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Dominicus Beach in Dominican Republic
Dominicus Beach in Dominican Republic
Dominicus Beach in Dominican Republic

Living in the Dominican Republic

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 10, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Dominican Rep. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know about living in the Dominican Republic?

Live in the Dominican Republic? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to the Dominican Republic, they said:

"Be prepared to adjust. Be prepared to be frustrated and to want to smack your head into the wall. But also be prepared to find the small joys here!! The people are remarkably friendly and helpful. There are many many good people but that takes time to get to know who they are. You won't find them in your first few months here!!!!! After 11 years I am still learning so much. I live in a typical middle class Dominican neighborhood! I am the only expat and I love my life here. 11 years of business and consulting and I pretty much know how to get things done..... but every single day I learn something new!!!," added another expat who made the move to Santo Domingo.

"Only come if you are retired, and have at least $3,000.00 USD per month to spend on expenses, and enough reserve cash to return to your country for medical treatment if you need because the medical system here is a total disaster. Also purchase Medi-Vac Insurance to be 100% certain you can be air lifted and repatriated in case of medical emergency. Do not move to this city, if you cannot deal with pollution and noise, rude people, constant traffic jams, crazy drivers. Only move here as a temporary stop in order to find your way into the more peacful interior town of Jarabacoa. If you are not retired, stay away if you are looking for work, unless you want to earn $400.00 USD each month," explained one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

"I would tell them to first visit, meet people in the Chamber of Commerce to get better acquainted with where to live and how to move around in the city," mentioned another in Santiago de los Caballeros.

"It would depend on how old he is. If retired come, come, come if wanting work unless he has plenty capital to start a business, go somewhere else," explained one expat who made the move to Las Terrenas.

"Learn Spanish - Come with some money to get established. Find a way to make money here. It is not very expensive to live here, but at the same time, you won't make a lot of money either. If you have any questions about moving to Santiago, you can email me at ," said one expat living in Santiago, Dominican Rep.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

How do I meet people in the Dominican Republic?

Live in the Dominican Republic? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in the Dominican Republic about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Any expat groups, spanish lessons at a qualified school. Join a dance group, a walking group and kind of group that gets you out meeting others," said another expat in Santo Domingo.

"Sign up for a course in speaking Spanish at the Dominican Americano School, located on Antonio de la Maza in the block below Ave Abraham Lincoln. There you will meet Dominicans who are enrolled to learn English, giving you both something in common. Many who are there are willing to tell you about their culture and give you the do's and don'ts as to how best to avoid trouble and where to go socially. Other places are the bigger Malls and supermarkets and the Metro which is the new subway line," added another expat who made the move to Santo Domingo.

"Take some Spanish classes, Join the Facebook group "The Santiago Healthy, Wealthy and Wise" go to meetup.com and join the santiago healthy wealthy and wise group. If you have a business join the Chamber of Commerce," explained one expat living in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Rep.

"I recommend people to take Spanish. It is a great place to meet people and you will be able to communicate with the locals," mentioned another in Santiago.

"First thing I do in any place is look for the Expat hangouts and sit and chat. I also look for a country/area specific website to make acquaintances. Works for me and I now have parties on 4th of July, US Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday to gather all the expats I can. I get from 125 to 175 people at my events 3 times a year. Great place for networking and making friends and getting to know your new country," explained one expat who made the move to Sosua.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What is life like in the Dominican Republic?

Live in the Dominican Republic? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in the Dominican Republic what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"The culture revolves around home and community, it is one of the things I love about this country. It can make living here and getting things done a challenge. Embrace it as much as you can and learn to go with the flow when needed, and learn when to put your foot down!!," commented one expat who made the move to Santo Domingo.

"Yes! Just like most major cities. People are up early going to work or school. The proiorities in Santo Domingo are ME FIRST!! People here have total disregard for traffic laws and signals. If you are being helped by a customer service person at a bank or store, people will interupt and start talking to the service person as if you are not even there. If you are waiting in line, people will walk right up next to you and jump the line, thinking nothing is wrong with this," remarked another expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

"Luperon is a small village the boaters come and stay weeks months and some years. The bay is a hurricane whole to wait out bad weather and haul your boat. Several boaters have retired and moved ashore," added another expat in Luperon.

"I found that in the city, most people are just trying to make a living. Family is also very important. The weekends are meant for socializing," remarked another expat who made the move to Santo Domingo.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in the Dominican Republic accepting of differences?

Live in the Dominican Republic? Answer this Question

"Absolutely diverse, very different from where I am from. While the country is predominantly catholic - that doesn't stop a lot of "other" activity. The DR is racially divided, economically divided and very much a culture of who you know or who you are related to. It can make work and business difficult at the very least. Are they accepting of differences - not really but you learn to work around that," remarked another expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

"Yes they are diverse. No, they are not as accepting of people who are different. I noticed there is racisim among Dominicans. The Dominicans who are light skinned in complection have this air of aristocrocy about themselves, as it relates to dealing with dark skinned Dominicans. Light skinned Dominicans are perceived to be well off financially and the dark ones are the poor and uneducated people. This is not true, but this is the normal thinking among Dominicans. If you are Anglo/White, you are considered wealthy. If you are American Black or White, that trumps any Dominican in social and economic status," added another expat in Santo Domingo.

"People are very accepting, and the community is very friendly and like tourist," remarked another expat who made the move to Luperon.

"Local Dominicans accept you for what you are except that if you are white you are very rich and they expect you to be generous, Don't be," explained one expat living in Las Terrenas, Dominican Rep.

"I found a lot of diversity in the city, in all areas. It reminds me a lot of NYC, with all kinds of people living and working together," said another expat in Santo Domingo.

"People in this town run from the very wealthy to the struggling. Most people get along except the BS Artists," added another expat who made the move to Sosua.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Whether you're considering living in the Dominican Republic full- or part-time, this beautiful country boasts the Caribbean's largest city, Santo Domingo, virgin beaches in Barahona, yachting enclaves on both the north and south coasts and the bustling resort town, Punta Cana. Expats in the Dominican Republic share their favorite places to live.

Dominicus Beach in Dominican Republic

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Dominican Rep GuideDominican Rep Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Dominican Rep.

Dominican Rep Forum Dominican Rep Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Dominican Rep on our Dominican Rep forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Dominican Rep Index Dominican Rep Index
An index of all of our site's Dominican Rep information.

Contribute to Dominican Rep Network Contribute
Help others in Dominican Rep by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Dominican Rep.

Expat Healthcare Advice in Dominican RepHealthcare & Health Insurance in Dominican Rep

Expats in Dominican Rep offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Dominican Rep.

Expat Talk about Healthcare Advice in Dominican RepMembers Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Dominican Rep

Expats in Dominican Rep offer advice about healthcare in Dominican Rep.

Best Places to Live in Dominican Rep Best Places to Live in Dominican Rep

Whether you're considering living in the Dominican Republic full- or part-time, this beautiful country boasts the Caribbean's largest city, Santo Domingo, virgin beaches in Barahona, yachting enclaves on both the north and south coasts and the bustling resort town, Punta Cana.

Real Estate in Dominican RepReal Estate in Dominican Rep

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Dominican Rep.

Guide to Real Estate in Dominican RepGuide to Real Estate in Dominican Rep

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Dominican Rep.

Pros Cons of Living in Dominican RepPros & Cons of Living in Dominican Rep

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Dominican Rep.

Cost of Living in Dominican RepCost of Living in Dominican Rep

Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Dominican Rep.

8-Best-Places-to-Live-in-the-Dominican-Republic-20228 Best Places to Live in the Dominican Republic 2022

Whether you're considering living in the Dominican Republic full- or part-time, this beautiful country boasts the Caribbean's largest city, Santo Domingo, virgin beaches in Barahona, yachting enclaves on both the north and south coasts and the bustling resort town, Punta Cana. Expats in the Dominican Republic share their favorite places to live.

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