Dominican Republic – Budget

Dominican Republic – Budget

Samana

The Samana Peninsula managed to stay undiscovered throughout the boom years of the resort towns until 2006. Finally, cruise ships found the small harbor town of Samana on the tip of the peninsula. The development that inevitably followed this huge influx of tourism spread inward from the coast until it finally reached Las Terrenas.

Now Samana is a shell of a town that only comes alive when a ship is in port. Las Terrenas, on the other hand, is still ahead of the development curve, managing to take advantage of the benefits of development without succumbing to short-cuts like Samana town did. The once-village Las Terrenas has just this year really come into its own, now boasting a trifecta of recent improvements that make it the best choice for retirement in the region.

Cost Of Living In Samana

While it offers many amenities that other Latin American destinations don’t, don’t make the mistake of thinking that living here will be at all like living back home. It won’t. If you’re up for an adventure, want to get your hands a little dirty, but still like some imported wine and cheese at the end of the day, then this is the perfect spot for you. A couple can enjoy the lifestyle here for less than 50,838 Dominican pesos per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Samana, Dominican Republic

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent DOP 19,636
Gas N/A Included with electricity.
Electricity DOP 4,145
Water N/A Included with electricity.
Telephone N/A Included with cable TV.
Internet N/A Included with cable TV.
Cable TV DOP 3,927
Groceries DOP 12,000
Entertainment DOP 10,690
Total DOP 50,398

 

Infrastructure In Samana

The lack of infrastructure that greeted the intrepid expats that first found Las Terrenas is a thing of the past. The most significant change to the region came in 2009 with the Samana-Santo Domingo highway. It used to take anywhere from four to six hours to drive to Las Terrenas from the capital, depending on the condition of the meandering dirt road. Now though, the drive is a pleasant two hours on a smooth four-lane highway.

With improved access, costs came down in Las Terrenas as goods were easier to bring into town. In the five years since the advent of the Samana-Santo Domingo highway, new businesses offering varied services and products have come to Las Terrenas, giving residents more choice and more competitive prices.

The easy trip to capital city Santo Domingo means you’re never too far from a real city and its shopping, museums, theaters, and stadiums.

Santo Domingo used to be home to the only nearby international airport. The opening of El Catey airport in Las Terrenas changed that with regular flights to Canada and the U.S. East Coast, offering plenty of national flights too.

Another of the most recent First World improvements for Las Terrenas was the opening of its brand new hospital Centro Galeno Integral—full service and complete with ICU. This place does it all.

Climate In Samana

Samana boasts miles of sandy beaches and balmy temperatures, with a yearly tropical maritime climate. The weather is fairly consistent all year, with an average temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot and humid season lasts from May to October, and, during the day, temperatures might reach 95 degrees. From November to March, temperatures during the evening are around 68 degrees. Little rain falls around the area, primarily because of the mostly flat landscape, a combination of savanna and mountains.

Expats In Samana

Once a hamlet and still unknown to North Americans, Las Terrenas, Samana, was founded by Europeans looking for a Caribbean getaway in the 1970s. It’s now a vibrant international community with residents hailing from all over the globe, including French, German, Polish, Swiss, Italian, Dutch, and British expats.

The eclectic population means you can find exotic imports from Europe in the supermarkets, freshly made Swiss cheese and German sausage at the local shops, excellent international restaurants, and an active and mixed group of folks to welcome you to their well-established community.

Las Terrenas

Largely unknown among North Americans, Las Terrenas was discovered in the 1970s by Europeans looking for an affordable Caribbean getaway. Today, Las Terrenas is a vibrant international community with residents from all over the globe, including French, German, Polish, Swiss, Italian, Dutch, and British expats. The eclectic population means you can find exotic food imports from Europe in the supermarkets, freshly made Swiss cheese and German sausage at the local shops, excellent international restaurants, and an active and mixed group of folks to welcome you to their well-established community.

The Caribbean and the sands that fringe it are around every corner in Las Terrenas. You can easily 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.

But Las Terrenas is no typical Caribbean beach town. Scratch the surface and you find one of the most interesting expat communities anywhere in the world. This is a majority French expat population, bolstered by Italians, Brits, Danes, and Germans.

The strong European presence has many implications to do with the way people greet each other in passing, the way they decorate their homes, the way they keep their gardens, the way they pass their free time (pétanque is popular), and, as well, in the local cuisine.  

Restaurants in Caribbean beach towns are usually long on jerk chicken and coconut rice, but in las Terrenas expect French and Italian restaurants offering beef carpaccio, homemade pasta, and fresh bread that wouldn't be out of place in Paris or Tuscany, often supported by wine menus that include many options for fine, even sparkling wine. In Las Terrenas, you can dine on fried empanadas from a street cart if you'd like (I'd encourage you to try it)... or you can indulge in three- and four-course meals, French or Italian, complemented by good-selection wine lists.

It's not only the restaurant fare that, until you adjust your expectations, doesn't quite fit with the geography, but also the service. Wait staff is attentive, competent, reliable... It's a pleasant surprise.

Other things are surprising, too, including the quality of construction. This is thanks to new hurricane standards being aggressively enforced. It's also thanks to the types of developers who have been attracted to this particular Caribbean beach. Not typical gringo developers in the Third World, learning as they go and cutting corners when they can, but experienced developers who boast strong track records. They're also European rather than North American. This is evident in the interior finishings. Tiles, countertops, bathroom fixtures, kitchen cabinets, and furnishings in general are contemporary Euro-chic.

Those early expats in this corner of the Caribbean struggled in the face of an utter lack of infrastructure. You won't face the same challenges. The most significant infrastructure development in the region came in 2009 with the Samana-Santo Domingo highway. It used to take four to six hours to drive from the capital to Las Terrenas, depending on the condition of the meandering dirt road. Now the drive is a pleasant two hours on a smooth four-lane highway.

This new highway not only made travel easier, but it helped with the overall cost of living in Las Terrenas. Thanks to the improved access, it was easier and cheaper to bring goods into town.

The easy trip to capital city Santo Domingo means you're never too far from a real city and its shopping, museums, theaters, and stadiums. Santo Domingo is also home to an impressive collection of colonial structures, having been founded by Chris Columbus' younger brother Bartholomew and then renovated by Diego Columbus (Chris' eldest son). This city's Zona Colonial is a treat for residents and visitors and a major source of tourism income for the country.

Residents of Las Terrenas used to have to travel to Santo Domingo for international air travel. No longer, thanks to the opening of El Catey airport in Las Terrenas, from which regular flights are offered to Canada and the U.S. East Coast (along with plenty of domestic flights).

But while Las Terrenas offers many amenities that other Latin American destinations don’t, don’t make the mistake of thinking that living here will be at all like living back home. It won’t. If you’re up for an adventure, want to get your hands a little dirty, but still like some imported wine and cheese at the end of the day, then this little slice of the Continent in the Caribbean is the perfect spot for you.

Cost of Living in Las Terrenas

Despite its thriving foreign population, costs in Las Terrenas have remained local, however taxes are high, and you’ll need to take note if you want to avoid “price-shock” when purchases turn out to be more expensive than you’ve calculated.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent RD$40,000
Gas RD$325 Used for hot water and cooking.
Electricity RD$2,850
Water RD$350 For drinking water.
Telephone RD$500 Prepaid cellphone
Internet RD$2,000 Unlimited 2MB service.
Cable TV RD$980
Groceries RD$13,000
Entertainment RD$15,000
Total RD$75,005



The Value Added Tax or Sales tax is 18%. There is a mandatory 10% tip added to your bill if you are dining; though your server may likely assure you that tip is not included. The mandatory inclusions add 28% to your bill. Some restaurants will have the tax included in the prices on the menu—you should make sure to ask before paying. Unfortunately there is a problem with price equality in the Dominican Republic. The only way to avoid it is through asking around and being aware.

A retired couple can enjoy the good life in Las Terrenas for about US$1,500 a month.

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Dominican Republic – Budget

Samana

The Samana Peninsula managed to stay undiscovered throughout the boom years of the resort towns until 2006. Finally, cruise ships found the small harbor town of Samana on the tip of the peninsula. The development that inevitably followed this huge influx of tourism spread inward from the coast until it finally reached Las Terrenas.

Now Samana is a shell of a town that only comes alive when a ship is in port. Las Terrenas, on the other hand, is still ahead of the development curve, managing to take advantage of the benefits of development without succumbing to short-cuts like Samana town did. The once-village Las Terrenas has just this year really come into its own, now boasting a trifecta of recent improvements that make it the best choice for retirement in the region.

Cost Of Living In Samana

While it offers many amenities that other Latin American destinations don’t, don’t make the mistake of thinking that living here will be at all like living back home. It won’t. If you’re up for an adventure, want to get your hands a little dirty, but still like some imported wine and cheese at the end of the day, then this is the perfect spot for you. A couple can enjoy the lifestyle here for less than 50,838 Dominican pesos per month.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Samana, Dominican Republic

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Rent DOP 19,636
Gas N/A Included with electricity.
Electricity DOP 4,145
Water N/A Included with electricity.
Telephone N/A Included with cable TV.
Internet N/A Included with cable TV.
Cable TV DOP 3,927
Groceries DOP 12,000
Entertainment DOP 10,690
Total DOP 50,398

 

Infrastructure In Samana

The lack of infrastructure that greeted the intrepid expats that first found Las Terrenas is a thing of the past. The most significant change to the region came in 2009 with the Samana-Santo Domingo highway. It used to take anywhere from four to six hours to drive to Las Terrenas from the capital, depending on the condition of the meandering dirt road. Now though, the drive is a pleasant two hours on a smooth four-lane highway.

With improved access, costs came down in Las Terrenas as goods were easier to bring into town. In the five years since the advent of the Samana-Santo Domingo highway, new businesses offering varied services and products have come to Las Terrenas, giving residents more choice and more competitive prices.

The easy trip to capital city Santo Domingo means you’re never too far from a real city and its shopping, museums, theaters, and stadiums.

Santo Domingo used to be home to the only nearby international airport. The opening of El Catey airport in Las Terrenas changed that with regular flights to Canada and the U.S. East Coast, offering plenty of national flights too.

Another of the most recent First World improvements for Las Terrenas was the opening of its brand new hospital Centro Galeno Integral—full service and complete with ICU. This place does it all.

Climate In Samana

Samana boasts miles of sandy beaches and balmy temperatures, with a yearly tropical maritime climate. The weather is fairly consistent all year, with an average temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot and humid season lasts from May to October, and, during the day, temperatures might reach 95 degrees. From November to March, temperatures during the evening are around 68 degrees. Little rain falls around the area, primarily because of the mostly flat landscape, a combination of savanna and mountains.

Expats In Samana

Once a hamlet and still unknown to North Americans, Las Terrenas, Samana, was founded by Europeans looking for a Caribbean getaway in the 1970s. It’s now a vibrant international community with residents hailing from all over the globe, including French, German, Polish, Swiss, Italian, Dutch, and British expats.

The eclectic population means you can find exotic imports from Europe in the supermarkets, freshly made Swiss cheese and German sausage at the local shops, excellent international restaurants, and an active and mixed group of folks to welcome you to their well-established community.