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.


Las Terrenas Is A Top Retirement Option In The Caribbean

Samana Versus Las Terrenas

Feb. 16, 2015, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, is one of the best and most affordable retirement options in the Caribbean.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Stretches of the Dominican Republic's sandy coast—including in Puerto Plata and Punta Cana—have been catering to tourists for a decade and longer, and it shows. These resort towns could be Cancun... or any other resort town in any other country.

That's one face of this Caribbean island nation.

The Samana region is another. It's less known and less visited and offers two very different options for expats: Las Terrenas and Samana.

Cruise lines discovered this part of the Dominican Republic around 2006, when ships began calling at the small harbor town of Samana at the tip of the Samana Peninsula. The development that followed spread gradually inward from the coast, eventually reaching Las Terrenas.

Now Samana is a shell of a town that comes alive only when a ship is in port. Las Terrenas, on the other hand, has managed to take advantage of the benefits of development, without succumbing to the dark sides. The one-time village known as Las Terrenas has come into its own just this year. A trifecta of recent improvements make it the best choice in the region for the would-be retiree.

When the cruising behemoths began pulling into the small port of Samana a few times a month, discharging hundreds of visitors at a time to throng through the town all at once, the local government was forced to invest some money in supporting infrastructure. But their strategy wasn't forward-thinking or sustainable. They focused on the town, not the peninsula. Specifically, they focused on the harbor. This had a predictable effect: A half-kilometer stretch around the harbor looks like Main Street in Disney World. The rest of the town looks and feels like a slum. The cookie-cutter colonial houses that were built in a strip, painted in candy colors, and intended as business locations are charming, but more than 70% are unoccupied. No cruise ship was in port when I visited, so the few occupying businesses in these houses were closed. This included the tourism office, which is located here and was closed at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.


Las Terrenas Is A Top Retirement And Expat Haven In The Caribbean

Welcome To The Dominican Republic—The Best Of The Caribbean And So Much More

Feb. 15, 2015, Panama City, Panama: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, is a top choice for an affordable and cultured life in the Caribbean.

Kathleen is traveling today. She and Lief Simon are on their way to Santo Domingo for a week's scouting adventure in the Dominican Republic. They've promised to send real-time reports from the road.

Meantime, Kathleen has asked her Managing Editor (and daughter) Kaitlin Yent to stand in for her today. Kaitlin was in the DR herself recently...

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The final landing place in the New World for Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1493, today the Dominican Republic is a white-sand haven that is surrounded by warm turquoise waters and enjoys year-round sunshine. This affordable island paradise boasts not just beaches—both remote and resort—but also virgin jungle and mountain hideaways (often with ocean views).

The Dominican Republic is the Caribbean but so much more, a melting pot with an eclectic population and a diverse history informed by Afro-Antillean, European, North American, and Latin cultures. This not-so-little island has a lot to offer and a long history of welcoming foreigners.

The Dominican Republic is also one of the most affordable spots in the whole of the Caribbean, a place where you could embrace a white-sand retirement even if your retirement nest egg is nothing more than a monthly Social Security check. If you can swing a travel budget, island-hopping around the Caribbean could be your new retirement hobby from this convenient base.


Mango Plantation In Panama Is Nearly Sold Out

My Favorite Agro-Investment One Year Later—The News Is Better Than Good

Feb. 13, 2015, Panama City, Panama: The mango investment opportunity in Panama that I first reported on one year ago is developing better than projected and nearly sold out.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Last year about this time, I announced the launch of a new agricultural investment opportunity in Panama—a mango plantation where you could participate as a small investor, taking title to your piece of the farm and earning yields along with the developer. Today, that mango plantation is nearly sold out. In less than one year, this group has sold more than 300 hectares. As of this writing, only 70 hectares remain available for purchase.

The development group behind this undertaking is looking for additional land to expand the operation, but they're finding this a challenge. Their neighbors have taken notice of all the investment and work that has taken place over the last year and have increased asking prices for nearby land dramatically. Given the level of ongoing investor interest, if the group isn't able to secure additional land at a reasonable price, this investment opportunity will be sold out within the next six to eight weeks.

It's not only the rate of sales that has been super-impressive with this project, but also the rate of development progress. As of this writing, all of the land for the plantation has been cleared and sloped for efficient drainage and irrigation (with the help of a drone plane to map the land). Trees to plant the entire plantation have been cultivated, and, as of this writing, more than 150 have been planted. The remaining will be in the ground by June 1.

Adequate water supply is critical to the success of an undertaking like this one. The developer has addressed this requirement by digging 10 wells and building 3 lakes as water storage for irrigation should additional water supply be needed. The developer is using organic fertilizer (in fact, all farming methods being employed are organic), which is being created on-site. The property has been fenced, on-site offices have been established, and roads have been built to minimize drive paths for fertilization, harvest, etc.


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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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