Retire Early $909 Month in Las Terrenas Dominican Republic

This report shares how some of you may be able to retire early on $909 per month in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.

First, I share my estimated cost of living for two people in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. Then I will cover my retirement livability factors, such as walkability, food, social considerations, things to do, weather, and real estate.

We just completed a month in the Dominican Republic. We visited Santo Domingo, Las Terrenas, Puerto Plata, Cabarete, and Sosua, in that order. We will be comparing and contrasting the good, bad, and ugly of all three over the next few weeks.

But today, we are talking about Las Terrenas. In a moment, I will discuss the cost of living here, but first, I want to answer the question, who would love to live in Las Terrenas? Every town has the charms that attract people to it, so what are Las Terrenas’ charms, and who should consider retiring here?

If you would love to live in a beachside community in the Caribbean with scenic landscapes, white-sand beaches, and clear waters with a population of only 15,000 people, then Las Terrenas is for you.

Las Terrenas features amazing scuba and snorkeling, kite surfing, and windsurfing. You can buy fish directly from the fisherman as they bring in their fresh catch from the sea. Plus, Las Terrenas felt safer to us than any other city we visited in the Dominican Republic.

Cost of Living in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

Here is my estimated cost of living for two people in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.

Rents: First, here is a furnished 1 apartment I found on Airbnb a few days ago for $420 USD per month. This $420 per month includes all utilities, Internet, commission to Airbnb, and a cleaning fee.

But I think you could get it cheaper if you stay for 6 months or 12 months. Here is why I think that. Most Airbnb landlords experience some vacancy each month. Even if they only experience a 20% vacancy on average, you could offer them zero vacancies for 6 or 12 months.

They also have to pay Airbnb a percentage of what they receive. Plus, thor personal time is worth something. To keep the vacancy low unit with short-term tenants, they have to correspond with existing and future tenants immediately when they get a question or message.

So being an Airbnb landlord is like a part-time job. If you rent it for 6 or 12 months, you will remove 100% of their vacancy and give them a little time off from their part-time job. Removing their vacancy is worth at least 20% discount and the part-time job is worth another 10%.

So I think you could easily get a 30% discount from at least one of the landlords, maybe a few of them. But I would wait until I am on the ground there so I could test the Internet speed and check out the neighborhood before making a long-term deal.

So, I am going to estimate a 15% discount. 15% of $420 is $63. So my estimated rents would be $357 ($420-$63=$357). Remember, that includes utilities. Here is the Airbnb place advertised for $420.

Just be aware, I am not saying this landlord would take the deal. I haven’t asked.   But, if you propose this deal to several landlords, someone is likely to accept terms like these because it eliminates vacancy and reduces their time spent in tenant turnover for 6 to 12 months. And remember, the 15% discount includes utilities and internet.

Groceries: The groceries seemed high to us here in the ex-pat grocery stores. So we would have to buy from some of the local stores and local fruits and vegetable trucks we mentioned in our paragraph on favorites markets. So we estimate about $$220 per month in the ex-pat grocery stores and about $100 per month from local sources, totaling $320 per month groceries.

Restaurants: If we went out to eat twice per week, once for date night and once for a lunch somewhere, we would spend about $40 per week or $160 per month in restaurants for the two of us. We could keep it fun and interesting by doing a few picnics on the beach per week, but we would be food from home so it is included in groceries.

Cell Phone Data: Mostly we use the Internet at home. But we also use the Internet for Google Maps and other searches. I also listen to Youtube when I run. So, as usual, we got one Claro SIM card when we arrived in the Dominican Republic. The cost to recharge it per month is 1125 DOP or about $20 USD per month. Why only 1 card you ask? Because my android phone will act as a hot spot so we can both be on the internet at the same time when we are out of the house.

Laundry and Water: For Laundry and water per month Qiang estimates about $40 for the drop-off and pick-up laundry per month and twelve 20 liter water bottles per month for 2 people at $1 USD each is $12 USD per month.

Alcohol: Local beer called Presidente is $0.70 USD for a small bottle and $1.10 USD for a large bottle in stores. In bars and restaurants, those prices are easily double. Bottles of wine start around $4 USD in grocery stores. Not everyone drinks so we show alcohol as an optional expense in the below-estimated cost of living.

Las Terrenas

Expense (USD)

Rent

357

Groceries

320

Restaurants

160

Cell

20

Laundry

40

Water

12

 

 

Recurring Total

$909

 

 

Alcohol

85

Optional Total

$994

The above cost of living is for 2 people but is just an estimate on the low end. For a full understanding of what it would cost you to live here, visit Numbeo and add anything you spend money on in your home country that is not mentioned in the table. Our costs of living are generally much lower than a new traveler because we are great bargain hunters but there are people that live much cheaper than we do.

Never move anywhere until you have visited first personally to verify the living costs for your lifestyle and needs. I am not guaranteeing these prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different depending on your lifestyle and the time since this post.

Most ex-pats report spending more money per month than the low-end estimate we are reporting here. You will hear more typical living costs in the range of $1200 to $2000 per month. But people spending that much also have even higher pensions. They often spend more on eating out and drinking more alcohol in local bars and restaurants. Many also have cars and more expensive apartments.

If you are going to try to retire cheap offshore, make sure to have emergency funds available should you have some unexpected emergencies. To learn more about that, read my report called, the Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early for Cheap Offshore (link provided).

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, Livability Factors

Here are some of the factors I think about when I consider a place for retirement potential. After I discuss each factor I will assign an overall desirability score to Las Terrenas.

Walkability: High. If I were to live in Las Terrenas, I would be able to walk to restaurants and small fruit and vegetable markets without an automobile. That is one of the reasons my costs would be lower than other ex-pats. I would also consider getting bicycles for Qiang and me to get around town more quickly.

Internet: Medium. We had very few issues with our Internet speeds. We were running about 4 MBPS down and 2 MBPS upload speeds. The speeds were slower than I prefer, but I was able to upload large YouTube videos in about 2 to 3 hours. If a certain Internet is required for your business, I suggest reading my process for finding the perfect apartment which fulfills all of your needs.

Food: Medium. With a town of only 15,000 people, you will probably agree that the restaurant choices are pretty good. Also, the ex-pat grocery stores have a fairly large selection of foreign foods for a town this size. So what you can’t find in the restaurants, you may be able to find ingredients in the ex-pat grocery stores. So I am upgrading the food choices from low to medium.

Weather: High. Las Terrenas has beautiful weather year-round if you like it on the warm side. There are just two main seasons in Las Terrenas, the sunny season or the rainy season. The sunny season is November through April when the nighttime lows average 67 F ( 19 C) and the daytime highs average 84 F ( 29 C). The muggy rainy season is May through October when nighttime lows average 73 F ( 23 C) and daytime highs average 89 F ( 32C). The most rain falls in May and October.

Things to Do: Medium. Swimming, snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, kite surfing, windsurfing, cooking, partying, yoga, restaurants, gyms, cycling, fishing, painting, writing, etc. If you are a beach or ocean person, you will not run out of things to do. But if you are also into cultural exploration, you may get bored here eventually.

Social Considerations: Low if you are single, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. This town is just too small to have much of a social life. If you bring your lover or spouse with you, and at least one of you speaks Spanish, and the other is willing to learn, then it might be medium for you if you are comfortable in a small town.

Expats: High. There are about 8k members of the Everything Las Terrenas Facebook page (link provided) which averages about 35 interactions per day. There can’t possibly be 8500 ex-pats living here but the activity level is enough activity to help you have a soft landing if you decide to visit or live here. So if you like hanging out with ex-pats you should be able to locate or create ex-pat activities in Las Terrenas. But do make local friends too. I explain why in my report, The Top 10 Mistakes International Retirees Make (link provided).

Real Estate: Just walking around Las Terrenas and window shopping, we saw 1 Bedroom condos advertised for sale starting at around $100k USD. See the below photo. But I never recommend buying until you have lived somewhere for at least 2 to 3 years. Read Why Retired Expats Should not Buy Real Estate Overseas, to better understand why I do not buy outside my home country.

 

Visa: High. Citizens of many countries are given 30 days free entry upon arrival in the Dominican Republic. Many of the ex-pats that come to the Dominican Republic, whether long or short term, routinely overstay their visa and just pay a penalty whenever they leave. Example overstay penalties are 1-3 months $50 USD, 3 to 9 months $80 USD, 1 year $100, 6 years $600, 10 years $1400. You pay by cash or credit card as you exit at the airport. Visa rules are always subject to change so check before you buy your flights.

Las Terrenas Desirability Score: High. If you are a beach or ocean person that prefers to be in smaller towns with a more direct connection to nature and natural beauty, Las Terrenas would be highly desirable for you. But if you are more of a cultural explorer, and enjoy a larger city with more things to see and do, you would probably find Las Terrenas less desirable. It all depends on what you are looking for.

We next head further west and explore more of the cities along the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Subscribe now and hit the notifications bell so you will see when we post more videos.

Thanks for reviewing our retire early $909 per month in Las Terrenas Dominican Republic report.

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