The Dominican Republic Public Relations Nightmare
The Dominican Republic, fairly or unfairly, is all over the news with a number of American deaths as a result of health-related issues. The given reasons for these untimely passings are pretty varied. For sure there are Americans who have died in other Caribbean or Mexican tourist destinations. In fact, there have been cold blooded murders in the past at some vacation spots in other areas. So why is the Dominican Republic getting the brunt of negative publicity? Is it warranted?
I Got Sick Twice in the Dominican Republic
I have visited the Dominican Republic two times in my life. Twice I became sick. The first time I became sick on the fourth of a seven night vacation. I was convinced that I had too much to drink on one afternoon. I felt “hungover” the next day, which was to be expected. The problem was that the “hangover” lasted for days – through the end of my trip and into my time back home. Others on this same vacation became sick as well. I am not aware of any deaths, but I would estimate that over 100 of the attendees became unexpectedly ill during or after their vacation.
Last year I knew that it was important to sanitize even more than before. I took a damp rid system to keep things more “clean” in our room. I drank considerably less than I had the year before. Everything seemed to be great until I got home. On the way home I started to feel ill, just as I had a year before. I took two days off of work after returning from the Dominican Republic. A friend of ours was diagnosed with pneumonia and was hospitalized for her illness. We heard the same stories again. Dozens and dozens of individuals had again fallen ill.
What’s Going on in the DR?
When you see DR you typically think of “doctor.” That is really becoming more the case now. There are a number of theories as to what is going on. I am not going to speculate on those here, but there is certainly something in the air causing some respiratory and other illnesses. I have visited numerous other Caribbean countries and NEVER became ill while there or sick when I returned home.
What Should You Do?
So what should you do? I won’t tell you to stay or go when it comes to the Dominican Republic. I have never really recommended it as a “must visit” place. We went based on the fact an 1980s theme trip was going on. We’ll be much happier with next year’s 80’s cruise, which does port in Punta Cana (but we will NOT be getting off the ship and I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed ports). If you’re not an 80s person, check out Curacao. Flights are usually on par with those to and from the Dominican Republic. You can learn a lot about why we love Curacao in our blogs and in our podcasts.
If you have any questions about travel, definitely reach out to us. Regardless of where you go, we recommend (and can help you obtain) travel insurance and provide advice on your next big trip.