Our suggestions and recommendations are as an experienced by expat living here for eight years and here’s what I’m going to tell you.

1- Do not bring a lots of jewelry with you

Some travelers bring all the North American flashy things on vacation, they bring a necklace, earrings and fancy things. Leaving expensive things in their cars or jeeps.

You are at the beach for the most time, so keep your fashion simple don’t carry excessive things on you, meaning, you don’t need a Fendi bag or your Rolex at the beach. You will wear it but not going to take it on your everyday event, so do not take a lots of flashy things with you.

2- Conceal things more than you would in North America

You know when the average iPhone 13 pro max can run you around 2,000 Canadian dollars, thereabouts that is like a million dollars to the average Dominican, so it’s best to avoid flashing that keep it in your pocket; don’t put it on your belt like you would do in North America; don’t walk around with it in your hand just have it concealed. Leave all your stuff in your home if you will be out late.

3- Bring a limited amount of cash with you and don’t have all your money in one spot

Don’t bring your wallet out to pay for a beer and flipping through 300 Americans in your wallet.

Put the money in different pockets, you could have a couple thousand pesos in a sock, if you were wearing socks; use different shorts that have different pockets, one with zippers, one with side pockets or a tuck away thing inside your shorts that’s good.

4- Look like a gringo but don’t act like one

We cannot as North Americans ever not look like a gringo, but yes you can walk into any place in this country with zero spanish and gain respect, why it’s how you carry yourself.

The most gringos talk too loud, they talk so much that they just stand out in the crowd. You want to blend in the crowd? I for example roll into town with a simple backpack looking like a gringo in a t-shirt, gringo shorts and flip-flops.

I look totally like a gringo but I roll in and I looking and acting differently, I blend in as much as I can and blending in is having the confidence knowing the surroundings.

5- Looking to get some swagger from Dominican’s

Having swagger is like walking in like you own the joint but not with overconfidence, but just like “I’ve seen this before”, this is how it rolls and anything that’s shocking to you take that game face off.

Try to handle the street, you can handle the vibe, you can handle the situations, even me with very little spanish but I understand the country.

6- Use an extreme amount of common sense

Common sense is not very common these days. Some travelers generally lack common sense because they’re insulated in a hotel resort environment. Always be aware of your surroundings all the time, it’s like an extra senses of  what is around you for the reason of you’re excited. You’re on vacation but we all let our guard down so, don’t let your guard down.

Bonus: Don’t point as the Dominicans do with the lips.

In North America we go look at the people by pointing with our fingers but Dominicans do that with the lips, they point with the lips!!! So if you start pointing with your lips, they’re going to say “ah, a smart gringo”.

These tips are for safety and security so get out and enjoy your life here. Do not take a lot of flashy things with you; conceal things along the way; have some self-confidence and have some swagger but don’t be overconfidence. 

Just enjoy and be safe!!!
Patrick Johnston

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