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5 Things I wish I knew About Dominican Republic Homes For Rent

Dominican Republic Homes For Rent

Are you thinking of moving or retiring to Dominican Republic?

How is your search going for those house rentals?

It is quite frustrating because there is no such thing as a website featuring most of the rentals… I’ve been there too.

When I decided to move to Dominican Republic 6 years ago I looked at so many apartments for rent sites my head was spinning, after all that I still had no idea where I wanted to rent. 

Picture qualities were horrible, location of the rental apartment wasn’t clear. Some places listed for $100 USD per month for a bedroom apartment, some villas as high as $10,000 USD per month. I was afraid of getting ripped off or moving into a dump.

After living here for a few years, I learned many other things to consider, not just rental prices.

So let me save you some aggravation and time before you start looking!

Dominican Republic Homes For Rent Watch Lis

All rentals available have a unique set of pros & cons, however there are few shared essential gotchas to watch out for.

Internet

Electricity

Road Conditions

Sea Level

Ammenties

Do You Know What You Want? What you really really want?

Answer the questions below to narrow down your search.

  • Do you see yourself in a condo or in a Dominican Republic Villa?
  • Are you looking for a private swimming pool?
  • Are golf courses a must for you?
  • Do you prefer a view of the trees and nature or have a beach front property?
  • Would you like to be in a quiet and secluded area or surrounded by people such?
  • Do you prefer the Puerto Plata province or the Santo Domingo Province?

 

Below is comparison chart between major cities in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic Living - City Comparison

Punta Cana
Santo Domingo
Cabarete / Sosua
Movie Theater Quality
5/5
5/5
2/5
Supermarket Availability
5/5
5/5
3/5
Restaurant Options
5/5
5/5
3/5
Average Hotel Rating
5/5
5/5
4/5
Kids Activity Options
5/5
5/5
2/5
Golf Courses
5/5
4/5
2/5
Average Resort Rating
5/5
3/5
4/5
Beaches Quality
5/5
2/5
5/5
Water Sport Options
5/5
1/5
5/5
Mall Quality
4/5
5/5
0/5
International Schools Access
3/5
5/5
5/5
Air Quality
2/5
2/5
4/5
Population Density
Traffic

#1 Shocking Electricity Facts

First off, the electricity is slightly cheaper in the Dominican Republic. The average is $0.14 per kwh (based on a sliding scale) as opposed to $0.18 per kwh on average for the United States.

The main difference is stability. Depending on the location, power blackouts lasting from a few seconds to hours are common.

To compensate for this reality, owners of rental properties might offer few solutions.

Some condos will have a power generator on stand by. The generator kicks in when power goes out. You will feel a little flicker but you should not be without power for more than a few minutes.

If you prefer renting a villa, some of them offer batteries with power converters. Essential items like fridge and lights will continue to function while the power is out.

200% Price Jump

Condos that offer a backup generator with automatic switch over  charge a premium on electricity. Your electricity price might jump 200% due to condo owner markup.

The main issue is that AC units are usually old and poorly maintained. Dominicans don’t have the knowledge to properly fix them. What saved money by changing them for energy saving units. They work better, faster.

I also changed our dryer to a gas one. With a family of 5 people we do a lot of laundry. The gas tank that fits under the sink costs about $15 to fill up and lasts months. Every little bit makes a difference at the end of the month.

Old School Units

The AC units installed in rental homes are very old and non efficient. Consider changing them, your wallet will thank you later.

#2 Real Internet Challenges

Do you need a fast and reliable internet for your work?
Do you have kids that love to play video games or what Youtube?

Then, this section is important.

Although Internet access came a long way, it can still be a challenge to get decent speed.

There are cable modem providers that have now expanded into fiber optics access.

Lowered Expectations

Are you used to a 100 Mbps speed connection for $50 a month like in the USA? Well.. be prepared for 10-20 Mbps at $50 or even more depending on your location. We pay $95 for 10 Mbps.

Type of internet access and options will vary.

Rule of thumb is…

If you’re looking at secluded areas your options dwindle down fast.

If you’re looking at a busy city center, then you’ll have several options to pick from.

Avoid The Surprise

Some condos or gated communities will lock down your internet options to the one they have a deal with. And they will charge a premium for the privilege. Unfortunately you might not be able to get a direct connection.

When something is off, who do you call? In the United States you typically have a toll free # staffed from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Trust But Verify

You are promised 10 Mbps, but somehow watching Netflix proves to be a challenge. Test your connection using www.speedtest.net to make sure you're getting what you pay for. If not, contact the person who sold it to you immediately.

In the Dominican Republic even large internet providers like Claro or Altice will have sub standard customer service. In some cases smaller internet providers will be able to give you a faster and helpful service.

Prices of internet vary, here’s a rough personal experience based on Dominican Republic 2020 Internet Monthly Prices. 

Dominican Republic Internet Provider Comparison

Claro
Altice
Delancer Cable Modem
Smaller Providers
Price in USD

$30

$35

$60

$100

Speed

20 Mbps

50 Mbps

20 Mbps

10 Mbps

Customer Service Quality
3/5
3/5
3/5
4/5

#3 Why You Should Pay Close Attention To Your Relationship With The Sea Level

A simple reason. Rainy Season.

Though it is extremely sunny in Dominican Republic. It does rain.

Most of the rains are what you dream of.

It comes at night like a bandit, waters the vegetation and leaves before you wake up.

Sometimes it sprinkles a cooling mist out of nowhere during the day. It lasts maybe 3 minutes, it’s pleasant and everyone loves it.

And then there’s times when…

Nature unleashes water. This can last for a day, sometimes a week.

During those rare times, you’ll quickly realize how important elevation can be to your rental.

Rain in 2017 flooded Gregorio Luperón International Airport in Puerto Plata.

Here’s a photo from Hurricane Maria 2017, as you can see people’s houses were flooded at times up to their necks!

Hurrican Maria Sosua Flood
Hurrican Maria 2017 Dominican Republic Flooding

Seems like smaller cities like Sosua are built without a proper drainage system.

Rain Rain Go Away...

Heavy rain falls do happen so ask questions about the last floods. You don't want to wake up to a lake in your living room.

#4 On The Road To Hell Heaven

In 2019 / 2020 there have been a lot of road building and repair, so mostly this does not apply.

We are fortunate to have the main road from Puerto Plata to Cabarete and beyond repaved.

After 6 years of avoiding potholes as large as craters and motorcycles, it’s short of a miracle.

Cabarete Road Work
2020 Cabarete Road Work

The road is smooth and straight.. Something you would expect in North American but not here.

I can’t believe my eyes.. feels like a dream. 

But there is a catch, some remote areas are still likely to suffer from poor road conditions. 

So if you’re looking at a secluded vacation home, off-roading might be a daily occurrence.

Invest In a Sturdy SUV

If you really love the place and road conditions are terrible. These roads may stay in those conditions for years even if there are promises of repairs. Most likely those are empty promises or at best misguided.

#5 Will It Take 3 Hours To Go Grocery Shopping?

Cabarete and Sosua areas, where I decided to settle, are less populated. You will not find as many supermarkets as in the larger cities such as Cap Cana in Punta Cana, Santo Domingo or even Santiago.But don’t be fooled…We still have plenty to pick from. We are quite lucky.There is Janet’s Supermarket in Cabarete, Super Pola and Supermercado Playero in Sosua. And if you do not find the 30 min drive to Puerto Plata, there is Jumbo and La Sirena.All of them stocked with delicious imported goodies such as gluten free cookies, flours and mixes from Bob’s Red Mill company, my favorite. Not to mention, Spain and France delicacies such a serrano ham and camembert and more of course.If you do not want to buy a car, it is best to situate yourself close to major stores and pharmacies. Accessible through short trips by taxi or motoconcho.

Do you have school age children? Sosua has one of the best International Schools in the Dominican Republic. The International School of Sosua awards US based High School Diplomas that are recognized by K-12 schools and universities throughout the 50 states. It has many accreditations listed here

Not So Convenient -- Convenient Store

If the real estate agent tells you: “don’t worry there is a ‘Colmado’ nearby”, don’t take their word for it. Check it out for yourself because some are just glorified fruit stands. You will need a proper ‘Supermercado’.

Why I Choose North Coast Of Dominican Republic

Best thing about the North Coast is the expat community is rich and connected. 

Ask your questions on the Facebook page or on the forum Expat.com and someone will be happy to help you out.

So You Think You're Ready To Move?

You have looked through the popular destinations to visit. Your search for the perfect Dominican Republic Homes for Rent is complete.

Are you satisfied with your pick?

You think you are ready to move?

Well before you pack your bags, come for a Dominican Republic vacation and take the time to drive around the areas. “Try it before you buy it”, the old adage goes a long way here.

Think about it, would you move to a city in the US or in Europe that you have never visited before unless you absolutely had to.

The answer is probably no.

It is the same deal here. You are coming to the Dominican Republic to retire and enjoy the country and its beauties. Why not pick the right place from the start.

Dominican Republic is not for everyone. I’ve heard that countless times.

I’ll give you a taste of our own experience. I lived in 4 different places in the Puerto Plata province before I settled on Beach Palace, Cabarete.

Each had their pros and cons. One thing for sure is that Dominican Republic has plenty pet friendly rentals. My little Scottish Terrier was welcomed in all of the home rentals we stayed in.

Don’t spend money in storage and relocation fees like I did. Take your time finding your ‘perfect’ place.

Below is a rough average of what a 1 bedroom apartment will cost you in US dollars in different parts of Dominican Republic. 

1 Bedroom Rental in US Dollars

  • City Center
  • Suburbs

Beautiful Locations I Have Lived In.

Ultravioleta Residence

Ultravioleta Residences is located a short walk away from all the restaurants on Cabarete beach. The view of the ocean is superb. The wind blows pretty strong in the afternoon so if you are an avid kite surfer or wish to learn, this is the best spot. Just walk down the beach and set up your gear for the best time of your life. The rental price was on the high side, $5000/month for a 4 bedroom penthouse.

Seahorse Ranch Luxury Villa

Sea Horse Ranch Luxury Villa Resort has a great selection of ocean front villas. Ours was not but the luxury villa was gorgeous, peaceful, spacious and private. The house was surrounded by nature and had a large private pool. The kicker was the electricity cost, it went up to $1000 US a month. The rent was also not a bargain, we paid $5000 US for a 4 bedroom house.

Infiniti Blu Luxury Ocean Front Condos

Infiniti Blu Luxury Ocean Front Condos in Sosua is near Sosua beach and Playa Alicia, great for a fun day in the sun. The apartment was luxurious and full of light. The ocean front view from the 3rd floor was spectacular. It has 2 pools, kids would stay out for hours. Electricity was affordable $100-$200. The rent was on the high side $3000 for 3 bedrooms. My issue was driving through cluttered, dirty and narrow streets of Sosua 3-4 times a day. It proved to be stressful and after 2 years I couldn’t handle it anymore and I decided to move.

Beach Palace Luxury Beachfront Condos

Beach Palace Luxury Beachfront Condos in Cabarete where my family and I have been for the past 2 years. The beach is just down the steps from our patio doors.I walk to the restaurants on the beach. The kids play right in front of the condo and straight into the shower. I have underground parking. That's a bonus when it rains.This is our least expensive rental so far $2300 / month for 3 bedrooms. The electricity is comparable to Infiniti Blu $100-200 a month.

But Wait, There's More Home Rental Places To Consider

I visited Las Terrenas in the Samaná province many years back. It is only a short drive from a fun day at Las Galeras.

Oh boy, did I love it. 

It is very quaint, rustic and has a french flare due to its large french expat community.

I would have liked to move there but it doesn’t have an International School so we had to pick another place.

Also one thing to consider is, if you travel a lot the International Airport in Santo Domingo is 2h away and Puerto Plata is 4h away. 

In contrary, Gregorio Luperon airport in Puerto Plata is 15-25 min away from Sosua and Cabarete. A no brainer when you have kids who can’t sit still in a car.

I’ve heard wonderful things about Cabrera. Again this wasn’t an option for us because we need an International school.

But don’t take my word for it, check the video here.

There are countless popular destinations for vacation rentals that we have not explored yet.

La Romana where the famous European Village Altos de Chavon is located.

Rio San Juan near Playa Grande. And the more touristy Punta Cana, land of the golf and country club.

If you choose La Romana or Punta Cana you are lucky to be close to amazing Saona Island.

Saona Island
Saona Island Dominican Republic

In the south near Santo Domingo there is a lovely area called Boca Chica with luxury homes to die for.

Now that we have explored the vast selection of vacation rentals. It’s time to do your research.

To Recap

I know I sound like a broken record but …

Come and visit first. Short term rentals are available year round.

You will save money and enjoy a beautiful vacation all at once.

I’m not a real estate agent trying to sell you a home or apartment. I want to share my experience so that you have more pertinent information than I had when I took the plunge and moved to Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic is a blissful place to live, I’ve lived here for 6 years and I have no plans on leaving.

Still not sure if it is right for you?

Check out the article ‘7 Reasons Why Dominican Republic Retirement Is a No Brainer‘ for more facts.

Happy Searching!

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