What you should know before you travel to the Dominican Republic

HOUSTON – An American man who died at a hotel in the Dominican Republic last week became at least the ninth U.S. tourist to die at a Dominican Republic resort, or after becoming ill at one, over the past 13 months.

Of the nine Americans who have died at a Dominican Republic resort or after becoming ill at one since June 2018, it's not clear how many were of natural causes.

From 2012 to December 2018, 128 Americans have died in the Dominican Republic from something other than natural causes, according to statistics available on the U.S. Department of State website. The deaths include drownings, homicides, suicides, and vehicle and other accidents.

The State Department has a standing travel advisory for the Dominican Republic -- as well as some other highly visited Caribbean nations such as the Bahamas and Jamaica -- urging Americans to exercise increased caution because of crime.

But the department has not issued a travel alert specific to the deaths in the Dominican Republic, and American officials have not said this year's deaths were connected.

Two years ago, more than 100 tanks full of liquid not fit for human consumption were seized during an alcohol manufacturing shutdown.

Here's what you need to know about traveling to the Dominican Republic:

  • The Dominican Republic has a high rate of illness, food poisoning, sea lice and bacterial infections.
  • The State Department has issued a travel advisory.
  • Here are some tips:

    • Don't go out alone.
    • Be aware of your surroundings.
    • Do not resist a robbery attempt.
    • Do not wear expensive jewelry.
    • Buy insurance through your travel agent that includes flying your body home if anything were to happen to you.

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