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Dominicus Beach in Dominican Republic

Living in the Dominican Republic

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of the Dominican Republic is 10.7 million people. The largest cities in the Dominican Republic are Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, and La Romana. Expats love living in the Dominican Republic for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and friendly people. Life in the Dominican Republic is often described as relaxed and laid-back. Popular foods in the Dominican Republic include rice and beans, plantains, and sancocho (a stew made with meat, vegetables, and spices). The cons of living in the Dominican Republic include a lack of infrastructure, high crime rates, and a lack of job opportunities. The average cost of living for an expat in the Dominican Republic is around $1,500 to $2,000 per month. This includes rent, utilities, food, and other expenses.

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

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

"Before retiring in the Dominican Republic, it is important to research the cost of living, visa regulations, healthcare options, and local taxation regulations. Additionally, it is important to become familiar with the culture and language. It is beneficial to also find a local retirement community or expat group in order to become familiar with the area and meet like-minded people. Additionally, depending on the type of residence visa chosen, annual renewal fees may be necessary. Lastly, secure appropriate travel insurance with coverage for any medical expenses incurred while in the Dominican Republic," commented one expat who made the move to Dominican Rep.

"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!!!," remarked another expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

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How do I meet people in the Dominican Republic?

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

"There are several ways to meet people in the Dominican Republic. One way is to attend local events and festivals, such as the annual Carnival in Santo Domingo. Additionally, you can join and participate in a wide variety of organizations, such as sports teams or music groups. You could also take Spanish classes at a local language school, or even take part in one of the many adventure activities, such as hiking and rafting, that are popular in the Dominican Republic. Finally, meeting people through mutual friends and acquaintances is always possible in the Dominican Republic," added another expat who made the move to Dominican Rep.

"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," explained one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

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What is life like in the Dominican Republic?

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

"Life as an expat in this area can be both challenging and rewarding. The culture can be quite different from what a person is used to and so an effort must be made to understand the various customs and practices. Communicating in the local language can be a problem for some and cultural differences may be difficult to cope with. The climate is often hot and humid and the living conditions may not always be as comfortable as what is available in the home country. On the plus side, however, there are many rewarding aspects to living in this area such as the opportunity to explore the exotic local attractions, meet interesting people and experience a different way of life. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the local community, whether through volunteer work, sports or attending local gatherings and events," wrote a member in Dominican Rep.

"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.

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Is there a lot of crime in the Dominican Republic?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Yes, crime is a significant problem in the Dominican Republic. High poverty levels and a significant presence of weapons and drugs contribute to the issue. According to studies conducted by the UN, murder and theft are the most common crimes. In recent years, gang activity and trafficking of humans, drugs and arms have also been on the rise," added another expat in Dominican Rep.

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

"Yes, there is a great amount of diversity in the Dominican Republic. The nation is made up of several different ethnic and racial backgrounds, including Africans, Europeans, and Asians that were all brought together through different colonial periods. People in the Dominican Republic generally have a tolerant attitude towards different beliefs, cultures, and ethnicities, though there is still tension in some areas. Dominicans are very proud of their cultural heritage, however, and outsiders are often embraced and welcomed into their communities," wrote a member in Dominican Rep.

"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," commented one expat who made the move to Santo Domingo.

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What are the schools in the Dominican Republic like?

"In the Dominican Republic, education is both publicly funded and privately financed. Primary, secondary and higher education are provided in both public and private schools. Primary school is compulsory and free of charge, while secondary and higher education incur fees. The quality of public education in the Dominican Republic is below average, although authorities have made efforts to invest more in public schools. Private schools provide better-quality education but are often beyond the financial means of many families. In addition, the Dominican Republic boasts a variety of specialized schools, such as language schools, religious ones, Montessori schools, sports institutions and international schools offering bilingual education to students," said another expat in with children at .

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Is the cost of living in the Dominican Republic high?

We asked people how much they someone comfortably live on in the Dominican Republic, they wrote:

"The cost of living in the Dominican Republic is generally considered to be lower than in many other countries. Prices for housing, food, and other services tend to be quite affordable, especially when compared to North American or European countries," said another expat in Dominican Rep.

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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.

Dominicus Beach in Dominican Republic

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