As in any big city, tourists visiting Santo Domingo must take basic safety precautions.
Santo Domingo safety issues include pickpocketing, purse snatching, cell phone theft and, less frequently, mugging. Be careful about letting people see large amounts of money. Remember that the Dominican Republic is a poor country – a small amount may seem like much more to a Dominican. (As an example, salaries for police officers start at about US$150 per month). Leave as much cash as possible in the hotel safe. When carrying cash, put it in at least two different places, keeping a small amount easily accessible to make purchases.
Try to only use ATMs at banks (preferably inside) during the day. When walking away from cash machines, check to see if anyone is following you. Also be careful leaving casinos and night clubs.
Finally, do not wear expensive jewelry or anything that could be mistaken as expensive jewelry.
Check the US State Department travel warnings website for an up-to-date list of current safety concerns.
Remember that you cannot drink the tap water in Santo Domingo or anywhere else in the Dominican Republic. Restaurants serve only bottled/purified water and ice made from purified water.
If you have any stomach problems during your trip you should see a doctor. Treatment with antibiotics may be necessary.
The sun is much stronger in the tropics. Be sure to use sunblock (SPF 30 or higher), especially if you are at the beach. Sunblock can be purchased in supermarkets and other stores.
Heat is also a concern, especially for the elderly and people in poor health. The hottest months are July and August, but June and September are also quite hot.
Mosquitoes are a constant nuisance and may carry diseases like malaria and dengue fever. While these diseases are a concern, don’t be too worried. Most residents rarely use mosquito repellent and the incidence of malaria and dengue fever is very low among the general population. Mosquito repellent can be purchased at supermarkets and other stores. Expect to pay about twice what you would pay back home.