We’d considered lots of options in the Caribbean and had decided on Honduras. We were on our way to making that move, then a friend told us that, before we committed to Honduras, we should take the time to take a look at the Dominican Republic.
We came to the DR and bought something within 24 hours of our arrival. We just knew right away that this was the place for us. One reason was the people we met, people from all over the world. The eclectic expat community is supportive and welcoming.
So is the local community. Dominicans are lovely people. Don’t listen to the resort staff who will try to scare you into not leaving their property. It’s a real shame that most tourists don’t get to see the real Dominican Republic. This is a beautiful country. I intend to spend the rest of my life here.
This country has different faces. Punta Cana, for example, is all about its all-inclusive resorts. It’s very insular. You eat and drink a lot and hang out with people exactly like you. That doesn’t appeal to us at all and isn’t the lifestyle we wanted. We found the authentic Caribbean we were looking for in Las Terrenas. Our lives in Las Terrenas are not insular. We interact with each other and with the locals. It’s a dynamic community. The whole town feels like a neighborhood, not a resort.
Life in the Caribbean revolves around the water. In Las Terrenas, we are right on the beach. The sand and the sea are everywhere, around every bend. People here spend a lot of time on boats, fishing, diving, and exploring.
You can snorkel right from the beach… just walk across the sand and into the ocean and dip your head under. Spearfishing is popular, too.
If I were to offer some practical tips for anyone thinking about moving here, the first would be: Don’t bring a car with you. Sell your car back home. It probably won’t do you any good here, because it’s probably not the right kind of vehicle for this terrain or climate. Plus, it costs a lot to import a car to this country. Also note that you’re not permitted to import a car that’s more than five years old.
We’ve bought three cars since we’ve been living here. We bought a little pickup truck when we got here, but I don’t use it. The car I bought that I find most useful is a Palera. The truth is, though, that you don’t have to have a car here. You can get around easily without one. Maybe get a motorbike instead. Motorbikes don’t pay highway tolls.
My second tip would be to organize your administrative life online before making your move here. This would apply no matter where you’re thinking of moving, really. You want to be able to manage your administrative and financial life all online.
We don’t have mailing addresses here, but you can receive physical mail with the help of a mail forwarding service. Local mail is a challenge. My electric bill shows up at the gate at the bottom of the mountain I live on… meaning I miss a lot of electric bills. Sometimes I realize I haven’t a bill in a while, so I go to the company and ask how much I owe.
I left my iPhone back home. We came to the Caribbean to embrace a Caribbean lifestyle. We decided that we wanted to leave technology behind, and we did. You can live an off-the-grid life here. For us, that has been maybe the biggest benefit of the move.