Insiders Guide to Tropical locations

Easily avoid disaster on your tropical vacation (seriously)

We believe that in the tropics (especially the Dominican Republic) safety must always be your first priority. You are going to have a GREAT time and enjoy wonderful beaches (because you will stay safe).

Quick note: We are not f#*$ing around here, we have seen things go badly for tourists MANY times. Every time it could have been avoided.

1.) Traveling: BE SURE TO SCHEDULE your travel from and to the airport DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS. This is often overlooked. It is wise to travel during the day time especially on arrival.

2.) Swimming in unfamiliar waters without proper footwear or safety arrangements can end your life. At a minimum educate yourself about rip currents. If you don’t see a Lifeguard you are your own Lifeguard.

3.) Crime tourists are often the targets of petty crime in tropical countries. Common sense applies but lets look at a few strategies to avoid being the victim of crime.

Avoid carrying bags especially handbags. Very often tropical pirates see women’s hand bags or backpacks as pirate treasure chests. They love snatching them. You may need to carry things to the beach. We prefer cheap plastic grocery bags. It is the opposite of cool but also very unappealing to would be thief’s.

Leave your flashy jewelry at home, keep your expensive phones out of site petty crime pirates LOVE snatching things.

We prefer to carry $40 US dollars in a dummy wallet. Because we are careful we have never been robbed but if we were we would prefer to hand over some smaller amount and have larger amounts hidden carefully.

Don’t engage in prostitution for a long list of reasons but from a health and safety perspective its a bad idea. Sometimes police get involved with shaking down men who get mixed up with prostitutes.

If you have anything valuable you do not want to lose it MUST be watched at all times. If you leave your rental unguarded you could be robbed. Staying where security is tight (especially in the Dominican Republic or other “third world country”) is recommended. There is ALWAYS someone watching you. You are a super rich tourist to a majority of locals.

Be VERY careful about walking deserted stretches of road. One place we lived there were long stretches. Literally every high season we counted more than 10 muggings. The victims were always walking alone and mostly women.

Be creative about how you hide your keys and money when at the beach. This one can be challenging. If you like to swim a lot as we do where does this stuff go? We usually have keys money and phone in a water proof container. I like to sit down in the sand with towel and plastic bag and sneakily bury my valuables below the towel shoes and plastic bag.

4.) Be prepared to deal with and manage Mosquitos and sand fleas. Especially consider picking up some Systral for bites.

5.) Drinking water in the tropics. Where will you get your water? If there are larger supermarkets around you can buy your water there. Always check that any water you purchase has proper seals. If you don’t want to buy bottled water consider these options. Bring bleach tablets for water and purify your own. Bring a small handheld reverse osmosis filter and filter your own. Use a distilling appliance. We used a distiller but were there for a long time and it is a large appliance. Often cramps can come with dehydration. Bring a good quality magnesium supplement to help deal with them.

6.) Know where you are and where you are going. Ask around a bit. Don’t explore with only one or two people. Go in groups. Don’t walk alone at night or at all if possible and where possible be unpredictable. If you hire a guide ask to snap a photo of them to send to your family and send it while he is there with you before you leave. Make sure people you trust know where you are.

7.) The tropical sun is powerful and can be devastating. Manage it. It will burn you quicker than the sun where you come from.

8.)Power supply there are frequent power outages in the Dominican republic. If backup power is important to you ask about it. Many backup systems can not run Air Conditioning but can run fans. If you are there in the high season fans should be sufficient to keep you cool. In the Dominican republic summer some people will prefer to have Air Conditioning available at all times. Your host cannot predict the future but they can give you an idea of how often the power might go out. In Santo Domingo for example there are areas where it is shut off at certain times of the day every day in summer. In many areas power outages are around 3 hours a week. Chances are you will not be affected but it is worth considering.

8.) Do not go out at night. Many expats simply never go out in the evening. Things get a little weird at night. If you do. Go in a group, go in a car to a well-lit well populated area and don’t stop for anyone that tries to stop you including the police. In the unlikely event the police try to stop you at night pull over somewhere there are a lot of eyes on you. Or simply don’t go out at night.

9.) Stay in a walled compound with a security guard and a lot of other foreigners. Always stay where there is a security guard at a minimum.

10.) If you are a woman travelling alone. Don’t be. If you do, realize you have a massive target on your back and act accordingly.

This article applies to more than 25 tropical countries that are not considered “first world” (an unfortunate term) but certainly could apply to other areas. It is open to comments and will be amended based on logical, reasonable and location specific input from readers as it comes. This article will be most useful for people visiting the tropics for the first time but is also useful for experienced travelers. This article does not generally describe the environment at a resort that is well patrolled and walled. Inclusive resorts are generally very safe the main safety issue related to resorts are travel to the resort, water, bacteria and mosquitos .

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