Moving to the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is fast becoming a popular destination for expats. Each year, more and more people from Europe and the US are lured to this part of Hispaniola by the tropical climate, inexpensive properties and high rates of return on investments.

Expats who come to work in the Dominican Republic for a few years take up jobs as managers of Free Zone factories or at NGOs and embassies. There are also a large number of expats who relocate to the Dominican Republic upon retirement. Most expats are based in the capital, Santo Domingo, or close to the coastal towns of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete.

Retirees living in the Dominican Republic often choose to stay in gated housing complexes. These self-contained communities offer certain home comforts like international supermarkets stocking imported goods and restaurant chains.   

Expats moving to the Dominican Republic should prepare themselves for a slower pace of life and having to deal with lots of bureaucratic delays. Power cuts are frequent and road conditions are not always good. However, foreigners can’t help but be captivated by the beauty of this geographically diverse country. From the white sandy beaches and Caribbean seas to the rolling green hills of Pico Duarte, the scenery in the Dominican Republic is breathtaking.

The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish and expats should try to master at least the basics – even just speaking a few words of Spanish will help new arrivals interact with the locals, who are known for their friendliness, curiosity and warm hospitality.

The influx of refugees from Haiti has put an enormous strain on the Dominican Republic's public health and education systems. However, in reality, this doesn’t pose too much of a problem for expats. Most expats will opt to be treated in a private hospital, as standards are likely to be closer to what they'd get in their home country. Expat children in the Dominican Republic tend to be educated at either a bilingual private school or one of the country’s few international schools.

So, while expats moving to the Dominican Republic in search of paradise might end up disappointed, those who embark on their journey with an open mind and sense of adventure will settle in well and be able to make the most of the wealth of opportunities this country offers.