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Cost of Living in the Dominican Republic

How much DO things cost in the DR?

We are asked all the time if it’s cheaper to live here in the DR.  What do groceries cost?  How about health care, eating out, etc.?  Most people are hoping that their eventual retirement spot will offer a lower cost of living.  Generally speaking, we find it costs less to live here than where we’re from in Canada.  I can’t speak to all places in the United States, but our American clients also mention that it’s cheaper to live here too.

Below if a breakdown of normal life and cost of living into their component parts:

 

 

Living in a gated community.

arenas condos

Most expat communities have similar costs.  Some are dependent on usage, like electricity, propane, etc., but some are fixed like subdivision fees, cable, etc.  Fees also vary between villas and condos.  Private homes have yards and pools to maintain, whereas a condo has a communal pool.  Also, some services are offered at varying days of the week.  Below is a breakdown of a typical 2-bedroom villa or condo:

 

Cost/Month US
Condo or Subdivision Fee– includes  security, garbage pickup, maintenance of common areas, cable (often), back-up power $150-$350
Electricity: dependent on usage.  Renters tend to use more power $50-$200
Water: often in condo fee, not part of subdivision fees $25-$30
Propane/Gas: often in condo fee, not part of subdivision fees $25-$30
Optional Costs Cost/Month US
Housekeeping: dependent on # of days/week $100 (1 day/week) – $210 (6 days/week) eg
Pool/Yard Service: dependent on # of days/week $100 (3 days/week) – $200 (6 days/week)

 

 

Groceries/Food:

Groceries in the DR

It costs less to buy groceries here. Meat and produce cost much less than in Canada. While grocery stores are modern and stock all major brands, we tend to buy produce directly from local distributors. “The Vegeman” delivers hand picked, farm fresh produce to our front doors for very reasonable prices. For fruit, we literally stop at a pickup truck which has a variety fresh from the farms where they are grown. For one watermelon, five mangoes, a pineapple and eight bananas, I pay 250 pesos or $4.30 US. Fruit here tastes so much better than in Canada!

Meat is much less. For example: chicken breasts are regularly $119 pesos/pound ($2.05 US) on sale for 69 pesos/pound ($1.18 US). This is far less than in Canada. We buy chicken, ground meat, etc. at the regular grocery store, but for steak for the bbq, we go to the German butcher for “cut it with your fork meat”.

Some food does cost more. A good example is imported, name brand cereal. A 370 gram box of Kellogg’s Special K Vanilla and Almonds is $279 pesos ($4.80 US)! This is very expensive. However, if you buy a local brand, or more of a generic cereal (even regular Special K), the price goes down by more than half. Like anywhere, name brands are higher than a generic brand. Overall your grocery bill will be much less. Here are some other examples of prices:

  • Whole fresh chicken: 60 pesos/pound: ($1.03 US)
  • Extra Lean Ground Beef: $129 pesos/pound ($2.22 US)
  • Loaf of In Store Baked Whole Wheat Bread: $130 pesos ($2.23 US)
  • 2 lb Clamshell of Grape Tomatoes $60 pesos ($1.03 US)
  • 1 Dozen Large Eggs: $103 pesos ($1.77 US)
  • Campbell’s Mushroom Soup: $77 pesos ($1.71 US)
  • Milano spaghetti: $25 pesos (.40 US)
  • Bananas In Store: $30 pesos/pound ($.51 US)
  • Large Garlic In Store: $105 pesos/pound ($2.58 US)
  • Pineapple In Store: $150 pesos ($2.58 US)
  • Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing 8 oz: $.130 pesos ($2.23 US)
  • Sliced mozzarella cheese: $185 pesos/pound ($3.18 US)
  • Santo Domingo Coffee (the best!!): 1 pound: $219 pesos ($4.30 US)
  • Hunts BBQ sauce 18 oz: $75 pesos ($1.70 US)
  • Twinings Pure Green Tea (25 bags): $154 pesos ($2.65 US)

 

Restaurants:

cabarete

We do find we eat out much more here than we do when in Canada. It’s much cheaper so we feel we can do it more.  This is a very social community and people seem to congregate at evening meals at restaurants.  Also, it’s always warm and this is an outdoors culture.  It’s fun and affordable.  Real life restaurant price examples:

 

Elephante Rosa Restaurant Sosua

Elephante Rosa Restaurant, Sosua– my favourite Italian restaurant in Sosua.  What can best be described as a little hole in the wall place, makes the absolute best pasta in the world.  The owners are Italian (her) and Dominican (him) and it’s a family run business with their little daughter always about.  Full dinner with two drinks each:  $30 US.

You can’t get a bad meal here. It’s everyone’s go to place for a great environment, fantastic food, and reasonable prices.

  

 la-casita-de-papi

La Casita de Papi on the beach in Cabarete– if you want truly unbelievable lobster and shrimp, this is the place.  Throw in a warm, starlit evening with the restaurant lanterns glinting off the ocean, and you have a pretty perfect experience.  Tables and chairs are placed directly on the beach.  This is a pricier restaurant (seafood).  Two can dine with two drinks for $60 US .

 

 

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