With a stable government and a steady economy that grew by 7.1 percent in 2014, the Dominican Republic is ripe and ready for expats, retirees, and investors looking for a safe and affordable option in the Caribbean.
What makes the DR so attractive right now? I put it down to these five things:
1. Prices Represent The Best Value In The Caribbean
From real estate to the general cost of living, it can be hard to believe you're in the Caribbean. Prices across the board are more Latin American. You could live comfortably in the DR on a budget of $1,200. With a budget of $2,000, you could afford more entertainment and extra household help, for example, and really enjoy the good life.
Invest in a place of your own, and your monthly living costs would be much, much less. This is a realistic and appealing option, as property prices in this country are a bargain, certainly relative to elsewhere in the Caribbean. You could buy an apartment for as little as $100,000 or less.
2. The Established Expat Community Means Amenities And Services You Won't Find Elsewhere In The Caribbean
White-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, warm turquoise water, year-round sunshine -- you'll find them in abundance here in the Dominican Republic ... and, of course, pretty much everywhere else in the Caribbean, as well.
What sets the DR apart from other Caribbean islands and nations is its more sophisticated lifestyle -- one that is strongly European. Santo Domingo, the oldest permanent European settlement in the New World, boasts impressive colonial architecture, along with modern shopping options, theaters, museums, and stadiums (béisbol is a national obsession).
In the most appealing spots in this country, you won't have to worry about being the first expat in town. In Las Terrenas, for example, on the Samana Peninsula, you'll be welcomed by locals and expats alike. And you'll enjoy a wide range of international products (from patisserie-baked pain au chocolat to German salami to Swiss cheese) thanks to a diverse and multicultural local community. In fact, if you love the thought of European life but would rather be within a two-hour hop of the U.S. East Coast (and enjoying better weather than in most of Europe), then this could be the paradise you've been looking for.
3. Developments In Infrastructure Make For Easy Living
Recently upgraded airports mean you can get to the Dominican Republic from the U.S. East Coast in two hours. On the island, new highways have cut journey times out of the capital by half and more. No more getting lost down dirt tracks or driving a painful six hours when you want to reach the opposite side of the island.
Best of all, this easier accessibility by both road and air has helped reduce day-to-day living costs. On parts of the island, food and grocery items have, over the last couple of years, fallen by as much as 30 percent.
4. Easy Retiree Residency
The government of the Dominican Republic is welcoming of foreign retirees. If you can show proof of a monthly pension of $1,500 (plus $250 for each person you'll be bringing with you), you can qualify for provisional residency in just 45 days. And, as with other retiree residency programs in other countries, qualifying comes with perks, benefits, and tax breaks.
5. Not Ready To Retire? The Red Carpet Awaits Investors And Entrepreneurs, Too...
With its central location in the Americas, a fast-developing infrastructure, and a generous package of tax incentives, the Dominican Republic is one of the best places in the Caribbean region to do business. The government welcomes foreign investors to its industrial free-zones. If you have a business to transplant or are looking to set up your own business in a tax-friendly, benefit-laden location, you owe it to yourself to investigate the opportunities here -- especially if your work falls under any of the following categories: telecommunications, infrastructure, renewable energy, agribusiness, call centers, software development, manufacturing, or tourism.
Start up a business in a free trade zone and, thanks to Law 8-90, you'll qualify for a 15-year exemption on all income taxes, corporate taxes, VAT, municipal taxes, export tax and duties, and incorporation and capitalization taxes.
You don't have to be in big business to take advantage of the Dominican Republic's tax incentives. The government is committed to tourism growth. It recognizes the potential in its coastlines, its jungles, and its historic capital city. Its big agenda is "sustainable tourism," and it's rolling out the red carpet to those willing to help boost its tourism efforts and accommodate visitors in town. Start a tourism business here -- a boutique hotel, a tour business, or dive shop may qualify -- and, under Law 158-01, you'll receive tax breaks for the next 10 years on income taxes, VAT, real estate transfers, property tax, import duties, and more.
All while living in one of the world's warmest, safest, and friendliest havens.