About the Dominican Republic
The DR is a destination like no other: unspoiled beaches, clear blue sea, friendly people, democratic government, and secure real estate investment. This truly is an island paradise with a rich history and prosperous future. Known for warm and hospitable people, Dominican Republic (or DR) features astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture.
Discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, the country overflows with fascinating history, museums and exciting cultural experiences like music, art and festivals, plus uniquely Dominican specialties such as cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, merengue, amber and larimar.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, our lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options. Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.
Quick Information at a Glance:
- Average year-round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius
- 1,000 miles of pristine coastline – some of the best beaches in the world
- Outstanding property administration, management and rental programs
- Full ownership and registered titles – no bank trusts
- Outdoor lifestyle with year-round fishing, golf, swimming, diving, sailing, etc.
- Outstanding properties with the finest finishing, with much cheaper prices than North America or Europe
- All the amenities of home: high speed Internet, telephone, satellite, cable, restaurants, shopping, banking, schools
- Thriving community of expats who live here full time, and part time
- The Dominican people are warm, friendly, and welcoming
- Safe country with far lower crime rate than the US, Costa Rica, Belize, or Mexico
- You do not have to have residency status to purchase property
- Sound democratic government and banking system (Scotia Bank is the largest bank on the island)
- Excellent medical facilities and trained physicians
- Very tax and investor friendly with no restrictions on foreign ownership.
- Excellent rental occupancies – average 55-80% over the course of the year – your property can earn an income or carry itself with holiday renters and/or long term permanent residents.
The weather remains tropical year round, with slight variations dividing it into basically two seasons, summer and winter. Being in a tropical zone brings humidity, but by the shoreline the sea breezes tend to make it feel less hot and more comfortable.
Temperatures average 23°C in the early mornings to 32°C at mid-day. There is little difference between winter and summer temperatures with July averaging at 82ºF (28ºC) and January at 76ºF (23ºC). The months of May and November-December are regarded as the rainy season. The hurricane season** lasts from June through November, with August-September being the peak months.
Cool Season Is from November to April, with what is considered pleasantly warm weather, relatively low humidity and low precipitation. The temperature hovers fairly constantly around 27°C (80°F) during the day and drops to around a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night. November and December are the months to expect rain and it can be heavy, although brief.
Hot season is approximately from May to October. Average temperatures rise to 31°C (87°F) during the daytime and drop to about 22°C (72°F) at night. At the height of summer, expect the temperature to rise above 30°C (90°-100°F) There is high humidity, which means there is more chance of rain from May to August, but usually the 30-minute tropical (sometimes heavy) showers are overnight.
**Hurricanes? The Caribbean hurricane season lasts from June to end November. August and September are the months when most hurricanes have hit and these affect the south and east coast primarily. In the rare instance when a hurricane comes over the island, because the north coast is sheltered by two mountain ranges, it is usually downgraded to a tropical storm, only resuming hurricane strength when it reaches the open seas.
- Government type: Representative democracy
- Capital: Santo Domingo
- Independence: 27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
- Constitution: 28 November 1966
- Legal system: Based on Spanish civil codes
- Chief of state: President Leonel Fernandez note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
The Dominican government is quite forward thinking and is intent on continued economic relationships with the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world. Tourism naturally makes up a large component of the economy and keeping tourists and foreign investment is a priority for this government, and the country as a whole. This is still the third world and this means many issues for the country including moving the people into the 21st century in terms of education and a global view.
Anyone who travels to the Dominican Republic will tell you that its people are among the friendliest in the world. It is a multi-racial country of over 9 million, with most people being a mixture of African and Spanish; however, you can still find descendants of the original inhabitants of the island, the Taino indians.
Two thirds of the population live in cities with the other third living in rural areas. For many people who have moved to the DR from North America or Europe, the people of the DR are both a source of delight and confusion. Anyone who is used to a fast paced way of life may find the island pace to be slow, and the people not in too big a hurry! However, if you ever require assistance or want to make a new friend, the people of the Dominican Republic are warm and receptive to newcomers and will often go out of their way to lend a hand.
Family is considered very important on the island, with extended families providing a large support structure and the basis for everyday life. A third of the population is under fourteen years of age and five percent are over 65 years of age. The government and the services sector employs more than half of the working population, and about a third are employed in agriculture. On the north of the island, many Dominicans work for the tourism industry in one form or another, and many are also employed by “gringos” (not a derogatory identifier!) or foreigners in various capacities.
Most people who live here enjoy a more simple way of life than in Europe or North America. Due to the tropical climate, Dominicans enjoy a very outdoor lifestyle with windows open all year and doors left ajar for neighbours to wander in and visit. Dominican communities are close knit, and homes are close together. It is definitely an “everybody knows everybody” environment.
Poverty is still a fact of life for many people of the DR. Wages are still very low for many people, and higher education an impossibility. While great strides have been taken to alter the flow of poverty, it will take many more years for the poorest of the country to change their way of life. Foreign investment is providing better jobs and helping to boost struggling small areas
Social Activities & Community
Many of our clients wonder about what it’s like to make the DR a part time, or full time residence. Sunshine, warm weather, and the beach are wonderful, but everyone needs a social group and friends in order to make a life and a home.
Even if you are here for a short time, you will find a large community of Canadians, Americans, British, and other nationalities that have have made the DR their residence for all or part of the year.
This is a welcoming community. If you visit any of the subdivisions or developments where we sell properties, you can usually see people gathered on their terraces enjoying a BBQ or drinks in the evenings. Count on being invited over or even to sit around the backyard firepit (those Canadians!).
The Sosua/Cabarete area offers all kinds of social groups for the ladies, golfers, divers, and more. Local, open air pubs are fun hangout places where you can connect with old friends, and make some new ones. Many people participate in charities and events to help out those less fortunate. This is also a fun way to give back and connect with others.
Many local places host events like bingo, flea markets, trivia games, tournaments, Christmas events, and more. We even have a theatre group that puts on large plays each year. Sports is enjoyed on all the big screens for hockey, football, soccer, etc. There is always something going on.
The community here is thriving and continues to grow each year. Come for a visit and see how quickly it feels like home
Activities & Things To Do On The North Coast
Activities here are limited only by your imagination. With warm weather all year, most activites are based on being outside. For divers, snorkellers, golfers, hikers, boaters, or sun worshippers, this the place to be. Here are some specifics for you:
The north coast offers an incredible variety of sports and adventure opportunities – mountain biking, diving, windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing, canyoning, golfing, and fishing – to name a few.
- Visit Ocean World and swim with dolphins, hit the beach, see sharks and other marine life
- Visit Monkey Jungle for zip lining adventure. All proceeds to charity.
- Take a monster truck safari or jeep excursion
- Float along one of the lovely rivers or cascade over waterfalls or go white water rafting
- Go deep sea fishing or spend the day on a catarmaran finding all the best beaches
- For baseball fans, the DR is a mecca of talented players with great games.
- Visit the ancient Spanish fort or Amber Museum in Puerto Plata
- Check out the museum devoted to the original settlers of Sosua, Jewish immigrants
- Try your luck at one of many local casinos
Here are some other great things to do:
• Encounter a more dangerous type of wildlife on Cabritos Island,a national park in the centre ofLake Enriquillo. It is the greatest preserve of the wild American crocodile and has large populations of flamingos and two species of iguana.
• Wander in awe along the miles of beautiful unspoilt beaches of the Atlantic coast. They are picture-postcard perfect. The most popular is Sosúa; windsurfing and diving are particularly good here.
• Dive an astonishing variety of sites around the island. Reefs, wrecks, caverns and abundant marine life make the island a Mecca for novices and experienced divers alike. Great spots include Cabrera(freshwater cave with an underground lake) and La Caleta National Underwater Park.
• Come over all romantic on the Samaná Peninsula, located on the northern portion of the island.Samaná, with its transparent blue waters, miles of unspoilt beaches, and dozens of caves, is a lovers’ paradise.
• Go offshore fishing for marlin, sailfish, dorado, bonito and other game fish. Hotels can organise charter boats for visitors. River fishing in flat-bottomed boats with guides can be arranged at Boca de Yuma and on the north coast.
• Get wet in the islands rapids. White-water rafting is available on the Río Yaque del Norte in Jarabacoa. Tubing (floating down the rapids in individual oversized rubber rings) can also be experienced on a few rivers.
• Cascading involves climbing up to the top of a waterfall and abseiling down the cascade; the best places to do this are Cascada del Limón, Cascada Ojo de Agua, El Salto de Baiguate and El Salto de Jimenoa.
• Conquer the highest mountain in the Caribbean. Hiking and climbing enthusiasts can ascend Pico Duarte (3,098m/10,160ft) either on foot or by riding a mule.
• Tee off on some of the world’s best golf courses. For more information, contact the Federation of Dominican Golf (FEDOGOLF) (website: www.golfdominicano.com)