In 2009 I lived in the Dominican Republic for 6 months. But since 2005 I have been living on and off in Ecuador.
I love both places, but even though they may seem similar on the surface, they are very different. Both with their pros and cons, you just have to pick your poison, like picking between a blond and brunette.
Here they are, compared:
Costs: Ecuador wins. Ecuador food, housing, public transport, healthcare and real estate are all cheaper. The only thing that is cheaper in the Dominican are the flights from the US.
Food: Ecuador wins. Dominican food tends to be greasy, fatty and lacks much variety. Ecuador food is a delicious mix of seafoods, local fruits and veggies, soups and more. All natural.
Weather: The Dominican wins. In the Dominican Republic, the weather is hotter, but not so humid, 82-90 F year round. On the Ecuador coast it is a little cooler (72-82 F) and more cloudy. If you want year round skin torching sun, the Dominican is for you.
Beaches: The Dominican wins. The Dominican has some picture perfect, turquoise water, snow-white sand beaches typical to any Caribbean postcard you may have seen. Ecuador has more California style beaches with cliffs, golden sand and darker, murkier water.
People: Ecuador wins. Ecuadorian people love foreigners (especially ones from Europe, Australia and the USA) and treat them very well. In the Dominican, sadly due to the rampit sex industry, many western men have the rep of being sex predators. Which makes it difficult for the local gals to take you seriously sometimes.
Attractiveness of the Women (and men): The Dominican wins. Both the men and women of the Dominican are hot. But Ecuador women are under-rated, many who come are pleasantly surprised. And they are more laid back and easy going than from many other Latin countries.
Real Estate: Ecuador wins. Dominican real estate is already discovered and bubbled as the US property boomed from 2003-2006. Ecuador just recently is starting to get discovered, but is still much cheaper and still high quality.
Residency options: The Dominican wins. It is EASY to get residency, or even a second citizenship in the Dominican. If you overstay your tourist visa, leave when you want and pay a mere $35 fine. In Ecuador, you pay a $200 fine and are not allowed to re-enter for 9 months. You can get residency in Ecuador as well relatively easy, but not nearly as easy as the Dominican.
Business Opportunities: Ecuador wins. I can only speak from my own personal experiences, and Ecuador has treated me much better economically than the Dominican did.
Healthcare: Ecuador wins. The hospitals and facilities in the Dominican are downright, um, lousy. Unless you are willing to pay top dollar. In Ecuador there are many high quality, reasonably priced options.
Public Transport: Ecuador wins. In Ecuador buses are a quarter, and they are EVERYWHERE. Taxi fares start at $1. In the Dominican, you have to CRAM, I mean CRAM into shared taxis for about 50 cents with 6 other people at once, which is simply not possible for many older folk. Not to mention, the taxis in the Dominican are more costly, and the shared taxis are tough to figure out.
Expat Community: The Dominican wins. There are simply many more expats already in the Dominican than in Ecuador. Ecuador is more of an up and coming destination.
Safety: Ecuador wins. In the Dominican, most males over the age of 18 carry a handgun tucked under their shirt or in their glove compartment (I am NOT exaggerating!) In Ecuador, the people are smaller and much more docile than the Dominican. Guns are a rare sight. The most common crimes are petty theft, if a robbery does occur, it is often with a knife not a gun. In both places you should exercise caution when walking in the cities at night, but there were places in the Dominican where I didn’t even feel safe walking during the daytime.
Hope that helps! Dom
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