I love reading comments from readers of my book. It is so interesting to see how we all become connected to the Dominican Republic. I have lived in Santo Domingo for the past 4 years and absolutely love life. Thanks for all of your comments!

Thanks Ross,
I am very much looking forward to reading the book as I plan to
move to the Dominican Republic soon - really without a clue as to how.
Do have an idea of cost of living? I've looked for average income of those who live there (meaning Dominicans, not expats) and the results in google searches are widely varying and some a decade old.
Do you have an idea of cost to rent a 2 bedroom apartment - decent, but not looking for a penthouse or beachfront or anything. I'm looking to live in Santo Domingo, among Dominicans.
I welcome your responses, especially if these things are not addressed in the book. But even if they are, I am a little anxious to begin my planning and a get a reality check if needed.
My Response:

I understand your having issues finding all of the information you are looking for.  You are right the figures online are all over the board, but I guess the reality is it totally depends on the lifestyle you live and where you live.  Truth is some people live very frugally and others spend much more. 

In my opinion, the cost of living is very close to what you would expect to find in many places in the US.  (Although I am not really familiar with the cost of living in Arizona...) check out
www.supercasas.com in the rentals section.  (Remember the exchange rate is 36 pesos to 1 dollar.

Income also depends entirely on your area of expertise.  I would say getting a job for expatriates tends to depend on your connections.

My suggestions for choosing where you live are to pick a place close to where you work because traffic is a nightmare. 

When I first lived in the DR I lived in hotels and aparthotels (long term stay hotels) for a long time.  Doing so let me experience different areas and neighborhoods without having to sign a contract. (I can make some suggestions based on areas and my experiences if you would like... let me know).

I suggest you read the forums on DR1.com (
www.DR1.com/forums), but you also have to kind of get to understand a lot of the personalities on there.  Many of the suggestions and comments are very loaded depending on reasons for moving to the DR, your income needs, and your ability to travel, etc. There is a ton of information on that site and the more you read the more of a feeling you'll get for what is good information and what is good to skip...

If you would like more personal suggestions I am happy to give you more personalized suggestions.  If so, i'll send you some questions or let me know and we can talk some time.

I think the most important questions are how good is your Spanish and how soon do you plan to move?

I hope this little bit helps...


Thanks for your quick reply Ross. Your answer that cost of living is close to US concerns me, as part of reason for moving is to be able to live on a low, but steady income. But when I look at monthly rentals, it seems some are incredibly inexpensive, which is closer to what I expected.
Yes, I speak Spanish. Though I learned on my last visit that "Mexican" Spanish and Spanglish (both of which are most commonly found here in Arizona) do not always translate well in DR... I guess the biggest issue is I have no idea where I want to live, so help would be hugely appreciated. If you have a list of questions you can send to me, and I will make up a list of questions, then we can e-mail or talk. Of course I want safe but inexpensive. Walkable distance to bus stops and grocery store and some restaurants. Walkable to beach would be nice - or even the little parks by the beach. I realize that in Santo Domingo it is less beach and more rock. I'm a bit of a city girl (grew up in Chicago) so I like "culture" - music, art, theater kind of stuff.
I guess one issue is being able to stay to live, but not working and thereby not having a work visa. I have a few graphic design clients that I may be able to continue to work with long distance. I also sell some art on-line. Neither provide huge income, but nice little extras. Oh, I write also, but earn even less with that (sorry, hope you are very successful with your book).
What kind of work do you do?
Your book was sent out over the weekend. 

I am sure your Spanish skills will do fine.  When I first moved I did not know any Spanish...

I am also pretty sure you can find inexpensive housing.  It all depends on the lifestyle you want to live, and the location.  The very inexpensive places you are seeing online are probably not in the best areas.  If you have a good idea for where you want to live you'll be able to compare prices fairly well.  I have always lived in the center of the city (La Esperilla, Evaristo Morales, Piantini, etc) and have not really tried to live very frugally, yet I have seen small apartments for low prices.  I often see places on DR1 for $400-$700 a month (which to me seems fairly inexpensive).  If you are willing to go up to around $1000 you will probably find some fairly nice places.  For example, here is an
apartment in Evaristo Morales, Santo Domingo. But, once again, it all depends on the location you want to live in and the amenities you are looking for.  You may want to read on DR1 and look for a lady with the name "mountainanne" or something close to that.  I am not a big poster on that forum but she seems to be very level headed and sounds like she lives an inexpensive, but very happy life.  She sounds like the kind of person you could email privately and she would give advice.  (***I have never met her, nor will she likely know who I am, but she sounds like a good person for you to contact.  I believe she lives in Santo Domingo near the US Embassy...)

About your work, if you have the ability "to work from home" and charge US clients in Dollars, you will be well ahead of most.  I believe having a US$ income is a big benefit, particularly while you are getting settled in.  You sound like you have many marketable skills, so I am sure you will do fine once you get to the DR. 

As far as being close to the beach goes, the closest beaches to the Capital are around 30 minutes away.  You can get close to the ocean and parks (Mirador is my favorite) in a nice apartment and still find a good price. 

You asked about my work...  I consult small start-up businesses.  I also sell software and web marketing services.  My work requires endless amounts of travel...  you'll know all about it after you've read the book! 

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Best Wishes,

Ross Weber
Muchas Gracias Ross,
Now I'll' at least I have neighborhoods to start searching. That helps alot!
We'll have to meet when I get there. Sounds like our businesses might mesh quite well as most of my graphic design and editing clients are sole proprietors and start ups. I wouldn't mind having someone rep me or send some business my way for a percentage. Something to think about.
You totally get the idea of what I'm planning - with the US based income and the DR based costs. And most of my clients are over the phone and e-mail already.
I can't wait to read the book. Glad to hear it's on the way.
Hi Ross,
I received your book and started reading and having a hard time stopping. It's fun and educational. It's making me realize I need to be a little slower and more systematic about my decision to move.

I hope you will enjoy me on my adventure living in the Dominican Republic. Buy a book today!