Cost of living in Dominican Republic - 2017


Before moving to Dominican Republic, it is important to investigate the cost of living in the country.

As we did in 2015, we give you the opportunity to share your experience and tell us more about products and services average recorded prices in your town/city/area.

Don’t hesitate to let us know if the cost of living in Dominican Republic has decreased or increased in the past few years.

Thanks to your help, would-be expatriates will have the opportunity to refine and better prepare their expatriation project.

> How much does it cost to rent an apartment/house in Dominican Republic? 

> How much do you pay for your public transport tickets (bus, subway, train, tram)?

> Staple food: what do people eat and how much do they pay for basic food like bread, rice or pasta?

>What is your monthly grocery budget?

> How much does it cost to see a physician/doctor/specialist in Dominican Republic ? 

> What is your children's schooling monthly budget?

> How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

> How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc.?

> How much do you pay for your Internet/phone subscription?

> How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

> How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

> How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

> How much does a gym membership cost in Dominican Republic? 

Thank you everyone!


Yes it has gotten more expensive to live here but that is the case anywhere.  We still live here for about 40% less than what it would cost us in the US.  I will try to answer the particular questions later.

Bob K

Costs for all the categories mentioned above vary greatly, as it would in any country. Typically, one adjusts ones lifestyle to your individual budget.

For example rents can vary from US $100/month for a one bedroom in a barrio to US $3,000/month or more for an ocean front villa.

It is interesting to note that the minimum wage is less than US $300 a month, yet Dominican families are able to support themselves, although with challenges.

Professionals' monthly salary averages around US $400 - US $600.

Almost everything I buy here is more expensive.  People shouldnt think they can live here because its cheaper, but should have some other reasons.  Almost everything you buy, or do, will have some extra costs. For example , you might say the house you build will have cheaper windows since you wont need doubleglazed thermo panes...till you find out the cost of all the steel window bars youll have to buy too. Same with everything.

Here is a link to information for various costs in Las Terrenas.

I find it to be pretty accurate based on personal experience. … n-republic

Colonel  if everything is more expensive for you then you are either shopping in the wrong places or you have not really adapted and are burying only imported products "like stuff at home"

Bob K

Minimum wage quote is a bit high I think. If accurate it is based on a 10 he day. If a professional is paid US 400.00 to 550.00 monthly, wow what would a lawer cost per day in the US. Depending where you reside dictates your cost to live. The farther from North American influence you go in the DR the less it costs. Even though most live relatively confined to a general close proximity, I agree with Bob, so much more economical. There are those who may find themselves paying more than others for various items. Most likely has to do with one's reputation and ability to co exist with the native DR populous.

I think the longer you live here the less you can relate to prices outside of here. After over 13 1/2 years here I only relate to local prices. I know I can get it less expensive in Santiago then Puerto Plata, imported costs.more than local etc. 

Everything is a lot more expensive than it used to be. And yes there can be additional costs you dont think about!

It is less expensive to live here then many many places. But if your income is static it get relatively more expensive every year..

Just finished paying my bills for the month so I will chime in here.  Our experience is that you can live WAY cheaper in DR than the US. We have a pretty common suburban life.  Our house is probably one of the smallest and definitely one of the oldest in our neighborhood.  In our house there are two working adults, one adult son in school at a local community college (but he's 2 m tall...and eats a lot) who can't work because he's from Germany, one 14 year old boy, and one 10 year old girl.  Due to our jobs, school and our side business we are all online and have cell phones.  Here's the stats on cost of living for suburban MI (and I'm probably the middle of the pack in terms of averages)

Mortgage:  $1350 (inc. taxes and insurance)  4 bedroom, 3 bath house
gas:  $120 to $20 (depends on is the $120 time)
electricity $200 to $250 (again seasonal)
internet (no cable TV)  $120  (Comcast now charges $50 extra for unlimited data??)
Hulu/Netflix/Amazon  $30 (in lieu of TV package...we have OTA for local channels)
Verizon cell phone plan:  $235
Gasoline:  $850 (three cars)
Groceries:  $1200 (including school lunches, etc.  But, not going out)
Car insurance:  $505 (three cars)
Health insurance premium:  $525 (for all 5 of us...that's with coverage from Thomas' employer)
water/sewer/trash/HOA dues:  ~$90

$5,125 to 5,275 per month for 5 people living a modern life, but looking for cost savings.  But, even if it were just my husband and would be over $4,000

I've been told that we will be able to live pretty comfortably on $2500/month income since we'll own our house outright.  We're not financially comfortable now, so if living better on less income exists, it's worth giving up on the modern 'luxury'/rat race.  Our house here doesn't have a pool!!!!

Well that adds some perspective.  I budget yesterday so will add it in pesos

I live in a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom furnished apt 5 minutes from the beach with ocean views and security

Rent 15,500
Internet/ph/cable 3,000
Electricity 1900
Health insurance 2,300
Food  8,000
Entertainment 4,000
Gas 2,000
Hair/nails etc 1,500
Gym  1,000
Cell phone 1,030

I live very comfortably, these expenses include, eating whatever I want pretty much.  Total cost about US 800 or so.

thats pretty acceptable,the question is ,is it better to continue renting or it's better to buy if you know you are going to stay for the long hall ?

Thanks planner. Your budget is very helpfull. You are getting a very good conversion rate on the dollar. 🙂

Planner is dang near spot on with her monthly expenses as compared to mine. She also understands and co exists with the culture due to her experience and acceptability of the differences. More than just the actual cost of stuff, the offset is conman knowledge. Hope to see you soon kid.

Planners budget is pretty right on for a single person.  It obviously gets more expensive with two and kids and larger home etc.  But when looking at what the exchange rate was when I got here ( just a bit under 30 pesos to the dollar) and now (47.15 yesterday), there has probably been no more that an actual increase in cost of living of less than 10% over the last 11 years.  Not bad

Bob K

Bob k - brings the actual facts to light. It really is amazing that we find living in the DR a delightful little known secret.....shhhhh

My lips are sealed :D

Bob K

When I moved here the dollar was 54 to 1...... then it dropped under Leonel and has slowly risen as per normal market conditions!

And thanks everyone for your comments!!! Hope to see you too Groby..... and Bob and wife.... and anyone else!!!!

Rent vs buy is a difficult question here. There are a lot of things to consider!!!.

Very important you understand how the market really works here. It is NOT like at home.

Bob should stary a thread about this subject!!!  :)

Oh I gave the real estate a while ago.  I can still answer questions though

Bob K

Hey Bob did we do a specific thread for it?  IF not I will create one and cut and paste info into it.

No thread that I am aware of

Bob K

Ok. Will do something likely over the weekend.

I just purchased a couple of lots in Santiago however I will PM my friends regarding this.

I look forward to living in a place that has a definite sense of community and it sounds as if DR still has this quality.  That is very important to a general sense of well-being, security, and happiness. 

I have long been attracted to the idea of living in the DR, particularly in the city of Constanza.  From what I have read, it has a mild, Mediterranean-type climate due to its high altitude and is surrounded by a rich agricultural area.  Please share any information you have on the cost of living in this area, the availability of decent places to live and shop.  Being further from the major cities can increase the cost of everything because you have to add the cost of transportation there.  That's one thing I like about big cities.  There are more discount, high volume stores than in remote places. 

Is anyone aware of a thread on Constanza?  If so, please provide the link.  Otherwise, i can post a new topic on it.  Thank you all for your valuable help.

Welcome to the forums. Please open a thread and those who can will respond. I have not been there and know a bit about it. Its on my list to visit!!!

I searched for "Constanza" on this site, but all I found were a few postings on a place named Constanta in Romania.  I'll open a new thread asking about Constanza, DR.

Good plan!!!!!

amen.  without running computer calculations beforehand, i tell everyone with any interest that it costs me the same living in the capital as it does living in new york city.  sure there are some cheaper items like apt rentals, but there are some more expensive items, like the sales tax which is nearly double the new york city rate.  and yes, apt rentals may be cheaper than in new york but in the capital the tenant is responsible for all internal repairs whearas in new york city the rental includes internal maintenance as well as external.

another word on taxation.  in the states retirees are usually earning less taxes than when actively working in their youth.  so one benefit of retirement is ususally less annual income taxes.  but that advantage is wiped out if you relocate to the capital of the dominican republic because you get punished on every single purchase that you make.

i agree with the colonel that you should have other reasons for living in the dominican republic other than saving money, at least if you are living in the capital like me.

I continue to disagree with you on this one.  It is much cheaper living here.  We live the same life style as we basically had in the US for about 40% less. Yes we drive an older (bought  new here) Toyota Rav4 as opposed to a lexus but it is a much smarter car for here.

So I wonder what you are spending all your hard earned cash on?????
Using local products, not paying :"gringo" prices and such will lower you costs a lot. 

Bob K

I am scratching my head and not because of moskitoes. Somehow, and I am not so sure how, there seems to be a few that have a leak in their wallets. Somehow this has happened. Every now and then I have to slap myself to make sure how much different things are in the DR. Like Bob K says, some things we just do different. That's were the discount is.

I live in the capital for 4 years and it is significantly less expensive to live there then most places in North America. If not, you are doing it wrong.

After reading about the crime problems in the big cities, I am having fatal doubts about ever living in the DR.  No cost of living advantage can compensate for having one's life in danger.  I had been worried about the disparity in incomes there.  After reading the reports on crime in general, I am concerned about being perceived as a rich gringo, (which I am) and as an easy mark for crime.  True, all big cities have their risks, but it sounds as if there are more desperate people there willing to assault others for a few bucks.  The hints of police corruption are even more concerning.  I think Puerto Rico is probably safer because it has a welfare system to provide people with a safety net and less people compelled to commit crimes out of desperation.  From looking at the street view scenes on Google, PR looks generally wealthy prosperous, probably from the millions of U.S. dollars flowing there.  The DR looks much more undeveloped and 3rd world.  Just my opinion.  Please inform me if I am wrong.

Its i all about how you live here.  I keep below the radar and don't have an extravagant lifestyle.  Keep your head down, learn how things work and stay out of the bad areas.

That said, there is crime.  Its a given.

Puerto Rico may or may not be safer but it is significantly more expensive.

Fly under the radar! 
Bob K

show me a supermarket in santo domingo where items are 40% less than in new york city.  i don't live a high life style when in new york city.  i live a very basic life style when in new york city which i try to duplicate here in the capital.  i guess i could give up eating apples here if i wanted to live 40% cheaper, but i can do the same in new york city.  no matter how you try to compensate you just cannot live cheaper in the center of the capital than you can in new york city.  for every plus there is a minus:  let's not overlook the cost of gasoline here which is double the cost there, for starters.

Carlvelas, it is true that one can live cheaply in a big city by prudent shopping.  I live in San Francisco, which is in the middle of the generally very high cost state of California.  The cost of housing is astronomical, but food is actually cheaper here.  We are in the middle of the breadbasket of California's rich agricultural areas in the Central Valley.  70% of the fresh fruits and vegetables from here and we import them after season from Mexico, Central and South America in the winter keep them reasonably priced.  After January, most of our fruit comes from Chile, another rich agricultural country.  As long as one can figure out an affordable place to live, such as by sharing with a roommate, it is amazing how little income one can live off even in an expensive area.  It's probably the same in the DR, and varies a lot by the area.  I ran across a book describing some of the travel adventures and activities of the DR.  It has opened up many possibilities for me: Explorer's Guide Dominican Republic: A Great Destination (excerpts of the book are available at … mp;f=false)
The point of all this is that cost of living alone is not a valid reason to move somewhere.  I'm sure there are places that are even cheaper but one would not want to live there for political, social, or environmental reasons.  The most desirable places tend to be the most expensive because that's where the demand drives up the prices.

I had a 3 bedroom townhouse in the capital,  took taxis everywhere,  ate well and ate healthy. Went out dancing  twice a week!   

I lived on less then 1,000 US a month.  Tell me where in NY city OR any major US city you can do that????  You cannot.

Bullshit, even coffee is more expensive here. Even milk.

Coffee is not more expensive. Milk - no idea.

Actually coffee is cheaper, milk is slightly cheaper, Water is MUCH cheaper, veggies are cheaper, cheese is cheaper and on and on and on.
Colonel the folks at the stores where you shop must love seeing  you come and laugh their asses off when  you leave
Get real man

Bob K

New topic