U.S. Citizen Moving to Punta Cana: What Do I Need to Know?

Man traveling

As the second-largest country in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic makes a popular vacation destination year-round. Captured by its charm and warm climate, many Americans decide to make this welcoming country their permanent home.

While vacationing and living here are two distinctly different experiences, a little knowledge goes a long way.

Cost of Living

The cost of living depends on the individual level of comfort. The rent for a typical three-bedroom house in an expat community runs from $600 to $1,500. Those located in gated communities, touristy areas or near the sea cost the most.

In a typical local neighborhood, the rent is about $200 a month. If you can live like a local, you won’t spend more than about $1,000 a month on all your needs. However, the Dominican Republic has many of the international businesses and brands many American are used to.

This means you don’t have to abandon a comfortable lifestyle, as long as you’re prepared to pay for it.


Doctor attending to a female patient

While you can obtain public medical care in the Dominican Republic, private insurance is a much better option. The level of care in private hospitals and clinics ranges from good to excellent. Other than strong painkillers, most medicines don’t require a prescription.

Renting vs. Buying

Expats recommend that you rent for a couple of years before deciding to purchase a home. It’s easy to find a rental. Once you know in which neighborhood you want to live, just put the information out there verbally. Potential landlords will actually come to you.

While no one in the States would question the availability of water and electricity, these are not automatic in the Dominican Republic. Make sure to check their status when discussing potential housing.


House with solar panels

This country does not have a gas piping system. Instead, people here use gas cylinders that need regular refills. Numerous companies provide cylinder pick-up and delivery of refills. Many of the modern buildings do have gas pipes, but they are connected to a central tank. These expenses are assessed in monthly maintenance bills.

Electricity service remains unpredictable, even though it has improved over the years. Many users turn to alternative and greener sources. These include autonomous power generators, battery inverters, and solar panels.

Don’t consume the tap water nor use it for cooking meals. It’s only fit for cleaning purposes and personal hygiene use. You can purchase affordable drinking water in large bottles at any supermarket.


Woman driving

If you’re a person who doesn’t like too many rules, you’ll enjoy driving in the Dominican Republic. That’s because the locals mostly ignore traffic signals and road signs. Also, be prepared to encounter more motorcycles than cars.

While this country has a strong affinity for motorbikes, it’s recommended to obtain a four-door vehicle for transportation.

People who thrive best in the Dominican Republic are those with a willingness to adapt. While this can apply to any new locale, it also helps to have a sense of adventure.

In the end, enjoying life as a resident in the Dominican Republic boils down to using common sense and learning what to expect beforehand.

Check out the best moving companies for moving overseas.

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