Is it possible to compare two islands? Or better is it even needed? Most certainly not. But I will do it anyway ;-)
As there is a always a big discussion on how to head east, a lot of cruisers pass the DR and head more or less straight to PR. As you know we did it otherwise and spent quite some time in the DR. And to keep things straight, I would most probably not do it again! Not because of the sailing which was at some point painful. It's more the country itself.
The islands are geographically very close and the Spanish had occupied both for some time. So, judging by the language and the volume level they're listening to music you would assume the islands are very similar. They're not.
The DR is really more basic, original. Something we particularly like and search for on our trip.
PR is the opposite, you recognize immediately by the number of shopping malls and McDonalds that you are on US Territory. Interestingly PR is not much more expensive than the DR. Would this be the criterias, I would never even think to leave the Dom Rep for Puerto Rico.
In DR a lot of areas are a no go for tourists after dark, except maybe you intend to buy sex - which will be life threatening as well I guess. It’s difficult to get supplies besides food and if you get them they are 30% more expensive due to the high import tax. Do not expect any skilled worker anyway. But this could be true for several remote islands, it's not particularly a problem.
We stated before that the DR is extremely dirty. I guess the streets smelled and looked like the same in my hometown a 1000 years ago and we managed to move on, right? Why are they still kicking the trash out of the windows? After seeing now a clean island with a somehow similar appearance you realize how bad it really was. The sad thing is, that there is no excuse for that. No blame to the government as there is a waste collection. It's just the Dominicans' behavior which makes me stay away.
Or as a cruiser said out of the blue while walking the city of Ponce in PR: You know, I’m happy that we left that dirty sxxxhole DR. Not particularly the words I would use, but I guess it's close.