New to DR life, visiting soon.

Hi guys, new member here.

  We Wil be Visiting Puerto Plata, DR in late Nov for the first time. Hope to have a great experience and learn more about life in DR. Might be a good place to make a big change from Vancouver, BC, Canada. Looking to learn more about a future here. Open to suggestions or advice. Work, housing, lifestyle, Etc.
  Experienced with Solar power, construction, and Wireless Telecom professional.

Scott

Welcome to the forums Scott.  Read read read honey, lots of info on various threads about everything you want to learn about.

Scott welcome. Lots of good reading here.  After reading the various threads please feel free to ask specific questions.
We have lived on the north coast (Sosua/Cabarete) for nearly 12 years full time.
Bob K

Thanks Bob,
I've been checking out this page and have learned a few things to research. Nov 24th we will be in BeLive resort, Puerto Plata. I hope to meet and chat with some of the locals while there.
Actually would like to know where to look for House rentals. We are motivated to spend some time in the area. (Long-term)  I've found some online rental listings but know these are limited to my knowledge of what, when, where,... to see which area is suitable. The Job Stress is going to kill me staying here.
  Rumor is that the crime rate is pretty high but I'm sure that is in specific areas. Logic must prevail in any country of course.
Is driving as thrilling as its made out to be? San Francisco rush hour style? LOL, Vancouver is rated as the most congested city in Canada.
The countdown in on...  (-:

Scott

Welcome - Planner and Bob along with others certainly have great advice and much of you are seeking has been discussed somewhere  here. I am a newbie here as well. I will residing inland in Moca. I will comment on the driving. Unless you have traveled and driven in countries outside North America or even Central Europe, you will be surprised by driving here. The driving experience that I have is limited, but the main 4 lane highway across the country from Santiago area to the out skirts of Santo Domingo before city congestion swallows you is as good as anywhere you are familiar with. Small 100/125 cc motorcycles and scooters are everywhere and go where they wish(it seems). In populated areas there is a major proliferation of these as well. Many are the quick, easy local taxi service. On the roads, solid lines only mean be careful because cars and bikes will pass if the vehicle in front of then is too slow. In towns villages etc, bikes and scooters are seemingly more prevalent than 4 wheel vehicles (except in major centers) and negotiating turns or even any 4 corner roads mean lots of horn honking. It seems like total pandemonium. Once you get used to it, no problem. Just be prepared.......I actually enjoyed it and surprised my future in-laws when I made home safe.... I hail from Red Deer AB, Cheers

While here explore Sosua and Cabarete for areas to live in the PP area. There are lots of long term villa rentals available.
What are you looking for and what is your budget?  I will give you some places to look when we know what you are lookin for.
You will not meet many locals or Expats at the resort but rather in the towns which is why you should explore Sosua and Cabarete
Bob K

Where you rent depends on what lifestyle you are looking for as well as your budget.

Tell us what you want? Close to ocean? Need schools for kids? Water sports or spectator? Beach lover or.pool? Golf? Shopping? Churches? Other special needs or wants?

And of course budget range? How many people? Will you need to work?

So much to consider. There are many areas across the north coast:

Cofresi
Costambar
Puerto Plata
Montellano
Sosua
Cabarete
Cabrera

Those are all west to east. Be Live is west side of Puerto Plata.

You guys are awesome.

  The dream I'm chasing is to be fairly close to the water as we love Snorkeling, soon to Scuba, boating, etc. But as I know that most likely comes at a cost. Closer to the water you are the more expensive it is and at 47, I'm not about to retire.
  Next step is to make a budget. We have been discussing, when the time is right, we will basically sell off 90% of what we have and make the big move. This would all be about downsizing and simplifying life. That being said, there is still a need for an income.
  Jobs - Construction, Wireless Telecom, PM / CM roles, etc. Having worked at heights for 16 years on Cell Towers, now last 4 years in Construction Project management / Project coordinator. I would like to find something near that field of employment. This carries transferable skills to about 12 other trades as well. I do understand it is a different culture so there are limited options.
  Finding employment will set the basic budget so I got a lotta research to do yet.

We are definitely going to have a look around at the communities while down there. Sosua does sound inviting by what I read.
Yet I find some statistics a little disturbing when they show living in DR you are 15.7 times more likely to be murdered. So is this a Inner City issue or country wide?

Guess I gotta pretend I'm still working.. tho dreaming of Warmer Weather (-:

Scott

Perhaps if you are a drug dealer or local gangster that percentage might apply. Central Florida has an astounding number of violent crimes compared to the to the DR.  Most are domestic violence or drug or other criminal activity.  That # doesn't apply to ex-pats or tourists.  Belong to the criminal underground & you increase your chances of being underground. Since 1996, no one I know has been killed.  My error, one by his Haitian girlfriend.  Don't worry, enjoy, the odds are in your favor. Detroit has a worse record.

LOL, Your probably right. Couldn't be much worse than Vancouver, BC. Seems there's a new shooting every week. Now the gang wars are spreading and too close to home. It's getting pretty serious & that's another reason I want to get away from the big cities and out to smaller communities. Oh, and the weather, and the relaxed lifestyle, and,... no winters!!

Scott

Tinker is correct. Unless you are into drugs, love triangles and ohter various illegal things your chances of being involved in a major crime here are slim to none. You are more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than being murdered.

BObK

In terms of work you need residencia to work legally.

Then you are competing with locals who accept low rates of pay. While your skills MAY be transferable they may not be valued here. Do not count on income here to support a north american lifestyle.

PLanner is correct on the working aspect

Bob K

Hi Scott and welcome. We just recently made the jump from Edmonton AB to Sosua (about 6 weeks ago). This forum was incredibly helpful as was Bob. You can't believe every statistic you read. Yes, sometimes good people are in the wrong place at the wrong time and terrible things happen. Ordinarily if you go about your business every thing is fine. Housing was the trickiest for us as we came with 3 dogs but we love where we are at. Beaches don't seem to be very far, easily accessable. Don't loose site of your dream, all things are possible with some sacrifices and a whole lot of courage. Lol
Hope you enjoy your time in the DR. It's beautiful here.

Gloria

Hi Gloria
I am also from edm and looking to move to bavaro area as I know a couple people there. I would like to move there soon but my concern is getting work. I am a plumber /gas fitter by trade and also do alot of home renos. I know it is different there but is my dream to get away from winter here. What do people do about work or look for work when they move to DR any info would be great. Thx
Darren

March 12 welcome.
Again to work here legally you need you residency and cedula (like a green card in the US).  Also note that jobs are very low paying with the average Dominican Salary of $200-$400 a month. 
As for trades like plumbing, electrician and such you will be competing in a very congested market for jobs.

Bob K

I second the welcome. Your trade experience will be welcome but few are willing to pay more than local rates for your skills. 

Bob is right, average salary in this country is about 300 US A month!  Your skills will pay a bit more IF you are legal and if you can find a position and IF you speak spanish.

Well aguess I can work longer days in summer then relax for winter when there. I know a guy on resort that pays 700 for rent so how does he do it. He works in premium department of resort.

Greeting Bob and Gloria - I'm from Red Deer and will be back there for good once I sell all my stuff here in Arizona. My soon to be son-in-law is an electrician and is busy all the time. Of course, we are inland in Moca, about 90 minutes or more drive from Puerto Plata. Good luck. Read these threads - lots of great info - and as Gloria has said, sift through it and form your own opinions and once here be aware more of the general area you elect go to. If roads were like in North America, the distance from Moca or Santiago would be half the time to the coast...Cheers

Brian

You cant always believe what you are told. What dept does he work in? Timeshare sales might make good money. Sr. management too. Others not so much.

And of course he may have "other" sources of income.  :D

Not everyone is willing to accept getting what they pay for. They will pay for professional, quality work.  Not at stateside rates, but higher than local rates.  I know several local (ex-pats & locals), people who provide excellent results. They too make more than the regular locals.  So do not despair my man, you can survive well here. It will take time to network, however good work news travels fast.  So stride forth into your new adventure & laugh at those who denigrate your decisions, just keep on trucking!  Thumb your nose at the naysayers.  Welcome to the world of real living & you will never be bored.  By the way, learn Spanish, it really  helps.

Ya very true. As I'm sure lots do...lol I will visit lors and hope get some good connections..thx and I wi read on...

Yes do spend some time "scouting out" the local scene.  There may be enough of  a demand, especially among the Expat community, that  you can eek out a living but it will take time and contacts.  Residency and cedula will still be important and probably necessary

Bob K

Hi guys,

Well we made it back from our DR visit. We stayed at BeLive resort near Puerto Plate city but went out and about often.
  My thoughts on the Puerto Plata area -
Resorts are resorts in general and have their own pros and cons. They are not like the rest of the area as they cater to the more wealthy & drinking lifestyle.
Sosua - not my favorite place. I didn't spent much time there but from what I saw its a bit dirtier than expected in appearance and behaviour. On the beach midday I was approached multiple times by the local women right in front of my wife and 11yr old son. No peace while sitting on the beach as I was interrupted regularly.
Now nothing against these people but it does take some getting used to the fact that everyone is out for a buck and I am their target... a lot.
Puerto Plata - Liked this much better. The city was busy and the roads are a crowded rush as expected but I did not see one accident. The wife would be terrified to drive there but I would do ok in time. It's an understanding that everyone needs to go somewhere and there is no rules, just guiding lines and suggestions.
Tourist traps are everywhere and it looks like they often work together to guide tourists into places they want to to sell their goods.

  Out of town areas the locals attitude is much different. Kind, caring, and genuinely family orientated. We went North to Paradise Island, stopped for lunch and had a chance to chat with some of the people out there. That was wonderful.
Poor people? Not at all. There are some who have more and some who have less but all are rich in FAMILY and band together. There is money and I doubt it would be had to find a job but it is about Networking and integrating into Their world and culture.

  As a first visit to the country I was pleased and learned a lot about what I was able to experience. We went horseback riding through "Joyce the horse lady" and got to see the countryside and were taught about places to go and NOT go which can be important.

  Next visit I would like the freedom to travel around on our won. We did a couple private tours which was wonderful but still like my own freedom. Speaking Spanish will be a Must as 95% of the people don't speak English well if at all.
We brought gifts for the children and gave these to the cleaning ladies who were so appreciated. Also got to know a couple who runs a Church group that supports the local children. Looks like we will be incontact with the Dominicans more than we ever expected in days to come.

Thank you all for the info ahead of time.
Scott

In the high tourist areas if identified as such, you will be a target. If you appear to be an ex-pat, much less so. After many years of living here, my initial impression remains. A warm, generous, kind, helpful & i good  people.  Respect them and you shall be respected.  The same the world over. I've been in Sosua for many, many years & have not found it to be a dirty town. A mile out of town & you are in the world you seek. Give us another chance. The North shore is the place to settle & explore life as it is meant to be.

Tinker I have to say I agree with you whole heartedly the north coast and the Sosua/Cabarete area fit us just fine.

Bob K

Hi Scott,
Thanks for your post. My husband and I are going to DR in early 2018. We are from Kelowna. Small world... thanks for your tips re: culture, language etc. We plan to explore on our own (versus an all inclusive/tours) in the hopes of seeing if the north coast feels “right” for us. We are impressed with the countries GDP and economic growth as well as the number of various Europeans that travel there (not just North Americans). My husband is a custom home builder and we’re curious about property development. Did you get a sense of this given your background in construction? I’m in health care and am curious about gaps in service that may offer opportunities... did you see evidence of any medical tourism like there is in Grand Cayman and Malaysia?? Can others on this forum comment on these topics (development and gaps in health care - either for expats or people in general in the country)? Thanks, Wendy

Can you tell me about your experience was your personal experience of your trip before I respond ?

Hi there,

Love the Kelowna area and I grew up near Salmon Arm.

Well you will be in for a Surprise, driving down there is 3 x more psychotic than downtown Vancouver. A double solid line is a suggestion, rules of the road apply at intersections where there are traffic lights, sort-of...
  Most of the buildings are all Concrete construction and oddly for us, they leave the vertical rebar extended above the top floor, just incase they want a second floor down the road. The concrete is probably due to the hurricanes they might have as opposed to our Wood / Drywall construction. Windows are a rare option as they are not needed to keep them warm. There is a Lot of concrete debris since that is the main source of building supplies.
The main roads are paved... but speeds rarely exceed 70 km/h both due to traffic and potholes. Oh and the random herd of cattle. LOL.
My wife has been in health care and we were looking at the same options, Const / Health care, build a life in the DR. (-:  Still considering it. Van is Nuts even though I'm on the outskirts, would rather be in the DR anyday. There is a 2 level health care system, Gov funded & Private Healthcare but there is a different lifestyle in the DR. Family means Family! They care for each other, they have communities, they Know their neighbours, they all help each other out. So a Healthcare job would probably mean working in the hospitals. I didn't see any sign of Home Support, health care clinics, just main hospitals.
Guys, correct me if I'm wrong here.
But Don't believe when people say there is no money and the average income is $300/mo. Cause I see everyone has a $600 Smartphone. If averaged out, the poorest vs the richest, then maybe,..  but we all could say the same thing up here too, just in a different economic system.

You may want to be cautious of certain areas just like in Vancouver. The Haitians are a little different than the Dominicans and operate by a different set of lifestyle rules. Some areas have real tourist traps and you may get bombarded by salespeople but that's just how they roll. Avoid the traps and the country people are amazing.
  Oh and the food... mmmm, Rice, Chicken, Beans, and all so good. If I just knew a bit more Spanish I would have expressed my thanks a lot more.
AND.. Invest in SUNSCREEN! It is closer to the equator than we are ever used to and the Sun is much more intense.
Stay in touch and please give feedback. Would love to have contacts down there.

Scott

Scott great post and you hit so many "truisms".   I do hope you return. It sounds like you might just fit in here. 
Bob K

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