Need Recommendation on D.R. Vacation

Lucas61

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Jun 13, 2014
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My wife (dominicana) and not my legal wife went to the Embajada de Colombia today in Sto. Dom. I wanted to confirm that she did not need a visa before buying $750.00 of non-refundable tickets. It was a big mess and opened a can of worms. Most disappointing. The place was locked down like a prison and the security guard, speaking through metal bars, refused to let us in. He said he would answer our questions. He confirmed that she did not need a visa but said that I (U.S. passport) DID NEED a visa and that I would have to apply online, that I would pay a fee, and that it would take 30 days. Needless to say, this messed up our trip plans as we could not now buy our tickets as planned but would have to wait a month and postpone the trip for one month.

Then he had doubts, went inside and came back, and said that I did not need a visa for a short term tourist stay. Now my wife tells me, after we came home, that he said that we must have proof of a hotel reservation, which would be a big mess, and I don't know if this is true. Further, he said we need our proof of COVID vax but now I read online that it must be an actual negative test prior to departure.

The vacation that was sizing up nicely, it now filled with doubts and confusion. I have a mind for us to spend another goodly chunk of money, go back to the embassy with our passports and insist on entry so we can speak to official staff and get our questions answered.
 

bob saunders

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You seem to make things more complicated than required. My wife and I last went to Colombia last year with a group of Dominicans. We travelled on our Dominican passports and had no issues. Yes we had hotel reservations, as would any seasoned traveler. read the link. I think part of your problem is you don't like to spend money, Tacaño they would say in the DR. YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING ONLINE.
https://travel.state.gov/content/tr...ravel-Country-Information-Pages/Colombia.html
 

Lucas61

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Thanks for the link. It's concerning that the U.S. State Dept. states "reconsider travel." Of course, this is the same entity that recently stated that homicide was a "concern" anywhwere in the D.R. According to what was laid out here, we don't need visas, we don't need COVID vax proof and we don't need hotel reservations. We will stay for a few days at some upscale places in El Poblado but most days in El Centro, Candelaria, at a hotel called Los Conquistadores, with a restaurant inside as we will NOT go out at night. That costs the equivalent of less than RD$ 500 per day. From looking at Google Maps, it's about the same kind of area we stay at here, clearly, a non-tourist area but one that reflects the majority of the population. I don't like to spend money I don't have, so balance.

It was the security guard who refused us entry who made everything complicated, not me. Seasoned "nomad" travelers don't make reservations, in part, because the hotels they stay at don't take reservations and they may not advertise at all as there are not funds for marketing or a web presence.
 
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NALs

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Thanks for the link. It's concerning that the U.S. State Dept. states "reconsider travel." Of course, this is the same entity that recently stated that homicide was a "concern" anywhwere in the D.R. According to what was laid out here, we don't need visas, we don't need COVID vax proof and we don't need hotel reservations. We will stay for a few days at some upscale places in El Poblado but most days in El Centro, Candelaria, at a hotel called Los Conquistadores, with a restaurant inside as we will NOT go out at night. That costs the equivalent of less than RD$ 500 per day. From looking at Google Maps, it's about the same kind of area we stay at here, clearly, a non-tourist area but one that reflects the majority of the population. I don't like to spend money I don't have, so balance.

It was the security guard who refused us entry who made everything complicated, not me. Seasoned "nomad" travelers don't make reservations, in part, because the hotels they stay at don't take reservations and they may not advertise at all as there are not funds for marketing or a web presence.
If I were you, I would give no importance to what the US Dept says about any country. Case in point:

IMG_2603.jpeg


IMG_2604.png



I'm sure in the parallel universe of the US State Dept the DR is similar or worse than Jamaica, but reality is that the DR is surrounded by places with higher homicides rates (they don't show one for Haiti, but it would be very hard to think it has a less homicide rate than the DR given what is known of over there.) Even the US closest Latin American country (Mexico) has a considerable higher murder rate.

Let me know when the US State Dept gives the same "warning" it gives to visitors of the DR to visitors of neighboring Puerto Rico. In fact, the typical tourist in PR vacations stay in hotels smack in urban areas and most of them they aren't the all inclusive types, so going out is a must in many cases. So technically, the typical tourist in PR has a higher risk of being killed than a typical tourist in the DR given the same homicide rate in both places. PR deserves much more a warning than the DR does, but I have never seen the US State Dept warning about anything in PR.

Plus, this came out today in Hoy newspaper.

IMG_2589.jpeg
 
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johne

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Jun 28, 2003
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Thanks for the link. It's concerning that the U.S. State Dept. states "reconsider travel." Of course, this is the same entity that recently stated that homicide was a "concern" anywhwere in the D.R. According to what was laid out here, we don't need visas, we don't need COVID vax proof and we don't need hotel reservations. We will stay for a few days at some upscale places in El Poblado but most days in El Centro, Candelaria, at a hotel called Los Conquistadores, with a restaurant inside as we will NOT go out at night. That costs the equivalent of less than RD$ 500 per day. From looking at Google Maps, it's about the same kind of area we stay at here, clearly, a non-tourist area but one that reflects the majority of the population. I don't like to spend money I don't have, so balance.

It was the security guard who refused us entry who made everything complicated, not me. Seasoned "nomad" travelers don't make reservations, in part, because the hotels they stay at don't take reservations and they may not advertise at all as there are not funds for marketing or a web presence.
What embassy do you know of (in the world) that you may enter without an appointment, authorized badge, document, special purpose as government representative? I waited two months to go TO MY embassy on a US passport matter here in the DR last week. Total SECURITY for what you should you should consider is NORMAL.
BTW I took my wife (not legal as you say) on her first trip out of the DR to Colombia last year with no more than my laptop as my source of information.
 

Lucas61

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Jun 13, 2014
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What embassy do you know of (in the world) that you may enter without an appointment, authorized badge, document, special purpose as government representative? I waited two months to go TO MY embassy on a US passport matter here in the DR last week. Total SECURITY for what you should you should consider is NORMAL.
BTW I took my wife (not legal as you say) on her first trip out of the DR to Colombia last year with no more than my laptop as my source of informatio
 

Lucas61

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Jun 13, 2014
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@ NALS: Thanks for the data! When you look at homicide rates for Colombia, say, it's not as if the distribution is even. It skews towards "hotspots" where there is political unrest and narcotics. Removing this skew, would present a fairly safe picture for the average tourist given the normal precautions, e.g., NEVER take out a smartphone in public, tone down and mix in, etc. By not taking proper security precautions you, in fact, increase your statistical risk.

On a separate point, I misspoke when I said that a COVID vax cert was not necessary. The embassy security guard said that hard copy of the original vaccination certificate was required. I read further information at a travel website that is logical. It is this: If your proof of vaccination is less than 15 days from the time of departure you need lab confirmation of negativity. That makes sense as that is the time necessary for immunity and sufficient anti-body formation.
 

La Profe_1

Moderator: Daily Headline News, Travel & Tourism
Oct 15, 2003
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At the risk of being pedantic, was it the Embassy or the Consulate that you visited?

I have visited both (of my country) in Santo Domingo.

The Consulate handles visas, passports for citizens and other services for citizens in the DR. It is less difficult to enter than the Embassy.

I needed several items of identification, including my passport, to enter the Embassy. Plus, the visit had to be pre-arranged. This visit was on a topic unrelated to visas or passports.

If you are familiar with the regulations regarding a visit to the Consulate, the regulations and security required for an embassy visit are orders of magnitude greater.

I'm not surprised that you were unable to enter the Embassy of Colombia!
 
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Lucas61

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Jun 13, 2014
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At the risk of being pedantic, was it the Embassy or the Consulate that you visited?

I have visited both (of my country) in Santo Domingo.

The Consulate handles visas, passports for citizens and other services for citizens in the DR. It is less difficult to enter than the Embassy.

I needed several items of identification, including my passport, to enter the Embassy. Plus, the visit had to be pre-arranged. This visit was on a topic unrelated to visas or passports.

If you are familiar with the regulations regarding a visit to the Consulate, the regulations and security required for an embassy visit are orders of magnitude greater.

I'm not surprised that you were unable to enter the Embassy of Colombia!
Not pedantic! Thank you for this distinction that I did not understand. Yes, it was Embajada de Colombia. I do see a "consulado" office here in Sto. Dom. : https://santodomingo.consulado.gov.co/ However, confusingly, it is the same physical address as the embassy. So if I wanted to speak to officials at the consulate, I would have to go to the same place where I was denied entry?
 

NALs

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@johne: This hunker-down mentality given the absence of war and civil unrest is nothing short of bizarre. Perhaps one could call it "paranoid nationalism"?
Some embassies are prepared for terrorist attacks anywhere in the world due to the relatively recent terrorist attacks to embassies of high profile countries in out of the way countries. Great Britain, USA, Spain are some of those high profile countries.

The US embassy in the DR is designed to withstand a bombing and hardly has any windows towards the avenue which greatly reduces the chance of bullets fired from the street getting in the building among other features. The likelihood the US embassy in Santo Domingo would be the target of a terrorist attack is slim, but so too was the case with this US embassy in a country in Africa.


You are almost guaranteed that while you are inside the US embassy in SD nothing wil, happen to you even in the rare event of a terrorist attack.

With Colombia, you are talking about a country that was ravaged by guerrilla war and terrorist attacks in recent years. Even nowadays there are still car bombings taking place in Bogotá (less than before, but still happens from time to time.) Expect any Colombian embassy anywhere to be on high alert just about anytime.
 
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johne

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If you even think of stopping your car in front of the US embassy in SD, you will be told to move it quickly by PN. The front of the building from the curb to where you are checked in by identity is covered with concrete piers to prevent drive up attacks.. This is not unusual and was started at all major institutons after 9-11 in the US. OP, I'm surprised that you think unnecessary steps were taken when you went to visit. Security was doing their job IMO. If you go back I hope they don't put the cuffs on you. LOL.
 

keepcoming

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May 25, 2011
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You are going to need a vacation based on all the things you have posted about trying to get to Colombia. Not sure about proof of Covid vaccine though. My son recently went to Bogota and he was never asked for that. He said all they checked was his passport and proof that he had an onward ticket. Some of the travel websites are not update. But when traveling better safe than sorry.
 

Facepalm Supreme

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You second bob saunders notion when you note how different Cartagena is from Medellin. That is what I needed to hear to justify that excursion. And, yes, you mentioned Cali, another major city. I will investigate. I see you are a coffee lover like me. That is clearly something to explore if not buy. I remember that 25 years or so ago, when I was in Jamaica, I purchased one of the most expensive coffees in the world--Blue Mountain. It's a mild coffee. When I first tasted it I wondered what the fuss was about. Then I realized it had a subtle taste unlike any other. It was very cheap in Jamaica at that time and I had big regrets that I did not bring back the maximum. Ditto for Ethiopian coffee: mild but subtle.
Now a days Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is prohibitively expensive. That said when I was in Jamaica I fell in love with it.


I highly recommend Papua New Guinean coffee. Same landrace as the Jamaican coffee, grown under similar conditions. Medium roast tastes amazing and it DOESN'T cost $40-$60 or more/lb - which is a the standard, but ridiculous price for Jamaican Blue Mountain.

When I run out and my amazon order doesn't come in time it's really a chore to drink Café Santo Domingo.
 

keepcoming

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I will remind everyone that this thread is about "recommendations on DR vacation".
 
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CristoRey

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Apr 1, 2014
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Hello All,

Question: What is your recommendation for a second city to visit? We cannot visit the capital as I'll have respiratory problems given the altitude. We looked at Cartagena, a 12 hour bus ride from Medellin. It seems ho-hum to me: The same colonial archtitecture as here; the same tourist stuff. What would be your best choice for a city other than Cartagena and the capital? Needless to say, at 70 and 61 years of age, we won't be hiking.
1. Bucaramanga
2. Santa Marta
 

SKY

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What embassy do you know of (in the world) that you may enter without an appointment, authorized badge, document, special purpose as government representative? I waited two months to go TO MY embassy on a US passport matter here in the DR last week. Total SECURITY for what you should you should consider is NORMAL.
I was in Buenos Aires for a period of time. I stopped in the Dominican Embassy there. No appointment, authorized badge, or anything else but my Dominican Cedula. They were bending over backwards to please me.

As for the US Embassy warnings about crime in the DR. This today.............

Guns in America

Fourth of July holiday weekend marked by at least 17 mass shootings, data shows​

Three mass shootings in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Fort Worth, Texas, alone left at least 10 people dead and 38 wounded.

 
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