Colombia Vs. Dominican Republic: A Gringo’s Guide

Colombia vs. Dominican Republic. Two of my favorite places. I’ve spent a lot of 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 will fit the bill. Colombia and the Dominican Republic are fantastic places. Many enjoy living and/or traveling around both.

There are adventures to be had, parties, beaches, tourism, 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. Colombia vs. Dominican Republic showdown.

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Colombia vs. Dominican Republic

So here it is. I’ll compare these places in every which way that comes to the top of my head. While I’m not sure there will be a clear winner, at least people looking to travel to either place will get an idea about the cultures.


So here it is. Colombia vs. Dominican Republic head-to-head:

Population

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

  • Winner: Colombia

Cities

Due to population size, Colombia also has larger cities, and more of them. In the Dominican Republic, you only have two cities with a decent amount of people. Santo Domingo, the capital, has around 2.2 million. Santiago has around 1 million people.

Colombia has around 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.

  • Winner: Colombia

Cost of Living

Colombia is cheaper than the Dominican Republic. Bogota is cheaper than Santo Domingo. Cali, Colombia is cheaper than Santiago, Dominican Republic. It’s close in some way, but Colombia is typically cheaper overall.

  • Winner: Colombia

Language & English Levels

You’ll want to pick up some Spanish if you plan to stay in either country for some time. There just aren’t that many people that 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 some Spanish. Without any Spanish, it’ll be tough.

From a Spanish speaking viewpoint, the people in Bogota speak a neutral and easy to understand form of the language. However, the people on the coast of Colombia and in the Dominican Republic speak a form of Spanish filled with slang. It’s harder to understand.

Click here to start learning Spanish!
  • Winner: Colombia 

Traveling Around the Country / Country Size

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

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

Basically, in the Dominican Republic, you take buses to travel around. 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

Infrastructure

Colombia has better infrastructure overall. However, neither country has impressive infrastructure in every city. Places like Medellin and Zona T in Bogota blow the Dominica Republic out of the water from an infrastructure standpoint.

  • Winner: Colombia

Tourism

Colombia has more things to do. It’s a bigger country with more cities. However, doing tourism is easier in the Dominican Republic. As everything is closer, you’re never far from any attraction.

In Colombia, you have tourist attractions like:

  • Castillo San Felipe
  • Valle de Cocora
  • Guatape
  • Punta Gallinas

…And more!

Click here to check out Lonely Planet Colombia for more ideas on tourism in the country.

In the Dominican Republic, you have attractions including:

  • 27 Waterfalls
  • La Aurora Cigar Factory Tour
  • Zona Colonial
  • Los Haitises National Park

…And more!

Click here to check out Lonely Planet Dominican Republic for more info about tourism in the country.

  • Winner: Toss-up

Beaches

This one isn’t a toss up. Colombia has some absolutely fantastic beaches. There’s no doubt about it. Parque Tayrona, Isla Blanca San Andres, and other areas have some sweet beaches.

They don’t come close to competing with the beaches in the Dominican Republic. Dominican beaches are truly world-class. They are pristine. Nearly perfect. If you like beaches, then the Dominican Republic is hard 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

Nightlife

Even though I’ve given up boozing for a bit, ya boy loves to party. Rumbaaaa! And both these countries know how to get down. You can find a great party in a number of cities 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 don’t offer great nightlife. The party in Medellin and Cartagena is decent. However, I wasn’t a fan of the nightlife in Barranquilla or Cali at all.

While nightlife in Bogota is better than in Santo Domingo, they still know how to get down 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.

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

  • Winner: Toss-up

Music

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 in certain situations. Personally, I liked the music of the Dominican Republic more than Colombian tunes.

The DR features more bachata, reggaeton, and rap in Spanish. Colombia offers salsa, cahmpeta, 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:

  • Winner: Dominican Republic

Interactions with Locals

This one is definitely a toss up. 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.

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

The Dominican girls are naturally “thick” and have impressive curves. If the DR is your first Latin country you ever visit, 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.

Personality-wise, the women in the Dominican Republic are less concerned with age and more concerned with money. There are times where your wallet matters more than your looks. Colombian girls are less concerned with money, but harder to get out on a date – as they consider all plans optional.

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

Culture

Colombian culture is somewhat romantic and fun-loving. The people love to have a good time and flirting is everywhere. Guys play soccer. Girls take care of themselves. The gym is just starting to become popular. There’s still violence in Colombia, but people are starting to let their guards 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 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 definitely have a good time here.

  • Winner: Toss-up

Getting There

Getting to the Dominican Republic from the United States of Europe is pretty damn easy. You can find direct flights from a number of cities for fairly cheap 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 – Overall Winner

So…Colombia vs. Dominican Republic? While it’s definitely a close call, Colombia seems to come out on top here. However, the best country for you will be based on what you want. If you value beaches, then the Dominican Republic is definitely 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.

5/5 (1 Review)
Jake D

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

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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

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    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.

    Best,

    Jake

    Reply
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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