Cost of living in Puerto Plata with a mild mental disable boy

First Merry, X Mas ! and I introduce myself. I have an expat life since more than 15 years. Thanks to my work through Internet, I lived and worked in Morroco (Casabalanca), Thailand (Pattaya and country side - in the middle of nowhere, the rice fields),  Philippines (Mindanao Island), and today in Madagascar (Nosy Be Island) since 8 months. So, I'm used to move and to restart new life. I work through Internet but often, I created also an activity where I'm, usually, in computers, Internet, multimedia, graphics...  training the local staff in my activities.  I'm definitively, not retired.  I'm 53 years old.

I choose Nosy Be, in Madagscar, because for the first time, in my expat life, I'm with my son, 23 years old, little mental disabled. He acts and thinks like a boy 6-12 years old. Some friends advised me to go to Nosy Be. But it's definitively a bad choice. This island is a old tourism spot of Madagascar (with almost no tourists anymore), but for an expat, it's not the good place. There are beautiful beaches but with a very poor Internet, or with no Internet at all. So, we live in the only small city of this island (Hell-Ville), in a 3 BR gated house, at 15 km of the beach, to do in African taxi on African roads/paths...   The electricity is dramatic. The costs of living there are very low, except rent, electric bill, internet and phone which are very poor quality and very expensive. Nosy Be doesn't offer also any kind of activity for expats, no possibilities to go out... Conclusion, we need to move out, to find a better place where we can have a better life, for my son and for me, including a better Internet.   

Looking for possible destinations through Internet, I found Dominican Republic and Puerto Plata. I know, it's a big touristic area, but in my expat life, i saw often that, in this kind of countries, the best places to have in same time, the best Internet and the best activities outside, include also, doctors, hospitals and so on are often the touristic places.

My problem today, is to be sure that this place could fit to our needs, to my son and to my budget between 1800 USD and 3000 USD a month. This budget must be enough for a two bed rooms condo fully furnished with 24/7 electricity/high speed Internet/security. This condo should be in gated community with swimming pool and to be walking/motorbike distance of commercial centers, beaches and activities. When I read this forum, advises are very different about cost of living.  My son and me, we don't care to buy imported food. In Nosy Be, our housemaid buy everything in local markets, same locals, and some other imported products in the only shop for foreigners.  My son needs, to go out sometimes, like to walk in gated area, or to a swimming pool. We could maybe also hire someone to take care of our home and to bring him outside sometimes (how much?). And me, I need full time Internet and electricity and some place to go alone or with my son, when I want to change my mind.

Last point, we don't speak Spanish, but we can learn. My son speaks French and me, French and English.

So, DR, Puerto PLata, is it good destination or not for us? And what about our budget? and the minimal budget?

Welcome to the forums. I think you can live comfortable on the north coast within your budget and with full time help.

Bob will comment soon on good places for you there!!!

Yes welcome and Happy Holidays.

Your plan  is doable.  I got your PM and will write a detailed answer but probably not today as we are in the midst of cooking our holiday dinner.

Bob K

Thanks to both of you !

Bob, yes, first I wrote a PM, but if your reply is interresting for everybody, you can post it on the forum. I was just new on this forum and I did not know what was the best way to have answers. Maybe through the forum, more people could give also their advises. It's up to you.

Take your time to enjoy of this XMas day.
Read you soon.


Merry Christmas + a day.

Like I said yes it is doable on that amount of money here on the north coast.  Yes you will be looking at either a condo with 24/7 security or a villa rental in a gated community to be most comfortable with your son.  Yes you will be able to hire local folks to help with him and his needs but very careful as to who you hire.  You will not get the same level of professionalism that you would get in the US.  Having said that you will find competent people to help.  Help is also very cheap. As an example a full time housekeeper (clean, cook, laundry and what ever) will cost you about $200-$225  a month.  Part time help/companionship for  you son $10 a day or so.

Most places you will be renting at are either very close to or walking distance to town and the beaches.  The beach in Sosua is more conducive to swimming and more locals than Cabarete with waves and more tourists on the beach.  There are lots of good grocery stores about so shopping is not a big deal.  Buying local products and not imported will keep your costs very reasonable.

There is lots to do in the area for both of you.  Have  you been here before?  If not I would suggest a couple of week trip for you to explore the area.  I would be happy to meet with you when you come down.  My wife and I have been living here full time for the last (almost) 9 years and continue to live the "dream".

As to internet, TV, phone etc all is available here and all of good quality.  Electricity can still be tricky here but anywhere   you would rent will have a back up system of some sort (inverter/generator), but using AC all the time will be expensive.

Hope some of this helps. 

Keep the questions coming.

Bob K

Thank you Bob !

Yes, I will try to find the best condo/villa there. There are so many. Not easy to find the good one. No, I've never been there, but usually, I don't do that. I try to analyse the most I can before to go, and when I decide to go, I move. I don't move so much... two big bags and it's enough for everywhere and if I need something more, I will use DHL or something like that or I will buy there. If I was alone, without my son, probably, I was gone already, but this time, I need to prepare everything before to go and to be sure to go also.

I just spent already some hours to compare all costs between Nosy-Be and Sosua-Cabarete. I'm very surprised. I 'm used to record day per day all expenses, in all areas. It should be useful to put these figures on the forum (cost of living), but in short, rents are about the same or cheaper in DR ; local food 30% cheaper in Mada, imported food, 30% cheaper in DR. drinks are same. Internet is same price but very bad quality in Mada. The biggest difference is in housemaid. 50€ in Mada, 170€ in DR but it's not very important. The most important is in Sosua-Cabarete ; Leisure's, swimming pool, gated communities, medical services, economic activities... all this don't exist in Nosy Be. Beaches and landscapes look also more beautiful in DR...  I'm very surprised because, I was almost sure that Mada was much cheaper than DR. In real, no, it isn't. Probably because, the business with foreigners is very very low, imported products are rare and so the price for everything become higher than normal.  Then, it's a good news for DR.

Now, I have to find the good condo, apartment, or villa, in the good place, for my son and me. I need also to find the good person to help me in my home and with my son. For Mada, I found first this person and she did absolutely everything. I had just to open my bag and to begin to work. I would like to do the same with DR. I would like to ask to this person to visit all homes and to take pictures of everything. When it's ok, to check Internet connection or to ask new installation, same for cable and finally to fill in the fridge and to prepare all the home. I did like this several times and it's a perfect way for me. The price of this person, for this preparation, is not very important. It can be a little high, because the service is important too but it's also a way to find a good with for a foreigner. 

Where could I place an ad to find this person?  Where is the best place to put an ad to have more proposals about home?

Thank you so much for your help.


First, I found some errors in one of my sentences It can be a little high, because the service is important too but it's also a way to find a good with for a foreigner.  should be It can be a little high, because the service is important for me, but it's also a way to find a good job for a foreigner

I wrote also a post about cost of living in Nosy Be. It's in French and in English and in Euros. You can compare if you want. … 7#2330213.

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