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Women Travellers

Women traveling without men in the Dominican Republic should expect to receive some attention, usually in the form of hissing (to get your attention), stares and comments like ‘Hola, preciosa’ (Hello, beautiful). Although it may be unwanted, it’s more of a nuisance than anything else. If you don’t like it, dressing conservatively and ignoring the comments are probably your best lines of defense.

That is not to say that women travelers shouldn’t take the same precautions they would in other countries, or ignore their instincts about certain men or situations they encounter. Robbery and assaults, though rare against tourists, do occur and women are often seen as easier targets than men. Young, athletic Dominican men who 'target' foreign women, especially in beach resort areas like Punta Cana, are referred to as 'sanky-pankys'. Their MO is subtly transactional, usually involving 'promises' of affection in exchange for meals, drinks, gifts and cash from generally older North American and European women.