Health & insurance
From a medical standpoint, the DR is generally safe as long as you’re reasonably careful about what you eat and drink.
Before You Go
As always, you should purchase travel or health insurance that covers you abroad.
Typhoid and hepatitis A and B vaccinations should be considered. The Centers for Disease Control also recommends a prescription for a malaria prophylaxis like Atovaquone-Proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline or mefloquine if traveling in the west near the Haitian border, Santo Domingo (excluding the city itself) and La Altagracia provinces, including the resort areas around Punta Cana.
- Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/travel) Detailed health overview curated with tips and updated notices.
- MD Travel Health (www.mdtravelhealth.com) Complete travel health recommendations for every country, updated daily, at no cost.
- Sitata (www.sitata.com) Customized medical reports, pre-trip vaccination recommendations, alerts on disease outbreaks and other breaking health news.
- World Health Organization (www.who.int/ith) Available online at no cost as well as in book form – International Travel and Health – which is revised annually.
In the Dominican Republic
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
Medical care is variable in Santo Domingo and limited elsewhere, although good privately run clinics and hospitals can be found in and around the more heavily touristy areas. Many doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel-health insurance. Modern pharmacies are easy to find in cities and mid-sized towns.
The most common travel-related diseases, such as dysentery and hepatitis, are acquired by consumption of contaminated food and water, so limit your risk by following safe food and water habits.
Zika outbreaks have been reported in the Dominican Republic in the past. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) warns that because of the risk of birth defects in babies born to women infected with Zika while pregnant, pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to the DR.
It's also worth noting there's a small risk of malaria (in the western provinces and in La Altagracia, including Punta Cana) and dengue fever (in Santiago, inland and north coast). In these areas, long pants and long sleeves, mosquito repellent and bed nets are recommended (dengue bites happen during the daytime).
Only purified water should be used for drinking, brushing your teeth as well as hand washing. Many, if not most, accommodations provide at least one bottle per guest per day.