Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Living in Dominican Rep Guide

Living in the Dominican Republic Guide

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Aug 19, 2019

Summary: Expats, global nomads and retirees living in the Dominican Republic talk about meeting other expats, befriending locals, the local culture, diversity in the Dominican Republic, international schools, crime and more.

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People living in the Dominican Republic share their experiences making friends, adjusting to the culture, what expat life is like in the Dominican Republic, healthcare in the Dominican Republic and more.

Deciding Where to Live in the Dominican Republic

When we asked expats living in Dominican Rep to offer newcomers advice about choosing a neighborhood and finding a home, they replied:

"I chose my neighborhood because it is located within walking distance of the Sea and one half block from the Metro/Subway. I found my apartment through a website named Sublet.com," said one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

"i have lived in various parts of the country. The first place was a tourist resort on the Caribbean sea, where I went as my job as a scuba diving instructor was there. A small studio came with the job and after a month I moved into a rental apartment. Here you just put the word out you are looking and people come to you with their apartments. Now I live in a little Dominican town, chosen as it was far from tourists and hence much safer and much cheaper. Again just put the word out and found the house," mentioned another expat in Dominican Rep.

"I first came to a beach town but then found that for a single older intellectual woman, the capital was best. I took my time, found the pool, the library, the neighborhood I liked best, then the apartment, not the other way around," commented one expat who made the move to Dominican Rep.

Read our article, 8 Best Places to Live in the Dominican Republic 2021, for advice about deciding where to live in the Dominican Republic.

Expats in Dominican Rep may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Get a Quote

Expats in Dominican Rep may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

Meeting People in the Dominican Republic

Expats living in Dominican Rep talked about meeting people in Dominican Rep and local clubs and organizations:

"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 one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

"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," mentioned another expat in Dominican Rep.

"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," commented one expat who made the move to 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," remarked another expat living in Santiago, Dominican Rep.

"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," added another expat in Dominican Rep.

Expat Life in the Dominican Republic

What is it like living in the Dominican Republic? Here is what people had to say:

"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!!," said one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

"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," mentioned another expat in 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," commented one expat who made the move to Dominican Rep.

"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 living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

What Expats Appreciate about Their New Culture

We asked expats in the Dominican Republic what they appreciated about their new culture. Here's what they had to say:

"I appreciate the fact that under extreme poverty, the people somehow seem to survive on so little," said one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

The Most Challenging Aspects of Living in the Dominican Republic

Then, we asked expats in the Dominican Republic what was most challenging about their new culture. They replied:

"The most challenging aspect of the new culture for me has been getting business people to understand that when I pay for a service, I expect to get what I pay for in a timely manner. Example, ( I went to a local bank to open a checking account and I had to come back and forth four times to complete the process) ( my apartment lease includes TV internet and cable. The TV was a 30 year old TV that never worked, the cable only sometimes and the internet is much like waiting for a snail to travel one mile. I requested to have my lease reflect the fact that none of these services are being used due to the fact that the landlord removed the TV during my first week and I had to purchase my own, plus I had to purchase my own internet and cable to ensure that I have service. However, the landlord wants to stick to our original agreement even though he is not providing what is promised in the lease. These sorts of things are very common in Santo Domingo). Beware," said one expat living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

Diversity in the Dominican Republic

We asked expats about diversity in the Dominican Republic and whether locals are accepting of differences. They said:

"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," said one 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," mentioned another expat in Dominican Rep.

"People are very accepting, and the community is very friendly and like tourist," commented one expat who made the move to Dominican Rep.

"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," remarked another 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," added another expat in Dominican Rep.

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

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Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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