The Caribbean may be perfect for vacationing, with its warm weather, impeccable service across hotels, and year-round tropical vibes, but its well-established status as the global capital for resort tourism does not necessarily equal success in other fields.
For instance, digital nomads are known to avoid high prices at all costs, and though it is indisputably beautiful, the Caribbean is not exactly known for its affordable prices and cheap stays, at least when American or European visitors are concerned.
Tulum in Mexico and Nassau in the Bahamas are among some of the most expensive hubs for nomads worldwide, as they cater almost exclusively to big spenders, and it’s unlikely young nomads earning up to $3,000 a month will find the low cost of living they seek in those.
Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the number one nomad city in the Caribbean is a vibrant capital often bypassed by beachgoers altogether, as it is not their traditional resort zone nor its own country’s leading tourist attraction.
According to Nomad List, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (commonly shortened to DR) is where nomads who are country-hopping around the turquoise sea are gathering.
Has Santo Domingo Found Its Calling As A Nomad Hub?
The Dominican capital is the number one Caribbean city for remote workers in the most popular digital nomad platform, beating Yucatan’s tried-and-true ‘workcation’ centers and Jamaica’s retreat villa-dotted, rural hinterland to the number one spot.
Santo Domingo (SD) is not the DR’s leading destination, however: status resort-packed Punta Cana has held for decades now, and other up-and-coming beach zones – La Romana and Puerto Plata to name a couple – are strong contenders for the runner-up slot.
So why exactly has SD suddenly found its calling as a digital nomad base, when it is typically overlooked by regular tourists? Part of it has to do with the infrastructure it offers and more entertainment options for residents, particularly sociable remote workers.
As beautiful as the beaches in Punta Cana may be, there is not an abundance of coworking stations nor affordable month-long Airbnb listings, mainly because, once again, it is best known for having an impressive selection of luxury resorts and beachfront cocktail bars.
SD, on the other hand, is a cosmopolitan center combining scenic coastal views, culture, and city life: with sandy beaches that stretch for miles, a colonial core, and clusters of skyscrapers sprawling in every direction, it’s easily the most exciting place for nomads to be in the DR.
Beautiful Caribbean Beaches And Some Fascinating Culture
The Dominican capital is within driving distance of some of the most beautiful beaches on Hispaniola island.
If you’re looking for a more secluded, natural environment, the beaches in Boca Chica, only half an hour away by car from Santo Domingo, are considered part of the wider metropolitan region and are increasingly popular alternatives to overpriced Punta Cana.
There are Airbnb listings in the residential part of Boca Chica for as cheap as $549 per month. It is a stone’s throw away from the capital proper, and you can always take the local bus or your rental car into town whenever you need a change of scenery.
In downtown Santo Domingo, it’s all about the hustle and bustle of the streets, the tantalizing aromas emanating from food stalls lining up the colorful Colonial Zone, and verdant city parks:
It is the oldest European-built city in the Americas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site littered with 16th-century structures, including a landmark cathedral, the first built on this side of the pond, a series of impressive city walls raised by the Spanish, and a European-style fortified castle.
Living here, nomads will experience five centuries of living tradition, a multicultural scene that combines elements of both indigenous and Iberian nature, and an overload of History not easily found anywhere else on the sunny island or even the wider Caribbean subgroup to an extent.
Santo Domingo Is Cheap To Live In
And It’s Literal Digital Nomad Heaven
Airbnbs and guesthouses in Santo Domingo are reasonably cheap, costing between $530.49 for a studio apartment with a dedicated workspace in busy Calle El Conde to $1,369.52 for an oceanview condo: it all depends on location, the amenities, and the level of comfort.
When it comes to food, Santo Domingo fits every budget, with budget-conscious backpackers expected to spend on average $11 on meals per day, average travelers $24, and high-budget tourists will still be billed an acceptable $41.
A strong cafe culture and wide availability of coworking centers are equally important for nomads when considering a move abroad, and charming SD does not disappoint, whether it’s laid-back, ‘more local’ coffee shops in the historical Plaza de España or office-style spaces.
Nomad List counts as many as 66 coworking options in Santo Domingo, giving ‘workcationers’ plenty to choose from. Compared to Mexico’s digital nomad haven, it is considerably more than Tulum’s 46 and Playa Del Carmen’s 50.
Overall, nomads participating in Nomad List define the quality of life and safety in Santo Domingo as being ‘okay’, they consider it ‘affordable’, spending on average $1,938 per month, most would say the internet is ‘good’ and the city is ‘great’ fun, and food safety levels are ‘good’.
With that being said, the U.S. State Department urges Americans to exercise greater caution when visiting Santo Domingo, as petty crime is common across touristy neighborhoods, while violence and gang activity can be widespread in suburban zones.
Residing in Santo Domingo, you must familiarize yourself with local guidelines in order to reduce the risks of being affected by urban crime.
The Dominican Republic Has Easy Visa Rules In Place
The fact that the Dominican Republic has easy visa policies in place also helps Santo Domingo be in the nomad community’s good graces, as they have a clear aversion to strict entry and stay guidelines and visa-requiring destinations.
Citizens of the United States and most European countries can enter the DR visa-free for an initial period of 30 days, though it is possible to extend the stay up to 120 days for a fee.
There is no specific remote worker visa for the Dominican Republic in place, meaning you can only reside in Santo Domingo under tourist visa rules, as defined above.
Alternatively, you may apply for a regular residence permit, usually by fulfilling certain financial requirements.
↓ Join Our Community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.
This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.