The Dominican Republic is fast becoming a popular destination for expats, with many lured to this idyllic Caribbean island by the tropical climate, inexpensive properties and high rates of return on investments.

A popular retirement destination, the Dominican Republic is frequently chosen by expats looking to live out their golden years in sunshine. Those who come to the island for work often take up jobs at embassies, NGOs, international schools and Free-Zone factories. Most expats are based in the capital, Santo Domingo, or close to the coastal towns of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete.

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

When planning a move to the Dominican Republic, expats should prepare themselves for a slower pace of life and anticipate 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.

Good private hospitals are available and tend to be first choice for most expats as standards are likely to be closer to what they'd get in their home country. Expat children in the Dominican Republic are often sent to either a bilingual private school or one of the country’s few international schools.

The Dominican Republic may not be the easiest of expat destinations, but 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.

Fast facts

Population: 10.8 million

Capital city: Santo Domingo

Neighbouring countries: Located in the Greater Antilles archipelago, the Dominican Republic occupies most of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti occupying a section of the western side of the island. Puerto Rico is located to the east of the Dominican Republic, across the Caribbean Sea.

Geography: The Dominican Republic is a mountainous island with multiple major ranges interspersed by various plains and valleys. The island is bound by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south.

Political system: Unitary presidential republic

Major religions: Christianity

Main languages: Spanish

Money: The local currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP), subdivided into 100 centavos. ATMs can be easily found across the island and opening a local bank account is a simple process.

Tipping: 10 percent

Time: GMT-4

Electricity: 110V, 50Hz. Plugs are Type A and B as used in the United States.

Internet domain: .do

International dialling code: +1 809

Emergency contacts: 911

Transport and driving: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Santo Domingo has a metro system and there are buses throughout the country, but most expats prefer to drive.