Dominican Republic Country Report
The main operational shortcomings are inefficient bureaucracy and widespread corruption. Infrastructure generally compares favourably with other developing nations, particularly in tourism and telecommunications, but the energy generation and distribution networks fall below regional standards. Regular power outages continue to cause significant disruption, necessitating emergency back-up private generation that pushes up business and living costs. The infrastructure system is also vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm hazards, given the country's geographical location.
There is a low risk of terrorism and no known organised terrorist groups operate in the country. The most recent incidents in the country, perpetrated by the now apparently defunct leftist group Resistencia Popular Duartiana, were all small-scale and resulted in no casualties. These incidents included: a drive-by shooting in 2013 on the office of a mayor in San Francisco de Macorís; an 2011 improvised explosive device attack on a Gas Natural Fenosa power plant in La Vega; and a shooting at a senator's office in San Francisco de Macorís in 2013.
Violent and drug-related crime is highly unlikely to result in major operational constraints for investors and foreign nationals. The capital, Santo Domingo, has recorded the highest crime rates in the country over recent years, especially in and around the slums on the city’s outskirts, including Barrio Puerto Rico, Cristo Rey, Ensanche Capotillo, Guachupita, Gualey, La 17, La Barquita, Los Guandules, Los Minas, Simón Bolívar, Villa Duarte, and Villa Mella. The main risk to visitors is petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag snatching. The rise in burglaries and violent robberies has led to an increase in private security, especially in areas frequented by tourists.
The Dominican Republic has no land border disputes with neighbouring Haiti, and no unresolved maritime border disputes with any other country. The likelihood of interstate war is therefore low. However, relations with Haiti are problematic due to the large numbers of impoverished Haitians seeking to illegally cross the poorly patrolled 400-kilometre border. Migrant numbers increased in the months following the January 2010 earthquake that destroyed large parts of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, leading the Dominican Republic to tighten its migratory policy in 2015. To control the migrant influx, the Dominican Republic has troops stationed along the shared border.
Local communities are likely to stage protests demanding an end to power blackouts and greater investment in basic services such as the water supply, healthcare, education, and waste management. Approximately one-third of the demonstrations are likely to occur in the capital, Santo Domingo. Protests generally involve roadblocks, last less than 48 hours, and result in limited property damage against government and corporate assets. Foreigners are unlikely to be deliberately targeted during such incidents, but still face risks of collateral injury. The Green March anti-corruption movement will likely continue to stage peaceful marches in major cities, occasionally involving upwards of 10,000 people.
Vaccines required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Vaccines recommended for all travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines recommended for most travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines recommended for some travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30 and heavy rains from tropical storms often cause floods and landslides. Hurricane Isaac left five dead in August 2012; in August 2011, Hurricane Irene triggered the evacuation of 32,000 people and resulted in at least four deaths. Hurricanes Irma and Maria both passed near the island in September 2017, but neither caused significant damages.
Up-to-date information and weather warnings are available at the website of the Dominican Republic's Center of Emergency Operations.
The Dominican Republic is within an active seismic zone and, consequently, is susceptible to earthquakes.
It should be noted that the Dominican Republic has the highest per capita rate of fatal traffic accidents in Latin America, amounting to nearly 30 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants on a yearly basis. This is due in large part to erratic driving habits, the nonenforcement of traffic laws, and poorly maintained roads. It is advisable to avoid driving oneself when possible, particularly at night.
For similar safety reasons, it also advised to refrain from using public transportation; travel by licensed taxis or chauffeured cars is best.
Airlines serving the Dominican Republic generally meet international safety and security standards, except for Insel Air.
Note that police checkpoints are common. Always drive with proper identification documentation (e.g. passport and visa, if relevant) and car registration information.
The climate in the Dominican Republic is tropical with easterly winds passing over the island nation throughout the year. The rainy season lasts from May until November in the south and from December until April in the north. Hurricanes can strike between June and November with the risk particularly high in early September.
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