Free... First let me say that some people love the DR. Second, let me say that I am referring to that part of the DR on the thorny path...Luperon, Samana etc....not SantoDomingo or the tourist areas. We got stuck in Luperon for a month due to heavy trade winds which prevented any easting for an entire month. What we didn't like:
-Completely unsanitary conditions...the harbor WAS the sewer. Fresh food was eaten at your own risk! Conditions in town were extremely impoverished with dead animals in the streets & whores on the corners.
-Bad Americans...derelict types living permanently in the harbor...things go missing from boats etc.
-Lots of illness among cruisers while we were there. Suspect the sanitation had a lot to do with it.
Again...some people like it cause it is cheap to stay there long term and an excellent hurricane hole but to us (and several other boats we know), it was the worst place we'd ever been to. The problem is that if you go down the Thorny Path...you have no choice but to go there. The only hope is that you get a good forecast quickly and can get to Puerto Rico before the water or the canned goods run out!
Are you headed that way?