Las Terrenas, the Dominican Republic
Last updated on Feb 01, 2023
Summary: The approximate population of Las Terrenas, Dominican Rep is around 25,000 people. People describe Las Terrenas as a beautiful beach town with a laid-back atmosphere and stunning scenery. Expats love the relaxed lifestyle, the friendly locals, the beautiful beaches, and the low cost of living. The weather in Las Terrenas is typically warm and sunny year-round, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is relatively low. A one bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $400 to $800 per month, while a two bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per month.
What do I need to know about living in Las Terrenas?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Las Terrenas, they said:
"Before retiring to Las Terrenas, it is important to understand the cost of living, the tourism industry, and the tax implications. Additionally, potential retirees should research the real estate market, local laws and regulations, healthcare, quality of life, and availability of entertainment and activities. It is highly recommended to visit the area of Las Terrenas to gain experience, both through interacting with locals and researching all available options. Additionally, it is important to consider the language barrier and cultural differences, and the importance of planning for a smooth transition. Finally, it is important to consider the local economy and natural disasters that could impact stability, as well as the climate and weather," added another person living in Las Terrenas.
"It would depend on how old he is. If retired come, come, come if wanting work unless he has plenty capital to start a business, go somewhere else," explained one expat living in Las Terrenas.
What do I need to know before moving to Las Terrenas?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Las Terrenas, they said:
"Las Terrenas is located on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic and is a beautiful beach town known for its diversity and affordability. Before moving to Las Terrenas, it is important to be aware of the Dominican Republic’s language, culture, and customs. English is not widely spoken, so it is important to learn at least some Spanish before moving to the area. Additionally, while most locals are welcoming and friendly, it is important to remain aware of potential security risks, especially in more rural areas. It is also important to research the cost of living and determine if it is realistically within your budget. Lastly, it is a good idea to be aware of current COVID-19 regulations and restrictions," remarked another expat in Las Terrenas.
"-There is a tropical climate in Las Terrenas and temperatures remain fairly consistent throughout the year, so plan accordingly for the heat. -Make sure to keep abreast of current travel advisories and restrictions before traveling to Las Terrenas. -The official language is Spanish, so it would be beneficial to try to learn some basic phrases before moving. -Las Terrenas has a lively nightlife and a growing number of restaurants and entertainment establishments, so there is something for everyone. -The beaches in the area are beautiful and there are plenty of activities and attractions to explore. -The cost of living in Las Terrenas is fairly reasonable, so budget accordingly. -Healthcare in the area is limited and can be difficult to access, so it is best to make sure you have a good insurance plan in place. -Las Terrenas is a relatively safe destination and crime rates are typically low, but it is still wise to observe some basic safety precautions," explained one expat living in Las Terrenas.
How do I find a place to live in Las Terrenas?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"Las Terrenas is a popular Caribbean beach town in the Dominican Republic. There are many options for finding a place to live in Las Terrenas, ranging from private villas and apartments for rent or purchase to hotel or timeshare apartments. Search websites like Dominican Curves, Samana Properties, or Vacation in Dominican Republic to find listings of properties that are currently available. Additionally, consider making connections with local real estate agents, property owners, and other expats already living in Las Terrenas to get tips on available options. Additionally, sites like Facebook and Meetup as well as local newspapers like Diario Libre can be great resources for finding a place to live in Las Terrenas," explained one expat living in Las Terrenas.
"The best way to find a place to live in Las Terrenas is to use online resources such as Airbnb or VRBO to search for vacation rentals or to contact a local real estate agency or firm to assist you with searching for long-term rentals or potential property purchases. You can also approach the local tourist office for further advice or get in touch with expat communities or associations to get further information and advice. There are also Facebook groups such as ‘Expats in Las Terrenas’ which can be helpful for learning about local life, finding accommodations and connecting with others already living in Las Terrenas," said another expat in Las Terrenas.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Las Terrenas?
"A typical expat home or apartment in Las Terrenas is usually located near the beachfront, often with a terrace with a view. These dwellings are most often modern-style villas, with many having a pool or garden, offering a luxurious and relaxed atmosphere. The buildings have typically been newly-constructed and feature modern, up-to-date amenities. Many feature air-conditioning and come equipped with furniture, built-in kitchen appliances, and other modern necessities, such as high-speed internet. Expat housing often comes with a maid or night watchman, and properties can come unfurnished or fully furnished, depending on the renter's need," said another person in Las Terrenas.
"A typical expat home or apartment in Las Terrenas is usually a beachfront property with great views of the Caribbean Sea. The apartment or home typically has a modern design with large picture windows, balconies, terraces and outdoor living spaces. The homes and apartments are usually fully furnished, including furniture, appliances, linens, kitchenware and utensils. The kitchen and bathrooms are typically equipped with modern fixtures, and the bedrooms are air-conditioned. Many of the homes and apartments have access to swimming pools and amenities such as exercise rooms and tennis courts. Expats will find a range of rental prices to suit their budgets, with the most expensive homes and apartments located closer to the beach," remarked another expat in Las Terrenas.
What is the average cost of housing in Las Terrenas?
If you are thinking about moving to Las Terrenas, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The average cost of housing in Las Terrenas varies depending on property type and location. Generally, prices tend to range from lower than US$50,000 for smaller, older homes to more than US$500,000 for luxury villas," explained one expat.
"The average cost of housing in Las Terrenas varies depending on the type of housing and location. Prices range from inexpensive prefabricated houses starting at $50,000 USD to luxury villas costing upwards of $500,000 USD," said another person in Las Terrenas.
How do I meet people in Las Terrenas?
When we asked people living in Las Terrenas about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:
"Las Terrenas is a great place to meet new people! Popular activities such as visiting the many beaches, trying out the different restaurants, and attending social activities/events are all great ways to meet and get to know the locals. Additionally, taking a Spanish language course or volunteering are great ways to make meaningful connections with the community. Taking an outdoor activity such as surfing, fishing, or horseback riding is also a great way to meet new people. Joining clubs, committing to a gym or dance classes, or joining a church or other religious community are all excellent ways to stay involved and meet new people, too. Finally, locals are very friendly and are always willing to help out a stranger – so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone you meet on the street or in a cafe," remarked another expat in Las Terrenas.
What should I bring when moving to Las Terrenas?
People living in Las Terrenas were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:
"Clothing suitable for a tropical climate, including shorts, t-shirts, and sandals, insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimwear, sturdy walking shoes, and hats. Electronics including laptops, cameras, and cell phones, essential documents such Spanish-language dictionary, medical and health insurance documents, passport, driver’s license, and car registration. Basic kitchenware and supplies for cooking, personal items such as toiletries and medications, and any items that may help you feel comfortable in the new environment such as photos or small pieces of furniture," said another expat in Las Terrenas.
Where should I setup a bank account in Las Terrenas?
We asked expats in Las Terrenas what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:
"To open a bank account in Las Terrenas, you should visit one of the local banks, such as Banco Popular, BHD Leon, and Nacional or contact a financial advisor who can help you set up the bank account," remarked another in Las Terrenas.
"I am a retired expat. No I did not close my UK bank account but I open a new ones here: an US$ account and a DRpeso account. Not a lot of meaningful banking differences but a little more expensive," explained one expat.
Will I be able to find a job in Las Terrenas?
When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Las Terrenas, they reponded:
"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Las Terrenas. The local economy relies heavily on tourism and the hospitality industry, with many businesses seeking employees with experience in customer service, language fluency and sales. Expats are often sought-after to provide services such as English tutoring and website design and development. There are also many opportunities in construction, healthcare and agriculture. Additionally, entrepreneurs may want to explore the possibility of launching their own business, such as a restaurant or a tour company," added another person living in Las Terrenas.
What is life like in Las Terrenas?
When we asked people living in Las Terrenas what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:
"Life as an expat in the area is generally very pleasant and rewarding. There are many amenities and activities to enjoy as well as plenty of opportunities to make new friends and to experience different cultures. The area boasts a wonderful climate and beautiful landscapes, making it a perfect place to live and work. The cost of living is reasonable and the housing market is healthy, providing many options to suit all budgets. Public transport is reliable and there are plenty of options to get around the area. English is the primary language and there are many support services available to help expats settle into life in the area. In short, life as an expat in this area offers plenty of benefits and advantages and is an ideal location for those looking for a great life," said another person in Las Terrenas.
What do expats in Las Terrenas appreciate most about the local culture?
"Expats in Las Terrenas appreciate the casual and easy-going lifestyle which allows them to enjoy the beautiful and tranquil environment. They enjoy the friendly and welcoming atmosphere given off by locals, as well as the local culture, cuisine and colorful festivals giving them a chance to fully immerse in the Dominican Republic’s culture. The area offers endless possibilities for outdoor activities like swimming, snorkeling and sailing, as well as great international and local restaurants, bars and cafes. The natural beauty of Las Terrenas itself, with its stunning beaches, lush tropical vegetation and turquoise blue waters, makes it a perfect location for all those who appreciate the sun and sand," remarked another expat in Las Terrenas.
What do expats find most challenging?
"Expatriates often find adjusting to the lifestyle and culture of their new home challenging. Learning the language and finding housing can be difficult, as can legal issues such as residency and work permits. Building a social network and getting used to the local customs and etiquette can also be difficult. Additionally, the cost of living and property requirements can be hard to adjust to. Finally, missing family, friends, and familiar places may be a significant source of stress for expats," said another person in Las Terrenas.
Is there a lot of crime in Las Terrenas?
We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:
"Las Terrenas is generally considered a safe place to visit, with very low rates of crime in the area. Tourists generally feel safe and secure in the resort town, and the local police do a good job of controlling the crime rate. In comparison to other tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic, Las Terrenas has a much lower rate of crime," replied an expat in Las Terrenas.
Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Las Terrenas accepting of differences?
"Las Terrenas is a very diverse area. It has a wide variety of cultures, with a population that is roughly 80 percent Dominican, 15 percent European, 3 percent Haitian and 2 percent other nationalities. Many ex-pats have made their home in Las Terrenas and are welcomed and respected by the local population which is known to be very accepting of differences. English is widely spoken in the town and there is a regular influx of tourists from all over the world. Las Terrenas is a place where people can feel comfortable and at home regardless of their culture and background," replied an expat in Las Terrenas.
"Local Dominicans accept you for what you are except that if you are white you are very rich and they expect you to be generous, Don't be," remarked another in Las Terrenas.
What are the schools in Las Terrenas like?
"Las Terrenas has numerous educational institutions serving students of varying ages and skill levels. Primary and secondary schools are available from both public and private institutions, and bilingual Spanish/English options are available. For tertiary education options, the city is home to the Dominico-Americana university which offers a range of courses including business, medicine, and engineering. The Guadalupe Institute, another tertiary level school, offers courses such as Spanish as a second language and culinary arts. There are also a number of international schools in Las Terrenas that offer a variety of curriculum options to meet the needs of expatriate community," commented one expat when asked about in Las Terrenas.
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.
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