana, as it’s strategically located close to the beach and the airport. It’s where travelers find an array of hotels for different budgets.
Tourists often take a day trip to San Domingo, which is worth visiting due to its nature and historical buildings. However, travelers should be aware that the city is less safe than Punta Cana and must be more careful.
Visa And Vaccination
Most foreigners don’t need to apply for a Visa to enter the Dominican Republic if they stay for less than 30 days. The rule also applies to the United States and Canada’s citizens.
In the past, all tourists were required to purchase a tourist card ($10), but the rule now doesn’t apply to travelers arriving by plane, as this amount is included in the ticket price.
Tourists entering by land or sea must buy a tourist card available at official places when entering the country.
Travelers must be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines when entering the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends getting up to date on standard vaccinations.