Living in the Dominican Republic
by Byron Bales
You wouldn't believe that the Dominican Republic in on the same island as Haiti; Hispaniola. Not that the D.R. is that great; it's just that Haiti is so broke-dick poor.
All in all, the D.R. isn't a bad place for retirement. Or, put another way, it's more interesting than Florida. For starters, the D.R. seems to be the baseball capitol of the south, and if hanging out and watching some very good baseball games is your thing, this is the place.
English is spoken throughout the country, but it's best to pick up a little Spanish. Easy enough. Dominicans are a friendly people, and the women are quite attractive. Don't read anything into that; the D.R. is traditionally Spanish with it comes to morals.
The D.R. is a good place for married retirees, and there are even some moderate business opportunities, providing your enterprise is hands-on. And, like in most developing countries, do not put all of your money in-country. This is another country where U.S. Marines had to go in and sort things out a few times, most recently around 1965.
The U.S. dollar will go far in the D.R. Even residing in the capital, Santo Domingo, is less expensive than just about anywhere in the States. U.S. dollars go about 2-3 times as far as in the States. For a capital city, Santo Domingo isn't bad. It's slower and not over-populated like most capitols, and there's laid-back attitude. Still, things get down, if slowly, and there's good food all around town, and for that matter, all around the country. D.R.'s climate is nearly perfect, and the infrastructure is generally good. Health services aren't the best, but hardly the worst in the Caribbean, with local physicians (in Santo Domingo) capable of handling most medical emergencies and provide health maintenance programs.
Outside of Santo Domingo, heading East, there are many resorts and for some reason, Italians retirees and tourists have adopted the area between Santo Domingo and San Pedro de Macoris, and on out to La Romana. There are some good golf clubs out along that way.
The northern part of the country is more remote (only 9,000,000 people populate the D.R.) and aside from a very short flight or long drive North to towns like San Francisco de Macoris, Santiago, and on up to Puerto Plata, there's not much there, except beautiful, remote, and quiet beaches and coves.
Like Port au Prince, Haiti, it's 90 minutes by air to Miami.