Punta Cana Warnings and Dangers
Known for its stunning beaches and all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a popular Caribbean destination that attracts visitors from around the world. But if you’re planning a vacation to Punta Cana, especially if you think you may want to venture beyond your resort, you need to be aware of these common dangers before you go.
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Drugs in Punta Cana
In Punta Cana, it’s common for tourists to be approached by people selling drugs, even in resort areas. Don’t be tempted to engage in illegal activities such as purchasing or using narcotics in Punta Cana. Under Dominican Republic law, possession of marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, or any other narcotic drug is a punishable offense that could lead to prison. All offenders must stand trial, and the judicial process could take a year or more. During this time, defendants remain incarcerated.
Prostitution in Punta Cana
Prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic, and there are strict laws governing the industry. Many prostitutes work out of brothels. However, it’s common for men to be approached by prostitutes in clubs and at the beach, too. Accepting these types of solicitations may be legal, but can be very dangerous. It’s inadvisable to engage with these individuals.
Sex Trafficking and Sexual Assault in Punta Cana
Sex trafficking and sexual assaults are common in Punta Cana, and are most common at night. Use caution whenever you’re traveling after dark in Punta Cana, and travel in groups of two or more, never alone. Many security guards do not speak English and may not be helpful in a dangerous situation.
Food and Water in Punta Cana
Never drink any water unless it comes in a sealed bottle, even if you are told the water is filtered. This includes ice, which may have come from tap water. It is important to stay hydrated, so always carry a bottle of water when you leave your hotel.
Many travelers in Punta Cana experience stomach trouble. Choose what you eat, and where you eat, with care. It’s a good idea to take a Pepto Bismol tablet daily to avoid getting sick.
Theft in Punta Cana
The Dominican Republic is an economically disadvantaged country, and thefts are not uncommon. Use common sense when you’re within your resort, and be particularly observant when you’re traveling outside the resort area. You should not trust employees to look after your bags, nor should you expect that your belongings will be safe inside of a locked vehicle.
This rule even applies if you are traveling with a tour group. Watch your property or risk losing important items, including money and credit cards. Never leave your luggage on the tour bus even if the driver says it is safe to store your bags. If an item is stolen while you’re traveling with reputable tour company, however, you might have a chance of getting reimbursed.
Allergies and Medications in Punta Cana
If you have allergies, or any other condition which may require medication, bring your medication with you. Buying any medication you need in Punta Cana may be difficult and expensive.
Sun Safety in Punta Cana
Always use sunblock, and reapply it every 90 minutes to two hours, especially when you’re at the beach. Wear a hat when you’re planning to be outside for an extended period of time.
Extreme Poverty in Punta Cana
Don’t be surprised if you experience culture shock, especially outside of the resort areas. Only steps from many of the tourist areas, you can find extreme poverty. Litter is everywhere outside the resorts. Many residents openly carry weapons.
Street Vendors in Punta Cana
It is not uncommon to be approached by souvenir sellers, hair braiders, and other types of vendors asking you to purchase something. Never pay the first price they ask. Bargain, and do not feel compelled to purchase something you don’t want.
Beaches at Night in Punta Cana
Do not visit any beaches at night, especially if you are a woman traveling alone or in a small group. Even walking on a beach at night is risky. It is best to stay within the boundaries of your resort unless you travel with an official excursion group.
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Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Punta Cana warnings and dangers.