Where to Live in the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic
Did you know that the Dominican Republic was the final landing places for Christopher Columbus in 1493? Today, the DR is a popular Caribbean island that attracts thousands of tourists and expats. Expect to find pristine beaches and plenty of sunshine throughout the year, as well as high-end resorts and mountain hideaways with ocean views.
With a mixture of North American, Afro, European, and Latin culture, the Dominican Republic is one of the most affordable islands in the whole Caribbean. It is a perfect destination for both expats and those who are looking to retire and settle down somewhere in the Caribbean. Even if your monthly income just comes down to that social security check, you can still lead a comfortable life on the island. Those with a travel budget can go island hopping around the Caribbean and explore all the cool places in the area.
The good news is that the prices in the Dominican Republic are more similar to prices in South American than to the prices on other Caribbean islands. I mean, you can easily live on a monthly budget of $1,200 here in the DR. In case you can obtain a $2000 monthly budget, you will have a chance to live the good life and more cash for entertainment, travel, household help, and restaurants. Expats and retirees who have an opportunity to buy a property in the Dominican Republic will definitely decrease their monthly living costs. The property prices on the island definitely have value for the money. For example, you can purchase a new home for approximately $100,000.
Establishing residency in the Dominican Republic is quite easy and foreign investors are even rewarded with all kinds of benefits and perks. If you become a resident of the DR, you will instantly become eligible for home financing and are free to import a car and household goods tax-free. One of the benefits of being a resident here is that you pay for education in pesos, while those who don’t have a residence permit need to pay in dollars.
Expats with a resident status in the Dominican Republic can also work here. There are some nomads working in hotels, gyms, surfing schools, boutiques, and restaurants. Some of them use their skills like and a degree in mechanics and architecture to earn extra cash. There are expats who offer various consulting services and work online as graphic designers or web designers.
Samana and Las Terrenas
Located on the Dominican Republic’s northeast tip, the Samana Peninsula somehow managed to escape all of the hustle and bustle of tourist life until 10 years ago. In 2006, cruise ships started using a small harbor in the town of Samana to dock. Of course, the development that soon followed had an influence on local life and more and more tourists started coming here.
On the other hand, Las Terrenas is perfect for those who came to the Dominican Republic to retire. It’s a lot quieter than the Samana Peninsula and offers a laid-back lifestyle. Las Terrenas was founded by the Europeans who were looking for a getaway in the Caribbean back in 1970’s. Today, this community is home to residents from all over the world including people from France, Germany, Poland, England, France, and Italy.
The great thing about having such a diverse population is that many exotic imports from Europe are available. I mean, you can get a slice of a fresh Swiss cheese and a pair of German sausages at the supermarket. There are also many international restaurants with renowned chefs from all across the globe.
Las Terrenas is also well-known for affordable beachfront properties available for both sale and rent. An apartment can cost you less than $100,000 and there are many places that are available for rent. In case you purchase an apartment or a house here, you can always rent it and earn extra cash.
One of the reasons why many people decide to come and live here in Las Terrenas is the fact that there are no massive condo developments, high-end hotels, and luxurious resorts along the sandy coastline. There are height restrictions that keep buildings that are close to the beach only three to four stories high.
Another nice thing about Las Terrenas’ long stretches of sandy coastline is that they’re not lined with hotels or massive condo developments. Height restrictions keep buildings at the beach to three and four stories, no higher.
The second-largest city on the whole island, Santiago de los Caballeros has over 600,000 residents and is home to many expats and retirees who came from abroad. As an expat, you will have access to many services including cable TV and Wi-Fi and the range of amenities is much better than in other places of the island. The downside of living as an expat in Santiago is that it is quite crowded and noisy. There are also no beaches here, but a few are located just an hour ride away by car. If you are searching for the best neighborhoods in Santiago, go to the northeast side of town where you will find many foreigners and upper-class Dominicans.
Expect to find lovely beachfront villages and towns west of Samana on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Puerto Plata is the largest town in the area that features several resorts, has a small international airport, and offers the only aerial tram service in the Caribbean. Head out to the nearby town of Sosua which is a major tourist hotspot and attracts many foreigners who are looking for a new home. An interesting fact about Sosua is that it was the place where a lot of Jewish people found shelter from the Nazis in the early 1940’s. From the 1990’s to 2000’s, Sosua was the center of sex tourism and the government somehow managed to clean things up a bit. There are still signs of its former glory, especially after dark.
Many people who have been living in Sosua have moved to the nearby village of Cabarete. This smallish town is full of European expats and is fronted by a wide beach that is worldwide famous kite-surfing. You will find the small village and harbor of Luperon on the west side of Puerto Plata. It still has plenty of Dominican character but is also populated by many foreign sailors.
Located on the southern coast, Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and the largest city on the island with around 1 million in the central part of the city and 2 million people who live in the suburbs. Did you know that half of the island’s population lives in Santo Domingo? There is a small colonial center, but most parts of the city can be best described as urban. A number of services and amenities like cultural venues, hospitals, schools, restaurants can be found in the city, but some expats don’t like the high level of noise and the busy traffic.
Santo Domingo is one of those metropolitan cities that constantly changes. Neighborhoods that used to be residential have turned into commercial districts, while older areas in the city like Gazcue have become a hotspot for investors and buyers from abroad. However, some of the best neighborhoods in the city include Cuesta Hermosa, Cacicazgos, Gazcue, Paraiso, Castellana, El Millón, Los Pinos, La Julia, Naco, Piantini, Julieta, Bella Vista, Mirador del Sur, Anacaona, and Arroyo Hondo.
La Romana and Casa de Campo
Located east of Santo Domingo you will find La Romana and the luxurious community of Casa del Campo where all the fancy retirees and wealthy expats live. Developed back in 1975, this high-end development features over 1,600 private villas, several world-class golf courses, cabanas, and private beaches. Most of the amenities are similar to the ones you would find in 5-star hotels, but with these amenities, prices are much higher and homes for sale cost from $500,000 to $30 million. Just outside of Casa de Campo in La Romana rental prices are much cheaper.
One of the favorite vacation destinations for the locals is definitely the famous Jarabacoa. The main reason why this is such a great spot is the fact that it gets much cooler here because of the higher altitudes. In summer months, the temperature is around 24° C, while in winter it tends to be around 20° C. If you wish to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded capital and popular coastal towns, Jarabacoa is a perfect getaway for everyone who loves the outdoors. You will find dozens of hiking trails, waterfalls, and river treks in the area.