I would have to agree with "marintimeplastic". I have spent considerable time in the D.R. and traveled all over the place. There are cities where you do not wander around outside the core
tourist areas like Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. Crime can be a major problem in high density population areas, especially if there is a drug culture there. But elsewhere things are quite calm and settled.
- - I spent most of my time in Luperon and Samana. Samana is quite cosmopolitan compared to Luperon. Water
front restaurants have linen on the tables and great food
. There is a growing cruise ship
business there and they were building a shopping
mall type area at the western end of town when I left. It looked very European.
- - Luperon is definitely 3rd world but in a nice way. There is a large ex-pat community there so you have plenty of compatriots to hang with. Prices are extremely reasonable. The local bakery is quite good although the normal food
stores are not that fancy as they cater to the locals more than anybody else. For shopping
we hire a car and driver or buddy up with an ex-pat who is going to Santiago.
- - PriceSmart, Nationale, and other very modern, well stocked stores including Ocho-8 which reminds me of Home Depot. Also an unlimited amount of little shops and craftsmen to do just about anything you need at extremely low prices.
- - On the other hand, it is a 3rd world system with electricity not available most of the day - same with water
. We buy potable water in 5 gal plastic bottles and refill our tanks
from them. Life is somewhat raw and simple and of course they all speak Spanish. But with a few words and lots of arm waving you can communicate well enough to accomplish your task. This is also why when going to Santiago shopping we hire a car and driver. The driver becomes our translator and also knows where all the shops and parts places are located. Street signs are not a big thing in the D.R.
- - You need to be able to deal with the psychology of living with a culture that is somewhat Spanish Conquistador with rich and poor and little in between. Graft and corruption is rampant mainly because the official don't get paid enough to support their families. So taking care of your "official" with a little for his services goes a long way to making what you want happen.
- - But the food is great. Totally organic and natural as the country is too poor to afford hormones, artificial feeds and pesticides and fertilizer. The food grows as Nature designed it to grow. Same with animals
- free range cattle. A good local meal sets you back US$3 to $5 and double it if you want some Presidente beer
- - As with most 3rd world countries ecology and public sanitation is not a high priority thing so don't stick any part of your body into the bay waters or you will get Durarte's Revenge. However, anything you want is available from the Pharmacia, no prescriptions necessary.
- - The local ladies are downright gorgeous and healthy. Falling in Love is a major hazard. The D.R. is a very different place from what you are used to in North America and some folks cannot deal with it - you have to be "street-wise" and on your guard as in the D.R. no money
means no food. Stealing is mostly done by the drug culture and outsiders. But "conning" you out of your money
is a major national pastime. So you need to learn how things are done. So in total, some folks love the place and find it quaint and charming. Others cannot adjust so move on to more "Anglo" islands.