Jocelyn Hernandez Irizarry at Villa Caoba

5 Things I did Right in Punta Cana

I must have done something right in my ten years here, right? I must have made some good decisions. Well, I wouldn’t have fallen so in love with living in the Caribbean if I hadn’t had some good times. And there have been LOTS of good times.

So these are the things I’m proud of.

I got out of my comfort zone. As if leaving my job and moving to an island wasn’t enough, I made sure that I pushed myself a bit more out of my comfort zone. Your comfort zone is comfortable because it’s where you know what to expect.

That’s not to say that I was always successful. In fact most of my memories from spending a relaxing day at the beach involve a lot of gasping for air, swallowing sea water and mayor sun burns.

I made friends for life. Even though I moved to Punta Cana with my then-husband and spent the first two years here with him I still ended up meeting a few people who I still to this day consider friends.

I tried new and healthier foods. Before I moved to the Dominican Republic I was really, really unadventurous with food. It wasn’t that I didn’t have opportunities to try new things, I just wasn’t motivated. All of that changed when I moved to Punta Cana.

When I first arrived, there were not that many restaurants options and not that many super markets to choose from. Suddenly there were interesting and exciting new foods to try. I tried lobster for the first time at a small seaside hut in Macao. I tried seafood paella from a local Spanish restaurant, unpeeled shrimp and all. But most importantly, I learned to eat healthy. Fruits and vegetables are abundant- and quite economical.

I started my own business. A lot of the traditional jobs you’ll find in Punta Cana are either in hotels, companies servicing hotels or excursions. Everything and anything related to tourism.

I started looking for hotel jobs, and then I realized that it really wasn’t for me. Of course, working in a hotel office meant that I was basically living the same life I had at home, right? Why would I move to the Caribbean to just jump straight back into a 9-5? Or a 14 hour a day shift as I was being offered?

I was lucky enough not to need a job right away, and had the luxury of spending over 8 months researching the real estate market and learning all there was to know to begin my Real Estate career.

I got involved in the community. Tourist bubbles are often assumed to be the “safer” areas of the island, dividing the tourist from local living, local people, and basically real life.

Many years ago, I visited an impoverished area near La Romana in the Dominican Republic with a friend. This opened my eyes to the bubble I was living in. I joined their initiative by sponsoring one of the children in their foundation and have remained an active participant in other activities for the kids and their families, always making my clients aware of this important community and educating them about the importance of giving back to the community.

One thing I have learned from my experience in the Dominican Republic has been about exploring a whole new world, self-discovery and learning how to deal with any situation.

I am truly grateful for the entire experience, good and bad- and I can assure you I have cooler stories to tell than anyone I know.

For more information about life in Punta Cana, contact me at (809) 552-0421 or email me at

Jocelyn Hernandez Irizarry has been selling Punta Cana Real Estate with Punta Cana Lifestyle Real Estate since 2004.

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