With the white sandy beaches, beautiful ocean views, breathtaking natural scenery, and a warm climate, it's no wonder why so many North Americans who love relaxing end up down in Latin America for retirement.
One of the most popular destinations for vacationers and retirees alike is The Dominican Republic. The small Caribbean country occupies 5/8 of the island of Hispaniola with Haiti occupying the rest. The country has a current population of 11.12 million people and has an average temperature of 26°C.
The Dominican Republic actually has the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. The economy is driven by a few main industries including construction, tourism, and mining.
What is The Cost of Living Index?
In general, the cost of living index is used to compare the expenses of an average person in different regions, cities, or countries. Some of these expenses include food, shelter, transportation, energy, clothing, education, healthcare, childcare, and entertainment.
When you think about the cost of living, you can think about it by asking the question "How far would my money go in this city or country compared to equivalent brands that other city or country?"
What Is The Average Salary in the Dominican Republic?
One important factor consider in discussions of cost of living is the salary in that city. The average monthly net salary in the Dominican Republic is only about $500 while Toronto's average net salary is over $4000. This can play into the cheaper cost of living that we see in the Dominican Republic.
What Are The Estimated Monthly Costs in The Dominican Republic?
If the idea of living in The Dominican Republic has crossed your mind, you've probably considered the financial implications that would come with a move like that.
Let's break down the main four estimated monthly costs to get a sense of the cost of living in Dominican Republic and compare it to Toronto prices. As well, we look at some other miscellaneous costs.
Even though other Canadian cities and their prices might vary, we can use Toronto for a major city comparison.
(*All prices will be in CAD, but the main currency in The Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP). $1 CAD is currently equivalent to 41.34 DOP.* )
Food and Drink
The Dominican Republic is home to all the delicious meals available.
For a meal at an inexpensive restaurant, you can expect to pay around $8.50. This is very different from a meal in Toronto at an inexpensive restaurant where the average meal sits at $23.
Other food and drink items from restaurants in the Dominican Republic include:
Domestic beer for $3.39
Imported beer for $6.05
A regular cappuccino for $2.61
Bottle of water for $0.96
McDonalds Meal for $9.68
Many Canadians headed to the grocery stores today shudder when they see the prices of things like chicken breast, eggs, and toilet paper.
Here, let's compare some of the prices between the average quantities of items in the Dominican Republic versus equivalent brands or similar retailers from Toronto.
1 Liter of Milk: $1.62 in DR vs $3.64 in Toronto
Loaf of Bread: $2.24 vs $3.40
A Dozen Eggs: $2.25 vs $4.34
1KG Local Cheese: $9.59 vs $15.58
1KG Chicken Breast/Fillets: $7.20 vs $16.01
1 KG Beef Round: $11.34 vs $18.33
Red Table Wine (Mid-range): $11.97 vs $16.16
Grocery Store Domestic Beer: $3.06 vs $3.10
1 KG Rice: $1.65 vs $4.09
A large monthly fee for many Canadians is the utilities. With extremely cold winter days and sweat-inducing summer days, the heater or air conditioner is one of the most used appliances for many citizens.
As well, Canada is known for having extremely expensive cell phone plans compared to other countries. Let's take a look at the comparison of these costs in the Dominican Republic compared to their cost in Toronto.
Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage
For a utility plan in the Dominican Republic that includes electricity, heating/cooling, and water, you can expect to pay around $84/per month.
However, the Dominican Republic has a warmer climate, and, depending on your preference, you can probably get away with using some utilities less than others which can lower that monthly cost.
In Toronto, a similar plan will cost you about one hundred dollars more - roughly $182/per month.
Cell Phone and Internet Plans
When it comes to cellular plans and internet coverage, there isn't a huge difference in cost. For one minute of prepaid mobile tariff local, it's $0.23 in Domincan Republic and $0.45 in Toronto. For an internet plan at 60 + Mbps and unlimited data, you'll pay around $65.41 in the Dominican Republic and $75.15 in Toronto.
Finally, another common utility for many people is a tank of gas. While gas prices were on the rise in Ontario last year, the prices have slowed down a bit in recent months. In Toronto, the average price of a liter of gas is about $1.62 and the price of a liter in The Dominican Republic is $1.68.
Housing is the last of the four main monthly costs you should take into consideration.
In the Dominican Republic, you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment in the main city centre for just under $700/month in rent or you can pay under $400/month in rent for a 1 bedroom outside the center.
If you'd rather purchase an apartment, the average cost per square foot in the city center is about $1,914.40.
In Toronto, a 1 bedroom apartment right in downtown will cost an average of $2500/month in rent while a similar apartment outside the city will still cost an average of $2000/month in rent.
Want to buy that apartment? The price per square foot in the city is about $12,700.
Other Miscellaneous Expenses
Here are a few miscellaneous costs to think about as well.
A monthly gym membership for one adult in Dominican Republic will cost about $36.47 while one in Toronto will cost about $62.80. However, this price can vary dramatically depending on the type of gym you attend.
If you want some shoes to wear to the gym, a pair of mid range Nike running shoes in the Dominican has an average price tag of $113.38 while a similar pair in Toronto costs about $10 more at $124.19.
Now, if you need to drop your child off for a full day of private preschool, you'll need to budget about $300 for a monthly membership in Dominican Republic or over $1,500 in Toronto.
While almost everything is cheaper living in Dominican Republic, it's important to understand what is a factor in the cost of living and how salary plays a part in that.