I recently came back from a second business trip that I took to the Dominican Republic (DR) this past March. Though I was there on business it felt like a mini-vacation. It refreshed and rejuvenated me in many ways. And it showed me how the Dominican Republic is a dream expat location.
I was able to accomplish a number of important tasks related to the upgraded, streamlined graphic design services that are offered through ACS. Yet, I was also able to enjoy the weather, people, food, and sites to a great extent during my trip. I learned many things about the country.
I also did a little research on the country from an expat perspective as I am considering moving there in the near future. The remainder of this post includes some of the beneficial information that I learned during both of my trips and through my research.
The Dominican Republic offers several streamlined pathways to residency and even citizenship. It is fairly easy to obtain residency as a pensioner, renter, or investor. The pensioner’s residency pathway requires that you to make as little as $1,500 a month from retirement income. This program is great for retired military, government personnel, and other retirees who can provide proof of a stable retirement income.
The renter program requires you to show proof of $2000 monthly investment returns from an international rental property agreement. You can also meet this requirement with monthly investment-acquired income from other sources. The investment program requires that you make an investment of at least $200,000 in the DR. You can invest this amount in real estate or a business endeavor. These options allow you to fast-track the residency process and get you on track for citizenship.
There are additional stipulations for each of the programs, but they are fairly easy to meet. I strongly recommend connecting with a local attorney in the country if you plan to apply for residency. There are a number of legal stipulations that you need to be aware of in order to streamline the process.
Cost of Living
Cost of living is probably one of the most important factors when choosing an expat country. This is especially the case now that many people are unemployed or underemployed due to the constraints imposed on the global economy by COVID. Many people are looking for better ways to stretch their dollars and the DR is the perfect location for doing just that.
In comparison to U.S. rates, the DR can offer a luxury lifestyle on a shoestring budget. You can literally get a decent 3-bedroom flat for $200 a month in this country. Of course, rental and mortgage rates are based on location, amenities, and other factors. But it is not difficult to find a very economical and safe place to live in the Dominican Republic.
For around $1500 a month, you can easily find yourself living in the lap of luxury in many parts of the country. And that includes rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc. Some of the smaller, less touristy areas are even cheaper to live in. And this contributes to the Dominican Republic being an ideal expat location.
Weather and Climate
The DR has the perfect weather for locals, expats, and vacationers. It is warm and sunny year-round in the country. Though, parts of the country do experience a mild to moderate rainy season from May through mid-November. The coldest month of the year is January with an average temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
I was also in the DR this past January and can attest to the fact that they have amazing weather even during the winter months. During both of my recent visits, the weather was excellent. I literally forgot that it was wintertime in the US when I was there during the end of December.
Beyond the amazing tropical weather, the country boasts some of the most peaceful, beautiful beaches in the Caribbean Islands. It also has the most amazingly bountiful greenspaces and mountainscapes in the region. The capital city of Santo Domingo hosts the country’s most lavish botanical gardens and national parks.
So, if you want to knock off the COVID blues and you are looking for a place to brighten your mood, the DR is the place to be. While the country follows strict COVID guidelines in the tourist and business districts, the weather and climate will definitely give your spirit a boost.
With the beautiful weather and gorgeous terrain in the DR, you can’t help but be happy in this country. Everyone is so friendly and helpful – this includes the residents who primarily speak Spanish.
Even when they can’t understand you, they are willing help to you or find someone who can. For the record, my Spanish is very basic – I used a translator or interpreter during the majority of my trip.
Even at times when I didn’t have the convenience of one of these resources at my disposal someone always stepped in and helped me out. That being said, if you do decide to relocate to the island, I strongly recommend that you learn Spanish as it makes life a lot easier. It will help you be more independent if you learn how to speak, read, and write the language.
But even if you don’t, the people are very open and friendly. There will always be someone around to assist you in your time of need. That’s another reason why the Dominican Republic is a dream expat location.
Ease of Getting Around
This was probably the most impressive part about my stay. It was very easy to get around in the DR. I used Uber as my primary source of transportation during my most recent trip. Uber drivers are ubiquitous in the capital city and many other locations around the country.
I could schedule an Uber on the fly and a driver was available to pick me up within 2-4 minutes in most instances. The longest that I waited for an Uber was 5 minutes during that trip. And this was an exception, not the norm. The Uber fare was very economical at about $3-$4 for a half hour ride to many tourist locations around Santo Domingo.
Additionally, the drivers consistently got me safely to my destination without incident. Uber Eats is even readily available in the country. I used them a couple of times when I wasn’t in the mood for hotel food and didn’t feel like going out.
Aside from Uber, other rideshare apps, taxis, and motorbikes are likewise plentiful in the country. As in most countries, taxis are more expensive than rideshare apps. I never used a motorbike during my trip, however, my colleague did a few times. Though, he wasn’t too fond of using them because the drivers often drive recklessly and cause many accidents. However, each of his motorbike rides was safe and without incident.
During my first trip in December 2020, I actually drove a rental car. But a local rode with me and helped me navigate the terrain. I stayed in La Vega, a smaller town about 30 minutes outside of Santiago, during that trip. I was able to get around with much ease because I always had someone with me who knew the terrain.
Even with these factors, I know that the Google maps app is very streamlined in the country and it can get you from point A to point B with relative ease. Many of the Uber, motorbike, and taxi drivers use navigation systems to help them get around. And, they work very well. So I know if I did have to use one I would have been able to get around fairly easily.
The above-mentioned factors are just a few reasons to consider moving to the DR. The country has much more to offer. It has strong diplomatic ties with the US, which makes life much easier for U.S. citizens. It is no more than a 3.5-hour plane ride from the east coast. Also, many U.S. airlines fly to the DR on a daily basis with varied and flexible schedules. The country is also considered paradise by the locals and visitors alike.