How To Retire In The Dominican Republic The Pros And Cons

Facade Of Old Building With Flag Of Dominican Republic

So you are thinking of retiring to the Dominican Republic and want to know the specific reasons why you should.  Let me share the biggest pros and cons with you for foreigners moving to this Spanish speaking country. 

The pros include affordable cost of living, cheap accommodation, great culture, festival lifestyle, great food, beautiful beaches and welcoming people. The cons include high flight costs, low security services, lack of healthcare facilities in rural areas and poor quality public facilities.

What are the Pros of living in the Dominican Republic?

  • Great Food
    • Supermarkets
    • Street Food
    • Restaurants
  • Great Culture and Lifestyle
  • Low Cost of Living
  • Great Weather
  • Cheap Accommodation
  • Beautiful Beaches
  • Great Location
  • Low Flight Costs

What are the Cons of living in the Dominican Republic?

  • Improper Safety 
  • Low quality public facilities
    • Poor Public Transportation
    • Poor Water Quality
  • Less Healthcare services in rural areas

Now you know the major pros and cons about retiring to the Dominican Republic. It’s time to discuss these pros and cons broadly to decide whether the Dominican Republic will be a perfect landing place for you or not. 

What Are The Visa Requirements For The Dominican Republic?

Obtaining a residency permit is an effortless process for the Dominican Republic but requires a notable amount of paperwork. If you are a foreign retiree with $1,500 USD in income per month you can apply for a provisional residential permit with the Department of Migration. Then you have to submit proof of your income and original documents along with their Spanish translated copies. This process needs to be done within 60 days of arrival in the Dominican Republic.

So long as you qualify for the Pensionado visa, you will have to apply for temporary residence which needs to be renewed annually. After four years of temporary residence you will be certified for permanent residence. You can apply for citizenship after two years of permanent residence. Once you submit the proof of your income to the Department of Migration you can avail many benefits in the Dominican republic. You will get 50% exemption of property taxes and can also avail exemption of taxes importing vehicles and furniture from your home country.

While there is no minimum age this specific visa requires you to provide proof of your government or alternate pension money payments.  Essentially this is a non lucrative visa where they will let you in as long as you prove you won’t be a burden on the system.

The link to the Dominical Immigration website is below:
LINK: Pensioned Residence Visa

For all other visas you can go to their main visa page below:
LINK: Residence And Permits For The Dominican Republic

What are the Pros of living in Dominican Republic?

The Diverse And Creative Food Scene

Dominican cuisine is diverse, consisting of Spanish, Middle Eastern and African influences. There are heaps of cheap street food as well as restaurants you can visit.

Some of the popular national dishes are:

  • La Bandera – is the national dish of Dominican Republicans
  • La Bandera – consists of red beans, white rice and meat and is served with salad 
  • Pica Pollo – basically fried chicken
  • Carne guisada – a spicy beef stew
  • La bandera Dominicana – a spicy chicken drumstick and rice dish

One of the major reasons for the large number of tourists in the Dominican Republic is its diverse cuisine. Dominican cuisine is considered as one of the best cuisines in the world due to its variety and use of spices. Supermarkets in the Dominican Republic

You can buy groceries from supermarkets at cheap rates and make food at home. The major pros is that you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables at a cheap rate from supermarkets. 

The local supermarket chains are:

TIP: You can search supermarkets in nearby areas by using google map. You can also order groceries online or just click on their names above for their websites.

Street Food

In the Dominican Republic you can buy delicious street food not only from the streets but also in small stores in town and near beach sites. 

The most popular street foods are:

  • Yaniqueque – Fried bread with melted butter and salt with crunchy texture
  • Chimichurris – Hamburger consists of a bun topped with meat, various spices, mayonnaise, cabbage and onions
  • Yaroa – made of mashed sweet plantains, cheese, meat, fries, mayonnaise and ketchup 


Dominican restaurants offer a mix of French, Spanish, Creole, Italian cuisine. You can find various priced restaurants to suit all budgets and most are of a good quality. 

Some well known Santo Domingo restaurants are:

TIP: Go to good maps and search for the town in the Dominican Republic you are thinking of retiring too and then change the search to restaurants and change the filters to the quality and price of food you normally eat.  You can then see their websites and pictures of their food and menus as well as read customer comments.

The Dominican Republic’s Great Culture and Lifestyle

The Dominican Republic has a diverse multicultural mix originating from European, African and Native Taino influences but the core of Dominican culture arises from Spanish culture. 

Laws of the Dominican Republic provide freedom of religion. 75% of the population belong to Roman Catholic Christianity. 20% of the population follow Protestant Christianity. Remaining 5% population follow Atheism, Judaism, Islam and Caribean Vodou.

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. French and English are used as secondary languages but are not widely spoken. So if you are relocating you will need to learn Spanish to a basic level.

In the Dominican Republic baseball is the most popular sport. The Dominican Republic has a baseball league consisting of six teams. Baseball season starts during October and ends in January. Other popular sports are Volleyball and Taekwondo.

Dominicans are very socially active and their families usually live together all under the same roof. They have a good sense of humor and fiestas are a vital part of the Dominican lifestyle like in most latin countries. Merengue is known as the national dance. 

They are very hospitable and friendly and welcome foreigners and visitors to family celebrations. Courtesy and hospitality is considered part of their core value. Shared meals and helping others is common for them. 

The Low Cost of Living In The Domican Republic

One of the major pros of living in the Dominican Republic is the cost which is 31.3% cheaper than the USA. In the Dominican Republic the cost of living varies depending upon in which area you are living and the lifestyle you choose like every other country. For most people the cost will normally be between $500-$1000 usd. A monthly budget of $1000 USD will allow you to have a luxurious living standard. 

Here is a list of some of the common monthly expenses for you to think about:

Monthly ExpenseUSD Cost
Rent – 2 bedroom$410
Rent – 1 bedroom unit $330
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Rates)$35.85
Food and Groceries$200
Total Expenses (2 bed)$737.85
Total Expenses (1 bed)$657.85

The Great Weather In The Dominican Republic

Dominican climate is hot and varies from region to region but on average around 25 deg C or 77 F. Dominican Republic has two main seasons; wet season and dry season. 

Wet season starts from June to November and is characterized by high rainfall and high humidity.  This is typically the cyclone season and it normally sees a cyclone every couple of years hitting the south coast a two thirds of the time.   While the dry season starts from December to April and is characterized by low rainfall and low humidity. Temperature remains pleasantly warm during the dry season.

The rainy season is between late April and October at the Eastern and Southern coast of the Dominican Republic. While due to trade winds Northern and Western coast experience low rainfall during from June to September. Due to trade winds most areas are humid and are lush green. 

This link contains detailed weather conditions of the Dominican Republic.

LINK:  Official Dominican Republic Weather Forcast

Cheap Accommodation

For renting property, the cost for accommodation starts at $330 USD / month for one bedroom apartment and $410 USD / month for a two bed apartment. Cost to purchase property starts from $65,000 to $100,000 for a 1 bed 1 bath condo or apartment. This price varies depending upon the location but this price was from Santo Domingo. 

Here are some local real estate agents you can look at for rentals and properties to buy:

TIP: If you want to search for more real estate agents in the Dominican Republic then after you put the map on the country search for “Inmobiliaria” which is the local word for them.

Multiple Beautiful Beaches

The beaches are thought to be the most beautiful in Carribean. On the northern coast of the Dominican Republic you will find an array of soft sand beaches. The southern coast beaches are white powdery sand and the eastern coast Punta Cana beach is a combination of attractive beaches and lavish resorts.  Bávaro beach is the best beach on the north coast of Punta Cana. 

You can explore more amazing beaches through following link:

LINK: Top-Rated Beaches in the Dominican Republic

The Great Location Of The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country present on the two-third island of Hispaniola. With the Atlantic Ocean in North and Caribbean Sea in the South it is considered as the best place for travelers. The country area is 48,442 km which makes it the second largest country of Antilles. Due to its location it has tropical climates with low land. Pros due to its location is that it is near target markets such as the US and Canada.

For that reason, these 9 places are the most chosen by retirees and travelers from US and Canada. Check this out in the 9 Best Places To Retire In Dominican Republic.

For more details click on link below:
LINK: Dominican Republic

Low Flight Costs

Another pro of living in the Dominican Republic is low flight costs and the short flight time of 3 ½ hours from New York. The cheapest flights from the Dominican Republic to the US costs under $200 USD USD while a non- stop flight costs $178 USD. The major airlines that fly to the Dominican Republic are Delta, JetBlue and American airlines. Airline of the Dominican Republic are SkyCana, Red air, FlyCana and Air Century. Cost of flights varies with season in the Dominican Republic. Flights are cheapest only in October and most expensive in July.

This link provides more details about flight costs:
LINK: Dominican Republic to USA

What Are The Cons Of Living In The Dominican Republic?

Safety In The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has a high crime rate especially in the capital city of Santo Domingo including Arroyo Hondo, Cristo Rey, Naco and Gazcue. The major crime in the Dominican Republic are transport crime, mugging, money scam, theft and murder. For a solo woman there is danger of sexual harassment. 

If you are moving to these cities you must take some precautions. Avoid walking alone in streets at night. You must avoid visiting La Duarte, a street in Santo Domingo which is always crowded and has a high risk of mugging. Avoid travelling in unlicensed taxis. You can live in “Gated Communities” which provide security to residents.

LINK: USA Travel Advisory For The Dominican Republic

Low Quality Public Facilities

In the Dominican Republic the quality of public facilities is outside major cities and tourist areas. Residents face several problems such as less electric and water supply, poor education, poor sanitation facilities and lack of proper transportation facilities and poor healthcare services. 

Poor Public Transportation

Public transport facilities are good in tourist areas and buses are used for inland public transportation. Highways are in good condition in major cities. But choices of transportation are not good in rural areas and small towns. Like with most countries you will need a car in those rural areas.

Following link provides more information about transportation.

LINK: Transport in the Dominican Republic

Poor Water Quality

The quality of drinking water is low due to the poor purification system with 38.4% of drinking water not undergoing the chlorination process. So it is recommended that you drink bottled water while there.

The following link provides more information about transportation

LINK: Water supply and sanitation in the Dominican Republic

Less Healthcare Services In Rural Areas

The healthcare system is excellent only in major cities and tourist areas such as Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Sosúa.  This healthcare system is government run. In public hospitals treatment is free for permanent residents but stitches and x-ray are paid for.

The quality of healthcare services for the public drops in rural areas.  Foriegn residents prefer to visit private clinics which can be expensive for locals without health insurance. Emergency healthcare services are only present in Santo Domingo, east to Boca Chica, and west to San Cristobal. In rural areas emergency healthcare services are not available which is the biggest cons of living in rural areas in the Dominican Republic.

Here Are Some Other Great Places You Can Retire On A Budget

Here are some other places with similar low costs of living that are safe and offer great lifestyles with large expat communities that you might want to consider looking at.

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