On Jan 3/13 while visiting the Sirenis Cocotal near Punta Cana
my wife and I took a beach walk westward. This was recommended to us by the Sunquest tour operator - "the beaches are safe, take a walk down the beach, pack a lunch, spend the day". Hah!!! Not less that 200m west of the property 2 men came out of the bush wearing clothing over their faces brandishing long knives. They yelled at us in spanish, grabbed my wife's mini-purse which contained the room safe key and room key card and then forcibly removed both our wedding rings the only thing of value with us. I was cut by his nails digging into my finger as he yanked the somewhat tight ring off. After that they patted us down looking for items in our pockets and money belts under our tops - none of which we had. Fortunately they then ran off back into the bush.
We reported this to the hotel - the security guard was only concerned if this happened on the grounds or not. Back at reception the hotel manager met us and took the details. He was also kind enough to waive the 2000RD fee to drill open the safe and to refund the $50US deposit for the safe key. But their take on this was they had never had any problems like this before.
Noone offered to report this to the local authorities. And since our flight was in the morning I did not want to press that issue and be delayed for our departure.
We were glad to escape relatively unharmed but the experience means, for us at least, we will not return to DR. We would not have ventured off of the resort grounds if it had not been for the advice from the local tour operator. I realize hundreds of people walk the empty beach stretches between the resorts unmolested but for us the experience is a deal breaker.
So the only advice I can give is
- stay on the resort
- if you want to walk on unsupervised beaches take absolutely nothing with you
-- no cameras, rings, watches, money, credit cards
- travel in a larger group
- if confronted - let them have it. Getting knifed or beaten is not worth it.
Live and Learn