Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Report of what it's like to live there - 07/23/19
Personal Experiences from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
no, have lived in 3 cities outside US
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
New housing compound a bit better, service/construction-wise than housing on economy, but you live in a boring area with a bunch of colleagues. Maybe works best for those with little kids looking for playmates.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Groceries about 25% over US prices
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Anything you can't get through DPO, such as liquids, very large items, etc.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
This is one of the main downsides to this post. There is almost no exotic cuisine - Thai, Chinese, sushi, etc. You can get Mexican, sort of, but mostly it's Dominican and American fast food. That's it.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Insects are everywhere.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO is fast - about one week.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Maybe $500-600/month but really hard to find someone honest and trustworthy.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
There are a few super-gyms in country. Not cheap but comparable to US prices.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
You really need Spanish. Not much English even though the DR lives in the shadow of the US.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
No to local transport, which is private publicos and believe me, you don't want to get inside. Great metro but it doesn't go anywhere you need to go. Affordable taxis. However, everyone drives everywhere, for the most part.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes, US prices
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Business dress at the Embassy
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
DR is very dangerous. Members of the official community have endured burglaries and some have even been stabbed on the street. It's not the most dangerous Latin American country, but that's about the only thing you can say.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Most of the typical tropical diseases are present here.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Air is good to moderate.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot and humid - winter is pleasant. Summer oppressive.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Local schools dominated by local kids who do not want to socialize with foreign kids. This is a challenge, depending on the kid.
2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
You can learn to surf, dive, anything on the water.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
It's a fairly small expat community, given how small the country and capital city are.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
No way Jose.
2. Do you have any other comments?
OK, you've been assigned to the DR. Not the best news, perhaps, but just make the best of it. It won't be your favorite tour, but maybe you can turn it into a positive. Enjoy the beach and try to survive the traffic.