In this report, we discuss the best place to retire cheap in the Dominican Republic.
We spent about a month visiting four towns along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic: Las Terrenas, Cabarete, Sosua, and Puerto Plata.
We will discuss these four towns with respect to which ones had the best Restaurants, Accommodations, Nightlife, Transportation, Grocery Stores, Safety, Cost of Living, Dating, and Watersports. After discussing which is best for each, we will each rank our favorites for early retirement.
Best Retirement Living Conditions
Restaurants: Dan believes the best restaurants are in Cabarete. Qiang thought Las Terrenas was better for restaurants for budget retirees because the restaurants were cheaper there. The best restaurants for each city are listed in each individual city report (Puerto Plata, Las Terrenas, Sosua, and Cabarete).
Retire Cheap Reports: We have individual reports on all four of these cities, so this video is just looking back and thinking about our preferences for each of the factors we are discussing.
Accommodations: Qiang thought Sosua had the cheapest accommodations. If you stay longer you can negotiate by the month. Dan thought Puerto Plata would be the cheapest with the largest selection overall.
Nightlife: Qiang thought the nightlife in Las Terrenas was best. Qiang has a post for the Las Terrenas nightlife because it is more casual. Dan thought the nightlife in Cabarete was nice around the Mojito bar, and the bars along the beach there. Sosua is known internationally as the biggest party place along the north coast in the Dominican Republic. Puerto Plata is more of a nightlife scene for the locals.
Transportation: We landed in Santo Domingo and booked an Uber taxi from Santo Domingo to Las Terrenas. The price was great. Once you are in Las Terrenas, you can’t get an Uber to leave there. But we asked our Airbnb landlord in Las Terrenas and she had a friend that was willing to drive us to our next stop Puerto Plata. The name and phone number of the driver is in our Las Terrenas Retire Cheap Report. Uber is only available in Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo. But the Uber drivers try to get you to cancel and pay them directly or pay more in cash. But we found one great Uber driver named Sam that showed up on time and didn’t try to charge us extra so we just got his WhatsApp Number and texted him whenever we needed a ride. Email: Baselrashid3@gmail.com, WhatsApp: +1 (829) 444-4440
They also have motorcycle taxis (Moto-Taxi) along the north coast of the Dominican Republic. You will know a Mototaxi because they all wear a light green vest with a stripe on it. They charge about 50 cents for a short ride or one dollar for a long ride.
Grocery Stores: Puerto Plata (PP) wins with multiple large grocery stores with very large selections. So you may find yourself going to PP a few times per month to stock up while making local runs to smaller grocery stores for fruit and vegetable markets in Sosua and Cabarete. Las Terrenas is 4 hours east of Puerto Plata by car so you won’t be going to Puerto Plata for groceries. But there are a few medium-sized grocery stores in Las Terrenas, that even have a reasonable selection of ex-pat choices (but they are very expensive). If you stay away from imported processed foods in the Dominican Republic and eat more fish and vegetables with rice and beans it will be easier to keep your grocery expenses down. The markets we shopped in are listed in the individual reports for Puerto Plata, Las Terrenas, and Cabarete.
Safety: We felt safest in Las Terrenas. We didn’t have any trouble anywhere in the Dominican Republic, we just felt safest in Las Terrenas. Everyone was polite with us wherever we went in the Dominican Republic. We had no safety issues so we are mostly just reflecting on what we read online about the Dominican Republic before we got there and adding our own perception or feeling about safety during our visit. Las Terrenas was just a smaller town and felt homier. Cabarete was probably number 2 for safety, Puerto Plata was number 3, and Sosua would be number 4 for safety. Sosua is known for prostitution so maybe it feels a little more dangerous because drugs and violence sometimes are in the near vicinity of prostitution. To learn how we travel all over the world while remaining safe, read this report.
Cost of Living: Again, we cover our estimated cost of living in the individual reports for these towns in the Dominican Republic ( Puerto Plata, Las Terrenas, Sosua, and Cabarete), but Puerto Plata is probably where you could achieve the lowest cost of living. In fact, our friend Sam lives in Puerto Plata comfortably on about $800 per month. There is more local style housing in Puerto Plata and local restaurants and other things to do, whereas the other towns are more geared towards tourism which will reflect higher costs of living. The second lowest cost of living is probably Las Terrenas, with Sosua in third, and Cabarete is probably the most expensive. Qiang mentioned you could keep your cost of living lower by eating locally caught fish and cooking it at home whereas living on more vegetables could be more expensive.
Dating: If you are looking to date locals, there are more living in Puerto Plata (PP) than the other three more touristy communities. In PP, there are more locals living regular daily lives with jobs and families. Once you get into the more touristy areas of Las Terrenas, Sosua, and Cabarete, there is a higher concentration of tourists. So, if you are more interested in dating tourists head to Las Terrenas or Cabarete. If you try to date locals in touristy areas you are more likely to find people employed in sex tourism. Thus, if you are using dating apps to meet people, some may turn out to be prostitutes. Sosua is where many prostitutes meet Johns. We don’t recommend doing that because that puts you in and around people involved in many different kinds of crime including drugs and violence. That is very dangerous, even life-threatening, and there is also a high prevalence of HIV there.
Watersports: Cabarete is one of the kitesurfing capitals of the world. You will also see windsurfers there and traditional surfers in Cabarete. Las Terrenas also has a bunch of wind and kite surfers living and visiting there. We didn’t see as much kite or windsurfing in Puerto Plata or Sosua as we saw in Las Terrenas or Cabarete. Scuba, snorkeling, swimming, and fishing is pretty much everywhere along the north coast of the Dominican republic.
Best Place to Retire Cheap in the Dominican Republic
Next, we answer the question, which of these cities would be your favorite to live long term and or retire?
Qiang Hui of Hobo Ventures: Qiang would choose Cabarete because it is very close to Puerto Plata so she could go there easily to buy things in the larger grocery stores from time to time. Also, she thought life was very easy in Cabarete. Qiang also loves Las Terrenas because of its beautiful nature and feeling of safety, but it is so far away from Puerto Plata it would be hard to find things she would need in daily life. The grocery stores in las Terrenas are smaller and more limited and seemed to be overpriced compared to the larger stores in Puerto Plata.
Dan of Vagabond Awake, the YouTube Channel for Vagabond Buddha: Yes, Las Terrenas is all about beauty and nature and lower density of people. But it is 4 hours away and if you need more than just nature to sustain you, you would be better in Cabarete. So Dan’s favorite was also Cabarete even though it is more built up and more expensive. Dan would also be more interested in Puerto Plata if he were single because it has more of a local feel and is not so transient with tourists. But it would also be better to learn Spanish if you wanted to fully take advantage of integrating with the locals in Puerto Plata with respect to daily life and dating locals and living long term. That would allow you to get to know the local culture better, nightlife, and local restaurants, instead of just hanging out with only ex-pats in the touristy areas of Puerto Plata.
Thanks for reading the Best place to retire cheap in Dominican Republic.
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