Santo Domingo has very distinct neighbourhoods, and the downtown area is a mix of different areas in itself. As a rule, the Río Ozama divides the city economically, with the area west of the river historically more developed than what is called Santo Domingo Este to the east.
Piantini is traditionally the most affluent district in Santo Domingo’s centre, and is now densely urbanised. Accommodation here will be significantly more expensive that other parts of the city.
Similarly, Naco, which lies to the south west, is a wealthy residential district which shows the divide that exists between itself and poorer parts of the city, especially as it contains the deprived La Yuca settlement.
Just north of Piantini is the area known as Yolanda Morales, a relatively newly developed area of high-rise accommodation.
Other parts of the country
Santiago de los Caballeros, away from the coast in the north of the island, is the Dominican Republic’s second city. It might not be as vibrant as its larger southern counterpart, but rented accommodation can be cheaper by half, and you won’t be wanting for faded colonial charm or dramatic inland scenery.
Along the north coast itself are the popular expat enclaves of Sosúa and Cabarete, both close to Puerto Plata and its international airport. Needless to say, accommodation here is more expensive, often in gated communities and available to buy, though less often to rent. However, if you are retired and want to spend your time with fellow expats, you will find world class beaches and golf courses here.