Life in the Dominican Republic.
Civilization on a paradise island.
The Dominican Republic is a country a little larger than the Moscow region, which divides the island of Haiti with the Republic of Haiti.
Above, the island is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, from below – by the Caribbean Sea.
There are long white beaches, high mountains of the Cordillera, buildings of conquistadors, megacities with skyscrapers and metro, and villages without electricity with rice and reed fields. Approximately so, most Russians imagine a paradise island. From Moscow to fly here 11 hours.
Yellow is the part of the island of Haiti that the Dominican Republic occupies. The island itself is a crocodile that tries to grab the tail of Cuba.
The bulk of tourists come to the area of the village of Bavaro – Punta Cana. Usually here they arrive for a two-week rest in the all-inclusive mode. Most of the village is occupied by hotels, sometimes so huge that it takes 10 minutes to get from the gate to the reception.
Foreigners living in Bavaro on a permanent basis, are forced to put up with the characteristics of the tourist reservation. The whole village has three shopping centers, one cinema, four nightclubs, several restaurants with seafood. But a lot of work for immigrants. I lived here almost a year, working as a guide in a travel agency.
Hotel “Barcelo-bavaro-palace-deluxe”, photo by Philip Poliantsev from the helicopter.
“For the soul” expats go live on the picturesque peninsula of Samana or the Atlantic coast: the city of Puerto Plata, the surfers loved village of Cabarete.
Most foreigners in the Dominican Republic are engaged in tourism. Someone opens their own business, someone earns remotely or lives on rent. Prices in the Dominican Republic are comparable to those in Moscow, so it’s not going to work like in Asia.
The official currency of the country is the Dominican peso. American dollars are also in motion. All prices in the article are given in dollars for clarity. The rate in August 2017 is 47 pesos for $ 1.
Citizens of Russia and CIS countries can come to the Dominican Republic for a month without a visa. There are several ways to stay and get a temporary residence permit:
a) to marry a citizen of the Dominican Republic; b) invest $ 200,000 (11.7 million rubles) in government bonds; c) conclude a labor contract with a local company, 80% of employees in which are Dominicans; d) have a monthly passive income of 1500-2000 $ – for example, from rent or pension.
Every year, a temporary residence permit needs to be updated. It costs about 30,000 Dominican pesos – about $ 640 (37,500 R). After 5 years they issue a permanent residence permit, for 4 years. There are paid accelerated programs. With these documents, you can enjoy all the rights of citizens of the Dominican Republic, as well as receive an American visa for 10 years.
is a temporary residence permit. You need to update it annually.
Every six months, the rules for obtaining Dominican citizenship change significantly. The country gradually tightens the migration policy, so if you think about moving, then be sure to update the current information.
In the pathos tourist area you can rent a two-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and a terrace for $ 500-700 (29 000-41 000 R) per month, a villa – from $ 1000. In the capital and in cities, the rental rate is simpler starting from $ 300 (17,500 R).
During the year I moved several times, lived in different regions and apartments of different classes. The first and cheapest apartment for $ 500 (29 300 R) was in Bavaro on the first line. At first, I was happy, but soon found out that in conditions of high humidity, the equipment quickly goes out of operation, mold and clothes are covered with mold. I wiped my leather jacket with a wet rag and ventilated it every three days. I concluded: for a long time optimally rent accommodation at least a kilometer from the ocean.
Most of all I liked to live in a villa in the golf village of Kokotal. This is the best place in Bavaro for living with children: safe, a huge green area, private pools. There are also funny features. For example, it is forbidden to hang out clothes from the side of the house – so as not to spoil the neighbors look. And in the windows of some residences golf balls sometimes fly.
Still there was an experience of a life in an apartment at hotel, in a resort small town Juan Dolio near to capital. Two-level apartments cost $ 600 (35 200 R), and the price included electricity, daily cleaning and change of bed linen. But the area is less promising in terms of work in tourism than Bavaro.
per month is the rental of apartments in the resort city. Electricity and cleaning are included in the price.
I rented housing through the company or friends, so I avoided formalities. Usually, long-term lease agreements with the landlord are concluded for half a year with the possibility of extension. One or two monthly deposits are required.
Buy a house in the Dominican Republic simply, documents are issued for several months. The apartment in an ordinary residential complex costs $ 30,000 ($ 1.75 million). Accommodation in the residence with a golf course and private pool – 100-150 thousand. Prices for villas start from $ 300,000 (17.6 million rubles), for land – from $ 20,000 (1.17 million rubles).
Housing in the Dominican Republic is sold to foreigners, but before buying it is better to consult a lawyer. There are a lot of scammers on the market. They can sell land without ownership or a villa that is not connected to communications.
Housing and communal services.
The cost of an apartment usually includes water, lighting and cleaning of common areas, maintenance of the pool and security. Electricity is paid separately. The rate depends on the region and even on the residential complex. For a three-room apartment I pay an average of $ 100 (5864 R) per month, while almost do not turn on the air conditioner and I start the washing machine every day.
per month I pay for utility services in a three-room apartment.
There is no central gas pipeline in the Dominican Republic. When the gas ends, you need to take an empty can and go with it to the gas station. Fill the cylinder costs about $ 18 (1055 R), it lasts for 2-3 months.
Through the country passes the Duarte motorway. The route is paid. For a length of about 50 km from a car will take $ 1.5 (90 R).
The main route of the Dominican Republic.
There is no passenger railway in the Dominican Republic, but there are more than twenty airports serving domestic flights. You can fly from Bavaro to Santo Domingo in half an hour, the ticket costs $ 110 (6450 R).
Foreigners can rent a car from $ 40 (2350 R) per day. Many people use a motorcycle or a scooter, the climate allows. But on two wheels it’s dangerous to drive: the traffic is chaotic. The Dominicans twist their rear-view mirrors from their vehicles, ignore the lights and turn signals, cross the double solid and dramatically rebuild from the band to the strip. Police on the roads are rare and fined mainly for the unfastened belt and talking on the phone while driving.
Gasoline costs about $ 1 (58.6 R) per liter. Gas is cheaper more than twice, many drivers pass to it. Taxis in cities and tourist villages can be found easily: a trip to mototaxi costs from $ 2 (117 R), by car – from $ 10 (586 R). Last year, the “Uber” got to the Dominican Republic, which also has a motor option.
there is a liter of gasoline.
City minibuses in the Dominican Republic are always overcrowded: the conductor hangs from the door, clinging to the roof, and at the stops to the windows, sellers of corn, water, ear plugs and clothes pegs come running up. Regular buses between cities are equipped with comfortable chairs and wifi and go on schedule. There should always take a warm sweater: air conditioners are ruthless. The ticket costs 5-10 $ (290-586 R).
Here it is, the conductor hanging from the door. These buses are called Guagua Yellow school buses, a gift from the US, in Latin America, too, sometimes used as a minibus. You never know who you meet inside: gay schoolchildren or a crowd of Haitians.
The Dominican Republic is a third world country, but the level of security here is much higher than in Mexico, Venezuela, Jamaica or the Republic of Haiti. Of course, to wear large gold jewelry and waving the seventh iPhone, walking on the construction site, it is not worth it.
In the tourist Bavaro on wild beaches and unlit roads, Haitian illegals can attack. Sometimes they climb into the house and take out valuables. The rest of the country is safe enough where Dominicans live, but even local people do not risk going to the Haitian slums.
Haitian builders are returning from the site. Photo by Alexei Raevsky.
Banks and government services.
There are about 10 large banks in the country and many so-called savings and credit associations. State Bank One – “Reserve”. From commercial banks the main “Popular”, “Biashdi-leon” and “Banco-Caribe”. If you have citizenship, you can easily open an account. The foreigner will need an official statement from the company where he works, or justification of the reasons for opening the account.
The name of the owner on the plastic card is sometimes indicated, and sometimes not. In some banks, you can choose this option yourself. One of my friends received an unnamed card simply because a typewriter broke the bank, knocking out letters.
Ways of protecting data use different. In one of the large banks, along with the card, they give out a key-token: a device the size of a matchbox, on the screen of which a code of 6 digits is generated. To perform operations, you must enter the pre-selected password and the number from the keyfob screen. It is coded by a complex algorithm and is constantly changing.
Key-token: after a couple of minutes the numeric code will change.
Another bank uses a card with codes. The new card is covered with a protective layer, like a lottery ticket. To confirm the payment, the bank manager will ask you to erase the protective layer on one of the codes and name the numbers.
Used card with codes.
SMS-codes in the Dominican Republic are not used, but Internet banking is developed. All major banks have their own applications for the phone. Through such an application you can pay utility bills, mobile communication and even study at a university, transfer money to a card of any bank, set up auto payments.
Bonuses for using cards are very different. You can choose between cashback, airfares and points, which you can pay in affiliate stores.
There are interest-free loans for 1 or 2 years, subject to initial payment of about 30%. For a longer term, you can borrow money from the bank at 7-10%. Penalties for early repayment are absent. Most of the expensive cars in the country are borrowed. Dominicans skate on them for a couple of years, then they sell along with the remainder on payments and take a new one.
The country has a network of budget supermarkets like “Ashana” – “Jumbo”. The loaf is worth $ 2 (117 R), a kilogram of tomatoes – $ 2.5 (116 R), ripe mango – $ 0.5 (29 R), a bottle of rum – $ 10 (586 R). In the markets, everything is two times cheaper. The most expensive fruits are apples and grapes. Drinking water is ordered for a house in huge twenty-gallon bottles for $ 1.3 (76 R).
The prices in cafes and restaurants can differ several times depending on whether the establishment is designed for tourists or Dominicans. A full meal can be for $ 2, and for $ 50.
Foreign clothes and equipment in stores are expensive because of high customs duties. The alternative produced in the Dominican Republic is usually of poor quality. Clothes from the mass market I buy in shopping centers in Santo Domingo, but I order more expensive things on “Amazon” and other Internet markets. Delivery through an intermediary is paid separately, on average 10% of the order amount, but still it turns out more profitable.
Communication and Internet.
Mobile communication is provided by 4 operators – Claro, Viva, Orange and Trikom. Simka will be sold in the salons of communication on the passport of any country. Without a long-term contract, conversations and the Internet will cost around $ 60 (3518 R) per month. The prepaid tariff for six months or a year is more profitable: $ 30 (1740 R) for 100 minutes of calls and 3 Gb of Internet per month. I use the prepaid tariff.
Medicine in the Dominican Republic is both paid and free. The difference in doctors, equipment, medicines and the number of patients. Insurance costs from $ 40 (2345 R) per month and covers an urgent appointment with a doctor, hospitalization, surgery and even dentistry. Without insurance or money, going to a paid clinic is useless: they will not be allowed. In newspapers, even publish caricatures, as a bleeding person on a stretcher removes cash in an ATM.
the minimum price of medical insurance per month.
The hospital is like a decent hotel. Once I was in this week. I had a separate spacious room with plasma, a separate bathroom, a panoramic window, a balcony overlooking the tropical garden, a nurse call button and a quick wifi. They fed tasty, varied and five times a day. I did a lot of tests and conducted a variety of examinations. I paid for everything about $ 20 (1172 R). The rest was covered by insurance. Do not get it from me, the bill would exceed $ 1000.
In the ward simple furniture, very clean View from the chamber window And so five times a day.
Schools can also be paid and free. The free program is frankly weak. They do not teach foreign languages and computer literacy, but they emphasize religious education.
The cost of training in a private school is from $ 50 to $ 1500 per month. In such a school, learn English and French, put on performances on an extension, work on projects, go on excursions around the country. Foreigners are accepted without any problems, the main thing is spoken Spanish.
Higher education is available in one of the fifteen branches of the State Autonomous University or private universities. Some of the paid universities send students for internship in the US, and the Dominican diploma is quoted in both America and Europe.
When I flew to the Dominican Republic, I was preparing to see the backward country of the third world in moderation. It turned out that for the last 10 years civilization has been developing rapidly. The Dominican Republic strives to become the new Miami. Have built the ideal roads, put ATMs, almost every cafe made a free wifi. But it was necessary to get used and still it is necessary to much. In the store, the Dominican saleswoman “loves me” turns to you and wraps her purchase in paper for half an hour. In English, almost no one says: for three months I learned from scratch from scratch to a level sufficient to solve domestic issues. On the country road can good 10 minutes to go side by side two cars at a speed of 20 km / h: met two friends, we need to discuss the latest news. Surprisingly, none of the wickers from behind will not even be able to send a signal. Everyone understands that they can also meet their acquaintances round the corner. To spend the whole life in the Dominican Republic – an idea that will suit connoisseurs of slow life, Latin American culture, nature and water sports. Raising children on the seashore is great, but the infrastructure in the expat settlements is still poorly developed, the schools are expensive, and the society is pleasant, but small. However, everything changes quickly. As an emerging market with great potential, Dominican is interesting to investors and can become a platform for the development of bold plans. And it’s a good start for emigration to the US or a big trip to Latin America.
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Life in the Dominican Republic.