For Low-Cost Luxury, Look No Further Than The DR

The Luxe Life In The Caribbean Without The Price Tag

Lief and I have just landed in Santo Domingo… and I’m struck again, as I am every time we return to this country and begin speaking with people on the ground… asking about their experiences, their circumstances, and their lifestyles… by just how affordable a better-than-comfortable life here can be.

Indeed, it’s possible to live a truly luxury-standard lifestyle in the DR. Not everywhere. Some parts of this country are remote, offering a kind of back-to-basics experience.

But living some places… including some neighborhoods here in Santo Domingo, for example… you could indulge in a truly luxury-standard lifestyle even if your budget is nowhere near five star.

For example, you could own…

  • A three-bedroom, four-bath luxury penthouse built over two floors and featuring a rooftop terrace for US$200,000…
  • A four-bedroom villa with a private pool for US$265,000…
  • An ecological villa with solar power and rainwater collection system. Within a few minutes’ walk of the beach, this three-bedroom villa comes with its own pool and a price tag of US$349,000.

These are all recent listings. And, yes, you could own for less… even as little as US$97,000…

All things considered, what would it cost, specifically, to live full-time in this country?

Here’s a sample monthly budget for a couple living on the Samaná Peninsula:

Rent US$600 Unfurnished, mid-range, one-bedroom apartment
Gas N/A Included with electricity
Electricity US$145  
Water N/A Included with electricity
Landline telephone N/A Included with cable
Internet N/A Included with cable
Cable TV US$90  
Basic groceries US$275 Basic items for a couple
Entertainment US$245 Eating out twice a week (for two), local drinks twice a week (for two), movie theater trip twice a month (for two)
TOTAL US$1,355  

Helping drive down the cost to the retiree in the Dominican Republic is the government’s effort to reform its energy sector from a heavy reliance (90%) on fossil fuels by capitalizing on its abundance of renewable energy sources.

The government’s goal is to derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources. To this end, generous tax incentives are offered to those who invest in sustainable energy developments and projects. This explains the number of eco-style villas you see on the market—particularly around the Samaná Peninsula.

Kathleen Peddicord