Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions







Where is the Dominican Republic?

It is in Hispaniola Island (one of the Greater Antilles), between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east. It occupies the eastern 2/3 of Hispaniola Island while Haiti occupies the western 1/3.

How many people inhabit the Dominican Republic?

A bit over 10 million.

What form of government does the Dominican Republic have?

It is a democracy with a Congress, House of Representatives, President, legislators and municipal representatives elected by popular vote for a 4 years term. It functions on the 3 powers basis: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

Is there freedom of expression?

Absolutely. Freedom of expression is consecrated in its Constitution and a free press prevails. Dominicans take libelous statements rather seriously.

What languages are spoken in the country?

The official language is Spanish, but other languages (English, French, German, Italian) are widely spoken in the large cities and towns but to a lesser extent out in the countryside.

What currency is used?

The official currency is the Dominican peso (written as RD$), whose exchange rate fluctuates a bit, but is currently (2014) around RD$ 43-44 to the US dollar and € 54-56.

How about communication facilities?

The Dominican Republic is well served by a direct-dial modern telephone system and Internet services. In fact, the number of telephones exceeds that of the total local population. There are many TV stations, newspaper and digital publications even in English.

How easy is it to fly here?

There are 7 separate international airports that handle flights from North and South America plus Europe. See more below.

Costambar Community

What is Costambar?

It is the first private tourist community in the Dominican Republic, which began in the mid-1970s. Its residents take pride in the fact that unlike other like developments, it is a true community rather than only a conglomerate of tourist facilities (hotels, condominiums and apartments), as in addition to those, private homes abound. There is a substantial year round population in addition to the transient wintertime proprietors which return every year plus visitors that have recently “discovered” us.

Where is Costambar located?

On the Dominican Republic’s north (Atlantic Ocean) coast.

Where did the name “Costambar” originate from?

From the Spanish words “costa” (coast) and “ambar” (amber).

Is there a town or city close by?

Puerto Plata (largest city on the north coast with some 125,000 inhabitants) is only a couple of miles (km) from Costambar and easily accessible by vehicle, bicycle or even on foot.

Is there a beach in Costambar?

Costambar has a nice tree-shaded public sand beach with several eateries and bars. Rental chairs are available from vendors.

Is there a close airport to fly into?

The closest are Gregorio Luperon International Airport (or POP) – near Puerto Plata –  a ½ hour drive from Costambar and the Cibao International Airport (or SDQ) in Santiago – only 1½ hours by car from Costambar. Both handle international flights from North American, Latin American and European countries. Land transportation to and from Costambar for either one is easily arranged.

Are there accommodations and conveniences for tourists in Costambar?

Costambar has many apartment and condominium buildings where interested parties may find suitable lodging. There are several restaurants, a couple of mini-markets (where locals do most of their shopping), a pharmacy, ATM machine, money exchange, hardware store, golf course, spa and beauty salons, not to speak of a unique shaded lovely beach. There are private homes available for rent as well. For more information, see the pertinent advertisements in this website.

Is there a governing body in the community?

The Association of Proprietors of Costambar (hereafter referred to as “APC”) is the community’s managing and maintenance organization, whose board members are elected for a two year term and work strictly on a pro-bono basis, deriving no salary. APC has many functions (provides security, streets repair, empty lots grass cutting and cleaning, general maintenance and liaison with national, provincial and municipal authorities). Its ultimate goal is to seek the best possible standards of living for Costambar residents and visitors.

How are those services funded?

All proprietors are required to pay monthly maintenance quotas to APC, in order to fund all the services. The amounts are quite reasonable.

Does APC provide utilities in Costambar?

APC does not provide any other services than those already listed. Telephone, water, electricity and TV services are individually contracted with local utility companies. Water and electricity are provided by most rental facilities.

What is the composition of Costambar’s population?

Costambar is largely an ex-pat community as there is a mix of numerous American, Canadian and European nationalities for the most part, with lesser numbers of Dominicans and Asians.

Will I have trouble if I do not speak Spanish?

No. This multi-national community basically functions in English and Spanish, with a smattering of other languages (French, German and Italian foremost), as one would expect, given the many nationalities present here.

Are there any racial issues of concern for tourists in the country?

No. Dominicans are largely devoid of any racial discrimination and certainly not xenophobic. The Dominican population is roughly 16% Caucasian, 12% black and 72% of Taino Indian and other mixed races. There is also a sizable Haitian illegal and legal immigration, largely functioning in the services and construction sectors. Chances of any racial issues are negligible. Aliens respectful of the local population feelings in that regard will find immediate acceptance from the locals.

Is it legal for an alien to own property in the Dominican Republic?

Yes. Most of the proprietors in Costambar are aliens and one does not need a Dominican partner to own property, unlike some other countries. When purchasing property, it is highly recommended to avail oneself of the services of a reputable attorney or real estate agent, in order to make sure all legalities are met. Do not act on the basis of word of mouth advice from well-meaning friends or acquaintances.


Are Costambar and the Dominican Republic safe places to visit?

Crime knows and respects no countries or borders. Visitors observing common sense and mindful in avoiding potential dangerous situations should have no problems. Those that engage in unlawful activities can expect troubles with the local authorities. It is always prudent to remember laws are probably not the same as in one’s country of origin. Generally speaking, if one observes proper decor and respect for the local population, friendly acceptance automatically follows.

What precautions are advisable?

You are visiting a third world country and as such, poverty is evident. It is highly advisable to watch over your belongings and not leave them unattended. It is inadvisable to waggle wads of cash or wear expensive jewelry in plain sight.

Is there security service in Costambar?

APC maintains security at the main entrance gate and throughout the community, in the form of motorcycle-mounted guards responding to security issues, which are often assisted by National Police agents. This is a limited service aided by a network of radio-equipped private security guards throughout the community, which link with APC’s security. Taking all necessary prudent measures will minimize risks and keep visitors safe.

How does one contact Costambar Security?

Their phone is (809) 970-7015. Sadly, the personnel is seldom English-speaking. It helps a great deal if one can tell them the location and nature of the problem.

Why do we even need Security?

Costambar is a private tourist project.  In the early days there was more crime. In 2005 the APC raised money to assist the Vallarino group  construct the wall around Costambar. This allowed Security to concentrate and monitor several access and egress points. Since this time, security has improved immeasurably, and crime has dropped almost 100%. The most important thing to every single resident that lives in Costambar, is their personal security. The APC has always known this and has always spent over 50% of their entire budget providing uniformed security and partnering with the National Police to make Costambar safer.

How much does Security Cost and who pays for it?

The APC pays for the wages, health insurance, social security, other benefits,  gasoline, and many other items related to security in Costambar. One guard costs the APC $ 160,000.00 ( in 2014) we have over 10 full time guards the current budget is almost 2 million pesos, all paid by the APC .

The security committee was formed in 2010 to contribute in areas of security that the APC, after paying 2 million pesos a year plus, could not fund. Over 40 volunteers, almost all of them, APC members have contributed extra monies, to purchase new uniforms, new radios, new boots, hats, batons, hand cuffs, and a long list or extra items to fill the gap and make our security force better equipped and more professional. This year (2014) The APC will pay almost 2 million pesos in Security Costs and the Security Committee will raise over $ 500,000 extra, so the total spent on providing security for Costambar is over 2.5 million pesos.

If I have a security issue, comment or problem, who do I contact?

Emergency # at the front gate is 809-970-7015
Office: 809-970-7877 or

Who does security prevent from coming into Costambar?

Late at night car loads of men, when asked where they are going, and they cannot say, are normally turned away. Cars or trucks with loud speaker systems that are vending fruit or other items. Vehicles that are blasting music. Suspicious characters that again, do not appear to have a legitimate reason to come into Costambar. (going to the beach is allowed by Dominican Law, when somebody says during the day, that they are going to the beach, by law we have to let them in) Buses and over size vehicles:  Buses are not allowed on beach or in Costambar. Larger vehicles that are allowed must use the construction gate.

How can I help security and help make Costambar safer?

If you are not a member,  join the APC, if you are a renter, (not a property owner, but someone who lives here more than 3 months a year) The APC is in the process of amending it’s membership rules in order to invite “renters” to join. This may happen for as little as  500 pesos per month! If you are a home owner memberships start at not much more than that. After you are an APC member you can join the Security Committee too for as little as 600 pesos per month, and help improve security in Costambar.

What would happen if we totally lost our security?

Some have said “we do not need guards or security”, Well a very experienced and respected Realtor in Costambar stated, “the day we do not have our security, guarding the entry points and dispatching the National Police, it would not be safe after that to walk down the street, day or night ! Property values for all of Costambar would also fall by 50%.  So none of us want this to happen. Could this happen? If some in the community do not change their mind about funding maintenance in Costambar it could!


Is there transportation available in Costambar?

There is a taxi cab station (on Calle Colon) manned 24/7, which provides local and out of town taxi service for a fee. There is also the possibility of riding a “moto-taxi” (called “motoconchos”), but it is not the safest form of transportation and not recommended for the faint of heart or for safety reasons. Caveat emptor is the word.

How about traveling around the country?

Generally speaking, transportation is rather reasonably priced in the Dominican Republic. There are multiple bus services in town, between cities and nationally. Two main companies (Metro Bus and Caribe Tours) offer intercity connections throughout the country at a reasonable price, on air-conditioned comfortable buses. Taxi service is also available, albeit at somewhat higher prices.


Are tips expected?

Generally yes. The accepted tip amount for services in general (restaurant, barbershops or salons, taxis, etc.) varies between 10-15% of the total fee. Check your bill before you tip, for oftentimes such gratuity may well be included in your total bill, particularly in restaurants. In that case, one is not expected to tip extra. There may also be an added national tax (ITBIS) of 16-18% included as well. In spite of this, overall prices are generally below those one encounters in North America and Europe.

Medical Care

What sort of medical facilities are available in the area and country?

Medical care is available in Puerto Plata from several private practitioners and clinics. Facilities are quite acceptable and specialty care available throughout the country. Most private hospitals and large clinics operate state of the art medical systems, particularly in the larger cities. Government-operated hospitals are poorly staffed, supplied and often offer substandard care; therefore if and when in need of medical care, it is best to seek that from private sources. It is always advisable to check with friends or local residents before deciding where to seek medical care. As in most countries, the dispensing of controlled substances is regulated. It is always best to make sure one brings in all medications and supplies needed for the duration of the planned stay.

Contact Us if you have any other questions about the APC.

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