Living in Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation on the island of Hispaniola which is well-known for its unspoilt beaches, resorts and areas to play golf. The country is the most visited destination in the Caribbean and is home to the area where the first cathedral, castle, fortress and monastery in the Americas were built.
Aside from over 500 years of Spanish influence, Dominican Republic boasts exceptional mountain scenery, deserts to explore and sunny beaches which make it a hit for those who want to work and play. Having one of the most rapidly developing economies in the Americas as well as the ninth largest economy across Latin America, the Services sector of the Dominican Republic provides the primary source of employment for Dominicans and expats alike. Today, this country is not just an acclaimed tourist spot but also a famous destination for foreign nationals who want to improve their lives and careers.
Exciting Outdoor Activities
The Dominican Republic has earned its rightful spot as one of the top kid-friendly and family-oriented destinations in the Caribbean. Though there are tonnes of luxury hotels in this country that offer their fair share of swimming pools and indoor facilities, the great tropical outdoors is still the best place to have fun. The Dominican Republic boasts a total of nine national parks where expat families can enjoy while reconnecting to Mother Nature. One of the most famous is the Parque Nacional del Este (Eastern National Park) which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another gem in Dominican Republic’s already overflowing treasure chest is the Samaná Peninsula & Samaná Bay, an island adorned by white-sand beaches, vast jungle, thick mangrove forests, pristine waters and a wide variety of marine animals. Expat parents whose kids adore wildlife can also visit Lago Enriquillo (Lake Enriquillo) in Antilles. This lake is the perfect place to watch iguanas and flamingos. In the midst of it is the Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos, one of the largest reserves of American crocodiles and home to over 62 species of birds.
Useful Tips for Daily Life
Driving in Dominica is not just a mode of transportation but also one of the best ways to explore the beautiful towns. Residents of this country drive a right-hand drive vehicle on the left side of the road. It is also mandatory (by law) for all passengers to wear seatbelts and for the owner to have the compulsory third-party insurance. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is also a big no-no in this country and those who will be caught committing a driving offence will be issued with a fine notice. The maximum speed limit in Dominica is 80 kilometres per hour in open roads and up to 50 kilometres per hour in town roads.
Opening a local bank account in the Dominican Republic can be a daunting task particularly for those who don’t speak Spanish. Expats don’t have to be residents in order to open an account but they need to provide the documents listed below to the bank of their choice:
- Letter of Recommendation from the applicant’s current bank
- Proof of Income (current payslip)
- Provisional Residency and Cedula cards (for those who applied for residency)
Open a current account in Dominican Republic
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Understanding the Dominican Culture
One of the first things that expats will notice is that 80% of the country's population is comprised of the mulattos (dark skinned people). It is because Dominica has always been a destination of Spanish colonists, Taino Indians and Africans. There is an evident desire to have whiter complexion, and most of the rich or well off Dominicans are pale skinned.
There are three significant elements of the Dominican culture: family, music and food. Music is an essential part of the locals’ lives, and the three traditional forms of music in this country are salsa, bachata and merengue. Due to the influx of western expats, R&B and hip-hop also became widely famous in this country.
Despite the economic rise, poverty is still evident in some areas of the Dominican Republic. However, what foreign nationals will marvel at is the capacity of the Dominicans to be happy regardless of their financial hurdles. The locals, by nature, are friendly and are blessed with a contagious smile that will make strangers feel like they’ve always belonged. The Dominican Republic is for sure, not yet a powerhouse nation but here, neighbours look out for each other, people tell uplifting stories that can scare the darkest storm away and above all else, the Dominicans believe that family is the greatest wealth there is on earth.
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