Tourist police (POLITUR) can help tourists and they patrol key tourist areas.
Call POLITUR on 911.
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise a high degree of caution in the Dominican Republic.
The violent crime rate is high. Crime occurs in tourist areas. Conceal your valuables. Don't use public transport.
Women are at risk of sexual assault. Avoid travelling alone.
Credit card and ATM fraud are common. Use ATMs in daylight hours at hotels, shopping centres or other controlled areas.
When travelling to the airport, use official airport taxis. Travel during daylight hours.
Full travel advice: Safety
HIV/AIDS infection rates are high. If you're involved in high-risk activities, take precautions.
Cholera and other waterborne and foodborne diseases are common. Boil drinking water or drink bottled water. Avoid ice cubes.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are common during the wet season from May to November. These include dengue and malaria. Check your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
Zika virus is widespread. If you're pregnant, discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
Rabies is a high risk. It can be fatal if left untreated. Avoid contact with animals, especially dogs, cats and mongooses (small cat-like animals). If you're bitten or scratched, get immediate medical attention.
Full travel advice: Health
Don't carry or use illegal drugs. There are severe penalties for drug offences, including long prison sentences.
Don't drive if you've used alcohol or drugs. You could be arrested and detained.
If you're a dual national, travel on your Australian passport. If you've entered on your Dominican passport, the Australian Government may not be told if you're arrested or detained.
Full travel advice: Local laws
When you arrive, you must buy a tourist card. It's valid for 30 days. Check with your nearest Dominican Republic embassy or consulate for up-to-date visa rules.
Strict exit requirements apply to children aged under 18 who are travelling alone, with one parent or with another adult. Ask your nearest Dominican Republic embassy or consulate about the regulations before you travel.
You can't exchange Australian dollars for Dominican Pesos (DOP). You can exchange US dollars at banks or official exchange offices. Take US dollars with you.
Use a pre-booked taxi or those provided by hotels. Don't use unofficial taxis or 'carros publicos'. Travellers have been robbed and assaulted in unofficial taxis.
Full travel advice: Travel
The Consular Services Charter tells you what the Australian Government can and can't do to help when you're overseas.
You can also get consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Mexico.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Crime rates are high in the Dominican Republic.
Violent crime happens in tourist areas. Victims have been injured when resisting.
Women are particularly at risk of aggressive sexual behaviour and sexual assault.
Be careful at bars and entertainment venues. People have reported being robbed and assaulted after their drinks were spiked.
To reduce your risk of violent crime:
don't use public transport
avoid walking or jogging alone, especially after dark
travel with others wherever possible, especially if you're a woman
don't leave your food or drink unattended
never accept food, drink, gum or cigarettes from strangers or new acquaintances
If you're a victim of violent crime, especially sexual assault, seek immediate medical help. The risk of HIV/AIDS infection is high.
Avoid using ATMs on the street due to the high risk of robbery.
Credit card and ATM fraud are common, particularly in Santo Domingo and resort areas.
To protect your money:
always keep your credit card in sight when using it
avoid using ATMs at night
use ATMs in hotels, shopping centres or other controlled areas
avoid withdrawing or carrying large amounts of money
Travellers have been robbed in taxis and private cars to and from Las Americas International Airport. Armed robbers force the vehicle to stop on the side of the road.
To stay safe on the roads:
use official airport taxis
travel to and from the airport during daylight
don't accept rides from strangers or people you've just met, including hotel employees
use a tour company with a good reputation, especially if you're travelling to remote areas
Pickpockets and bag-snatchers are common in major cities. Travellers are often the target in busy areas such as airports and bus terminals.
Travellers have also reported thefts at resorts, on beaches, in hotel rooms and from hotel room safes.
To protect yourself from petty crime:
don't wear expensive watches or jewellery
be wary of strangers who offer services without being asked or make unusual requests
Political demonstrations happen across the country but are most common in and around the cities of:
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. Demonstrations can affect traffic and essential services.
To protect yourself from periods of unrest:
avoid protests and demonstrations
monitor the media for information about safety or security risks
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Many beaches have strong and dangerous rips.
Check the conditions with your hotel or authorities before entering the water.
Lifeguards aren't present at some hotels, resorts and public beaches.
Severe weather can disrupt essential services and infrastructure, such as water and electricity.
To protect yourself in case of a natural disaster:
know how to evacuate from your hotel or cruise ship
keep your travel documents somewhere safe and waterproof
ask your tour operator if severe weather has affected tourist services at your destination
The hurricane season is from June to November. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change at any time.
Tropical storms or hurricanes can happen at any time of year.
The wet season is from May to November. Heavy rainfalls can cause landslides and mudslides. These can have a devastating effect on infrastructure and essential services.
If there's a hurricane or severe storm:
you may get stuck in the area
flights could be delayed or suspended
available flights may fill quickly
adequate shelter may not be available
Severe weather may also affect:
access to ports
Contact your airline or travel agency for information.
To protect yourself if a hurricane is approaching:
identify your local shelter
follow the instructions of local authorities
monitor alerts and advice from authorities, such as the US National Hurricane Center
keep in touch with your friends and family
If you're travelling to the Dominican Republic during hurricane season or after a natural disaster, monitor weather reports.
The Dominican Republic is in an earthquake zone. Earthquakes and tsunamis may happen.
Dominican Republic's susceptibility to earthquakes makes destructive tsunamis more likely than in other oceanic regions.
Don't wait for official warnings, such as alarms or sirens. Move to higher ground or as far inland as you can. Once there, monitor local media.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Check if your medication is legal in the Dominican Republic. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Keep medication in their original packaging with a clear label.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medication is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
If needed, get DFAT to authenticate medical documents before you depart.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is high. Take precautions if you take part in activities that put you at risk of infection.
Cholera is present. It causes diarrhoea and vomiting. It can be fatal if left untreated.
Maintain good food hygiene to minimise your risk of getting cholera.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
avoid ice cubes
avoid raw and undercooked foods, such as salads
Get urgent medical attention if you suspect food poisoning or have a fever or diarrhoea.
Illnesses spread by insects are common, especially during the hot months from May to November.
Disease risks include:
Zika virus is widespread. If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health recommends that you:
discuss travel plans with your doctor
consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas
Malaria is less common, but has been reported in the western area bordering Haiti, at some beach resorts, and adventure sports areas.
To protect yourself against disease:
make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
use insect repellent
wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Consider taking medicine to prevent malaria.
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
There's a high risk of rabies in the Dominican Republic. Avoid direct contact with all animals, especially:
mongooses (small cat-like animals)
Get urgent medical attention if you're bitten or scratched.
Toxins occur naturally in shellfish. In concentrated amounts, these toxins are poisonous for humans:
Outbreaks of ciguatera poisoning have occurred on many Caribbean islands.
Get urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning.
Medical facilities in major cities are reasonable. In other areas, the standard of facilities is lower, with little English spoken. Blood supplies are often limited.
Medical care can be expensive. Before receiving treatment, you may be asked to either:
show proof of medical insurance
provide a guarantee of payment
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. This includes long prison sentences in local jails under harsh conditions.
If you're found driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, authorities will arrest and possibly detain you.
Border officials may screen you for drugs, including on departure.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
You must buy a tourist card on arrival. It's valid for 30 days. For longer visits, you must pay an extra fee at the airport on departure.
Rules affecting travellers can change at short notice.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the Consulate of the Dominican Republic for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Strict exit requirements apply to children aged under 18 years who travel:
with a parent
with another adult
Ask about the regulations before you travel. Contact the Consulate of the Dominican Republic.
A departure tax applies for visits of up to 2 weeks.
It might be included in the price of your airline ticket. Confirm with your travel agent or airline.
You'll need to pay extra departure tax for stays of longer than 2 weeks.
If you're travelling via Canada, you'll need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) for Canada.
Find out more before you travel. Check your requirements with the High Commission of Canada.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP).
You can't exchange Australian dollars in the Dominican Republic. However, you can exchange US dollars at banks or official exchange offices.
Take US dollars with you.
Choose your tour operators carefully.
If you plan to do a tour:
use recommended tour operators
check you have proper safety equipment before taking part in extreme or eco-tourist activities
always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
For trips of less than 3 months, you can drive a vehicle with an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Apply for your IDP before leaving Australia.
You're more than 5 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in the Dominican Republic than in Australia.
poorly maintained roads and vehicles
drivers not following traffic laws
few signs and poor lighting on rural roads
sharing roads with pedestrians, bicycles and farm animals
Heavy rains cause mudslides and collapse roads. Roads may be closed at short notice, especially during the hurricane and wet seasons.
If you plan to drive in the Dominican Republic:
avoid driving at night
keep doors locked and windows up, even when moving
If you're involved in an accident, wait at the scene until police arrive and authorise you to leave.
Travellers have been robbed and assaulted when using unofficial taxis.
Don't use route taxis, also known as 'carros publicos'. They pose a higher risk of passengers being robbed. Instead, use either:
a pre-booked taxi
a radio-dispatched taxi
those provided by hotels
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check the Dominican Republic's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Tourist police (POLITUR) can help tourists and they patrol key tourist areas.
Call POLITUR on 911.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an embassy in the Dominican Republic.
The Embassy of Canada in Santo Domingo provides consular assistance for Australians. It can issue Australian provisional travel documents.
You can also get consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Mexico City.
Av. Winston Churchill 1099
Torre Citigroup en Acropolis Center 18th floor
Ensanche Piantini, Santo Domingo
Phone: (+1 809) 262 3100
Ruben Dario #55
Corner of Campos Eliseos, Polanco
Colonia Bosques de Chapultepec
11580 Mexico DF Mexico
Phone: +52 55 1101 2200
Fax: +52 55 1101 2201
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.