Updated on April 18, 2020
Animal Rescue in the Dominican Republic
Being an animal lover myself it was quite a shock during my first couple years living here and while learning and adapting to the Dominican Culture. I was frequently observing cruelty and a general lack of compassion towards animals here. It was difficult to understand.
I did not have a complete understanding of the language at that time either in order to ask the questions regarding this attitude, which seemed to be a complete lack of compassion for animals. I am not saying that all Dominicans share this characteristic, but I was encountering more acts of cruelty than one would expect. So, I started investigating for myself what is really happening here.
So let me set the stage and context for you in this theme. For some, well for many people there are so many other pressing issues that need to be focused on — humans first. While stray animals go hungry, so do many Dominican citizens, pushing animal welfare to the back of the line. Therefore, many hurdles exist for foreigners in trying to gain local support for animals and their welfare.
It is extremely difficult to speak about animal care in a third world country or a developing nation when there are so many poor people trying to find a daily meal themselves. Like any social problem, educating the younger generation is one of the best ways to implement change. Gaining support for educational programs on animal rights has proved almost impossible.
Many educators close their doors and their minds when they are approached. Remember they are already fixed in their opinions and deal firsthand with hungry children and therefore they have no time or compassion for stray animals.
So a group of people from various locations around the globe formed RescataMe.org. It is the only government registered non-profit animal rescue organization in the touristic zone of Punta Cana. They have been instrumental in reducing the overpopulation, and abuse of stray animals here in the zone.
Through their continued educational work, the Dominicans have not only taken much more responsibility for their own, but also the stray animals by sharing their meals with the strays. A great achievement witnessing this, believe me. At RescataMe PuntaCana there are no obligations or minimum contributions for donations or sponsoring. The amount of the monthly donation amount is your decision, for us a onetime donation of $10.00 dollars is a blessing as well. Every little bit helps.
Everyone should really donate only what can be spared. The monthly costs for food and medical care are of course different for each animal, but on average they go from $20 to $50 per animal. Please take this as a guideline only and not as a compulsory monthly sum! A family also or a group of friends can take over a joint monthly sponsoring if you can afford it and your heart compels you to do so.
I would invite you to follow the link below if this speaks to you personally. There is no better organization to support when it comes to animal rights and care.
Here at Full Service Realty D.R. we are in complete support of this program and one of our realtors has been committed to this organization since the day she moved here. Volunteering no less than 20 hours weekly to the direct care of stray dogs and cats. You can imagine what her home looks like. LOL.
Amanda has a pure heart of gold and it is a pleasure working with her these past 6 months and witnessing the dedication she has placed for this cause. We hope that this quick overview prompts you to take a look at Rescatame.org and it inspires you to become involved as well.
Updated on April 15, 2020
My Top 10 Favorite Things to Eat in the Dominican Republic.
I will begin by saying everyone’s tastes are different…
So you may very well look at some of my choices and respond no way are you serious??
This is normal and was the same for me until I opened my mind and my stomach to new possibilities.
Living here the first two years was a real challenge as I was starting a new business and was trying to control costs…
My twin boys (14 at that time) who accompanied me here in 2011, had some real challenges as well in relation to finding foods they would eat?
But budgets and desires didn’t usually agree during those initial years. It did however present some interesting lunch and dinner conversations to say the least. We did a tremendous amount of experimenting through trial and error, which eventually formed our top 10 list.
This rich stew is commonly made up of different meats including beef, pork, goat, chicken; alongside plantain, yams, pumpkins, and other roots. It is usually served with a side of white rice and avocado. I add some hot sauce to spice it up a bit more. As an African gift to the continent, many Latin American countries have their own version of Sancocho, but be assured that Dominican sancocho, and its thick broth and seasoning, is truly like no other.
You can find great Sancocho almost anywhere on the island, especially in chilly mountain towns (such as Jarabacoa). The more authentic versions are made in the local comedores, typical restaurants, or a kind neighbor’s house. Many are eager to share their meals to obtain your opinion on how good it is!!
Finding this recipe was a godsend and it didn’t take long for it to become a mainstay in our meal planning.
These fried plantains are a popular staple on the island. Tostones are usually eaten as a side to many dishes, or on their own. Frying them is just one of the many ways you can cook plantains and they can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Plantains were originally brought to the island from Africa (by way of Southeast Asia) during the colonization period and have been an essential part of Dominican cuisine ever since.
The most traditional way to eat them? With some fried Dominican salami and a chilled beer. You can find a plate of tostones practically anywhere on the island from your local comedor (local deli/diner) including upscale restaurants.
3. Yuca (Cassava)
Yuca is the root of the cassava plant and even though it’s relatively underrated in Western cultures, it is actually a popular staple for millions of people around the world from Nigeria to the Dominican Republic. You can’t visit DR and miss out on trying this crop which was deemed sacred enough to have its own deity for the indigenous Taino.
With a particular, nutty flavor, the yuca is a versatile and healthy ingredient that will satisfy your appetite and your taste buds during breakfast or dinner. You can find the root crop at any supermarket and pretty much any hotel buffet, restaurant, or comedor. Eat it with salami, eggs, cheese, or with a dip.
Types of ways to Eat Yuca:
- Casabe: The native Tainos of the island used to grate yuca and turn it into a hardened flatbread called casabe.
- Boiled with caramelized onions on top.
- Fried (like tostones above).
- Mashed like potatoes.
- As a base flour ingredient for various dishes (like wheat flour).
4. Freshly Caught Fried Fish on the Beach
- Feasting on fried fish with morro, tostones, and salad in Playa Macao
- Disclaimer: This is not only food for your plate, but it’s an experience for your soul. For this one, I’ll ask you to picture yourself at a beach with water of different shades of blue, the sound of those waves crashing on nearby rocks, and the sun warming your skin. You sit on a table under a parasol and below you: A plate of fried fish (usually seabass, snapper or grouper) with tostones, rice, and salad.
- Usually paired with a Presidente beer or a freshly cut coconut.
- Although you will find pescado frito(fried fish) with tostones in almost any coastal town. Some of the TOP beaches to enjoy this beautiful experience are:
- Esmeralda Bay
- Playa Blanca
- 5. Pastelitos & Empanadas
Two savory and inexpensive snack options to offer at a party, or to eat for a quick breakfast at the empanada vendors in the corner of pretty much any street anywhere in the country.
The difference between the two is that empanadas are the shape of the half moon, and pastelitos (pictured above) are round. It is also more common to find baked pastelitos and fried empanadas. Different restaurants, bakeries, and vendors get creative with the filling; you can find some with different kinds of meat, cheese, eggs, or vegetables.
Perfect finger food when you in rush or don’t want to fill up on food saving room for a cold beverage!!
6. La Bandera
You can almost surely knock on the door of a Dominican family around lunchtime at any given day and the odds are that they’re having La Bandera.
This meal is made up of rice, beans, meat, salad with avocado, and sometimes a side of tostones or fried sweet plantains. Sounds like a lot? Well, it’s supposed to be a filling meal for the hardworking Dominican people. The culture here is to eat a hearty meal during the day an take a fine siesta before returning to the laborious work that provides their livelihood.
La Bandera means ‘the flag’, which shows how popular this meal is in Dominican households. Moreover, the ingredients are a fusion of our cross-cultural criollo influences. Hence, why this plate is often referred to as “comida criolla“.
You can easily find La Bandera in your Dominican neighbor’s house, a comedor (local deli diner), or any restaurant that sells typical Dominican food.
7. Rice with Pigeon Peas and Coconut
Experience the authentic flavors of the Dominican Republic with this Rice and Pigeon Peas with Coconut recipe (called Moro de Guandules con Coco in the Dominican Republic). Here, tender grains of extra-long rice are cooked with plump pigeon peas, traditional spices and creamy coconut milk for a rice dish that steals the show on the dinner table. Passed down through generations of Dominican cooks, this recipe captures the essence of the island. Key GOYA products make it easy for everyone to make at home.
8. Chimichurri Burger
Chimichurris is a Dominican hamburger characterized by the addition of numerous spices to the meat patty, such as oregano, garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes. It is usually not prepared at home, but bought from street food vendors. Like most burgers, chimichurris is served in a bun and topped with a variety of ingredients such as mayonnaise, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, and onions.
This particular meal was a lifesaver during those early years with my twin boys!!
9. Puerco Asa’o (Asado)
Last, and certainly not least, the roasted pig is a treasured staple during the most festive celebrations, especially for dinner on December 24th and 31st.
Since the very beginning, indigenous Tainos had enjoyed barbecuing their meat, including pork which was brought over by the Spanish colonizers. This cross-cultural tradition was passed down from generation to generation and is kept very much alive today. You will find the traditional roasted pig or ‘puerco asao’ in almost every Dominican table during the Christmas season.
Suspiritos is one of the simplest Dominican desserts made with a combination of egg whites, lime juice, and powdered sugar. The name of this dessert can be translated as meringue kisses. When prepared, suspiritos are consumed immediately, and they are regularly served at birthdays and baby showers.
Apart from the basic version, there are also varieties prepared with chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.
What is your top 10 list of favorites is anyone’s guess?
But there is only one way to find out.
Experiment for yourself and create your own top 10 list.
Posted on April 13, 2020
Thinking About Moving to the Dominican Republic?
Full Service Realty is here to Help.
There are many questions to ask yourself as you investigate the possibility of relocating to the Dominican Republic.
Information is everywhere. Who do you trust as that source…?
I say trust yourself first!!!
You have managed to get yourself this far in life. Take the next step – but do it with caution by taking the time to investigate everything you find important. Listening or acquiring information from other people isn’t a bad thing. You just need to filter your source of information and verify it with some due diligence.
But no matter what, decide for yourself is this what I want?
Let’s start there. What do you want?
Create a list of things you NEED first.
- I need the beach?
- I need warm weather?
- I need an income?
- I need to retire?
- I need entertainment?
- I need sun?
This is critical for your own piece of mind. Those needs are different for everyone, obviously. Once you take the time to answer for yourself what it is that you need first then you can move onto the desire’s or wants column.
What do you WANT?
- I want a fresh start?
- I want to wake up to the sound of waves?
- I want to live a more healthy life?
- I want to escape the crazy media?
Again, it is a different list for everyone.
This is just basic advice for all. However, it is something that most would agree is the logical process of identifying what you need and want and put that down on paper to organize your thoughts.
Then clarify your budget and your expectations on how you can meet that in best case and worst-case scenarios. Burning bridges and taking a leap in faith on following your dreams is never an easy thing. I could write today about my experiences and that is good for many readers who are inspired that way.
However, today I am trying to encourage you and many like you to begin by taking the advice above. Create those lists on paper… If it takes you only 10 min or 10 days or 10 months get in down on paper and put that paper on your mirror in the bathroom!! Create the vision/dream/reality -board- that begins each morning to build that subconscious foundation that will follow you throughout the day.
Add to that visual board / list as many times as is necessary. Create it yourself by answering the questions that puts your needs and wants first – in order to drive you forward.
When you have sufficiently answered all your own questions take the time each night to brainstorm how you are going to put together a real plan to make it happen…
One thing for sure nothing happens without action and my greatest successes have always come from creating at least 3 formal action plans… A, B, C. 1, 2, and 3. Seems logical right? You wouldn’t believe how many people do not get this basic idea and formalize it by writing it down. It wont happen by itself. You must do this for yourself.
Now if you have a photographic memory and don’t need to write things down that’s perfect…. IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE OF THOSE BRAINS… do yourself a huge favor and just follow this advice.
CONFIRM THE INFORMATION>>>
Find yourself at least 5 different sources that you can adequately trust to validate the answers you need. Use your instincts here. Ask those questions to each source and bounce your plans off to them if they are inclined to listen. There are some out there who are genuinely just trying to help. But nothing in this world is for free, everyone wants something. Including me.
I am looking to help others first and foremost because I believe that many people for the most part are just like me, willing to help and hoping that what comes around goes around. I do take pleasure in helping others and don’t take my word for it just because I am writing it. Investigate me through social media and investigate by asking others, then again trust your own instincts.
Helping others does come natural for some people. I personally feed off positive energy. That is what drives me. Maybe I need something from you someday… It is never expected!!!
One thing I have learned through many years of experiences is never to expect anything from anyone unless your paying for it. That is a whole other subject. When you pay someone, it falls into the reciprocation for consideration column. When you offer your help for free it’s because you genuinely are trying to connect with people lending a helping hand.
LENDING THAT HAND NOT GIVING IT —- LOL…
I have a fantastic team. So, if I can’t answer your question, I take as a challenge to get that answer – it just the daily process of learning that has carried me this far. Read some of my previous blogs.
Get to know me or my team through communication. Ask those questions and verify our responses. Trial and error have always worked for me.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!!
Posted on April 9, 2020
What is a Day Like in the D.R. during Corona Virus
I suppose I should start by saying it is obviously different for everyone. Depending on your location and resources. True for everyone everywhere. Personally, I am in a very secure expat retirement community located between two resort hotels which are obviously unoccupied during this global crisis.
Therefore, the beach and ocean are empty on both sides of our resort community. There are many areas just like this throughout the island. Many communities in this tourist area have the same situation. Meaning those expats who don’t live here full time are elsewhere, and those who do live here full time are in isolation but at least able to enjoy the amenities while using safe practices and social distancing.
So, lets begin what are my perceived negatives being here during this situation?
Lack of physical interaction with my social groups. Yes, I am personally safeguarding myself and my family by following the rules of isolation limiting contact with others. I do not want to expose them or myself to the risk of contracting the virus.
When I do go out to restock our supplies, I use the mask like everyone else. Washing my hands before and after, wearing gloves in public places, keeping distances as much as possible, and returning home to immediately take a shower or a quick dip in the ocean… Nothing like salt water to neutralize any bacteria or germs. LOL.
What I believe I miss most during this global event is just meeting new people from around the world. On average I would meet no less than 10 new people each week in casual settings around town. Whether at the coffee shop, restaurants, on the various beaches in the zone, here at the pool, or the local watering holes. During those interactions I would explain casually what I do here in the Dominican Republic. Recycling company, environmental auditing, pig farmer, bar owner, and real estate management company. You must be diversified. Rule one as a sustainable business owner.
Business is slow because everyone and everything is closed except for the essentials.
Cabin fever doesn’t really exist for me because I spend plenty of time at our pool or on the beach or visiting my mother who lives here as well in the same resort community.
Not being able to explore new areas on the island currently. Yep that’s a big one for me. So, although my CABIN is different than most, I guess there is that.
So, lets now focus on the positives.
Plenty of time to spend at the beach or at the pool or at my mothers place, which she is loving by the way. Having me around daily for lunch or dinner has its pluses and minuses. I have gained a few pounds.. Shouldn’t that be in the negative column. LOL>
My morning routine is basically the same, off to the beach or take a jog around the community, then visiting my mother to share a coffee. After that its back home onto the balcony to catch up on some news and emails.
I have more time to learn about things I had been putting off before, doing some research on new business models that are critical no matter the global situation. Opportunities are forever present if you look at it from a logical standpoint of problem vs. solution. Solutions exist if we just use some common sense. Decisions are necessary some more difficult than others.
Moving on we have great security here, its never really been a concern of mine during the 10 years I have lived on the island. But let’s face it in difficult times people need to take additional measures for security. That is true anywhere you are.
Food supply, this is a great positive here. Fruits and vegetable are plentiful. Everything here grows all year around. Seasonally things come and go but its all fresh and there is an abundance. Fresh coconut, pineapple, limes, avocados, mango’s, etc. The supply line here is direct and intact.
The culture is one of sharing and caring. Especially if your known to the locals as a person with a good heart. I have always said you reap what you sow. I have sewn strong threads in this community, and this has had its amazing benefits shining brightly these past two months. I have been blessed. People I haven’t heard from in years reaching out asking if I am well, how are you doing? You need anything? Genuine concern and care. Can’t put a price tag on that my friends.
That’s it in a nutshell as they say… I wish nothing but the best for everyone no matter where you are.
I hope you find this short blog inspiring and if you have any questions you can always reach out and I promise I will respond. Because the way I see things we are all in this together and helping others anyway possible is the only way to succeed.
Updated on April 8, 2020
Pros and Cons of Retiring in Punta Cana
Retirement at last… Now what?? Many people consider leaving their hometown, comfort zone, etc…. and trade it in for a more relaxing environment. The option to go somewhere warm and tropical is attractive and exciting. There is so much to contemplate. Change for some isn’t easy and creates a lot of anxiety. However, the idea of entering into a new chapter in life is equally stimulating offering you a well-deserved reward, for most which is decades of work…
Tropical destinations such as the Dominican Republic are highly sought after, and for many reasons. I will discuss just a few of the pros and cons of retiring in the Dominican Republic so that you can contemplate the idea if this is on the right place for you to spend your retirement days. What I highly recommend is spending at least 3 months here first to truly investigate what daily life holds for you and your spouse or loved one. Believe me when I say Island fever has its pluses and minuses. But by doing your due diligence you may discover this is the perfect place for you to retire!!
Pro: Warm, Tropical Climate
If you are content and happy laying on the beach or by the pool with a cold beverage in hand year-round, the Dominican Republic may be somewhere that you want to further look into for a retirement home.
In addition to a warm climate, the Dominican Republic is also home to tropical parks. If you are an avid outdoor adventurer, you will have plenty of new spaces to explore at your own leisure. The options are endless depending on your level of mobility and your zest for new experiences.
Con: The Heat Doesn’t Go Away?
While the warm tropical climate is appealing to many, it is not for everyone. The weather in the Dominican Republic averages a temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This is definitely a warm average! If your body does not thrive in warm climates, this may not be the place for you. But if you don’t mind the temperature then this is the place. What many do not know is if you want to take a break from that on the island all you have to do is travel to the mountains. During the summer or winter months the mountains offer a completely different environment that averages 10 degrees cooler. Yes 10 degrees cooler. Constanza is agricultural town which produces nearly 20 percent of the vegetable that reach the markets of Santo Domingo and the eastern half of the island. Many expats travel there frequently as a change of pace from the beach. Waterfalls and hiking and experiencing farm life in the mountains of Constanza is an experience that I highly recommend. In fact there are quite a few people from various countries that have chosen this as their retirement destinantion.
Pro: The Dominican Republic is Rich in History
If you are a history buff, you will love spending time learning about the history of the Dominican Republic firsthand. Rich in Spanish heritage, the Dominican Republic has an intriguing history that will leave the history buff wanting to learn more. From learning about early settlers to languages and religions, there is a lot to explore!
The Dominican culture is a true gift to anyone who enjoys friendly and thoughtful people who seem to always be laughing and smiling. The energy here is wonder to experience and was one of the main reasons for me personally that I could not escape.
Pro: Low Cost of Living
When thinking about retirement, often finances are a restraining factor. If the Dominican Republic seems like an attractive option, you may not have to worry about finances.
A one-bedroom apartment in a local town would cost you around $500 a month and if you opt to live outside of the city you could save a little more. Apartments outside of the city center will only cost about $350.
Even if you wish to live in Punta Cana, an apartment will only cost about $700. This is an incredible price for the eastern and southern tip of the island! In the heart of the well developed tourist zone where expats from all over the world frequently visit and live full time.
Pro: An Easy Process
If you are retiring, you probably do not want to deal with a long drawn out process. Luckily, the process for retiring in the Dominican Republic is fairly simple. According to investoopedia.com, any person can retire in the Dominican Republic if they can show proof of a monthly pension as well as $350 for each person traveling with them.
In addition, the process only takes about 45 days. If you make the decision to move now, you can be in the Dominican Republic in no time! If you have any additional questions regarding buying in the D.R. Full Service Realty D.R. is here to assist as well.
Con: Being Away from Family and Friends
This is probably the biggest con of retiring in the Dominican Republic if it applies to your unique situation. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of living in a tropical oasis so you may be a lot further away from family and friends that you are used to seeing frequently.
However, you could always take a trip back home to see them whenever you see fit. Even better, your family and friends would have a great excuse to vacation to see you of course!.
We hope that we have helped make your decision easier by laying out just a few of the pros and cons of retiring in the Dominican Republic. For more information about the Dominican Republic, click www.fullservicerealtydr.com
Updated on June 21, 2020
Top 5 Reasons to Buy in the Dominican Republic
1. Expansive Beachfront Bargains!
Across the world, beachfront real estate remains in high demand. In fact, in most locations is also comes with a very high price tag. Currently this is still not the case in the luxury market of the Dominican Republic. Beautiful villas and oceanfront condominiums are still within the reach of many real estate investors. Compare for yourself and you will discover how this market stacks up against other island nations. Our portfolio of price options and locations in the Eastern Region has many options and price points to choose from.
2. Rising Tourism Means More Real Estate For Sale!
Tourism continues to grow in the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, the quality of tourism is also rising with the numbers. In 2019, we had over 6.3 million visitors: “While sun and beach remain the country’s most sought after attractions, the Dominican Republic continues to expand its competitive offerings in the tourism marketplace. Offering all the following adventurous excursions, authentic cuisines, and exciting entertainment. The country prides itself on offering something for every type of traveler and budget. ” As you can see, there is a lot to get excited about the growth in the investment property within the tourism market! As tourism continues to rise more and more businesses continue to thrive. Driving demand for housing and creating wealth in the touristic zones. Better services mean higher demand for real estate to be close to those service centers.
3. Strong Rental Yields!
Tourism is also changing the face of the rental market in the Dominican Republic. As a result, many visitors now seek apartments, condos, and villas for their vacation stay and in many cases relocating to live permanently after they experience firsthand what Dominican Living offers. In short, they want to have a more authentic experience of what life is like in this beautiful country. As a result, tourism is rising much faster than the number of available units in the commercial sector. This is helping to create a great opportunity for private owners to achieve strong yields.
4. Long Term Capital Growth Potential!
Prices are low, tourism is growing, the economy is growing, and yields are good. As the economy grows, the market’s stability improves. With continual infrastructure upgrades, eyes are quickly turning to this beautiful country. This cycle is known to push up real estate values by a considerable amount over the long term.
5. Professional Help is Close at Hand!
The Full-Service Realty D.R. team has the experience with more than 15 years living here full time and the onsite knowledge specific to our market and the surrounding areas. You do not have to experience the learning curve most encounter when they try to make the transition to owning and or renting property in this island paradise. Let our team guide you along that journey and you will experience for yourself what sets our company apart from the those who are only interested in commissions. We know through personal experience who can be trusted and where to conduct business. In the end it is always your decision on who you want to work with. Take the time to investigate and get the facts… Verify before you decide on who you want to work with as our team has done all along.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!!
Full Service Realty D.R. www.fullservicerealtydr.net
Posted on April 4, 2020
One of my first truly amazing experiences after moving here in 2010, was traveling to a series of freshwater springs that formed several natural swimming pools. I had the privilege of my twin boys living with me the first two years after relocating here. I was launching a new service company focusing on environmental compliance in the tourism industry. I was learning rapidly about the local area and experiencing as much as I could with my twins.
We discovered a unique paradise in the middle of the Jungle in Punta Cana. Spring feed water holes that you hike 20 minutes to reach. The water is crystal clear and deep enough allowing you to dive down 15 feet to the bottom. Fresh and cold on a hot summer day – refreshing doesn’t begin to describe the feeling…
Walking through the jungle and mangroves to reach these watering holes is an amazing journey. Seeing the flora and fauna in such natural settings created memories that will never be forgotten. Then arriving at the springs to cool off for a few hours is something my sons often talk about still to this day. You might ask where the twins are now. They were 14 the first time we visited this location at that time and returned to the states at age 16 to finish high school. They are now 23 years of age. They visit me at least once annually and for weeks at a time, when schedules permit.
We have returned to those natural springs many times over the years. Doesn’t this sound like and incredible experience?
Just add that to your list of — off the beaten path of experiences you should try!!!
Until tomorrow enjoy your day!!!
Posted on April 3, 2020
Imagine waking up each morning to the sound of crashing waves on the beach, while watching the sunrise on the horizon. Morning walks on the beach in complete solitude seemed like a distant dream for me 20 years ago. Now I look back and nearly 10 years has past since I made that journey here to the Dominican Republic to make it my reality. I dared to dream and I took action. That is really what it takes a true commitment to yourself to make things happen in your life. Eliminate the excuses find solutions to the barriers that are holding you back from your own dreams. Nothing in life just happens you have to make it happen through action.
The Full Service Realty team is here to help you explore your desires. When we say Full Service Realty that is exactly what your gonna get. Our team has nearly 2 decades of experience living here full time. We can assist you with all your questions to include business opportunities that you may be passionate about. The world has thrown us a curve ball this year with all the Corona Virus pandemonium. Its a scary situation for many people. Nobody wants to get sick, nobody wants to lose loved ones. How do you keep yourself safe and secure especially in the tropics?
Let me tell you that I personally feel blessed to be here during these times. My experience during this global crisis thus far has been one of immense reflection. I am thankful I am where I currently am, being able to feel safe and secure with abundant resources and complete solitude. This is available to you and yours if your willing to take action and plan ahead.
I have learned quite a lot in these past few weeks. Managing the risks and preparing for the worst in this environment was not nearly as difficult as you might imagine. In fact I have had some eye opening experiences to the way society behaves globally and locally. The Dominican Republic offers a completely different environment to those who choose to be diligent in their affairs and manage life for themselves. Instead of letting others dictate it for them.
Do not be afraid to take life into your own hands. Make your own calls and take charge of your future. You wont be disappointed I promise you. You will find that the key to life is knowing you are finally doing what you want to do. Discover new passions whether its in this tropical paradise or some other location, but take action for yourself.
Enjoy the day and think about the possibilities.
Posted on April 2, 2020
Full Service Realty Punta Cana Region Experts Are Here to Guide You.
Living here for over a decade enjoying the many aspects of the Dominican Republic, both my business partner and myself have amassed a massive catalogue of memories we wish to share with anyone who wants experience what this country has to offer. The best approach to living here is to become well informed.
We have been contemplating for some time, whether or not, to share those experiences using a blog platform. What we hope to gain from this is many things, however first and foremost is the joy of just connecting with people from all over the world.
Believe us when we tell you, we have seen and experienced more here in these past 10 years than most have in their entire life. One thing for sure is each day has something new to see and marvel at.
For me it has been one hell of an experience and I am now going to share some of my stories both old and new.
Now where to begin?
The basic facts about the history of this country seems as good as any place to start.
Christopher Columbus choose the DR as his sole residence in the Western Hemisphere after making that historic discovery. A land blessed with fertile soil and gold deposits–Columbus and the Spanish Crown used the country as a launching pad for conquests across the Caribbean and United States. Today, the first city of the Americas, Santo Domingo, is the capital of the DR, and continues to thrive while preserving its history and original Spanish architecture.
Quisqueya, as Dominicans affectionately call their home–meaning “mother of all lands”. This was the first permanent Spanish settlement in the Americas or the “New World,” with the arrival of Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492.
Aside from historic firsts, the Dominican Republic ranks among the most diverse Caribbean countries in geography, nature, and people. Its landscape ranges from the highest peak in the region, Pico Duarte, The highest mountain peak in the Caribbean, rising at 3,087 meters (10,125 feet), to the lowest body of water, Lago Enriquillo. Lake Enriquillo is the largest natural water reserve in the Dominican Republic and of all the Antilles , with an area of 245 km² as of October 2019, [ 2 ] although its area is not constant. It is the rest of an old marine channel that linked the bays of Neiba and Port-au-Prince in the Dominican Republic. Its waters are shared between the Independencia and Bahoruco provinces. It is part of the Lago Enriquillo and Isla Cabritos National Park and the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve .
The D.R. has over 6,000 species of flora and 7,000 species of fauna include cacti flowers, endemic hawks, and humpback whales. The country’s cultural make up is Taino, European, and African–includes a diverse population welcomed in the DR since the 19th century, from Jewish and Japanese communities to UNESCO-proclaimed Afro-Caribbean groups.
The Dominican Republic is a Democratic nation with a population of over 10 million people, which has a territory stretching 48,442 square kilometers (18,704 square miles).
That’s just over twice the size of New Jersey, or nearly the size of Costa Rica. Its coveted shores face the Caribbean Sea in the south, and the Atlantic Ocean in the north.
As of 2019, 7,115,402 overnight visitors and more than 1,300,000 cruise passengers make their way to the Dominican Republic every year.
Whether you choose to visit the shores along the more than 1,600 kilometers (nearly 1,000 miles) of coastline, verdant mountain towns, fishing villages, or the cactus-lined landscape, you’ll uncover a unique side of the DR.
Along the way, you’ll experience a unified passion for the music and dance–merengue, bachata, and the diverse gastronomy taking you beyond rice and beans, to include a love for baseball, family, and hospitality.
Together, they make up the essence of the Dominican spirit.
Now it is time to share daily what it is about island life that fires my passion to initiate a blog – that I hope inspires many more to take on the challenge of living in the here in the Caribbean.
My goal is to embark on this journey of expression to engage people from all cultures, thus creating a relationship that surpasses the normal constraints of just writing a book per se.
A digital journal that allows others to see through my perspective what the Dominican Republic has to offer offers that has captured my soul.
Let me continue by describing my typical day in this Caribbean Paradise.
Each day for me typically begins with coffee on the penthouse terrace which is directly in front of the private beach. Nestled between two resorts, which at the moment are closed due the Corona Virus. This unfortunate crisis will pass… But where there is a crisis there is also an opportunity! I decided make use of this pause in my normal routine, to do what I am doing now. Reflect and contemplate what is next in terms of life challenges. Challenges for me are always welcome. Problem / Solution mentality has always been my strength in each of my self-described lives. Currently in number 3 and preparing for number 4.
I will expand on this later!!! Lol.
So again, my day usually begins with coffee on the terrace, ocean side breezes and sunrises that have been my landscape for the past 7 years. I didn’t start off living here directly on the beach. That was a goal that I worked for putting in 12 hours days the first 3 years upon arriving. I started a company that focused on Sustainability. Environmental concerns in the hospitality market. Specifically, in island nations, which presented some incredible challenges. This also provided some amazing opportunities.
Again, using my problem solution mentality, that then needed an action plan to initiate a real change in the norm. I began by engaging the hoteliers directly, and then created an infrastructure to manage the services that were necessary. I then went to work with the community to create a social change in terms of waste management and recycling. No easy feat by any means. Sponsoring local schools through a foundation I created for education advancements in sustainable practices. This was a profound commitment that provided the resources to assist in obtaining the long-term goal. Connections with local population, being part of a higher cause, and for myself the ability to wake up each morning to the overall dream which is now a reality. The sound of waves crashing at my balcony!
After gulping down a hot cup of coffee, its usually a brisk walk with my feet in the sand.
Normally I see a multitude of people from various corners of the planet here on vacation just taking a break from their daily routines whatever they may be. I usually walk my mother’s dog. Yes, my mom’s dog. Over a year ago I managed to convince my mother to retire here as well. She lives across the pool and that’s perfect for me because there is nothing like home cooked meals to compliment this amazing experience. But let’s get back to the beach and walking the dog.
People see me with a dog on a leash and that is the icebreaker. How did you transport your dog here that’s so cool? Everyone wants to pet your animal and the questions begin. I like that, it starts new conversations without any effort for the most part. Those new conversations create new experiences and believe me, I get my fair share of enjoyment with the questions I ask as well.
Where are you from, how long are you staying, what made you decide on coming here, etc.
I want to be forthright; I have recently opened a real estate company to take my passions in a new direction. With the experiences I have accumulated here in the past 10 years, I realized that the information I have acquired can be extremely useful.
Let’s face it I used that information to convince more than a few to take the leap of faith to make this country their second home or primary residence. I enjoy being that anchor, or rock as a base for others to use. And now I have help to expand that vision.
I partnered up with another expat who I befriended during the hurricanes of 2017. Another fantastic and amazing story!!! I will get to that another time.
Krystal, my business partner and her husband moved here from Canada nearly 5 years ago now, intending on just retiring. LOL!!!
Many do come here and are just fine with retirement living on the beach. Not my partner!! And god bless her for that. I have made an amazing friend which eventually turned into another business opportunity and another business model to be used to again to connect with people.
I figured out a bit late in life, just how rewarding that can be. Connecting with others a passion we both share in unison. We thoroughly enjoy listening to others and their lives and discovering their passions and seeing how we can help them with their dreams, which more times than not include living the island life, whether part time or full time.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, I am crazy about sun, sand, and water.
I grew up in the Midwest, did a lot of traveling as member of the armed forces. Doing my duty as a defender of peace and believing in the constitution. I have always been passionate about the environment, which led me to my third career. Environmental consulting in the tourism industry. However, during the presidential elections of George Bush the second, something very profound occurred. I became awoke, as many have explained. First, I was angry, furious, and determined to take a new direction in life. Politics aside, a necessary evil in my viewpoint, but I wanted to have more control over my decisions and my opportunities. To explain this frankly, I no longer believed I could obtain that in my home country. Listen, I don’t believe this to be true of everyone, it was just my perspective at that moment in life, which motivated me to make some drastic changes.
Problem / Solution. LOL.
I began studying and investigating what my skills had to offer in a different country and how I could take my life in a completely different direction. I spent the next 4 returning to a University. I double majored in international business management and environmental studies as a non-traditional student. I graduated this time at the age of 42. 6 months ahead of schedule. I set a goal and never gave up. All the while focusing on a very clear path of what and how I wanted to achieve my goal…
What came afterwards was more challenging and more rewarding, than I ever thought I could imagine. Living and thriving in the Dominican Republic.
What I am explaining here, is the human spirit when motivated for the right reasons, is capable of anything if you just believe with your entire soul that you can be anything you want to be. It just takes the will, along with action, and again the belief of what you are committed to.
Adversity is not an easy thing to manage, but its part of the package. Nothing worth having comes to you without that. So by no means was this journey a cake walk. However, you can overcome most anything, if it is a true passion that drives your spirit.
What I am now discovering for the fourth time in life is another new passion.
Real Estate, and Island living, sharing the culture in a way that inspires others to dare to dream of living in the Caribbean. Specifically, the Dominican Republic.
Whether you want to spend a few weeks or a few months, or maybe live in the Dominican Republic full time, I believe this blog will be a source of information in which to see through someone else’s eyes daily what that life resembles.
So, where was I?
Oh, walking my mom’s dog on the beach most every morning. Each day is different, each sunrise unique. I take photos, I meet people, then I return home to catch a quick breakfast. Fresh fruit, from local market, fresh eggs that are never refrigerated!!
Let’s expand on that for a moment. I didn’t grow up on a farm as is true of most people these days. One of the first things I noticed when visiting the local stores is all the eggs are not kept in a refrigerator.
I was confused, this prompted an immediate investigation. I quickly learned from a local that if you don’t wash the protective membrane off the egg during collection and transport it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
I didn’t take that at face value, so I looked it up and low and behold I learned something new. Now let’s talk about fresh taste!! OMG. The eggs and the chicken are just one example of the best I have ever tasted. WHY?… because its fresh. Not created in an assembly line manner and fits perfectly in my context of sustainability.
Each day brings a new opportunity to learn something new. To look at life from a different perspective. I truly believe that for me, here I have been able to do just that. Forming unique experiences almost daily, while helping others.
Sustainable living is what I try to share with everyone I encounter. I moved here weighing over 215 pounds in less than a year I lost 25 lbs. due to diet and change of lifestyle. Let me tell you I felt 10 years younger immediately.
I gave up tv and media for 6 full months and this was a conscious choice to limit the what I call PROGRAMMING that most North Americans receive in their daily lives. I wont lie to you… That was tough at first, but I felt after a couple of months very relaxed and less stressed. Nice side effect if you ask me. Can you maintain that connection if you wish? Absolutely. Its all about controlling what you let into your life. Here I have to say it is much easier to do just that. Control the inputs.
So, after breakfast – its computer time. Checking emails, getting connected to new people and answering a multitude of questions from potential clients who are contemplating the idea of living in the Dominican Republic.
The questions are never ending. Most are basic but each person perceives this in a different way…
Its perfectly normal to be cautious. I invite those questions in every way possible. More times than not I have an immediate answer. Where to shop for necessities, where to bank, where to eat, are the hospitals adequate, etc. etc. These are basic… Easy enough to answer for sure.
The harder questions may be — Is this or that community safe, what happens in case of a hurricane, what is the response time in an emergency if one arises. You can imagine so many more.
How do you communicate??
I didn’t speak Spanish for the first 5 years I lived here. I was too engaged in managing my newly formed company and had the luxury that many of my employees knew English and Spanish and spoke for me. Wasn’t the best situation, but I learned many mistakes through trial and error.
The past 5 years I dedicated myself to learning the Spanish language at enough of a level to converse with the locals outside of the tourism districts.
Don’t let that scare you more than 30 percent of the population here does speak English and the Dominican Culture is extremely friendly. In many cases sign language or google phone translator suffices.
I should highlight, I have never in my 10 years been in hostile situation where I felt threatened.
Lately, the questions are more like — what is the risk with Corona Virus, how do you manage that?
Like everyone else. Isolation, and take the precautions when you are forced to go out. This is a global crisis, and everyone is adapting. Not much different here to tell you the truth. Personally, I find it very easy to be occupied in a positive manner. More beach and pool time along with the time to initiate this blog.
However typically, my day would normally continue by engaging my various clients either at a hotel or a local establishment. Enjoy a nice lunch, sometimes showing a few properties and call it the day. On my way home I usually stop by one of my 3 different businesses.
I have a pig farm… I don’t manage it every day personally, but I do own 25% of the business which commands a certain amount of attention from me weekly. How does one acquire a pig farm here in the Dominican Republic, you might ask?
As an environmental auditor and consultant in tourism, I am tasked to look for solutions to environmental concerns. I try to create circular economies in every situation I can. Food waste at all inclusive hotels is a major issue. Thus there was a problem. Again a solution was provided to take advantage of what one entity classified as waste and another entity classified as a resource. Think globally, act locally. That is what circular economies do. They incorporate best practices that are sustainable.
I also own a percentage in a local expat bar. This business model is committed to social impact and engagement. As a collective group, we sponsor community projects, local sports, and schools, as well as employee development. It provides venue that resembles what you might call CHEERS! Where everybody comes to share time together and watch sports from all over the globe, and listen to familiar music.
Some of the people who frequent this establishment have been living here 20 or more years. Some are just visitors from the local resorts. What is unique at this bar which a group of like-minded individuals decided to purchase, is our commitment to social sustainability. Giving back to the community through formal channels, and offering everyone who comes in a friendly atmosphere to just enjoy a familiar beverage and a snack among other expats and locals.
For me after spending a couple hours catching up with my compadres, I usually head on home to either relax by the pool or catch a home cooked meal. MOM STYLE.. LOL.
I teased you with 10 years of experiences previously and that will follow.
For today I just felt the need to give you a general outline of a day in the life of a guy who loves to communicate what its like to live on the beach in the Dominican Republic… Short answer is nothing short of amazing. Never a dull moment here.
I have many stories of triumph and failure. Looking forward to sharing them all.
Follow our blog to experience them as you wish…
Updated on June 19, 2020
FULL SERVICE REALTY D.R.
Questions? Questions? Questions?
You know how it is when you move to a new place, you have so many questions you don’t know where to start and you certainly don’t know who to ask.
Often you don’t even know what your questions are… you just know that you are confused and maybe a bit overwhelmed.
When you embark on a move to any foreign country you have lots of questions to ask. Especially when that country is way out in the middle of the Caribbean and the local language is Spanish. Those questions can really keep you awake at night.
Questions about schools, shops, doctors, housing and, of course, which place is really the place to be. Now you can relax!
Full Service Realty has done the research for you and found you all the names, addresses and phone numbers you need so you can have access to a comprehensive, accessible and practical guide.FAQs by New Expats – moving to and living in the Dominican Republic Full Service Realty team can come to the rescue!
- Where shall we live?
• Where are the schools?
• Where should we shop?
• Where are all the other expats?
• How can we make friends?
• And what shall we do in an emergency?
This is just one of the many benefits you receive when you work with a team that has over 15 years experience living here full time.
Divided simply into sections entitled Who, What, When, Where and How this information pack is without doubt the one-stop resource you need.
We provide this information to all of our clients to help them understand they have an onsite resource that continues far beyond the purchase of a property here. We make it our mission to assist in any way possible during that transition to the lifestyle here with the least amount of stress.
Full Service Realty D.R.