Is the Food and Water Safe in the Dominican Republic (and How Do I Prevent Getting Sick)?

Travelers visiting the Dominican Republic should be aware that there is a risk of contracting illnesses from contaminated food and water. However, as long as you eat and drink sensibly, and adopt good hygiene practices, you can avoid getting sick and spend more time enjoying your vacation.
Is the Food and Water Safe in the Dominican Republic
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Tasting the local cuisine of a foreign country can be a highlight of your holiday, making the trip more memorable. But it can also cut it short leaving you sick with a stomach infection.

That said, you don’t have to avoid exotic dishes, as long as you ensure they have been properly cooked.

When traveling in the Dominican Republic, it is important to always exercise caution when it comes to food and drink, especially when visiting areas where hygiene and sanitation are challenging to maintain.

Read on for the ultimate guide to food and water safety in the Dominican Republic.

What is Safe to Drink in the Dominican Republic?

When visiting the Dominican Republic, it is safe to drink:

  • Water that has been treated i.e. boiled, filtered or bottled water
  • Carbonated drinks inside sealed bottles
  • Powdered or concentrated beverages mixed using treated water
  • Bottled water that you can uncap yourself, or which was uncapped in your presence
  • Hot tea and coffee

Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water in the Dominican Republic?

No. It is not safe to drink tap water in the Dominican Republic because it has not been purified.

You will therefore need to sterilize it first before drinking. Boiling tap water is a great way to eliminate bacteria that cause stomach infections.

Why Can’t You Drink the Water in the Dominican Republic?

It is not recommended to drink tap water in the Dominican Republic because it is not purified.

It is advisable to only drink treated water while traveling in the Dominican Republic. Bottled water is also widely available.

Can You Brush Your Teeth With Tap Water in the Dominican Republic?

No. It is not recommended that you brush your teeth with tap water in the Dominican Republic, unless you are sure of the quality of the water.

It is advisable to always brush your teeth using boiled, filtered or bottled water, while traveling in the Dominican Republic.

Is It Safe to Shower in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to shower in the Dominican Republic.

That said, you should avoid ingesting water from the shower as it is untreated. Such unpurified water may be contaminated with bacteria and other toxins that cause stomach upsets.

Is Bottled Water Safe in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, bottled water is safe to drink in the Dominican Republic.

In fact, it is recommended that you only drink boiled, filtered or bottled water in the Dominican Republic. Just be sure to only drink bottled water that you can uncap yourself, or which was uncapped in your presence.

Can I Drink Boiled Water in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is safe to drink boiled water in the Dominican Republic.

Boiling tap water is a great way to kill bacteria that cause stomach infections. After boiling your water, leave it to cool inside a covered container overnight. In the morning, pour it into your reusable water bottle and head out for the day.

Is It Safe to Have Ice in the Dominican Republic?

It depends.

Many resorts in the Dominican Republic make ice cubes using purified water, which makes it safe to use in your drink.

However, it is best to avoid using ice at bars outside of your resort as the ice cubes may have been made using untreated tap water which is unsafe to drink.

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is safe to drink alcohol in the Dominican Republic.

Just be sure to observe the following safety precautions:

  • Never leave your drink unattended or even in the care of strangers.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Avoid excessive drinking, even at your resort.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol in hot weather as you could get dehydrated

What Alcohol is Safe to Drink in the Dominican Republic?

When visiting the Dominican Republic, it is safe to drink alcohol such as:

  • Rum: Used as the base for many cocktails, Rum is the liquor of choice in the Dominican Republic. Popular brands include Barcelo and Brugal.
  • Local Beer: Usually served chilled, Presidente is the most popular beer in the Dominican Republic. Other brands include Quisqueya and Bohemia, a pilsner-based beer.
  • Mama Juana: A potent herbal drink made from cured tree barks soaked in rum, red wine and honey.

Is Beer Safe in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is safe to drink beer in the Dominican Republic.

Just be sure to observe the following safety precautions:

  • Only drink beer from a bottle that was uncapped in your presence.
  • Never leave your drink unattended or even in the care of strangers.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Avoid excessive drinking, even at your resort.

What Beer Do They Drink in the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic has several brands of local beer:

  • Presidente – The most popular beer; usually served chilled
  • Bohemia – A pilsner-based beer
  • Quisqueya

Is It Safe to Drink Soda in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink soda in the Dominican Republic, as long as it is inside a sealed bottle.

The same rule applies for other carbonated drinks.

Is It Safe to Drink Coffee in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink coffee in the Dominican Republic, as long as it is served while still hot.

Only drink hot coffee made with boiled water to ensure that the bacteria that cause stomach infections have been eliminated.

Is It Safe to Drink Tea in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink tea in the Dominican Republic, as long as it is served while still hot.

Only drink hot tea made by boiled water to ensure that the bacteria that cause stomach infections have been eliminated.

Is It Safe to Drink Milk in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink milk in the Dominican Republic, as long as it has been pasteurized.

Pasteurization involves treating milk with mild heat to kill bacteria that cause stomach upsets, as well as extend shelf life.

Is It Safe to Eat Dairy Products in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat dairy products in the Dominican Republic, as long as they were made using pasteurized milk.

Pasteurization involves treating milk with mild heat to kill bacteria that cause stomach upsets, as well as extend shelf life.

What is Safe to Eat in the Dominican Republic?

When visiting the Dominican Republic, it is safe to eat:

  • Food that is well cooked and served while still hot
  • Nuts, fruits and vegetables that you are able to peel or remove the skin by yourself
  • Fruits and vegetables that have been washed using treated water
  • Pasteurized dairy products

Is It Safe to Eat Fruit in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat fruit in the Dominican Republic, as long as:

  • The fruit has been washed with treated water
  • You are able to peel or remove the skin by yourself
  • The fruit is served at your resort

Is It Safe to Eat Salad in the Dominican Republic?

It depends.

Many resorts in the Dominican Republic wash vegetables with purified water, which makes them safe to use in salads.

However, it is best to avoid eating salads at restaurants outside of your resort as the vegetables may have been washed using untreated tap water which is unsafe to drink.

Is It Safe to Eat Seafood in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat seafood in the Dominican Republic, as long as it is not raw, undercooked or cold.

The same rule applies for fish, meat, poultry and eggs.

What Can You Not Eat or Drink in the Dominican Republic?

When visiting the Dominican Republic, it is unsafe to eat:

  • Raw, undercooked or cold meats, fish, seafood, poultry and eggs
  • Game/ bush meat
  • Sauces and other condiments made using raw ingredients or eggs
  • Food that is not covered, not on ice or not refrigerated e.g. buffets
  • Unwashed or unpeeled fruit or vegetables
  • Raw vegetables from questionable sources, or if unsure that they have been washed using treated water
  • Unpasteurized dairy products e.g. cheese, yogurt and ice cream

When visiting the Dominican Republic, it is unsafe to drink:

  • Water from a tap or well, if unsure of its quality
  • Drinks that contain ice
  • Unpasteurized milk and juice
  • Powdered or concentrated beverages mixed using untreated water
  • Bottled water and carbonated drinks from unsealed bottles
  • Cold tea and coffee

How Can I Prevent Getting Sick in the Dominican Republic?

To avoid getting sick, it is important to maintain proper food and water safety and hygiene practices in the Dominican Republic.

These include:

  • The golden rule is: Boil it, Cook it, Peel it or Forget it!
  • Avoid eating from restaurants that are unclean or don’t have many customers
  • Avoid food from street vendors as it may have been prepared in unhygienic conditions
  • Ensure that cooked food is piping hot throughout before you eat it
  • Avoid eating cooked food that is not covered, not on ice or not refrigerated
  • Only eat raw fruit and vegetables that you have peeled by yourself
  • Do not eat food that has flies buzzing around it
  • Avoid eating raw, undercooked or cold seafood, fish, meat, poultry and eggs
  • Avoid milk and dairy products that haven’t been pasteurized
  • Only drink bottled water – ensure the bottle lid is properly sealed before you buy it
  • In the absence of bottled water you may boil tap water to sterilize it before drinking
  • Don’t use ice cubes in drinks, unless you’re sure they were made from treated tap water
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol in hot weather as you could get dehydrated
  • Never accept drinks from strangers – you never know what might be inside it
  • Never leave your drink unattended or even in the care of strangers
  • Avoid excessive drinking, even at your resort
  • Do not drink powdered or concentrated beverages mixed using untreated water
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks and utensils with others
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before preparing or eating food, and after using the bathroom
  • When in doubt, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Never brush your teeth using tap water – if unsure of the quality, use bottled water instead
  • Never ingest water while taking a shower
  • Never ingest water from swimming pools or hot tubs
  • Never ingest or have contact with water from freshwater sources such as ponds, streams and lakes

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