People’s notion of living in the DR is paradise and to a certain extent it is, but there are many factors. I am 40 years old, 41 in January, I work in a school, live in an apartment that my school gives me, and share it with my fiancée. I doubt I would be here if it was not for this relationship.
- The country is considered dangerous, and you must be street smart, not wear jewelry, watches, or diamond rings, and never take all your cards, or passports in your wallet with you, just cash really. I might be exaggerating here, but the locals will also tell you this, hence why I am. Do not walk and use your phone at the same time… you are just inviting trouble.
- People tend to throw plastic and their rubbish on the ground, there are bins about but not that many. Along the “Malecon” or the coast, most people on weekends will bring food, drink and very loud music and spend hours there and leave their bottles and rubbish for the authorities to pick up, sad thing is that there are not a lot of bins about either, or even where there are, they might be broken, due to vandalism. Towards the Zona Colonial, which is the tourist area, there are beaches and well they do beach clean-ups on weekends, but the plastic in the water is super toxic. Next to these beaches is the mouth of a river, considered to be the most contaminated in the country, and plastic flows down it, it passes through very poor areas where people wash their clothes, themselves and use it as a bin.
- The DR is quite expensive, when you go to a restaurant you have to add 28% on top of the price, 18% local tax, and a 10% obligation “service fee” or tip, however, they also expect you to tip on top of this as well. If you order takeout on Uber Eats or some other app you do not pay the 10% service fee as they do not provide a “service” to you.
- People are quite friendly but keep your wits about you. A lot of people like to associate themselves with foreigners and speak English but might have an additional motive to do so too. I have heard people scam others, trying to “help them”.
It is easy enough to travel about. The best place to start is with Caribe Tours, they travel to most places in the DR, except Punta Cana Area, but cover the rest of the country. They have cheap prices, the buses are not bad, have AC and well, get you from A to B for less than $ 10 USD. There is another one for tours. These tours normally leave from Santo Domingo or Santiago (The next city after Santo Domingo), the name of the website is Turisteo. They mostly offer day tours to the most touristic places to visit on the island. They also have an Instagram page, however, neither Caribe Tours, nor Turisteo from what I can see has English on their websites, but most of the employees speak it. Check them out if you are in town and fancy visiting more parts of the island which is not usually explored by tourists, but the locals. They are a cheap option to travel internally!
I love drone photography, and I have visited most places on the island and now just do a tour from time to time to visit places and take pics, most Dominicans start with the rum and cokes at 9 am lol good luck to them.