Ecuador vs The Dominican Republic: Which is Right for You?

the dominican republic
The view from the boardwalk in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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, all thanks to prominent realtors like Chamberlain Calgary Realtors responsible for the abatement in prices for properties, and collaterally, the surge in the economy of the States. 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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Must-try Restaurant in Quito: Crepes and Waffles


Crepes and Waffles is my favorite place to eat in all of Ecuador. Crepes and Waffles is a restaurant chain that originates in Colombia. There are approximately three locations in Quito, but no where else in Ecuador yet.

The specialty is crepes, of course, from spicy to vegetarian and everything in between. And for dessert, marvel at the divine waffles they have slightly oriented to South American culture.

In Quito, the restaurant locations are in the malls “El Jardin” and “Quicentro” and one is located across from the Hotel Marriot.

The Waffle de Arequipe...

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New Bridge Exposes Hidden Beachfront Gem

I don’t really like to invest in anything where I don’t feel I have a true leg up on everyone else. That’s why I generally stay out of the stock market, many know more than I do in that. I assume you’re similar, at least a little, if you are subscribed to this list.

Knowing this, it would be remiss if I didn’t mention the following…

Many people ask me where on the coast still has a strong potential for appreciation. My answer, “several spots”.

But one of the top ones with this potential is Canoa, and the coastline area just north of Canoa.

Canoa is a small surf town just north of Bahia de Caraquez on the northern Ecuador coast. It is drop dead beautiful and absolutely one of the most pleasant places to live on the coast. The problem, up until now, and the reason people have stayed away, is it is rather inaccessible and out of the way. That’s changing.

Why right now?

On October 29 a new bridge will be inaugurated (the largest in Ecuador) connecting Bahia de Caraquez with the area just south of Canoa. Up until now you had to take a long, uncomfortable 30-45 min journey around a bay to get from one side to the other, now you will be able to get from one side to the other in less than a minute connecting Canoa with the world.

Additionally, new coastal roads up and down the coast are being completed at a record pace. Most of the southern coast has a brand new freshly paved coastal road, and the north is getting paved now in parts.

And, there is a new highway ready to be opened that will make the area the closest beaches to Quito, at just a few hours away.

The current administration really seems to understand that the key to investment and tourism is accessibility and they are investing many millions in it.

Now, the problem with Canoa is that it is small, and has already begun to be discovered by a few foreigners and the prices have gone from $5 USD a square meter to $60-90 for many lots. Even at those prices, it still my be a deal with these changes coming.

Literally, you can see from one side of the town to the other and there is a cliff, a coastal road, a small strip suitable for houses then the beach, that’s it.

The real deals can be found just north of Canoa heading towards Jama and Pedernales, and with this added accessibility, the time is now to check it out. Even local buyers will be more intrigued with this beautiful area of the coast now that they can get to it quick for a weekend getaway from Quito.

To get you started, I know of two guys who are selling lots in the area near Jama…to read the rest of this article please subscribe to my weekly newsletter below…

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9 Things I Miss about Living in the USA


I took the leap and moved to Latin America about 5 years ago. I love it here. Don’t regret my decision one bit, but there are a few things I miss about life in the USA. As I finish up a 2 week vacation here in the States visiting my parents I thought I’d mention it.

9. Walmart: God I love that place, you know what they say… if it’s not in Walmart, it probably doesn’t exist. Could there be anything better for consumers in the world today? In Ecuador there are some big box stores, but not as good as Walmart.

8. Driving: I have gone almost 2 straight years without driving even once…in Ecuador, there are so many public transportation options (and cheap!) that driving really is not necessary, even in the countryside. But it is nice to get behind the wheel once in a while.

7. Baby back ribs: Need I say more? They are not that easy to find in Ecuador, you know, the tender ones where the meat falls right off the bone (a specialty here where my parents live in Montana).

6. Peanut Butter: You can find it in Ecuador, but it just tastes better in the States. Not to mention, I thoroughly miss Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

5. Oatmeal cookies: South Americans haven’t really figured this one out yet.

4. Public Golf Courses: The courses in Ecuador (all I have found) are private, you need to know somebody that’s a member to play. Nuts.

3. Snow Skiing: Yes, you can see snow on the tops of some mountains in Ecuador but there is no way to ski it. The nearest places to ski are in Chile and Argentina.

2. The ketchup: the ketchup in Ecuador is almost sweet and a little watery…I love that thick, Heinz any day.

1. American sports, Football, Baseball, Basketball: You can watch games these days in Ecuador streamed online for free at sites like , but I still miss going to the NFL, MLB and NBA games. Down here in South America the three top sports are soccer, soccer and soccer.

But all in all, I’m still very glad I made the leap!

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Ever want to be a university prof? Ecuador awaits…

That\’s me, teaching an investment class in Ecuador…you could too!

I mean, come on…

What could be better than working 12 hours a week with summers off, teaching a subject you love, hanging out with kids, job security, and all with a decent salary and benefits?

I’ve always thought college profs live the life…

Now in the United States to be a college professor, you usually need a doctor’s degree or at least a masters. You need certifications and other requirements often out of reach for most people.

However, in Ecuador it is much easier to get a university teaching job, and many foreigners do.

The job is the same, the hours are the same as the States, but the salary is less, usually starting around $15 an hour in the cities and it goes up from there…but remember that cost of living in Ecuador is also much less.

Now, many Ecuadorians “look up” to foreigners… and you…being an established pro in your field from abroad… could stand out.

Many universities in Ecuador are hard pressed to find knowledgeable pros in specialized areas who can teach their subject in English. For example, if your area of expertise revolves around exam preparation, you might be alloted to solely assist the students in their CLEP Test Prep or for other exams.

That’s where you come in.

Now I am not just talking about teaching English (arrgh), but actually teaching your area of expertise to local kids.

The only requirement for the teaching jobs is basically knowledge of the subject area. I have guest-taught in several universities in Ecuador, and I have seen young teachers and old, educated and not so educated…all across the board.

In order to get the teaching jobs, the easiest way in is to know someone who works at the University… a teacher or administrator who can put a good word in for you.

The best way to meet people who work at universities is to take an adult-ed class at a University. Most of the universities down here have them. A more innovative way would be to go to the free courses the chamber of commerce usually offers. Or try to attend a local church, another good place to meet people.

If you don’t know anyone, you could go straight to the university with your resume and drop it off. If you do that, try not to just leave it with the secretary. Do your homework beforehand and actually ask to see a particular school administrator and hand it to them personally.

Suerte! School’s in session!

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