Gated communities are not so common in Europe and often people from there tend to think of gated communities as huge walled-in pieces of land with an impressive gate, enormous mansions and unimaginable luxury inside, with access to such communities only granted if you have a badge or something else to identify you as a member of the gilded club.
In the Dominican Republic, gated communities are quite common and range from the super luxurious to comfortable for people with normal pay-checks. The one thing these communities have in common is the prestige of living in one as well as other perks including tranquility and peace of mind.
All-inclusive resorts and other gated communities
Most people that come to the Dominican Republic will stay in all-inclusive resorts, like the ones found in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. These are by definition big gated communities. Without the bracelet of your walled-in all-inclusive resort you don’t stand a chance of getting in as the whole idea behind these all-inclusive resorts is to provide a great holiday experience for guests with food, drinks, activities and other perks included. This type of venture would of course go out of business very quickly if other people than guests were allowed in.
Examples of the more traditional interpretation of a gated community can be found all over the country ranging from the incredibly luxurious Casa de Campo for the super-rich in the South and spacious Sea Horse Ranch for the rich located in between Cabarete and Sosua to more modest gated communities like Ocean Dream with numerous condominiums and Bahia de Arena in Cabarete, which harbors both villas and boutique apartments.
Normal people living normal lives
Normal people live in these more modest gated communities, although they tend to be mostly expats or Dominican business people.
Most gated community residents have a family and like the fact that their children can roam around the streets in the gated community without any risk as traffic is limited only to residents and strict speed limits tend to be enforced.
Other perks include the fact that gated communities are much more quiet due to limited traffic and the landscaping is usually well designed and taken care of as most gated communities have a groundskeeper that cares for the lawns, trees and bushes.
Staying in a gated community as a visitor
In Cabarete, most apartments and condos that are available for short term rent are located in gated communities so visitors who prefer the comfort of an apartment as opposed to a hotel will experience the same perks of the gated community as those that live there. Some people who haven’t stayed in a gated community before can be a little nervous prior to coming.
First time Cabarete visitor Nick who is staying in an apartment at Bahia Residence, a boutique apartment complex located in Bahia de Arena, highlights that he was a bit apprehensive about the thought of having guards around. “But now that I’m here, I think they are great. They are super friendly and I feel 100% safe”.
Typical advantages when staying in a gated community
Staying in a gated community, be it in a villa or a serviced apartment, will mean you get to take advantage of the typical gated community perks aside from the added security.
1. If you’re traveling by car and you’re staying in an apartment or villa in a gated community, you’ll usually get a dedicated parking spot and your car will be safe.
2. Traffic within the gated community tends to be minimal and driving at slow speeds, which makes for quieter living and better life quality.
3. Depending on the gated community, people can safely leave valuables outside on patios and balconies, including kite gear, which means more space inside the apartment or villa. Talk to the manager and see what other patrons are doing to get a feel for what can and cannot be left outside.
4. Traveling with kids? In a gated community you can safely let them roam around as you know that the guards won’t let them past the gate.
5. Gated communities tend to have a number of shared amenities that can range from a beachfront pool to sports equipment, which you might not find elsewhere.
Visiting one of you’re not staying in a gated community
Entering a gated community without having a good reason is tricky. If invited by friends keep in mind that some communities will ask you to identify yourself with a valid ID at the gate.
Also note that some gated communities feature restaurants including the Beach Club in Sea Horse Ranch and Natura Cabana in Perla Marina. Both restaurants have great food and give you the possibility to check out the inside of a gated community.