Recently, we’ve gotten reports of tourist deaths resulting in visits to the Dominican Republic. Fortunately, this story doesn’t have any casualties but it’s further proof of trouble in paradise. This time, it’s a group of 114 Oklahoma-based Jimmy Buffett fans who have fallen ill.
In an April trip to Punta Cana, 47 of the fans allegedly got violently sick during their trip.
The group — the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association — spent a week at the Dominican Republic’s Hotel Riu Palace Macao. During the trip, the nearly 50 fans began feeling ill; experiencing extreme diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. Dana Flowers, a member, and the group’s travel agent, told PEOPLE that they first thought the illness was food poisoning.
“We went [to the resort] for the week — some longer, some shorter,” he sharedwith the magazine. “We were enjoying the beach and the pool, and about 3 or 4 days into the trip we started hearing about people getting sick.”
Unfortunately, some of the group’s members are still experiencing symptoms two months afterwards.
It wasn’t until after the symptoms worsened that the group suspected it was more than food poisoning that was making them sick. According to Flowers, who also got sick, everyone who became ill swam in a specific pool or drank at the pool’s swim-up bar.
Things became more suspicious when the group sought medical treatment from doctors in the Dominican Republic.
“Most of them got an IV, then were prescribed a medicine for parasites,” Flowers explained. “[The doctors] didn’t do any testing, they just automatically gave them medicine for parasites.”
According to Flowers, two members of the group tested positive for salmonella after returning to the States.
In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Hotel Riu Palace Macao is denying responsibility for the illness.
The statement reads in part:
“We are aware that three guests staying last April at this hotel and coming from the same group … were attended by a possible case of gastroenteritis in our doctor’s office. These events occurred after an external activity of this group outside the hotel, so we can not determine the exact origin of the stomach upset. … No more similar cases were registered by other guests during the indicated date above.”
In response to the illnesses and deaths coming from DR, there are calls for Americans to no longer visit the country.
As far as we know, it’s only American tourists suffering illness and death from visits to DR. The public outcry will no doubt impact American tourism to the country.
According to some, this has been going on much longer than we realized.
This Twitter user shared a response from a personal incident at the Punta Cana Hotel and Casino Hard Rock. She became ill after drinking wine at the hotel’s karaoke bar. As she pointed out, these clusters of incidents are finally calling proper attention to this problem.
Some are even suggesting government interference to prevent this from happening again.
It’s likely that the CDC — which is investigating the deaths out of DR — will enact a travel ban if one comes about. However, maybe it’s best to avoid this part of the Caribbean for now regardless of a ban.
More Americans have died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. News agencies have been reporting on the increasing number of American deaths in the Dominican Republic and now one more death has come forward from March after being ignored.
A Georgia man’s death and under investigation months after dying in the Dominican Republic.
Tracy Jerome Jester Jr., of Forsyth County, Georgia died in March while vacationing in the Dominican Republic with his sister. Allegedly, Jester started to complain of not being able to breathe after a day of sightseeing with his sister.
Jester Jr.’s mother told ABC News that his death certificate references “respiratory illness” as the cause of death.
Jester Jr.’s mom told ABC News that he did have lupus. Yet, the man’s mother remembers her son telling her about a “nasty” Sprite he drank in the Caribbean country shortly before his death.
According to ABC7, Jester’s mother got a call from her son the night before his death and he told her about his activities, including the questionable taste of the soft drink he purchased at the hotel. While she told him that it might be a different flavor in the country, he insisted that something was odd about the drink.
At 4:40 a.m., she got a call from her daughter and the conversation was troubling.
At this point, Jester Jr. was vomiting blood and telling his sister that he wasn’t able to breathe. Their mother instructed her daughter to call emergency services but there was a delay in someone assisting, according to ABC7.
There was no toxicology performed because of when the young man died in connection to the increase in tourist deaths.
It wasn’t until there was increased media attention to the deaths and three deaths at one hotel that toxicology screenings started to happen. So far, the FBI is performing toxicology screenings on the three victims from the same hotel.
Officials in both the U.S. and the Dominican Republic claim that there has been no significant increase in deaths.
People are trying to calm down the fears of everyone talking about the deaths in the Dominican Republic. While it is not abnormal for tourists to die while on vacation, the deaths of those in the Dominican Republic have left Americans stunned.
For decades, Mexico has been one of the main destinations for global tourism. The country offers amazing beaches where visitors can find both natural beauty and experienced hospitality workers who make their living by providing unforgettable experiences. We have selected 13 beaches that can cater for any kind of visitor and for budgets of all sizes. Remember that old Corona ad, “From where you would rather be”? Well, we would rather be in one of these slices of heaven.
1. Costa Careyes Located in: Jalisco Good for: high end, luxury traveling, honeymoons
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This relatively recent development is located in the Mexican state of Jalisco, so you can also visit the city of Guadalajara or the many tequila haciendas in the region. This beach is pristine and hasn’t been developed as much as classics such as Acapulco or Cancun. It is pricey, but ideal for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon… you might leave the room for a bit just to witness the stunning sunsets. You can find more details here: https://www.careyes.com/.
2. Puerto de Veracruz Located in: Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico Good for: old fashioned Mexican charm
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Veracruz is one of the oldest cities in Mexico, the port where the Spanish started the development of the new colony. The old port has been revitalized in recent years, and you can experience the charm of jarochos: you can smoke a cigar while sipping a cafe con leche in the traditional La Parroquia. You can also listen to nostalgic regional son jarocho or join old folks in a communal dance known as danzon.
3. Bahia de Los Angeles Located in: Baja California Good for: those who love the stunning desert/ocean combo
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Less developed than beach towns such as La Paz and Los Cabos. This is a dream for those who love the combination of desert and sea. The Gulf of California bathes beaches that are red and feature spectacular rock formations crowned by cacti and succulents that defy the laws of gravity. A surreal but soothing destination.
4. Isla Holbox Located in: Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula Good for: just relaxing on a hammock as the waves caress the sand
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This island north of the Yucatan Peninsula is truly heaven on earth. It is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, so it is not highly developed. The island is separated from the mainland by a lagoon which features flamingos and pelicans. Good to know: no cars are allowed on the island.
5. Isla Mujeres Located in: the Caribbean Sea, near Cancun Good for: snorkeling and scuba diving
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Another paradisiac highlight in the Yucatan Peninsula. This island has amazing beaches such as Playa Norte, plenty of resorts and scuba diving and snorkeling experiences. Even though it only has 4.22 km², it has it all: a lighthouse, Mayan ruins and even a sanctuary for sea turtles.
6. Puerto Vallarta Located in: Jalisco Good for: going out and sleeping in!
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This traditional beach destination captivated filmmaker John Huston when he shot The Night of the Iguana here. Elizabeth Taylor, who was tagging along with her then-husband Richard Burton, also fell in love with the dramatic landscape, food and good vibes of this awesome place, which is also famous for its vibrant nightlife. A perfect alternative for those who find Cancun and Los Cabos to be just a bit too touristy. It is near the Tequila region, so a little stop is in order.
7. Mazunte Located in: Oaxaca Good for: cheap and low key hippie vibes
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This has been the de facto destination for Mexico City natives that just want to relax by the beach and eat some delicious Oaxacan food. Even though it is now a bit more developed than some would wish, it still retains a mystic but relaxed atmosphere. People feel so at ease that it is sort of a nudist beach: if that is your thing, clothes away! Seriously, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
8. Mazatlan Located in: Sinaloa Good for: spectacular scenery and delicious seafood, Sinaloa style
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An oldie but goodie. This resort town borders the Pacific shoreline in the state of Sinaloa. It was an impressive boardwalk or malecon that covers 21 km. Old Mazatlan is a 19th-century colonial jewel with gorgeous architecture. If you are into big-game fishing, this is the place to be. You can also eat some amazing Sinaloa seafood. A taco gobernador, anyone? (if you are wondering, it has shrimp, black beans, a secret spicy sauce, and melted cheese, all in corn tortillas of course!).
9. Playa Ventura Located in: Guerrero Good for: relaxing times and amazing food in a rustic environment
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Near the legendary but now dangerous Acapulco lies this beach which is visited by turtles and offers a rustic experience. Food is just great: pescado a la talla and lobster smothered in chili and butter. What is not to like? We hope it keeps that rustic feel and that development doesn’t translate into big resorts.
10. Los Cabos Located in: Baja California Sur Good for: sea life watching
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A classic destination full of top-end resorts, but also the home of a charming town and plenty of spectacular animal sightings. You can take a whale watching tour or watch seals basking in the Baja sun. There are of course plenty of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. And by the way, you might spot one of the many Hollywood A-listers who have made Cabo their preferred holiday spot. While you are here, why not rent a car and travel up the Baja peninsula all the way to the wine region near Ensenada?
11. Punta Cometa and Playa Mermejita Located in: Oaxaca Good for: thinking about la inmortalidad del cangrejo
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On the way to the charming Playa Mermejita (in Mazunte, see above) you can stop at this spot, which offers the most romantic sunset on Earth. You can also stare at the ocean and the beach and think about your life: nothing like being away from the tribulations of your daily life to reflect on where you are going.
12. Playa Pichilinguillo Located in: Michoacan Good for: unadulterated natural experiences
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White sands, tame waves, and blue waters. This is a playa virgen that totally gives us TheBlue Lagoon vibes. It is ideal to scuba dive or snorkel, as waters are almost transparent and fish are still unafraid of humans. The lobster here is delicious. Plus, you will be helping the local economy thrive as it is not yet subject to big transnational resort companies.
13. Playa del Carmen Located in: Quintana Roo Good for: a good mix of relaxing and fiesta!
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People who got sick and tired of how gringo Cancun looks have moved their business to Playa del Carmen, which started out as a “poor relative” and is now a hot spot for nightlife and glorious days at the beach. It attracted European tourism early, so there are plenty of culinary options as some visitors just decided to stay and open their own restaurants! Prices have peaked recently, but it is still a great option for those who believe that Cancun’s best days have passed.