Dominican Republic

Value in the Caribbean

Iyna Bort Caruso

The Dominican Republic holds the title of tourism market leader in the Caribbean, according to the fourth quarter 2013 Caribbean Market Update from Integra Realty Resource, a real estate valuation and consulting firm. It is an international gateway country, the beneficiary of eight international airports and expanding airlift service from many major U.S. cities. Miami is a two-hour flight away, making real estate in the Dominican Republic highly desirable.

The DR, as it’s fondly known, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola sharing its border with Haiti. More than 10 percent of the country has been set aside for national parks and reserves.

It’s no secret to golfers the country is one of the top golf destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America with some 25 courses. Offshore, its thousand-mile coastline makes it a playground for water sports, especially kite boarding and windsurfing.

The Dominican Republic is among the more affordable Caribbean countries in terms of real estate. Foreign investors are welcomed here. Non-residents can purchase Caribbean real estate free and clear with no restrictions. Development is increasingly planned with an eye toward sustainability and preservation of the country’s natural beauty.

Investments go far, which is why it attracts retirees as well vacation homeowners. While most foreign buyers are from North America, Europeans, particularly those originating from France and Italy, have also established pocket communities here.

Estates are built to impress, from a mansion with an underground casino to a palatial villa with a cliff-side Jacuzzi. Eco-friendly communities are master planned with resort-style amenities. Many have onsite property managers available, giving owners the option to rent out their units to offset maintenance expenses.

Santo Domingo is the capital, home of meringue and fine cigars, while Santo Domingo is the largest city. Its colonial zone, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to the first cathedral, castle and monastery in the Americas. North coast beaches in towns like Cabarete are popular with the sun and sand set who enjoy a low profile tropical spot with plenty of soft-adventure activities. The inland cities of Jarabacoa and Constanza are the go-to mountain retreats. Locals call the region the Alps of the Caribbean.

Winter nights can get refreshingly chilly though daytime temperatures are perfect for river rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding.