Colombia Vs. Dominican Republic | Gringo’s Guide

Colombia vs. Dominican Republic. Two of my favorite places.

I’ve spent time in both of these wonderful countries and was recently asked to do a comparison. So I figured why not?

If you’re looking for unique Latin cultures, then both of these countries fit the bill. Colombia and the Dominican Republic are fantastic places.

Loads of people enjoy living and/or traveling around both. There are adventures to be had: parties, beaches, tourism, nature, and fun-loving locals. You really can’t go wrong with either place.

But we’re here for the head-to-head. You want the matchup — a Colombia vs. Dominican Republic showdown.

So let’s get stuck into the good stuff, shall we?

colombia vs dominican republic

Colombia vs. Dominican Republic

So here it is.

I’ll compare these places in every way that comes to the top of my head. And while I’m not sure there will be a clear winner, at least people looking to travel to either place will get a good idea about the pros and cons of each.

Colombia vs. Dominican Republic head-to-head:


Colombia has way more people than the Dominican Republic. It’s not even close. Colombia has over 47 million people, while the DR only has 10.5 million living on the island.

So, if you’re looking for a large and diverse population with plenty of opportunities to meet loads of new people, then Colombia is your jam. And if you love the hustle and bustle of big city living, Colombia wins hands down.

Of course, if you prefer quaint little towns and villages, then DR has got plenty of those. But for me, Colombia’s size is a blessing rather than a curse.

  • Winner: Colombia


Due to its population size, Colombia also has bigger cities and more of them. In the Dominican Republic, you only have two cities with a decent amount of people: Santo Domingo, the capital, with around 2.2 million, and Santiago with about 1 million. Every other urban center is either a country town or a beach resort.

Colombia, on the other hand, has five cities with a population of 1+ million or more. Bogota is the largest with over 8 million people, while Medellin is still bigger than Santo Domingo – with around 2.5 million inhabitants. Therefore, Colombia is the winner if you’re after a variety of exciting urban experiences.

  • Winner: Colombia

Cost of Living

Colombia is cheaper than in the Dominican Republic. DR isn’t super expensive, but pretty much everything costs more than Colombia, especially in the touristy areas.

And if we break it down to the cities, nothing changes: Bogota is cheaper than Santo Domingo, Cali is cheaper than Santiago, and so on.

There’s not a tremendous amount of difference between the two, but Colombia is quite a bit more affordable overall.

  • Winner: Colombia

Language & English Levels

You’ll want to pick up some Spanish if you plan to stay in either country for a decent length of time. There aren’t that many people who speak English in Colombia or the Dominican Republic.

You’ll meet some English speakers in Bogota, Medellin, Santo Domingo, and Punta Cana. Outside those cities, you’ll need Spanish. Without speaking the local lingo, you’ll have a tough time.

From a Spanish comprehension viewpoint, the people in Bogota and many other areas in Colombia speak a neutral and easy to understand version of the language. Lots of people say Colombia is the best place for Spanish beginners and students because the locals are so easy to understand. Do consider that the dialect on the Carribean Coast of the country is less comprehensible.

In the Dominican Republic, however, everyone speaks a faster form of Spanish that’s filled to the brim with slang. Dominicans are just straight up harder to understand.

  • Winner: Colombia

Click here to start learning Spanish online before you travel.

Traveling Around the Country

Colombia not only has more people, but it’s also a much larger country. As such, it’s easier to move around the Dominican Republic. You can get from one side of the island to the other in less than seven hours, crossing the whole country in the process.

In Colombia, it’d take you 24+ hours to cross the entire country by bus. However, you can take cheap flights from all the major cities in Colombia roundtrip for around USD $50-80, depending on what’s available when you book.

In the Dominican Republic, you just take buses to travel around; it’s quick, and it’s easy. In Colombia, it’s usually easier to fly than sit on a bus for 12-15 hours as it winds through mountain roads.

  • Winner: Dominican Republic


Colombia has better infrastructure overall.

Places like Medellin and Zona T in Bogota blow the Dominica Republic out of the water from an infrastructure standpoint. You’ll find modern malls, futuristic cable cars, lightning-fast internet, and all the creature comforts of a luxury 21st-century lifestyle.

The Dominican Republic isn’t quite as developed. You can’t expect the same standard of infrastructure here.

  • Winner: Colombia


Colombia has more things to do than the DR. It’s a bigger country with more natural attractions and bigger bustling cities.

However, tourism is just more accessible in the Dominican Republic. Because everything so close together, you’re never going to be far from any attraction.

In Colombia, you have tourist attractions like:

  • Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
  • Catedral de Sal
  • Lost City
  • San Andrés
  • Monserrate
  • El Peñón de Guatapé
  • Castillo San Felipe
  • Valle de Cocora
  • Guatape
  • Punta Gallinas

…And more!

It’s damn difficult to get bored in Colombia. Hell, you’d almost have to try! I always find numerous ways to fill my time in Colombia, from tourist to nightlife.

In the Dominican Republic, you have attractions including:

  • 27 Waterfalls
  • La Aurora Cigar Factory Tour
  • Casa de Campo Resort and Villas
  • Altos de Chavón
  • Zona Colonial
  • Los Haitises National Park
  • Alcázar de Colón
  • Bávaro

…And more!

DR also offers some amazing tourist attractions. I’d say the beaches are some of the best in the world here.

So which country is king in tourism terms? I love them both, so I just can’t pick between the two. Dominican Republic is better for beaches, while Colombia might be better for everything else.

  • Winner: Toss-up


Although tourism was a toss-up, this next category certainly is not.

Colombia has some absolutely amazing beaches. There’s no doubt about it. It’s palm tree-fringed Carribean Coast comes peppered with the finest sugar-white playas in South America: Parque Tayrona, Isla Blanca San Andres, and Playas de Palomino, to name a few.

But they don’t come close to competing with the beaches in the Dominican Republic. Dominican beaches are truly world-class–pristine playgrounds, a sun-worshipers wet dream. If you love nothing more than pulling up a towel on a postcard-perfect beach, then the Dominican Republic is almost impossible to beat.

Great Dominican beaches can be found in:

  • Las Terrenas
  • Cabarete
  • Punta Cana
  • Bayahibe
  • Cabrera

…And other spots around the country!

  • Winner: Dominican Republic


La Rumbaaaa!

And both these two countries know how to get down. You can find a great party in the cities and beach resorts throughout Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Bogota has the best nightlife in Latin America; there’s no doubt in my mind about that. However, other Colombian cities aren’t all that great in my opinion. The party scene in Medellin and Cartagena is okay. However, I wasn’t a fan of the nightlife in Barranquilla or Cali at all.

While the nightlife in Bogota is better than in Santo Domingo, they still know how to get down and dirty in the capital of the Dominican Republic. I was a big fan of the rumba in Santo, especially in some of the high-end spots.

Furthermore, Santiago in the Dominican Republic has solid nightlife too. However, once you get away from the big cities, things can get grimy in the DR at night. Still, I had a ball partying here.

If you like mixing with the international crowd, then the clubs go wild at Punta Cana during the high season.

  • Winner: Toss-up

Nightlife in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Nightlife in Bogota, Colombia

colombia vs. dominican republic

Rooftop bar in Santa Marta, Colombia.


Latin rhythms dominate the music scene in both these countries. You better learn to dance a little bit, or you’ll feel out of place pretty much everywhere you go. You don’t need to be Ricky Martin, however, as the local ladies will take a liking to even the goofiest gringo steps.

I liked the music of the Dominican Republic more than Colombian tunes. But that’s just me. Lots of folks say Colombia produces some of the smoothest latino beats this side of Mexico.

The DR has more bachata, reggaeton, and rap, while Colombia is more about salsa, champeta, vallenato, and reggaeton. There’s a lot of crossover between music played in the discos in both countries.

Some examples of Dominican music include:

Some examples of Colombian music include:

It all depends on what you like and where you are, but I personally enjoy the music more in the Dominican Republic.

  • Winner: Dominican Republic

Interactions with Locals

This one is definitely a toss-up. Far too hard to pick.

Colombians and Dominicans are both incredibly friendly and helpful. Most of them are fond of travelers exploring their countries and are more than willing to chat and give you directions if you’re lost.

Colombians are famously outgoing, so they’ll rapidly start befriending you in almost any situation. Dominicans are also super friendly at first and are often more interested in forming deeper friendships.

  • Winner: Toss-up

The Girls

Oh, lord. I’m sure this is what most of you came here for. So let me break it down…

There. Are. Really. Hot. Chicks. In. Both. Countries.

But they’re not the same.

Colombian girls are a little bit lighter on average. They’re also naturally thinner and more prone to having operations to enhance their assets – if you know what I mean.

The Dominican girls are naturally “thick” and have impressive curves. Best of all, you’ll be baffled by how little some of these girls leave to the imagination when walking around in public. It’s quite a sight 😉

Dominican women are also a bit darker than Colombian girls on average, as the DR has a lot of people with African heritage. That said, there are plenty of fine dark skinned ladies on Colombia’s Carribean Coast if that’s what floats your boat.

Personality-wise, the women in the Dominican Republic are less concerned with age and more concerned with money. Oftentimes, your wallet matters much more than your looks. Colombian girls are generally less interested in money, but harder to get out on a date. Colombianas can also be quite flakey, which is a pain.

I’m a fan of the women in both countries, as you can find a great girl in either place. However, there is a slight winner here…

  • Winner: Colombia

Colombian girls.


Colombian culture is somewhat romantic and fun-loving. The people love to have a good time and flirting is acceptable pretty much everywhere. Gender roles are rather traditional, too: the Guys play soccer; the girls take care of themselves. The gym is just starting to become popular. There’s still some street violence in Colombia, but people are finally starting to let their guard down and live a little.

The DR is a bit more urban. Dominican culture is a little rougher around the edges. People still love to have fun, but the economy of the DR isn’t as strong as it is in Colombia. As such, there’s more poverty and that can weigh on things. Still, I’m a big fan of the friendly nature of Dominicans. You’ll have a good time here.

  • Winner: Toss-up

Getting There

Getting to the Dominican Republic from the United States or Europe is pretty damn easy. You can find direct flights from several cities for fairly low prices. Most flights are only 2-4 hours long.

Colombia is not as easy to get to. Most Westerners will need a connection to get to Colombia unless they live in a huge city. Plus, the flight will take anywhere from 5-12 hours.

  • Winner: Dominican Republic

Colombia vs. Dominican Republic | Verdict


Colombia vs. Dominican Republic? Who wins?

While it’s a close call, Colombia seems to come out on top here. However, the best country for you will depend on what you’re into.

If you value beaches, then the Dominican Republic is a better choice. If you want to travel around to a bunch of different cities quickly, the DR also wins.

For living and overall lifestyle, Colombia is my choice. I have a lot of love for both countries, but I chose to base up in Bogota for a reason. There’s a lot to love in Colombia these days.

P.S: Airbnb works well in both countries! Click here to get a free $40 off your first rental by clicking here.
3.9/5 (23 Reviews)
Jake Nomada

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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Mark - October 10, 2017

Get a real job loser

Arianna - October 6, 2018

Hi Jake, Your comparison was very helpful. I have some questions regarding training and gyms in colombia. How can I get in touch with you? First time on this site

    NomadicJake - October 6, 2018

    Hey Adrianna,

    Training and gyms are 100% not an issue in Colombia. Trust me. Unless you’re going to a tiny town…

    Feel free to reach out on the contact form above and we can chat.



David Duryea - October 6, 2018

I like your article and agree with most of it but I do think Colombian beaches can also be pretty spectacular too. Have you ever visited Playa Blanca .Baru and las Islas del Rosario? All amazing and can definitely compete with DR , PR , Cuba or any other Latin American beach for that matter. There’s also much to be said for Cumbias and Porro dancing…check out Frenesi orquesta! ????

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