By population and area, the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti, is the second largest country in the Caribbean after Cuba. If you dream living in the Dominican Republic, you should know the advantages and disadvantages.
The island is beautiful and offers several alternatives: it is possible to live in small towns in contact with nature where life is quiet, with little traffic, few people and reasonable prices or you may choose to live in more popular places like Punta Cana, where there are sea, sun, beaches and fun all year round, but the cost of living is higher.
In the Dominican Republic you will probably find some of the friendliest people in the world. It is easier to make friends here. People are always willing to help you without even knowing you. But you must be aware that many will try to take advantage of you because you are a foreigner. There are many people who live on the edge of despair and look at all foreigners as if they were millionaires.
Living in Dominican Republic is not expensive, compared to other countries, the cost of housing is relatively cheap, depending on the area. For $250 you can rent a house, except for the touristy areas. Food is not expensive either.
Public transportation is not the best. However, Santo Domingo has a subway (the most extensive subway system in the entire Caribbean and Central America). Public education is not very good, although the government runs free programs for the population. There is a public health system where everyone is treated for free in public hospitals, but it leaves much to be desired, most hospitals do not have enough funds or equipment, not even enough doctors. Therefore, it is advisable to take out private health insurance.
Corruption is present at all levels. Widespread corruption in the government is so deeply rooted that the population considers it normal that a politician, in order to be a politician, must be corrupt. Corruption is also present in the judiciary, many judges are corrupt. Even the police often take bribes, as it is common practice for people to bribe police officers to avoid fines or prosecution. Or if you are the victim of a crime, it is not impossible that you will be asked for a bribe to start the investigation.
There are virtually no border controls between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Every day hundreds, of Haitians cross the border in search of a better life, because the economic conditions in Haiti are catastrophic. This continuing influx of illegal immigrants only exacerbates the problems in the Dominican Republic. These immigrants often work for very low wages and in completely precarious conditions. In addition, many criminals enter the Dominican Republic from Haiti to conduct illegal activities.
The biggest problem for foreigners who want to live in the Dominican Republic is that of security. Many Dominicans do not have the opportunity to earn enough money to live decently. So the only option they have to survive is fraud and theft.
In general, the whole country is dangerous. However, some regions are more dangerous than others. But if you take safe routes, do not venture into unfamiliar areas, and avoid conspicuous behavior, you will have no problems. Thefts in homes are also common, unless you live in residential areas with private security.
As for the labor market, salaries are generally quite low. It should be remembered that a foreigner must be in possession of a work permit in order to work legally. Some good job opportunities are offered only to highly qualified professionals. For others, there is only the possibility of working in the tourism industry.
Since the economic principle of the Dominican Republic is total freedom of trade, it could be interesting to start your own business on the island.
Living in the Dominican Republic – pros and cons
Living in the Dominican Republic, pros
- Friendly people and easy integration
- Beautiful beaches and nature
- Low cost of living
- Good food
- Relaxed life and good weather
Living in the Dominican Republic, cons
- Inadequate public transportation
- Corruption at all levels
- Low wages and few employment opportunities
- Low security
Living and working in the Dominican Republic, conclusion
The biggest problems in the Dominican Republic are security, corruption at all levels of society, unemployment and lack of social welfare. Many parts of the country still experience power outages or water shortages, and the quality of education and health care is very low.
On the other side of the scale are: the warmth of the people, the sun, the sea, the palm trees and a relaxed and stress-free life. It’s up to you.