Las Terrenas Is An Affordable Lifestyle Choice In The Caribbean

Just Like St. Tropez?

Feb. 22, 2015, Panama City, Panama: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, is an affordable option for a Euro-chic lifestyle in the Caribbean.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Walking back from breakfast one morning last week, I noticed the front door to the apartment across the hall from ours open. I glanced inside to see wet bathing suits and beach towels strewn on the backs of chairs... snorkel gear and beach balls piled in the corner...

I continued on to our place and opened the door to find my and Lief's laptops side-by-side on the dining room table, just as we'd left them, notepads, real estate brochures, and other materials we've collected during our stay all around.

We're not your typical tourists in the Caribbean. The truth is, I prefer the Pacific Ocean, and, I have to admit, driving into Las Terrenas last Monday, I was secretly counting down the days until our return to Panama City. Lief and I carved out time for this trip reluctantly. Lots to do in the office... no time for a week in the Dominican Republic...

But by the next morning, I noticed my perspective adjusting. The office in Panama City seemed farther away, while the sparkling Caribbean was ever-present.

No kidding. The Caribbean and the sands that fringe it are everywhere in Las Terrenas. You can use the beach as a thoroughfare to get from one part of town to another; it's the most pleasant pedestrian route. At any time throughout the day, you can turn this way or that, and there it is again, the sea, now blue, then green. You can dine at a table on a deck just a foot or two above the sand with the lapping water only a few feet beyond, small fishing boats bobbing just offshore, bigger sailing boats swinging at anchor farther out at sea.


Investing In Property In Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Why I'm Even More Bullish On The DR Property Market 10 Years Later

Feb. 20, 2015, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, is a top market for investing for rental yields.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The Dominican Republic is back on my radar. Actually, it's been on my radar since I first visited in 2005, but one has only so much time and the world is full of opportunity.

Over the last decade, this country has grown up a bit... especially the Samana Peninsula and Las Terrenas, my focus this visit.

Ten years ago, roads here were mostly dirt, access by road from the rest of the country was slow and painful, and only the most intrepid tourists and expats made their way to this part of the country. Still, at that time, a small community of mostly Europeans had been established.

Among North Americans, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata were getting all the attention back then. I'm sure those places have changed as well since 2005. However, those spots weren't interesting to me a decade ago, and, from what I've heard about how they've developed since, I think they'd be less interesting for me today.

My interest back in 2005, like today, was Las Terrenas, which I called as a buy for my real estate investor readers back then. Prices were cheap, and the product on offer was as good as it can get from an investment point of view—pristine Caribbean shores. I recognized potential for appreciation and made my recommendation on that basis.

And, indeed, appreciation followed, as much as 25% per year for four years running.

Today, having weathered the global real estate downturn of 2008-2009, Las Terrenas is still a buy but for different reasons. While capital appreciation is likely (though nothing like 25% per year), the strong and increasing demand from tourists, who have a much easier time of it making their way here these days, means the investor today can realize excellent rental yields.

A good example of the demand is my search for a place to stay this week. I was told that, unlike Brazil and Panama, the Dominican Republic doesn't really celebrate Carnaval, so I didn't rush to book a hotel. I finally got to it the week before the trip. While it's true that this island doesn't celebrate Carnaval in any big way, I struggled to find anywhere with available rooms. One of our contacts on the ground finally found us a place to stay. She's in the rental management business but still had a tough time.


Larry reinvented his life in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.

From Ft. Lauderdale To Las Terrenas—Larry Walks Us Through It

Feb. 19, 2015, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic: Larry Stroup started a new life in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, that includes a new family and a new business.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

A 10-year expat in Las Terrenas, Larry Stroup is a central figure in the expat social scene in this small Dominican Republic beach town. Larry's originally from Ft. Lauderdale, so it wasn't the great weather that attracted him to Las Terrenas; he enjoyed good weather back in Florida. What got Larry's attention about this part of the DR is the cheap and relaxed lifestyle.

"It was Key West from 50 years earlier, back when people still wanted to go to Key West," Larry remembers of his first impressions.

Larry wasted no time settling in. He met, fell in love, and married Rose, his Dominican wife, and the couple started a new family. Recently, they also started a new business, CrossFit Sandbox, a passion project for Larry and the first and only personal training program in this small town.

Every day at 8 a.m., Larry and Rose head to Playa Las Ballenas with their medicine balls and yoga mats and spend an hour on the beach together, warming up and setting up in the shade of palm trees. At 9 a.m. the day's fitness class on the beach begins, sometimes with just a couple of regulars, sometimes with a large group of hotel guests.

Larry first came to the Dominican Republic on an extended vacation and in his mid-40s. Like most tourists, he landed on the overdeveloped coastline of the Puerto Plata province, specifically in small-town Cabarete, the most Americanized town in the country. Larry came for fun and wasn't disappointed. When it came time to leave, realized he didn't want to... but he also knew that he didn't want to stick around just for the party. He wanted to build a real, sustainable life in the Dominican Republic. Cabarete and Puerto Plata were not the place to do that. Larry asked around and heard wonderful things about Las Terrenas, a tiny, mostly French, fishing town in the Samana province. It sounded like the right fit, so Larry rented a motorcycle and headed across the island. His arrival story is one of the most entertaining and unique in the town's history...


Property Purchase Is Safer Than Ever In Dominican Republic

How This Wild West Market Has Cleaned Up Its Act

Feb. 18, 2015, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic: Thanks to focused government attention, the real estate market in Las Terrenas, Samana Peninsula, Dominican Republic is much less a Wild West.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

A decade ago, this real estate market was the Wild West. Roads in Las Terrenas, in the Dominican Republic's Samana Peninsula, were rugged and all dirt back then, and the property they led to was sold with or without title, with or without access, with or without the necessary permits, by the owner or maybe not...

No one kept track of property sales in any formal way. At one point, construction permits existed for more than the total land area of the country.

That was the reality on the ground in this remarkably beautiful corner of the Caribbean 10 years ago. Today?

Today, the scam artists are history (for the most part), and the Caribbean bargain-hunter should have this coastal town on his radar. It's more accessible and better serviced than ever, thanks to a new international airport, the now-paved highway connecting the region to capital city Santo Domingo, a just-opened state-of-the-art hospital (with 24-hour emergency care), and a likewise brand-new national-chain grocery store.

The Samana-Santo Domingo highway leads directly to Las Terrenas and has reduced the drive time from the capital from up to six hours to two. Its advent in 2009 increased traffic to town in a noticeable way and has also helped to lower the cost of living, as more goods are now more readily available.


Las Terrenas, Dominican Rep. Is A Top Haven For Expat Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur In Paradise—Todd's New Life And New Business In The Caribbean

Feb. 17, 2015, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, offers opportunity for expat entrepreneurs.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Todd Schlosser came to the Dominican Republic from Ohio 10 years ago. The plan was to rent a house for a few weeks with a friend in resort-town Puerto Plata. After a couple of weeks on the island, Todd decided to stay. It was winter, and the thought of returning to snowy Ohio wasn't appealing.

More than that, Todd had fallen in love with the active DR lifestyle, the low cost of everything, and, more than anything, the Dominicans themselves.

Like many who fall for the Dominican Republic on vacation, Todd knew the touristy area where he'd spent his holiday was not the place to try to build a new life. He asked around, took buses to visit different towns, and finally found Las Terrenas.

In his mid-40s and not ready for retirement, Todd wanted to build a business. His first ideas were based on his own experiences in the country. He tried to capitalize on what he had enjoyed and believed others would enjoy as well. He'd had fun exploring the island by ATV, so he bought several, which he then rented out to tourists who managed to find their way to remote Las Terrenas.

Not a bad business idea, but the population of Las Terrenas 10 years ago couldn't support it. Todd was having fun but struggling through unpredictable cycles of feast and famine. When a group of tourists found their way to town, life was good, but when tourists were few, things got tough. Plus, it's not easy to keep vehicles in good working order in this kind of environment. The salt air is harsh, the roads back then were rugged, and sourcing replacement parts was a challenge.


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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