Situated on the Samana Peninsula, on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, the thriving town of Las Terrenas offers a laidback beach lifestyle, a dining scene ranging from casual to upscale, modern services, warm weather year-round, European sophistication, and a lower cost of living.
Think white and golden-sand beaches, palm trees lining the expansive bays and clear turquoise water. A true tropical escape with plenty of beach bars and restaurants right on the sand where you feel the breeze and enjoy the views.
Real Estate in Las Terrenas is a mix of homes and condos, most on the beach or a quick walk away. One should never dismiss the thought of a villa in the hills though, the views and afternoon breezes are absolutely heaven sent. Where you can find a perfect place to settle down if you’re looking for a low-cost Tropical escape. Property prices here are very reasonable for a Caribbean beach destination, almost a steal compared to many other neighboring islands.
A furnished one-bedroom condo in a beachfront gated community with common pool and 24-hour security is listed at $130,000. Another two bedroom condo that is walking distance to the beach and everything in town, with community pool, is available for just $89,250. For a villa, prices are higher but still well within reach. A three-bedroom home walking distance to the beach, with private pool is on the market for $225,000.
Expats in Las Terrenas
The history of Las Terrenas as an expat destination is what gives it its European flair. The first foreigners—French—started coming to this once tiny fishing village in the 1970s when it was all rough roads and no electricity. Next to arrive were the Italians, then little by little as word got out the diversity increased. The town grew and with that growth came electricity, high-speed internet, cellphone service, good quality medical facilities, and everything else that makes a place ideal for vacationing and comfortable for long-term living.
These days, many more folks from the U.S., Canada, and beyond are visiting and deciding to settle in Las Terrenas as well. All are welcome by the warm, friendly and exuberant local people. Las Terrenas has a vibrant, active community.
How to get here
The nearest international airport is El Catey (AZS) and is only a 30 minute drive, with select flights from North America and Europe. Canadian service includes Air Canada, Westjet and Air Transat. Santo Domingo airport (SDQ) is just 2 hours away on a nice toll highway and offers Americans and Europeans many more options. Four hours away by car is Punta Cana (PUJ) which offers the most flight options to Europe and North America. Also, 3 hours to the West is the Puerto Plata (POP) which has numerous flight options as well. La Romana (LRM) and Santiago (STI) are also options to check out, each roughly 3 hours away, but in opposite directions.
Access to and from town the town itself is through a well-maintained coastal highway or the old road over the hills from Sanchez which is now also in great condition, just 20 minutes longer to drive.
Another important aspect, especially to retirees, is the availability of high-quality medical care. Currently in Las Terrenas there is a brand new public hospital, a large private clinic and numerous smaller private clinics. Another big private medical clinic is now under construction (October 2020). Specialist doctors and emergency services are available. For more serious cases, many go to Santiago or Santo Domingo where the largest and best hospitals in the country are located. Santo Domingo is primarily known for having great cardiac care. Health insurance can be purchased through one of several different companies. As little as $30 – $40 per month will get you a comprehensive personal health insurance package.
Las Terrenas Lifestyle & cost of living
Despite its growth and growing popularity, Las Terrenas still retains its funky vibe. This is the type of place where no shirt, no shoes…no problem goes at most local restaurants and just about anywhere. You can enjoy an ice cold Presidente (the national beer) for only $2.25, rum and cokes (cuba libre) for $2, or a refreshing Mojito for $3.50, to mention just a few of the favorites. Sit back, relax with your toes in the sand while watching palm trees swaying in the breeze and the turquoise Caribbean waters beyond them and just take it all in, or dance the night away to the sounds of the local Latin music…
As far as cost of living, a typical retired couple can live well on $2,000 a month if there is no mortgage payment or rent to be paid, but even then it is possible, only lifestyle would be adjusted accordingly.
You’ll find an abundance of fresh, very affordable fruits and vegetables at the local markets. For imported items, or “boxed” foods you’ll pay about the same as the U.S., although sometimes slightly more or slightly less, depending on the specific product. Local Dominican restaurants still offer daily lunch specials of a ¼ chicken with rice, beans and a salad for just $2.50!…..not in 1989, this is being written in 2020 J.
The ‘catch-of-the-day’ can be bought from the fish market on the beach at the head of town – just $3 dollars for a pound of Mahi-Mahi, $4.25 per pound for Red Snapper and Spiny Lobster for $6 a pound, just to specify a few. You will also find shrimp, crabs, squid, octopus, conch, clams and many other species of fish on a daily basis.
There are no big resorts or hotel towers here. Just forest-covered mountains cascading down to the water, fronted by a low-slung skyline of typical beach huts, brightly colored restaurants, modern condos, and beachfront homes. It’s a walkable town, although many expats do get an ATV or motor scooter to get around. If you plan to do many out of town trips to Santo Domingo or elsewhere in the country, a car would be useful.
Speaking of Santo Domingo, it is the capital of the country and the oldest city in the new world. This is a big city with a population over 3 million! Here you will find the best shopping and top medical care in the country, it is just 2.5 hours from Las Terrenas. Many middle and upper-class Dominicans come to Las Terrenas on weekends and holidays to briefly escape to a different world.