Tag Archives: safety

Helps – Going Out & Drinking

Helps – Going Out & Drinking

When visiting the Dominican Republic everyone must go out and walk around and take in the scenery and culture of this island country. Make sure to have some liquid refreshments with the locals and enjoy yourself. Just make sure that you are aware of your surroundings while you enjoy.

Going out in the Day and Night

*Dominican Time. Dominicans, in general, do not view time like most people, which is typical in most tropical climates. No one moves fast unless it is in a motor vehicle. When a Dominican tells me they will be there at a certain time I always ask if that is Dominican time or North American time. Or course I say this with a laugh and receive a good laugh in return. But it is very true. When told that someone will meet you in 1 hour it very well could mean 1 hour. But most likely it means 2-3 hours, tomorrow, or maybe never. Ahora (now), Ahorita (later), have no real meaning here in the Caribbean.

Calle el Conde, Colonial Zone, at night
Calle el Conde, Colonial Zone, at night

*Walking at night Walking around at night, especially on the Malecon in Santo Domingo and other parts of the country is fun. The view of the Caribbean waves hitting the coral cliffs can be breathtaking. Please be aware of your surroundings. You could be walking in front of a grand hotel and the next lot or building could be an abandoned where there are no lights.

The Malecon of Santo Domingo along the Caribbean Sea
The Malecon of Santo Domingo along the Caribbean Sea

If you walk along the Malecon stay where it is well lit and where there are people. If you want to travel to different places along the road and feel uncomfortable doing this there are always taxis or if you’d feel more comfortable, the hotels can get you a taxi to move from place to place. Bad things can happen, as with any place, here or in any country. Just remember, if you wouldn’t walk in that place in your hometown don’t walk in that place here.

*Guia/ Tour Guides Tour guides can be helpful and informative. If you want to know about the history in Colonial Zone or feel better walking with a local who knows the ropes a paid guide would be the way to go.

Guides can be helpful in taking you to the sights you want to see. They can also be expensive. Always discuss the price for their services in the beginning so you can decide if it is worth it for their services. Many will say it costs nothing for them to guide you but they WILL want a tip. Generally, a guide will try to rush you make you move at a less than leisurely pace. This way they can get you to a gift shop or finish with your tour so they can help another tourist.

Visiting a gift shop with a guide can be costly. The guide will receive a little kick back from any gift shop they take you to. Your bargaining leverage will not as good in these shops when you have a guide since the shops have to pay a percentage (usually 20% of what you spend) to the guide.

Guides can be helpful in keeping bothersome beggars away. They can protect you from the bad guys also. After they take you on your tour, especially if you tip well, they will be your friend for life.

Some of the local street dogs spot a tourist or friend
Some of the local street dogs spot a tourist or friend

*Street dogs are everywhere. Most of these dogs are starved both for food and for love. You can feed them if you want but you take the chance of having them follow you on your entire vacation or at least while you continue your walk around town. They might tell their friend dogs about your friendliness (dog talk). You could end up with an entourage of furry friends following you wherever you go. 10 dogs following behind a group of tourists, I have seen it and it is quite funny! Dogs know who the tourists and dog-friendly people are. Really, some of the dogs are very nice and many of the neighbors take care of them and feed them. Most are very friendly and sweet and are looking for a little attention. (I adopted 2 street dogs and have helped many to find their forever homes. Read The Dominican Dog Blog to meet my dogs and some of our special local street dogs.)

Appropriate clothing for some museums and tourist places in important. Wearing shorts, miniskirts, and halter-tops in churches is not permitted. They will not permit you to enter if you are not dressed appropriately. If you plan on touring it is best to either wear pants, crop pants, or a skirt for the ladies. Men should wear a collared shirt (not sleeveless) or t-shirt. *note – many places that do not permit inappropriate dress now provide a wrap for people to use as a cover-up.

In the past Dominicans did not wear short pants in the streets except for maybe on the weekends in their own neighborhoods. They have lightened up slightly with this and you will see shorts and really short shorts but NEVER beachwear in the city streets. It is a joke here that when one wears shorts they automatically look like a tourist.

Pick pockets and thieves are watching. Don’t carry a wallet in a back pocket. Anyplace in the entire world, one should never make it easy for a pick-pocket to grab your wallet or purse. If it is possible don’t carry a purse or wallet. Just keep money in a pocket. Maybe a few different pockets in case you do get pickpocketed or robbed you will not lose everything. Spread your money around. Put a few bills in a shoe, bra, money belt, just in case.

Jewelry. When going out do not wear good jewelry. In fact, just do not wear jewelry at all. Maybe a small pair of inexpensive earrings and a ring or 2 if you really need to. But really, why make for more problems. If you do get robbed or lose something it could ruin your entire vacation. So why not just leave all the good stuff locked up in the hotel. Better yet, do not bring that stuff when you travel, this way you won’t have to worry.

Purses and Backpacks. When walking while carrying a purse or backpack try and always carry it on the side away from the road. Keeping it on the shoulder that is against a building or wall. This will make it a little more difficult for a passing motorbike rider to grab. This is something I have learned (from experience) and use no matter what country I am in.

Be aware when using public transportation. Watch for people bumping into you, standing in line close or crowding into a public car. All these places and instances are perfect for a thief. More information about Public Transportation in DR.

Limpia Bota/ Shoe Shine Boys are everywhere. I suggest that you take the time to get a shoeshine. These shoe shine people do work hard and a shine will never hurt. Usually, a shine costs around $10 to $20 pesos (and a little tip if you are pleased with the shine). One important thing. – DO NOT GIVE NON-PESO COINS TO THE STREET PEOPLE or when paying for anything. It is useless to them because no place will exchange pocket change for pesos. No exchange house will take coins. If you want to give non-Dominican pesos to someone, especially the people in the streets make sure it is the paper type.

Go out late. When going out at night to a bar to dance, drink, or people watch. Remember, Dominicans usually go out late at night after it has cooled off. This means that bars are not busy until late. Some places are empty before midnight, especially on the weekends. Take a nap and wait to go out unless you want to be the only person in the place.

Drinking – Imbibing

Hide the smell. Remember, in true Dominican fashion, if you have a drink and need to go somewhere where you don’t want the alcohol smell lingering, make sure to (as I call it “suck a Euk”). Get a Hall’s (eucalyptus) candy, called mentoehol here, at the Colmado to get rid of the smell. It is the Dominican way.

STAY HYDRATED. Drinking mass quantities of alcohol without sufficient water intake can be bad, especially in such a hot climate. Alcohol does not hydrate your body as water does.

A nice cold NORMAL Presidente beer at the beach
A nice cold NORMAL Presidente beer at the beach

Presidente Beer. Presidente is the favorite beer in DR. When you order make sure to specify LÑight or Regular. I always laugh. The bottle does not say “Regular”. It is either a beer or a light. Not here. You need to specify Regular or Light or usually you will get a light beer.

You should try a Presidente con Clamato (beer with clamato juice) at least once. You can see this strange mix being drunk by many Dominicans in the Colmados or while playing dominoes. Clamato is a tomato type juice with a clam taste. The ratio is in general 3 to 5 parts beer to 1 part clamato. Pour the beer into the plastic glass then add the clamato, give it a little swirl to mix and enjoy. If you are a bottle drinker take a drink to give you room in your bottle then add the clamato directly into the bottle. It takes some of the bite out of the beer. It is said that if you drink clamato with your beer you will not get drunk…don’t believe it!

For the dead. When opening a bottle of alcohol remember to pour a few drops onto the ground or floor. While doing this you must say “Por los muertos” / “For the dead”. It is a Dominican tradition to give the dead a little drink before they start enjoying themselves.

Some Brugal rum bottles are covered with a strong yellow netting, which if opened haphazardly could cause undue stress when trying to enjoy your beverage. Some bottles are not entirely covered with the netting making it easier to gain access to the smooth liquid waiting to be drunken inside the bottle. Just untie from the bottom and remove the net.

Mixing some drinks nice and strong
Mixing some drinks nice and strong

Remember, the beer is strong and it can seem stronger in the hot climate. Usually, the drinks are mixed strong in the bars. If you are going to be drinking all day (or night) try what I do. If you like beer I suggest starting with a nice cold one. Then, if you go out, switch to a mixed drink. For me rum is best. Get a bottle so you can mix it yourself if possible. In a bar is called “un servicio” which is a bottle of your choice, a mixer and a bucket of ice. This way you are able to mix your own drinks and it is also more economical. When you mix your drink mix it weak. If you are ordering by the drink tell them to mix it “suave” which means soft or not strong. This way you can last the night without any ill effects.

The dictionary of the Dominicana Gringa (written and published in my mind only) states definition – “ALCOHOL ABUSE = when you spill a glass, drop a bottle, or in any way waste your alcoholic beverage. This includes the act of spewing, disgorging, expelling, emitting or projecting. To put it bluntly throwing-up or vomiting”. LOL!

Helps – Money Tipping

Helps – Money, Tipping and More

I give these suggestions only to make your vacation be hassle free. Many of these precautions are very obvious. They are precautions any wise human would use in any country throughout the world. The problem (or the non-problem) in the Dominican Republic is once you see the glorious sun, the white sand beaches and have a little bit of the refreshing beverages you forget your inhibitions and let your guard down. Relax and enjoy. Just be aware of your surroundings as with any place you travel the world over.

Banco de Reservas is a good place to exchange monies.
Banco de Reservas is a good place to exchange monies.

Money

*Note the difference between a BANK (exchange, deposit and do money transactions) and a BANCO (making bets or playing the lottery)

*The Dominican Republic uses the Dominican peso. It is always better to pay for things with the peso than with other currency. When you arrive in the country exchange the money you will need right away at the airport. When you get out of the airport you will usually find exchange rates to be better at banks or cambios (currency exchange offices). Check the posted rates for any given day. In general, hotels and restaurants will not give you as good a rate as banks or cambio places.

*BEWARE the money changers in the street. Some are good and reputable and work for an exchange business usually close by where they are standing. To be safe NEVER use this manner of exchanging your money unless you know these people well. No matter how smart you think you are these people are smarter. The ones that are thieves have perfected their art. Many will take advantage and be off and running before you even know what happened. Ask around to find a reputable cambio office. Always check rates.

*If you have a safe in your hotel use it. Don’t carry all your cash and documents on your person. Just in case. I suggest making a copy of your passport and carry that for identification purposes. You cannot use a copy if you are doing some sort of business or exchanging money in a bank, but for general identification purposes carrying a copy of this document is the safest. (I suggest making copies of all documents, credit cards and important items and email them to yourself. This way you have copies of everything if something bad happens.)

*When you do exchange money, especially in a Cambio business make sure to count it in front of the exchanger. Many have been known to do the short change trick (folded money, counting fast..etc.).

*It is best to use a Western Union office or bank to exchange your monies if you are not sure of a Cambio office. They are much more secure. Usually the rates are not too bad. I do have a few cambio/ exchange places that I know are reputable here in Colonial Zone listed in the business section. Remember to take original ID with you when you exchange money. Copies are not accepted.

*When you do exchange money make sure you put it away before going into the street. Carrying money in the open is like a hand written invitation to any potential ladrone/ robber in the area. Also, if any vendor sees you flashing money they are for sure going to charge you top price for anything you purchase from them.

*As with any large city you visit don’t be stupid. No matter what city you visit in the world there is always someone around looking to take what others have. So don’t make what you have obvious inviting potential problems.

*I also suggest putting your money in different places on your person (I always do this anytime I visit a place where there are people milling about). Put a little in your shoe. Spread it out in 2 different pockets. Ladies put some in your bra. This way if you are robbed they will not get it all and you will not be stranded someplace with no food money or cab fare.

*Using a bank machine also called a cajero in Dominican Republic. If you can find a swipe machine instead of one where you have to lose hold of your card it is better. This way, just in case, the machine eats your card, you don’t have to go through all the frustration of calling your home bank, canceling the card, or worrying that someone will get hold of it and use it. Remember – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS A VERY HIGH PERCENTAGE OF CREDIT CARD AND BANK FRAUD.

Cajero Bank Machine at BanReservas
Cajero Bank Machine at BanReservas

*It is always more secure to use a bank machine located inside a bank. This way if your money does not pop out (as sometimes is the case) you can go into the bank and deal with the problem there. A machine outside of a business is not owned by the business where the machine is located and they cannot help you if you lose money or your card.

*I suggest, if you need money from a credit card, why not go into a bank and ask for the money from there (just make sure you have your passport and ID or they will not do the transaction). Dominican Republic does have a very high rate of credit card fraud. If you decide you do want to use a credit card here make sure to check your statement and keep all receipts just to be on the safe side.

*Try not to pay for services in advance. Hotels and tours on line are usually fine but I have heard stories about someone booking on line only to find that there is no such hotel and no phone number to contact anyone. If you pay a small business, taxi, or person in the street, there is a good chance they will conveniently forget about the deposit and you will be out of luck (and money). There are many reputable businesses that are safe. Try and get some referrals if possible. Just be cautious of the person in the street.

*If something does happen, which it can happen to the most street savvy person in the world (even a thief can be robbed by another thief), don’t let it ruin your vacation. If you are in a resort or hotel report any loss to them. If the loss or thievery happens in the street and you want to report it to the police and it will make you feel better, do so. Many times the police know the thieves in their area and will be able to recover an item. Especially in the tourist areas, they are usually willing to help.

*Be aware when playing in the Casinos. They are not regulated as closely as in some other countries. Watch and fight for what you feel is your correct payout and I suggest only playing games you know. Try not to use your credit card when playing this way you know your limit and they cannot take money without you knowing. Also, be aware of people watching you and how much money you are winning. The men or women are known to follow those with money and make certain offers for a price (wink wink). Remember, if you do go in debt to a casino they can stop you from leaving the country until your debt is paid.

*Travelers Checks are NOT the same as cash here in Dominican Republic. Maybe you will not have a problem cashing a travelers check in some of the larger hotels and resorts but, in general, most places DO NOT take them. Banks will exchange a travelers check (sometimes) but you may have to wait for hours for them to make sure the check is good. (Trust me on this one, my family was here and we waited 3 hours in the bank to exchange $100 in travelers checks in US Dollars and I even had an account in that bank). Many places, if they do cash the check, will charge you a small fee to do so. So, in the end, you pay for the travelers check, you pay more for the bank to make the exchange, and you wait a long time for all the transactions. Read my blog, The Dominican Gringa, about our Travelers Checks /Fat Chance story.

Making change with candy, halls (mentahal) and chicklets (chickle) in Dominican Republic.
Making change with candy, halls (mentahal) and chicklets (chickle) in Dominican Republic.

*Many times here businesses do not have small change. Paying with small bills or coin is best. When you exchange money ask for smaller bills. Businesses are known to either give you chicklets or halls as change when they have none or they will just keep the change. Remember, chicklets and small pieces of candy here are considered to be a form of money. Not for paying for an item but when receiving cash back candy is a form of currency.

*Business will round up the cash amount. Say you buy some groceries and the bill is $23.50 pesos. We do not use centavos here any longer even though many of the products still are priced this way. They will round the bill, either up or down (usually up), a peso.

*There is an 18% sales tax called ITBIS or Impuestos included on most bills you will receive. In 2013 at the beginning of the year the ITBIS rose from 16% to 18% and 10% will be imposed on many of the past tax-exempt items. Some show this amount on the bill others do not. This is a countrywide tax. It is the way the government charges taxes to all people equally. Also, many times, there is a 10% fee added for tips or service charge. Check your bills.

ALWAYS KEEP THE PHONE NUMBER / CONTACT OF YOUR EMBASSY HANDY IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES

Tipping and More

One of the many restaurants located in P¨laza España in the Colonial Zone.
One of the many restaurants located in P¨laza España in the Colonial Zone.

*One needs to expect that in most Dominican restaurants, cafes, bars and businesses in general, service can be slow and inattentive. It’s not important if the place is high class or if you are eating at a little place on the street. Don’t let it upset you. It will not help at all. It will just make you miserable and give people something to look and laugh at when you lose your temper. Remember, you are on vacation. You are not going to change the way things are and always have been here on the island. No matter how upset you get. (There is historical documentation that states that people of the tropical islands are slow, maybe due to the heat. Go to the historical document page, Édouard de Montulé, Voyage to North America, the West Indies, and the Mediterranean read some of these interesting documents for yourself.)

*There is a 10% gratuity, tip (propina) or service charge added to the bill in many businesses (the country tax is the 18% ITBIS which is a different tax. Not all places add this gratuity into the bill. Make sure you look at the bill. This is usually (note I said USUALLY, sometimes they never receive this money) divided between ALL the restaurant workers in their bi-weekly paycheck. You should always add a little extra tip in cash (average pay for food servers is around $4000 pesos a month, sometimes less) if you are pleased with the service. I suggest adding another 5-10% or more tip (these daily cash tips are usually split between the workers of that day). When you want to give a little extra to your waiter/ waitress, give them the tip directly. *Be sure to check your bill very carefully. Sometimes other charges (friends drinks..etc.) could be placed on your bill that you may have not authorized.

*It is also nice to leave tips for people that help you. The person in your hotel. The maid that cleans your room every day (many people leave gifts for the maids). The shoeshine boys in the park. Just remember if you leave them a tip in monies other than pesos please do not give them coin change (example: US 25 cents). Only paper bills or pesos. There is no money exchange place that will exchange coin. So this means that coins (other than Dominican Pesos) are worth nothing to them.

*Remember, do not take large amounts of money out of your pocket or purse where people on the street can see. You set yourself up for being robbed. And sometimes, even worse, you will get an entourage of shoeshine boys, street people and even dogs (yes, they can sense generous tourists also) following you asking for handouts. At times some of these beggars can be quite aggressive and persistent.

*If you get any services from people on the street they most likely expect a tip. For example, someone offering to take you to a restaurant, introduce you to women or men, or show you around. These people work for the monies they receive from people that use their services. Even if they offer you any information, no matter how small, they usually want something for this. Many people do offer their info for free but many do not. Usually, in tourist areas, these people offer their expertise and knowledge for a price. Just be aware and ask in advance what they want so you are not hassled later.

Hurricane

Hurricane, Cyclone and Tropical Storm Information for Dominican Republic

Hurricanes (Huracán in Spanish) are devastating. Even if it is only a tropical storm it can be destructive. Here we hope to help you get prepared, endure and learn about hurricanes and how to survive them here in Dominican Republic.

JuracánHurricane Season – CategoriesWarningsWhat To DoDominican Republic Emergency Center PamphletTaking Care of a PetWater Vapor Map LinksLinks to Hurricane Related Web SitesTropical Storm Jeannie

Juracán

The work hurricane originates from the Taino, the original occupants of the island. Jurakan or Juracán, a Taino God, controlled the power of the hurricane. Since he control the water and winds when he was angry a hurricane would appear. He was a very angry deity and was not easy to appease, this is why there are so many storms.

The Spanish who came to the island changed the word from Juracán to huracán. The English adapted the word to become the word hurricane that we use today.

Hurricane Season

The hurricane season in the Caribbean begins on June 1st and finishes in November. In Dominican Republic the most active months months for a cyclone is usually mid August through September. The island gets a serious brush on average every 5.03 years. It is averaged that we get a direct hit once every 22.66 years.

We have had 22 hurricanes that have impacted the coast from 1871 to 2004 of which 5 were very devastating.
*September 3, 1930: Huracán San Zenón (4,500 (some accounts say more than 8,000) lives lost. This was one of the top five most devastating Caribbean cyclones)
*October 3, 1963: Huracán Flora (400 lives lost)
*September 26, 1966: Huracán Inés (60 lives lost)
*August 31, 1979: Huracán David (1,000+ lives lost)
*September 22, 1988: Huracán Georges (247 lives lost)

Ciclon San Zenon Santo Domingo September 3, 1930.
The devastating Huracán San Zenón struck Santo Domingo, the Colonial City, on September 3, 1930.

There are a few more pictures of this Hurricane in the Old Pictures Collection – pictures 72,73 and 74)

Hurricane / Huracán, Cyclone / Ciclónica, Tropical Storm / Tormenta Tropical

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the general term for all circulating weather systems over tropical waters. The hurricane moves counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tropical Disturbance or Tropical Wave is a random mass of thunderstorms, very little, if any, organized wind circulation.

Tropical Depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of below 39 mph (34 knots) or less.

Tropical Storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34-63 knots).

Hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.

The hurricane is categorized from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest).

*Category 1 winds measure between 74 and 95 mph..(64-82 knots)
*Category 2 winds measure between 96 and 110 mph (83-95 knots)
*Category 3 winds measure between 111 and 130 mph. (96-113
knots)
*Category 4 sustainable winds between 131 and 155 mph. (114-
135 knots)
*Category 5 Sustainable winds over 155 mph.(135 knots and
above)

Many hurricanes do weaken when and if they hit Dominican Republic because of its rough terrain. If a hurricane or Tropical storm does hit it is very devastating to the coastal areas. Obviously the wind, storm surge and rain are serious issues when we are hit with a hurricane. In the interior of the island heavy rainfall can cause mudslides, destroy mountain roads and homes.

Flooding on Playa Cocolindo after Hurricane Sandy October 2012
Flooding on Playa Cocolindo after Hurricane Sandy passed Dominican Republic October 2012

WARNINGS

HURRICANE WATCH means there is a possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours.

You need to prepare just to be safe. Secure the boat, make sure you have all the items in ready for securing your home and belongings. Better to be safe than sorry.

HURRICANE WARNING means that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours or less.

If this warning has been issued people should be actively preparing for the storm. Also deciding the safest location to be during the storm.

The hurricane season in Dominican Republic usually lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November, with August and September being the months of greatest storm activity. The hotels and resorts are usually prepared in case a storm does strike while you are visiting. They will inform their guests what is best and may evacuate you to another place if necessary. In general, the island is prepared for these storms and the tourists are usually well taken care of. If a hurricane has hit and you are planning a vacation here call ahead and make sure all is still ready for your arrival.

Many of the buildings in Dominican Republic are made from blocks, cement, iron rods, sand and gravel. These materials are generally weather-resistant. There are also many buildings and homes with tin roofs. These can become deadly when they become dislodged. Also, watch out for flying coconuts.

A large hurricane named Georges hit Dominican Republic on September 22, 1998. It was a category 3. The one before that was hurricane David in 1979. This was a category 5. Thus, the likelihood of getting caught in a hurricane is very small. But, when a hurricane does strike there is a good chance there will be destruction. The threat of a possible approaching hurricane should always be taken seriously and all necessary precautions should be taken.

Hurricane Issac As Seen From The Malecon of Santo Domingo
The smaller Hurricane Issac as seen from the Malecon, Santo Domingo in front of the Jaragua Hotel August 2012

What To Do In Case Of a Hurricane

If you are not in a major hotel or are living on the island and there is a hurricane threat here are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe. Please be prepared in advance. There are many web sites with complete lists on how to ready in the care of a tropical storm or hurricane. This is a short list of what to do so you can be prepared.

*Know the evacuation routes or know someone that knows the routes.
*Bring in things from the outside that can blow around. Anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
*Secure windows with shutters, boards or tape.
*Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
*Keep a door or window open on the opposite side of the force of the wind to avoid a build up of pressure that will suck your roof off.
*Fill up the gasoline tanks of all your vehicles.
*Fill baths and clean containers with water. Only drink water after it has been boiled for at least 5 minutes or after bleach has been added (eight drops/gallon) or use a water purifier.
*Make sure your propane gas tank supply is shut off at the time of the storm.
*Turn off electricity mains.
*Do not light candles or lighters until you are sure there is no escaped gas fumes close by.
*Make sure to have money because banks and ATMs may be temporarily shut down.
*Stay in a room without windows (bathroom, closet) if you are staying in your home.
*Do not use the telephone except for emergencies.
*If the eye of the storm happens to pass over your area, make sure not to venture outside, as the ferocious back end of the hurricane is still to follow. You should also be very careful what you do after a hurricane has passed. People are frequently killed after a hurricane passes due to electric shocks from fallen wires or lacerations.

Emergency Information Pamphlet

Pamphlet put out by the Emergency Center in DR.
Pamphlet put out by the Emergency Center in DR. It is a large file. Please click to open and read (in Spanish). Feel free to save it for reference.

The National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a Hurricane Safety Guide to help all be prepared in case of a Tropical Storm. It is a very complete and informative.

If you live on the island try and have a good plastic tote box filled with necessities just in case the worse happens.
*Food that doesn’t need to be cooked.
*Medicines.
*Basic utensils and can opener.
*Soaps and bathroom supplies.
*First aid supplies.
*Personal information.
*Flashlights, matches, candles and batteries.
*Sleeping gear.
*Camping stove and fuel.
*Clothing and rain gear.
*Some basic tools.
*Water.
*Whatever else you may need to live for a time to make it a bit more comfortable like a book or magazine.

Make sure, if you do decide to leave your home, that you give yourself plenty of time. Do so by heading inland until the storm has passed. If The Dominican Republic Emergency Operations Center / Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE) (checking their web site click on ALERTAS) announces that your area is an evacuation area, it will tell you where the shelters are located and you should go immediately.

Dogs Enjoying A Rainbow After The Storm
Dominican Dog Blog Dogs, Buenagente and Inteliperra, enjoying the rainbow after the storm.

Caring For Pets

Remember you cannot take animals, alcohol, or firearms into a shelter. More information about securing your pet in case of a hurricane on the Dominican Dog Blog “Dog Care For Hurricane Season” (written in English and Spanish).

Vapor Maps

Hurricane water vapor and tracking map of the Caribbean area and The Dominican Republic – Hispaniola. You can watch the skies and see the clouds and many times the eye of the storm in real time.

An amazing view from NOAA Star GOES-East Image Viewer Full Disk View – GeoColor. Here you can zoom into an area nd see some spectacular images of the earth.

The Malecon during hurricane Sandy
A ship at sea as seen from the Malecon, Santo Domingo, during Hurricane Sandy October 26, 2012.

Meteorología RD offers a bulletin service via WhatsApp for storm warnings. You just have to send a message (ex. add me, hola) to WhatsApp: 829-812-6173. You can also find them on
FACEBOOK: Meteorología RD
INSTAGRAM: Meteorología RD
TWITTER: Meteorología RD2

Civil Defence of Dominican Republic / Defensa Civil de República Dominicana

NOAA National Weather Service – National Hurricane Center – Tropical Prediction Center.

Hurricane Watch.org for up to the minute hurricane information

Tropical Hurricane Page and their complete weather page Wunderground.

Acqweather, complete information on the weather in Dominican Republic.SPANISH

Caribbean Hurricane Network up to date information on Caribbean weather.

Link for information on Hurricane David at Hurricane City (born August 31-died September 4, 1974) hit Dominican Republic September 1, 1979. The storms highest wind speed was 174 MPH and was the strongest storm to hit Dominican Republic since 1930.

Accounts of Hurricane David when it hit Dominican Republic September 1, 1979.

Santo Domingo Dominican Republic’s history with tropical systems.

Hurricane City has interesting information and a radio program to listen to when there are hurricanes that need reported on.

Dr. Jeff Masters live blog with very informative reports of active storms and weather.

What exactly is a hurricane? To learn more ….

Taking care of your pet during a hurricane.

Legend has it that former President Joaquín Balaguer made a pact with The Virgen de la Altagracia (who is Altagracia?) so the country would not have any large hurricanes…read more on the Myths and Legends page Balaguer and His Hat.

Tropical Storm Jeanne September 16, 2004
Tropical Storm Jeanne as it passed over Dominican Republic September 16, 2004

Tropical Storm Jeanne

This is a picture of Tropical Storm Jeanne when it briefly reached hurricane strength passing over Dominican Republic on September 16, 2004. This picture was taken at 1:55 p.m. Dominican time while the storm had sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph) with stronger gusts, and was moving west at 11 km/hr (7 mph). Jeanne was down graded to a tropical storm after its encounter with the island of Hispaniola.

Picture provided by Visible Earth at NASA.