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.

piantini blue mall

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.

  • Apartment Costs

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.

Click here to get $40 off your first Airbnb rental!

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.

  • Gym Costs

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.

  • Restaurant Prices

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.

  • Groceries

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.

Click here to learn more!

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.

If you’re coming to Santo Domingo, don’t sleep on renting in the center. Check out Airbnb and click here to get $40 off your first rental!
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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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Christian - December 8, 2018

Hey Jake, good blog. I’m actually looking to move to Santo Domingo for work. I live in Miami so cost of living seems to be cheaper for the most part except some crazy expat blogs that mention that electric bills are outrageous ( i read 1k per month is possible) is that true? Also, i’m going to have an office close to Naco. I’m single and in late 30’s is this a good area to consider to live as well as to work? I’m budgeting approximately 1200-1500 pm on rent so if you can suggest some good areas, ie. Safe but fun to go out in and have a good lifestyle i would appreciate it. Also, should i bring my jeep there or buy/rebt a car ir just have a driver? We normally go there and have drivers when we travel on business. If it means anything i soeak fluent Spanish too am not Dominican and my accent gives away that my fam is from Argentina. Thanks bro,


    Jake D - December 8, 2018

    Naco is a great area. I’d recommend living there, Piantini, or Bella Vista.

    You can find something quite nice in all of those areas for your budget.

    Electric bills shouldn’t come close to $1K a month – unless you’re using AC 24/7 in every single room of the home.

    I’d imagine $200-300 USD MAX.

    Cars are expensive down in the DR and you can only import cars that are less than 5 years old.

    If you plan to be in the DR for awhile, I’d import the Jep – if it’s new.

Christian - December 8, 2018

Thanks bro. I’ll begin to take a look at the areas you mentioned. Thanks for taking the time to respond.



Reza Zandi - January 31, 2019

How does one find an apartment? Is there a website or do you need to find locals and talk to them?

    Jake D - January 31, 2019

    Airbnb or walking around the area you want to live and calling signs in windows. Tend to be two best options.

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