Going to the Caribbean is the ideal summer getaway for any family looking to forget all the day-to-day stressors.
You have the local artisans of the Bahamas, the stunning beaches of Puerto Rico, and the soft white sand of the Dominican Republic.
But with everything going on in the Dominican Republic currently, you may want to save its fluffy sands for a different year.
The previously popular tourist destination has been under scrutiny lately with the recent deaths of nine Americans.
What you may not know is there are other circumstances right now that make the DR a country low on the list of excellent vacation destinations.
So for the love of travel – and the chance to cross many other destinations off your bucket list –here are 5 good reasons to avoid the Dominican Republic this summer.
1. Tourists Die
For the same reason that people don’t typically choose to vacation in Iraq or North Korea, you should not go to the Dominican Republic – because staying alive is always best.
Similar causes of death occurring at a handful of resorts in the Dominion Republic have raised questions concerning the safety of this vacation spot as we’ve previously reported.
The World Health Organization, FBI, and Dominican authorities are all working to find out who or what is responsible for the string of recent tourist deaths, however as of now, they do not have a definitive answer.
2. Auto Accidents Are Plentiful
The San Diego Union Tribune reports:
“The Dominican Republic is effectively the deadliest nation anywhere for drivers, second only to the tiny South Pacific island of Niue, where each death among its roughly 1,400 inhabitants spikes the fatality average. For every 100,000 inhabitants in the Dominican Republic, 42 die every year from traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organization.”
The chaotic driving conditions coupled with a growing number of motorcycle purchases have created a deadly traffic environment that you’d be wise to try and avoid.
If you do have to drive in the DR, make sure to avoid motorcycles and try to stay on the main roadways.
3. The Water Isn’t Fit For Consumption
After Haiti had its huge earthquake in 2010, the Dominican Republic has been overwhelmed with refugees.
This has made the water situation worse than it already was, with 56 deaths this year from the tainted water disease cholera, reports Arizona State University.
The water is so bad that the mayor of one DR district has received complaints of birds, feathers, and dirt coming out of the faucets!
4. Crime Is Increasing
The State Department issued a Level Two safety warning for the Dominican Republic in April this year.
This means there is a lot of violent crime including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault and tourists should use “increased caution” when visiting.
In fact, Tammy Lawrence was a victim of violent crime when she was beaten and left for dead in Punta Cana earlier this year as we previously reported.
5. Drugs Are Prolific
The Dominican Republic is getting a lot of illegal drugs from Venezuela because of their many developed traveling systems in and out of the country, In Sight Crime reveals.
It’s not uncommon to be solicited by locals selling drugs while you’re enjoying a day at the beach.
And while the locals may seem nonchalant about the whole thing, you can bet your flight home that the government will not be as laid back. If caught, you’re likely to spend some time in prison just awaiting trial alone.
About 2 million Americans visit the Dominican Republic every year, reports Time, and only a small percentage of those tourists have died.
While this may give some comfort to those wishing to spend their summer vacation at one of Dominican Republic’s many all-inclusive resorts, it’s not enough for me to set my feet on its sands!
Play things on the safe side and try one of the many other Caribbean escapes instead.
You’re much better off passing your time worrying about which cocktail to order first—not whether or not you’re going to wake up alive in the morning.