I was privileged to be in Santo Domingo for last week’s Live and Invest in the Dominican Republic Conference. While...Read more
Infrastructure in the Dominican Republic is poor and unevenly distributed, but is being improved. In overview, cities and towns that attract tourists have well-developed supporting infrastructure. On the other hand, rural and more remote areas receive little support.
The country’s Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), in power for the past decade, has made country-wide improvements. These include road systems, availability of air travel, ports, and telecommunications. It has primarily invested in towns that attract tourists. In particular, they’ve also targeted Las Terrenas (not a typical tourist town), marketing it as the upscale vacation option. It has the given nickname of “ The St. Tropez of the Caribbean.”
Former PLD President Leonel Fernández had a long-term plan for the Samaná Peninsula and Las Terrenas in particular. During his two terms, he saw the Santo Domingo-Samaná highway laid and launched a massive marketing campaign for Las Terrenas. He invested the country’s money and even his own in the area. He built El Catey Airport, the small international airport of Las Terrenas. It offers domestic flights as well as direct access to Canada and the United States. That has meant bigger numbers of foreign visitors and foreign investors to the country and region.
Transportation in The Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic enjoys ease of access from other countries, especially from Canada and the East Coast of the United States. The Dominican Republic’s infrastructure will continue to improve over the coming years as the country continues to invest in tourism.
The five main highways in the Dominican Republic are well paved and maintained and connect all major cities to the coastal tourist zones. Like any developing nation, many roads branching out to the smaller towns remain unpaved and in poor condition… If you are going off the beaten path, make sure you have four-wheel drive.
As a part of the National Master Plan of improvements, capital Santo Domingo unveiled the first metro in the DR in 2008. It’s the most extensive network in the Caribbean and Central America. Santiago de los Caballeros (the bustling city on the north coast) is currently planning its own metro.
Electricity and Telecommunications in the Dominican Republic
Electricity throughout the country is government-owned and operated. It’s very poor with periodical outages typical both in cities and rural areas. However, in Las Terrenas, the local electricity is privatized. This means it’s more expensive than elsewhere in the country, but also reliable. Outages are rare in Las Terrenas.
Telecommunications in the Dominican Republic can be more reliable than electricity. Although, providers in the DR often receive complaints about their standards of service. Even so, internet service is widely available in the Dominican Republic, while not on the cheap side. Claro, Tricom, and Telecom are the main providers. Prices tend to start from around $21 for a 2 Mb plan, all the way to a 100 Mb plan around a cost of $57.
Cell phone services in the Dominican Republic are average for a Caribbean country. Cellphone and landline coverage are good for most of towns and cities. Beyond that, coverage can be nonexistent. Therefore, only around 15 – 20% of the country has coverage. Furthermore, only major locations like Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Maco, and Punta Cana have partial 4G coverage.
A heat map of Cellphone coverage in the Dominican Republic. Navy blue: 3G coverage. Cyan: 4G. Taken from Claro.com.do