After 7 years permanently on the road for OLX, I longed to decrease business travel. Sadly, the insanity of the US immigration process, meant that the tech team for my new projects had to be in Ukraine, Romania and Argentina rather than New York. While those destinations and closer than most of the OLX destinations, business travel still decreases my quality of life and takes time away from things I would rather be doing like playing video games 🙂

Besides it’s probably not wise to be spending my winters in Ukraine in the middle of war with Russia. I longed to find a destination that could serve both as a gathering point for all my friends, a fun haven of respite from the urban jungle of New York and a great location to move as many of my programmers as possible.

As a good nerd, I wrote a model with the following variables:

  • Frequency of flights from New York
  • Duration of the flight
  • Whether the flight was nonstop or not
  • Distance from the airport to the city
  • Water temperature in the coldest month
  • Number of days of wind above 15 knots (higher being obviously better for kiting 🙂
  • Cost of labor
  • Cost of living
  • Cost of land
  • Cost of constructionv
  • Murder rate
  • Kidnapping rate
  • Availability and reliability of high speed Internet
  • Ease of immigration

I then went to visit the top destinations in the model: Miami, the Bahamas, Anguilla, the BVI, Costa Rica, Cancun, Tulum, Belize, Bonaire, Playa Grande, Punta Cana and Cabarete.

On a weighted average basis Cabarete ranked by far the highest, but each location had its advantages.

  • Bonaire had the strongest wind, the highest water temperature and direct 4 hour flights from the US, but it’s a tiny island of 15,000 people making it impractical and expensive.
  • The Bahamas are closer to the US and more developed, but the water is relatively cold in the winter, everything is expensive because the country’s tax system is based on 100%+ import tariffs. The labor market is tight and immigration difficult.
  • Belize had by far the lowest cost of land, but is hard to reach, does not have much wind and poor rule of law.
  • Tulum was gorgeous, but too far to be practical.
  • Playa Grande had a 90 minute drive from the airport and little wind.

Cabarete had the highest weighted average:

  • Local people are really nice
  • It has 2 daily three and a half hour flights from NY
  • Puerto Plata airport is 20 minutes from Cabarete
  • There are countless other daily flights to Santiago, 80 minutes away
  • Outside of Cabarete land is inexpensive
  • Labor costs around $200 / month
  • Super high end construction costs only $150 / square foot
  • Immigration laws are lax
  • The water temperature is 77 degrees in the winter
  • There is wind almost every day from January to September (with a wind probability over 90% in the summer and around 70% the rest of the time)
  • The rainy season is limited to October 15 – December 15 and even then you still have a 50% wind probability
  • The murder rate and kidnapping rates are low
  • While the Internet and electricity are not particularly reliable, you can compensate for them with a good generator and by bonding multiple connections together (cable + ADSL + wifi)
  • It’s a large beautiful country with dramatic landscapes and the tallest mountains in the Caribbean. Excluding Cuba it’s bigger than all the other countries combined
  • It’s a “proper” country with 10 million people with a good labor force and a large enough tax base that tariffs are reasonable

It’s not to say it does not have disadvantages.

  • The water is murky and not beautifully turquoise as in much of the Caribbean
  • It’s one of the worst countries in terms of reported traffic accidents and road deaths per capita
  • There are lots of petty thefts meaning you need guards on your property
  • There are way too many guns and drinking and driving
  • The permitting process for construction is complex and opaque
  • Import tariffs on cars and TVs are high
  • There is still some corruption

Even though it ranked highest in the model, Cabarete was a choice both of the heart and of the mind. When I first went there I fell in love with the place and the people. It’s beautiful, raw and authentic. It’s still untouched by “modern civilization.” It stands in stark contrast to Punta Cana in the southern part of the country. Punta Cana also ranked very high in the model and has prettier beaches, but I did not like the resort type atmosphere and overall feel of the place.

Cabarete here I come!


  • Sad to see that Brazil is out of the list, althought I believe it would rank poorly in some variables. Which regions within Cabarete you find it best? I imagine that wind direction should also affect this decision.

  • Have you checked Martinique? The wind is pretty good and consistent and they have fiber optic Internet 😉

  • Good luck, looking forward to seeing some building…I kite, paddle board and fish near your land all the time… can only hope you enjoy it as much as your workers do.

  • cabarete le top a tout niveau moi je suit amoureux depuis 24 ans bon juste une chose tres dur pour faire des affaires bocou de pique assiete sinon el pays de las mavillas et comme dit mon ami giany nous somme au paradie

  • Fabulous Article Fabrice!!! Were currently down south and have been seriously considering the change for a couple of years… we are ALMOST there I think <3 Thank you so much for sharing <3

  • lol Fabrice, what a coincidence, we tried to buy Ebocca a while back but now i know who beats us to it 🙂
    Great setting indeed and good alternative to the new La Boca plan. Hope to meet you guys once but we probably already did on the water in Cabarete 😉

  • I’m available and live in the DR, if you need any managerial or admin assistance. Looking for a reason to return to the north coast!

  • Home is where the heart is! Good choice Fabrice! I am currently living between Mountain View and Shenzhen and I have no idea where I will live from October. I think it’s time for me to write down my variables to find out my most suitable location on Earth.

  • Interesting model! Fabrice, how’s the construction process going on? I remember you posted your plans on creating a sorta campus for your teams and visitors. Would love to check it out.

  • Overall Dominican republic ranks the best carribean country …….hence one of the town from the country got picked up…what say?

  • Sure, i have a full Business Prospectus i can send you…
    Everything is built out, we just need to get our marketing going, with some funding..
    We almost crossed paths years ago. You were coming down to Belize to see Mike Singh, but i had to fly home early. So we never had a chance to meet…. Hopefully someday… cheers
    Rob Stewart
    [email protected]
    PW_robstewart on Skype

  • I like your model for choosing your location. We think along the same lines!! Back to that Video Gaming stuff. We should talk about my company, you might find it pretty interesting….. Send me a PM. cheers Rob Stewart

  • > While the Internet and electricity are not particularly reliable, you can compensate for them with a good generator and by bonding multiple connections together (cable + ADSL + wifi)

    Why not choose a satellite connection ?