What It Costs to Live in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Piantini Edition
I did a video about apartment costs on the Malecon in Santo Domingo earlier this year. Now, I’m living in Piantini. So I wanted to discuss costs of living in Piantini and exactly what type of value the dollar gets in the Dominican Republic.
You’ll find a YouTube video embedded above showing my new digs in the area and discussing how much everything costs around here. As Piantini is one of the more expensive neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic, the prices around here reflect just that.
Nothing is cheap! Especially when you compare things to the dirt cheap costs of Colombia. Still, this area has a lot to offer and allows me to walk pretty much anywhere I would want to go. So I can’t complain too much.
Cost of Living in Santo Domingo
If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ll give you a quick break down. Just remember – this info isn’t fact. Just what I have experienced so far after living in Piantini for a little over a month now.
Renting in Piantini isn’t cheap, especially if you’re on a short-term lease. You’ll find better deals on 12-month contracts, but for travelers – expect to pay a minimum of $1,200 for a short-term two-bedroom rental in the area.
Studios aren’t all that common in Santo Domingo outside Zona Colonial and the university areas. Studios in Piantini will cost around $550-1,000 – typically towards the upper end of that scale. And one-bedrooms will run a little bit higher.
You can definitely find cheaper accommodation in Zona Colonial and other areas of the city. However, you’ll often get what you pay for in the Dominican Republic. Power outages are common, and water can run out. I wouldn’t suggest trying to find a place for under $500 a month if you want a semblance of Western amenities.
The gym culture is amazing in the DR. You’ll find some jacked people – guys and girls. Drug use is common, and the people that take care of themselves tend to look great in the country. One of my favorite things to do in Santo Domingo is going to the gym.
In Zona Colonial, I went to a great gym that was $20 USD a month. In Piantini, I had to pay a $75 membership fee. Then I pay a little under $25 a month. The fee wouldn’t be a big deal if I were here for a year. I’m only here for two months. So now I’m paying $125 for two months in the gym. That’s more expensive than a 24 Hour Fitness membership in the US.
In Zona Colonial, you can find a filling meal for $3-4 USD. Chicken and rice or a hamburger with fries can all be found at that price. In Piantini, you’ll be spending $5-8 USD minimum on any meal. As the neighborhood is upscale, so are the restaurants.
The cheapest meal I’ve found is at a late night burger joint. For $5 USD, you can grab a huge double burger with nearly a pound of meat on it. The spot has become my go-to in the area. There’s also a solid health food restaurant that offers deals during the week. With taxes, your meal still comes out to $8-9 USD when they offer specials.
I’ve been cooking a lot in Piantini to try and keep costs down. Luckily, I live right next door to a grocery store. So it’s not too difficult. Prices for groceries tends to average out in a similar manner to those in the US.
Ground beef, chicken, and fresh fish tend to be a bit cheaper than in the US. Imported products like almond milk, peanut butter, and the like tend to be more expensive. So overall, everything averages out.
Drinking & Partying
Drinking in Piantini is a mixed bag. While drinks tend to be at least $5 USD for a well drink, you can get great deals by buying in bulk. For instance, one of my favorite bars has a special on a huge jar of sangria. For $9 USD, you’ll be wasted.
Bottles of rum at the club tend to be reasonable, too. You’ll often find a big bottle of decent Dominican rum for around $40 USD in a decent club. You can also spend upwards of $300 USD on a bottle if you want to.
Taxis & Uber
Just. Use. Uber. Taxis will almost always try to rip you off in this country. Hell, even Uber drivers will. I had a few try to drive me in circles and claim they were lost. I just hit up Uber and got an instant refund. No worries.
Uber is almost always cheaper in Santo Domingo than a regular taxi, especially for tourists. Grab some data for your phone and make sure you can get an Uber when you’re out and about. Taxi drivers will raise prices at night.
Living in Piantini is Ideal!
Overall, I’m enjoying living in this area. While my apartment isn’t the fanciest and the prices aren’t the lowest, there’s a lot of opportunities to walk around in the sector. My gym is a two-minute walk. There are bars within 30 seconds of my house, along with numerous restaurants and a grocery store.
For first-time visitors to Santo Domingo, I’d still recommend Zona Colonial. Everything is cheaper and easier in Zona. Once you’ve acclimated to the country, then moving to the center areas is a great idea.