Over the years I have answered many emails from aspiring expats to
the DR and from tourists who are visiting on holiday. The questions
range from property issues to employment to relationships. Here is a
selection. Names have been changed to protect the……….senders.
If you recognise yourself at least know you are not identified.
From Karen in Ontario, Canada: May 2005
I went to the DR 5 months ago on holiday and met the most marvellous
man! He was working in the hotel where I stayed, doing the entertainments.
He seemed to take a special liking to me. Ricardo and I would talk for
hours and well, you know, one thing led to another……..lol.
He was very…….entertaining. Since I’ve come back home
we talk on the phone almost every day. Three months ago his mother had
a bad accident so I sent money for her operation. Now he tells me that
his sister’s daughter has leukaemia but they can’t afford
the treatment. It’s so sad, isn’t it? I’m going to
help out of course but I wondered if you know of a less expensive way
of sending money than Western Union? Also, he wants me to come back
to Rio San Juan so that we can get an apartment together. It’s
sooooooo exciting!! Do you have any idea what apartments cost? Thanks
for any help.
Far be it from me to be the bearer of bad tidings but…….please
read Quisqueya: Mad Dogs and English Couple particularly Chapter
1 Roosters, Sankies and Colmados. You may have inadvertently become
involved with a Sanky. Might I ask a few questions? Did you have a boyfriend
in Canada before your DR holiday? Who pays for the daily phone calls?
Who will be paying for the apartment rental? Did you meet Ricardo’s
sister and his niece when you were out here? Did the child look ailing?
You can see where I’m going I’m sure. Think very carefully
indeed before you give up your job in Canada which could be keeping
Ricardo in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. If you were
to move to the DR what would you do for money?
Please go very slowly on this one.
From Brenda, June 2005
Loved your articles! Can I get a one way flight ticket to the DR or
does it have to be return? Any help you can give me about flights would
Could you give me a fighting chance of being able to help you by telling
me which country you intend flying from? Thank you.
From Karen in Ontario, June 2005
You sound like my mother only you ask more questions! Have you never
been in love? You’re probably an old fogey. No I didn’t
have a boyfriend in Canada. But Ricardo likes big girls so that’s
ok. Are you going to help me or aren’t you?
Yes Karen I probably am an old fogey and yes I have been in love and
am currently in a loving relationship. I’m sure that you are in
love, too. What concerns me is whether Ricardo feels the same. You wouldn’t
be the first foreign young woman to be used in this way. I will try
to help but I’m not convinced you will perceive as helpful some
of the comments I am making.
From Richard, Texas August 2005
Can you recommend a good lawyer in the Dominican? Thanks!
Could I ask which part of the Dominican Republic
you are considering? And for which purpose you require a lawyer? Different
lawyers are good at different types of work so if you tell me the type
of work I’ll be able to make a more informed suggestion.
It’s for purchasing a property in Sosa. Why did you write Republic
I’m going to assume that that is Sosua on the north coast (Sosa
is a baseball player). You could contact Argentina XXXXXX of Puerto
Plata or Nelson XXXXXXXX of Sosua. Do you need a lawyer who speaks English?
Both of these do. Republic was emphasised because we normally refer
to the Dominican Republic or the DR. Dominican is an adjective applying
to the people, so ‘in the Dominican’ would mean ‘inside
a Dominican person’.
Yes that’s it, Sosa on the north coast. Thanks for the names.
I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make about
From Karen in Ontario, October 2005
Sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while but I’ve been
very busy. Ricardo is having a run of bad luck with his family: his
brother was in a motorbike accident and had to go to hospital. He couldn’t
work during this time and he has a wife and six kids to support. I have
now taken on an evening job as well as my daytime job which is why I
don’t get much time for emails. But yes, he does love me, I’m
sure of it. And he’s such a good man – he is so concerned
about all the members of his family.
Please open your eyes, my dear. And please listen to your mother.
From Sue and Malcolm, Manchester UK November 2005
Thoroughly enjoyed your articles! We are moving to live in Cabarete
next March. Can you offer advice on vaccinations we should have before
moving? Many thanks.
Sue and Malcolm
Dear Sue and Malcolm,
Thank you for the nice comments. When I moved here I had the works done!
But then I was used to travelling in obscure parts of the world which
made this necessary (rabid goats outside Ulan Bator in Mongolia, for
example!). The list I had done was: Hepatitis A, Meningitis A &
C, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Polio, Yellow fever, Tetanus and Rabies.
You may want to check with your GP whether all these are necessary
and do ask about prophylaxis for malaria. Good to see you’re planning
well in advance of the move. Welcome to the DR! We live in Puerto Plata
which is about a 40 minute drive from Cabarete so if you want to come
over for a chat once you’ve settled in, please let me know. Ginnie
From Katherine in New York January 2006
How easy is it to get a job teaching English in the DR? I have a teaching
certificate and five years experience of teaching junior high. Thanks.
Getting any form of work here is not easy and there are many unemployed
Dominicans. However, qualified teachers are in some demand in the private
sector and there are schools which use the English language. I am sending
you the links of some schools which fit this category in Santo Domingo,
Santiago and Sosua. These schools will pay a salary far superior to
the public school sector where the language used is Spanish.
From Karen in Ontario, March 2006
You annoyed me with that last email. My eyes are open! Anyway this is
to let you know that I’ve been working very hard and saving up
when I can. I’m due some holiday time so I’ve decided to
look for a cheap last minute holiday deal. I haven’t told Ricardo
so when I turn up it will all be a wonderful surprise for him!
Yes I’m sure it will! I hope there are no unpleasant surprises
for either of you. Good luck!
From Arthur in Newcastle, UK June 2006
If I retire to the Dominican Republic am I still entitled to my English
Yes, Arthur, you are. I am drawing my UK Old Age Pension currently.
What you don’t get is the annual inflation proofing. Nor the winter
heating allowance! I did write to them suggesting that they convert
my heating allowance, bus pass etc to an air conditioning allowance
since we need AC where I live in September and early October due to
heat and humidity. Strangely enough I never got a response to that!
From Mike and Ann, Wyoming September 2006
We are thinking about moving to the DR. We have about $400,000. Will
this be enough for the move and to set up a business? Any help you can
give will be appreciated. Thanks.
Mike & Ann
Dear Mike and Ann,
First off I would recommend you live here for at least a year before
you even consider setting up a business. Ways of working here may not
be what you are used to in Wyoming! Do you speak Spanish? If not you
need to learn enough to get by, fluency isn’t necessary but the
more you have the better. You also need to understand the culture.
Secondly, I would recommend you rent a property, not buy one. Then if
the DR isn’t for you, you can simply pack up and move on without
having to sell. If you wanted to invest your capital you could expect
to get interest rates of around 8-10% for dollars (or euros or sterling)
and 14% for pesos. However, having lived through the Baninter collapse
here, I would not recommend converting all your capital to pesos. This
would lay you open to currency fluctuations.
To Karen in Ontario, November 2006
Long time no hear! Are you here in the DR in domestic bliss with Ricardo
or are you in Ontario? How did the surprise holiday go?
I don’t want to talk about it.
Oh dear! Sounds like there were some problems. Sorry to hear that.
From Karen in Ontario, February 2007
Sorry, I should have got back to you sooner but I was just too upset.
I’m over it now though. Ricardo was a no-good bastard. I went
on the surprise holiday, arrived at the hotel and found him all over
some blonde skinny British girl. As if that wasn’t bad enough
I went to the village and found that he was married to a Dominican woman
and had 6 kids! And all that money I sent him. I know, you tried to
warn me but I didn’t listen. However life is wonderful now. I
went back to the DR but this time to Playa Dorada near Puerto Plata.
I should have come to see you, shouldn’t I? But there really was
no time because I met the most wonderful guy called Juan who works in
the hotel. I know what you said about sankies but he’s really
different. I’m so happy! We speak on the phone nearly every day.
He wants to get on in the world. We are even talking the ‘m’
word……..lol Do you know anything about getting a Dominican
a visa for Canada?
I wish you well. Good luck with Juan! Suggest you contact the Canadian
authorities about visas. Juan can contact the Canadian Consul in Puerto
Plata also. Forgive me if I don’t write again but I’m really
busy writing articles at the moment.