Living the Expat Life in Las Terrenas

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Las Terrenas

Located on the Dominican Republic’s Samaná Peninsula, Las Terrenas is a beach town that was discovered by Europeans who were looking to find that perfect Caribbean getaway in the 1970’s. Today, this lovely town is home to a vibrant community of residents and expats from all over the world including people from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, U.K., and Poland.

The charming little town of Las Terrenas is made up of several small streets while the magnificent beach stretching over 15 km gives all its cachet to this true haven of peace.

At the junction between the peninsula of Samana to the east, and the north coast stretching from Nagua to Puerto Plata to the west, Las Terrenas develops the most attractive wild beaches of the country.


“Las Terrenas is a confidential haven lost in the coconut palms.”
— Jonathan, 5-years expat

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At the foot of a hill culminating at 605 meters, where the panorama extends as far as the eye can see towards the ocean on one side and the grand bay of Samana on the other.

Tourism, which develops harmoniously, does not alter the long established osmosis between the natives and a large and diverse foreign community, mainly composed of French, Swiss, Germans and Italians increasing each year. Serviced by the new El Catey International Airport, the Las Terrenas - Samana area has now entered a fantastic phase of development.

The State made it the first tourist pole of the country and it is confirmed every day through the colossal sums allocated to the new infrastructures. Thus Las Terrenas becomes day after day the little Saint Tropez long awaited from the Dominican Republic.

The direct motorway allowing access to Santo Domingo in less than 2 hours is extended by the Boulevard de l'Atlantique. This new-generation road linking Las Terrenas and Samana to the North Coast and the Capitale becomes the veritable backbone of Dominican tourism.

Amazed by the beauty of the vantage points dotting the region, enjoying a unique climate of voluptuousness, amazed by the disorienting conviviality of the local population, you will have discovered the only place in the world where the dream becomes a reality.


A town with a growing expat community

This community stands out from other towns in the Dominican Republic because of the strong European presence. Did you know that many of the European expats are dating or married to Dominicans? Don’t be surprised to see supermarkets stacked with international products including German sausages, Swiss cheese, Italian pasta, and French bagels.

Las Terrenas is definitely more than just a small town where expats hang out. It is full of expat-owned businesses and has 40,000 residents. There is an Italian kitchen shop, an electronics store that was opened by a family from France, and a computer store run by Germans. The property prices are also quite affordable with a square meter for a waterfront property costing around $2,000.


And a good infrastructure

Thanks to the experienced developers from all corners of the world and because of the new hurricane safety standards, the quality of construction has improved a lot in the last decade here in Las Terrenas. Most of these developers are European and it shows by the interior furnishings that have that contemporary European chick.

One of the most important infrastructure developments in the whole country came back in 2009 when the Samana-Santo Domingo highway was finished. Before this highway was built, it used to take around 6 hours of driving to get from Las Terrenas to the capital. Today, the drive is 2-hours long on a brand new four-lane highway.

Besides making the traveling easier and faster, the new highway reduced the cost of living in Las Terrenas. Today, it is much easier and of course cheaper to bring food and other goods into town. Expats who live in Las Terrenas used to travel to the capital for International flights, but luckily El Catey airport was opened in Las Terrenas and features regular flights to the U.S. East Coast and Canada.


Great restaurants

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There is a really high concentration of restaurants in Las Terrenas and no one is really sure how many food joints are there in the town. You can have a three-course meal in a high-end Italian or French restaurant that will cost you less than $25 per person with both tax and tip included. A meal like that in France would surely cost you over $40 per person.  Of course, there are even cheaper restaurants that offer three-course-meals sometimes even for less than $10. Travelers who wish to stuff their faces in grilled chicken at a Dominican Restaurant should expect to pay around $5 per person.

It’s a common fact that most of the restaurant in Caribbean beach towns usually offer coconut rice and jerk chicken, as these two are signature dishes of the local cuisine. However, in Las Terrenas, you can find beef capriccio and homemade pasta, as well as rib-eye steaks and extensive wine menus. It’s not only that the food is delicious in almost every joint in Las Terrenas, the service is also amazing and full of reliable and attentive waiters.

Most of the restaurants here are actually operated by the owners and each eatery relies on the creativity of the chef and on the local produce. You will find plenty of shrimp, beef, fresh tuna, and snapper on the menu, but every restaurant prepares dishes from these ingredients in its unique way with different spices and sauces. There are no food-industry delivery trucks in front of restaurants here and you can always talk directly to chefs and owners.

When it comes to the bar scene in Las Terrenas, it can be best described as diverse. Travelers will find a variety of American, Canadian, and Dominican bars that offer happy hours that usually begin in the afternoon. You can order cocktails including a margarita or a mojito for under $4. Las Terrenas also attracts many salsa dancers and you can watch them perform in a number of bars.


Plenty of activities for expats

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Expect to find many different activities and manifestations for expats here in Las Terrenas. There are weekly cycling outings that include Italian, Swiss, Canadian, Dominican, and French participants. If you like to join a sailing club, a diving club you want to play tennis Las Terrenas has it for you. There are even two petanque courts that host matches almost every day for the french and passionates.


And what about the cost of living?

Despite the high number of expats from abroad, costs of living in Las Terrenas seem to remain local. Keep in mind that the taxes are quite on the expensive side. A mandatory tip for dining is 10%, while sales or value added tax is 18%. A couple of restaurants have the tax included on the menu, so you should always ask before paying. The bad news is that the Dominican Republic has problems with price equality, and the only way you can avoid it is to be informed and ask around. More information on the cost of living in Las Terrenas here.


Located on the peninsula of Samana, Las Terrenas is the ideal place to buy a villa on the beachfront or to look for apartment to buy and put with you feet in the water. Discover this beautiful village to invest or for pleasure, and why not both? In fact, the real estate market has been on a positive trend since 20 years, with plenty of properties available, Las Terrenas is one of the most attractive place to invest.

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