Cons of Living in the DR

Cons of Living in the DR

Cons of Living in the DR

as an expat

By Colleen Valerio

Are you interested in moving to the Dominican Republic or buying a property, but every source online seems to be only about beaches or sunsets? What elements are challenging when it comes to adapting to a new culture? We want to talk about those not so enjoyable elements about Dominican Society.

The DR is a developing country; it’s not a third-world country anymore, not by a long shot. But there is no perfect place, and we do encounter some challenges, one of them is driving. In Italy, driving is crazy too. Coming from such a North American environment, where everybody follows the rules and lights matter and you turn your signal light on.

It’s been 14 years and I’m still driving along with my husband going seriously, like what did you just do?! That would be for me, the biggest one. People don’t follow the rules. There are too many motorcycles, a lot of traffic. There are options if you don’t drive like the public transportation system. There’s a bunch of different ways of getting around here and inexpensively. Some owners that don’t drive have their cab driver on speed dial, who picks them up right at their house door. I just wish they would just follow the rule and, oh… the horn is your friend!

There’s something called “guagua”. We stand out on the road and a little, twelve or twenty-four-seater van drives up, and you just hop on, and takes you however far you want to go. Also, “carritos” are a dollar to drive from Sosua to Puerto Plata; these are actual cars that everybody kind of piles in; I wouldn’t recommend that.

For Casa Linda owners, we’re really lucky because we have a shuttle bus. The shuttle is on a schedule, it drives between Sosua and Cabarete all day every day. It goes to the grocery store, goes to the beach. There are lots of ways of getting around if you don’t want to drive.

This is such a tourist-based country, obviously tourists like clean streets, and whenever there is still a component here where they’ll be on the back of their motorcycle eating out of their Styrofoam container and huck it off the side, and just drives me crazy. On the bright side, I find that it’s getting better and there’s all this, governmental awareness.

If you’re out for dinner in the evening, you will notice at the end of one street called Pedro Clisante… There is prostitution. You will see the ladies of the evening, wandering around, not in your face and never to bother, but you will notice it. It’s a bit of a surprise to those of us that come from countries, where it’s certainly not legal. It isn’t something that is part of our life here, it’s just something you’ll notice in one part of one area of town.

So, it’s not a downside or negative, but one of the things I will caution people about is, this is different. This isn’t your home country as much as we always say. It’s like home only warmer because it really is. There are still cultural differences. It’s Spanish, you know, the waiters speak perfect English, almost everywhere we go. You don’t need to learn Spanish, which is too bad for me because, after all these years, I still speak terrible Spanish.

This is a different country; you have to be patient and realize that it’s not going to be exactly the same. If it was the same and you wanted that you’d stay. Here it’s warm and it’s lovely but it’s a slower pace. It’s the mañana mañana! The guys are going to show up to paint your pool: he says he’s coming at 1 pm, he might show up at 4:00. A whole different way, and it’s made me slow down.

At first, I had to be on it but I’ve changed especially when they love you and your family. One time our housekeeper which is like family brought this big root that even had the dirt off the end and she’s like put this in a pot and boil this for my husband’s kidney stones, and I said, wait a minute, what is this? She was no, trust me, and turned all purple, he drank it and felt better.

That’s a different way of life and you get flexible and easy going and you don’t stress about too much down here. We’re supposed to be talking about the negatives, but somehow, we’re talking about what we think is positive. I remember years and years ago, we decided to go for a drive or so we thought, we’ll meet up somewhere on this road. It was an hour and a half later on this dirt road, and we’re lost like crazy.

Then, this guy was standing on the side of the road and my husband’s Italian. So he gets up and he tries to talk Italian to the guy and like finally says, in English, are you lost? He was like the only English teacher within a 500-mile radius. He got in the car (which you would never do in Canada) and drove us back. He said, “Thanks a lot; I was kind of going to come down here anyway, so see you later”. I was like that was weird. But you know what? Those are real stories. And everybody that lives here has a story like that.

 

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! 🌴 Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”. 

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colleen valerio

Colleen Valerio, Marketing Director

Originally from western Canada, Colleen came to the DR over 15-years ago. She has been helping buyers find their tropical dream homes ever since.

Tips for Moving Abroad: Preparing For Expatriate Life

Tips for Moving Abroad: Preparing For Expatriate Life

Tips For Moving Abroad:

preparing for expatriate life

Have you decided to embrace the adventure of moving abroad for good? Relocating to a tropical paradise is an incredible way to shake up your normal and make your dream of slow days with plenty of sun a reality. At Casa Linda, we know just how exciting, as well as how overwhelming it can be to prepare for life in another country. For nearly 30 years, we’ve welcomed people to our beautiful corner of the Dominican Republic and helped them find their dream home in the Caribbean. If you’ve been getting ready to make the leap to expatriate living, but aren’t sure what all you need to cover before leaving your home country behind, below are a few tips to help you get ready to transition. Read on to learn more!

Check Your Passport

It may sound silly or overly simplistic, but you might be surprised to learn how often people forget to check the expiry date on their passport before leaving home. You’ll want to ensure you have at least 6 months remaining on your passport, and we recommend you consider renewing your passport ASAP if it is set for expiry within the next year.

Get Your Long Term Visa

Most countries, including the Dominican Republic, will have strict rules as to how long visitors and non-residents can stay per visit. In the DR, you are limited to a maximum of 3 months. In order to stay longer, you’ll need to prepare to apply for a temporary resident permit, which is valid for up to 1 year and can be renewed for a total of 4, at which point you can apply for permanent residency.

dominican republic expat life

Begin Your Transition Early

There’s no shortage of details to handle when moving abroad, and the sooner you begin preparing the easier it will be to make the leap to your new life. Cancel any relevant memberships, set up mail forwarding and alert all necessary parties that you will be relocating to minimize disruptions.

Sort Through Your Belongings

If you plan on relocating permanently, you’ll want to lighten the load of what you need to bring abroad. Pair down your belongings to the essentials to reduce moving costs. You’ll also want to take this opportunity to make copies of important documents like your birth certificate, passport, etc.

Plan Around Pets

Bringing Fido with you? Ensure you have all of the necessary documentation before you go abroad to avoid complications and to keep everyone safe while travelling.

Know Your Timeline for Housing

If you’re building a new home on the island, you’ll want to have a set plan for when your new villa will be ready. At Casa Linda, we understand just how important it is to know when you’ll be able to settle in, and we work closely with our homeowners to design a construction plan that’s best suited to their vision, as well as your ideal timeline.

Ready to Move to the Island?

If you’re ready to stop dreaming about life in paradise and start living it, Casa Linda is here to help. Contact our team today to learn more!

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What Can I Expect When Living in the Dominican Republic?

What Can I Expect When Living in the Dominican Republic?

What Can I Expect

when living in the dr?

Are you contemplating answering the call of the island and moving abroad? Expatriate life is an exciting adventure that allows you to experience things like never before and write a new chapter full of rest, relaxation, and (of course!) plenty of exploration. Whether you’re planning for retirement or hoping to relocate to a country that allows for lower operating costs as an entrepreneur, the Dominican Republic is an incredible place to settle down and start your new adventure.

For over 20 years, Casa Linda has welcomed expatriates from all over the world to our beautiful Caribbean paradise and helped them find the perfect villa to call home. We understand that relocating abroad can often feel a tad overwhelming. If you’re looking for information about what to expect when moving to the Dominican Republic, read on to learn more!

Welcome to Paradise!

With mile after mile of pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, and lush tropical greenery everywhere, it’s no surprise that the Dominican Republic is a popular destination for those looking to settle down in beachside paradise. Add in soaring daily temperatures that average 85°F and a vibrant community that’s ready to welcome you, and you’ll quickly see why the DR is well-loved around the world. Benefits of living in the Dominican Republic include:

Low Cost of Living

One of the biggest benefits of living in the Dominican Republic is a lower cost of living. Many find that they are able to easily maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to, if not upgrade, thanks to the low cost of housing, food, and basic amenities. This is extremely beneficial for retirees as well as anyone looking to relocate on a stricter budget or even to simply stretch their dollar further. At Casa Linda, we’re pleased to offer high-class living in custom villas for as low as $185,000 USD. With 10-floor plans to choose from and endless ways to customize, affordable luxury living is far more attainable than you think!

dominican republic living

Quality of Life

When moving abroad, one of the biggest concerns, understandably, is relocating to a place that allows you to feel safe, happy, and fulfilled. In addition to affordable living, the Dominican also offers you a stable economy and government, a world-class healthcare system, high-quality infrastructure, and access to the modern amenities you’re already accustomed to. In fact, many new island residents are pleasantly surprised to find that life in the DR is just like home…only warmer!

Culture and Community

Another major aspect that helps you feel more at home in your new location is the local culture and community. The DR is full of friendly faces, including an ever-growing community of fellow expatriates from all backgrounds and walks of life. Casa Linda Quality Communities is happy to welcome everyone to our development, and is here to help you feel right at home from day one!

Ready to Learn More?

Stop dreaming about living in an island paradise and start living it! Learn more about relocating to the Dominican Republic with Casa Linda by contacting us today!

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What Can I Expect When Living in the Dominican Republic?

The Buyer’s Journey in the Dominican Republic

The Buyer’s Journey

IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

 By Vicki Tetley

As the saying goes “a home is built with love and dreams”. The moment you have a partner, one starts picturing what life is going to be like, retiring and creating your dream home. Luckily, my hubby and I have made our dream come true and just bought our tropical dream home in Casa Linda, Dominican Republic.

My name is Vicky Tetley, I am originally from Canada. My husband, Dave, and I are currently going through the process of becoming a DR homeowner.

A little over 4 years ago, I received a phone call, one summer day, offering me a job as a sales administrator here in the Dominican Republic. It was a unique opportunity, my husband and I talked it over and came down to visit for a week during late August.

Watch this video where I go over my daily routine, why choosing Casa Linda, and villa design choice:

Back Story

We fell in love with the place automatically, halfway into our discovery week we knew this was the place we wanted to retire in. Not only because of the people but we had visited previous islands before but the Dominican Republic is where we felt comfortable, at home. Once we got home in Canada, I gave my notice to my current employer and then moved down to the Dominican Republic on October 19th, 2017. 

Daily Routine as a part-time Retiree

My day normally starts fairly early in the morning. I’m up early, the girls, my dogs, are my first attention, I have to get them outside. Then, I do something for myself, exercise, breakfast. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays I am taking Spanish classes. Now, do you have to learn Spanish? No, you don’t, but I want to, it means the world to me to learn Spanish. So, I work with a Spanish instructor right now, her name is Claudia and she’s great. After that I’m usually on my computer, checking emails, WhatsApp messages, answering clients’ queries. 

My days might vary whether there is a client on-site or not. When a client arrives I like picking them up at the airport, taking them for some groceries, maybe for some money exchange. I like to spend quite a bit of time with them because I like them to not only see the villas but also what life here looks like. Where you’re going to live, the quality of life, and what you can do is important. I am partially retired, so I like to get some golf here and there, go to the beach and relax. You’re going to meet some wonderful people like I have and enjoy life. 

Working Life

I’ve always been a busy bee, even back home, but here it’s calmer, I can be busy but it’s not as stressful. My work history has always been involved with client services. I’m fielding out questions for people that are interested in property here in the Dominican Republic. It’s just trying to get to know the client on what they’re looking for so that we can adapt some suggestions or make recommendations to them and help with their journey. 

The most important tool in that process is the buyer’s guide, it gives everyone all the information they need, Casa Linda has an excellent one you can download here for free.

Why Casa Linda

There are many great communities here that I have visited, but Casa Linda for me ticked all our boxes. The community feel is what drew us in. We have great friends here that are either full-time residents or part-time. Honestly, there was just nowhere else we wanted to be.

When I first arrived in the Dominican Republic in 2017, I stayed with friends for the first few weeks, and then I moved into a guest house. As time went on, Dave and I were trying to determine when he was going to join me here and retire. We started talking about new builds and there were a couple of models we liked. 

We loved the Sunseeker but also the Seashell, so what we ended up doing, in the end, was building a brand new villa, two-bedroom customized new construction, with some similarities to the Seashell. 

Final Villa Model

Dave and I are very excited, this is our first home together, we are creating it together and are excited about that. We sat with one of the architects at Casa Linda, who designed our villa. We were looking forward to a two-story villa because in the lot there’s a ridgeline along, where there are some nice, big beautiful homes. We didn’t want ours to look out of place but didn’t want one as big either. What has been created looks fantastic on this lot. 

Our villa is custom-designed, it contains two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and two half baths, with a beautiful backyard and space for our dogs. Outdoor living is really important here in the Dominican Republic, even though the lot we picked is quite small, we have green space, a 9500-gallon pool, a barbecue area, and a bar underneath a covered terrace. 

We’ve incorporated a balcony off the master bedroom which we’re very excited about, Dave in particular because he envisions himself drinking his morning tea. The living area was created to have big open spaces, we added double parking space enough to fit two cars with a storage room off the driveway.

 

My husband and I can’t wait to be able to sit and relax, take a deep breath, and say ‘Hey! This is exactly what we wanted’. Moreover, we’ll be sharing our journey where I get to go over materials and our newest baby’s first stages of construction.

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! 🌴 Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series on Youtube: “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”.

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Why is Cabarete Better than Punta Cana?

Why is Cabarete Better than Punta Cana?

Why is Cabarete Better than Punta Cana?

Facts of the North Coast
By Colleen Valerio

What is island life really like? How does shopping look like? What about banking? 

Real-life is different from vacationing. It requires a social community, true services, and 21st-century amenities. The north coast is surrounded by so many nice, beautiful sand beaches. 

 

Nearby Towns

On Sundays, my husband and I would drive down to Costambar where there’s a family-run restaurant right on the beach, momma comes out and gives you a big hug, they do the best-fried fish.

When not in Costambar, we’ll go to Playa Grande and there they just give you the most incredible massages, right by the beach. There is a beach for everyone, there are countless, not crowded beaches all along.

Tourists who haven’t visited us before usually say Punta Cana beaches are better, but not. Our beaches are spectacular, quiet and the towns around them are different too. 

Cabarete

The town of Cabarete has a more bohemian beach vibe. It is the watersports capital, built way back in the early ’90s. This is the healthful spot, it’s the place to go for yoga, clean eating.

The entire beach is lined up with bars and restaurants, during the evening all the lights come on and the seats are on the beach and it’s a wonderful place to watch the sunset.

Sosua

Sosua on the other hand is more of an ex-pat service town. This is where the dentist is, 2 large groceries stores. The place where you would like to go get your haircut and buy shoes. It is more of a sustaining life town, also with some amazing restaurants and beaches.

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is 25 min away, here you can do big-box shopping in Walmart size stores, La Sirena, and Jumbo. Great hospitals with international services and first-world diagnostics. Everything that you could ever want, from a first-world perspective, is in Puerto Plata and then an hour and a half away in Santiago. 

Santiago

Santiago, you have malls, and Price Smart, which is just like Costco. We have absolutely everything and if you live in a place like Casa Linda where everything is done for you, we do monthly shopping trips. We hire a bus, and we head down the road, you don’t even have to drive and you get to buy whatever you want. That is all part of building a community and we do that so well.

There are tons of stuff to do here, even locals will join an excursion because they’re fun. If you’re into fishing, golfing, or any kind of watersport this is the place.

The North Coast is a mecca for watersports, we have the main 4 big watersports, kiteboarding, windsurfing, surfing, and stand-up paddleboard going on in the area of Encuentro Beach and Cabarete. Anyone that comes here it doesn’t matter how old they are or shape can pick up any sport and it’s pretty cool seeing them doing these great sports in their retirement.

After writing about life on the north coast, it makes me realize how lucky I am to live this lifestyle and makes me prouder of my decision to live here!

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! 🌴 Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”.

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colleen valerio

Colleen Valerio, Marketing Director

Originally from western Canada, Colleen came to the DR over 15-years ago. She has been helping buyers find their tropical dream homes ever since.

Facts You Need To Know About The Dominican Republic

Facts You Need To Know About The Dominican Republic

Facts You Need To Know

about the Dominican republic

By Colleen Valerio

The Dominican Republic is like no other place. This country has it all. It offers a stunning topography with large mountains, deep, valleys, and beautiful beaches making for a diverse landscape. Three, large mountain ranges, run through the island and there are almost 1,000 miles of beautiful beaches.

Watch our video on everything about the Dominican Republic: 

Weather

The country has a tropical climate with an average year-round, the temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, or 82 degrees Fahrenheit, summer in Winter. Yes, you read that right; Summer in Winter! This is one of the most idyllic climates on Earth, with no extreme highs or lows. The North Coast does not even experience hurricanes, and if you’re worried a Bear might attack you, there are no large predator animals to eat you.

A Country Of Firsts

 it was the first country discovered in the Caribbean and the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The first University, the First Street, the First Cathedral, the first of a lot of different things that happen here. So, this is a very ancient culture, well over 500 years old. And if you go to Santo Domingo, the capital, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site.

First Habitants

The first people were the Taino Indians, and you can go and see a lot of their caves, writings, and art. They were the indigenous, tribes of the area and you can still appreciate them in museums, stores, and around part of the heritage. Years ago, a study found out that even though the indigenous people are extinct, you can still find a significant Taino DNA portion in the population.

dominican republic retirement

Geographic Area

Surrounded by gorgeous beaches, hospitable people, and warm weather all year long you encounter the North Coast. Which is where we are located right now. Also known as the Amber Coast due to the rich deposits of amber, the largest in the world, found throughout the region. Larimar is the other natural stone on the island. These stones you can only buy here.

The main city, Puerto Plata “Silver Port” received its name from the Spaniards for its silver coastline at sunset. Here you can find “Fort San Felipe” which is also a five-hundred-year-old port and has been used for all kinds of things including guarding against Pirates.

Tourism is more local. The province of Puerto Plata has a lot of tourism especially in the nearby towns of Sosua and Cabarete. Even though we have a lot of tourists it does not mean it’s the stereotypical touristy town.

Currency

In terms of money, the currency here is the Dominican Peso which is different in value from the Mexican peso. Tourists have the opportunity to pay in pesos or dollars, ATMs will dispense pesos to you, even when you’re using your country-of-origin bank card.

 

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! 🌴 Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”.

dominican republic retirement

Community

For ex-pats people looking to move, here we have three international schools. My grandson went to the International School of Sosua for many years, they use the American SAT system. Fantastic education. Perfect for, when they leave here and end up in university or college in the United States, Canada, or around the world. Children leave here with a top-notch education.

We have a large enough community; it’s changed over the years. It used to be, independently wealthy people who would invest and come here to live, but now we’re seeing a boom of people who can work from anywhere, put their children in school and enjoy the real Caribbean life.

 

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! 🌴 Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”.

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colleen valerio

Colleen Valerio, Marketing Director

Originally from western Canada, Colleen came to the DR over 15-years ago. She has been helping buyers find their tropical dream homes ever since.