Yannick Bataller, kiteboarding instructor, on a relatively calm day, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Its always the question... What to do in or around that specific place. In Las Terrenas, our beach town, a lot. I am living here since 2004 so did ao do a lot. And a lot of things can be done here, in my hometown.
A laid back beach lifestyle
First of all... that laid back beachy lifestyle. The feeling of freedom. Something that you will feel and experience here. Not like a bunch of sheep inside an all inclusive resort but just choose whatever beach you want. Take some beach stuff and go wherever beach you want. By car, ATV, buggy, guagua, bike, bicycle or by foot. And you are never far away from beaches. Every beach has its charm. We have quiet beaches and less quiet beaches in center town.
Playa Coson: a long stretched beach, quiet, good to swim and sun. At the westside from Las Terrenas. Everywhere easy access. Around 7 km long. On that 7 km strip several local restaurants and European restaurants. Also several hotels and villa residence where you can rent villas.
Playa Bonita, closer to center town. 2 km long and sometimes water can be rough. That is why we have several surf clubs here. When you want quiet and calm water here at Playa Bonita, just go around the west point corner, or stay totally at the east side. Both are very protected and calm waters. Restaurants... the best here. Some famous names like Atlantis, Ney, Mosquitos, Las Ballenas Resort. Playa Bonita is full of residential villas and some nice small boutique hotels. The wide crescent-shaped beach has several different "zones" to enjoy. Center area has just enough waves to enjoy like an amusement park wave pool. Several areas, the waves are large enough for the local surf schools to train beginners. A protected alcove to the right is a serene and calm wading pool. Paddleboarders / SUP's can enjoy out around Punta Bonita to visit Playa Coson or the other direction to the secluded Playa Escondida. Playa Bonita's never crowded and early mornings you usually have it all to yourself. Enjoy the gorgeous sunsets while walking along the beach or from one of several beachside restaurants. A beautiful beach!
Playa Las Ballenas and Punta Popi: these are the 2 center town beaches which go from west to east. Playa Las Ballenas is a wide sandy beach, quiet waters, for sure at the end where the lagune is. Punta Popi more crowded. At both beaches several hotels and many European style restaurants on the beach. Also some diving clubs and lounge clubs. Perfect if you don't have a car.
Playa Portillo: at the east side from Las Terrenas. You can walk miles and miles to the east. Some nice beachclubs like Mosquitos and Balcones there. Bit further the only all inclusive hotel we have, the Gran Bahia. And of course kiting is done here. Best kiting is at Portillo.
Then numerous more beaches close to Las Terrenas. Playa Moron, a small paradise. A bit further La Cana beach and Lanza del Norte. Then, only accessible by boat Playa Onda an Ermitano. This is paradise as close as it can get. More further Playa el Valle, Playa Rincon, Playa Galeras, Playa Madame and Fronton. Samana is probably the best for beach lovers.
Kiting and surfing in and around Las Terrenas
Around Portillo several good spots for surfing and kiting. Most of the shops are at Punta Popi and they give of course lessons if you like. Also renting out. Paya Punta Popy and Portillo is the social and water sports beach hub of Las Terrenas. Peppered with a maze of giant palm trees, its white sand shores offer the perfect wind and wave conditions for kitesurfers, new or experienced. Surfing st Playa Bonita, check out Carolina. Also great for kids and summer camps here.
Horse riding on the beach
Yes, its possible in or around Las Terrenas. We have a very nicely managed horse ranch just outside Las Terrenas. They do tours if you like. You can plan with them how and what. Who does not dream of riding on the back of a horse on a wild beach or to discover lush vegetation while crossing tropical paths? Either a beginner or an advanced rider, Rancho Playa adapts its excursions to any level. Two strategies are to respect our animals and for you to have an unforgettable experience. Check them out here.
Diving and snorkeling in and around Las Terrenas
Of course, you can snorkel and dive in Las Terrenas. We have several diving schools who give classes and tours. For beginners up to experienced divers. One diving school with the highest recommendations is Diving Academy in Las Terrenas.
Biking in and around Las Terrenas
Las Terrenas is the perfect location for biking. e have nice tracks here around our beachfront village Las Terrenas. We have a professional mtb shop, runned by a pro-swiss. He also does tours if you like. Check out the Real Bike Shop here. Luis, the owner, is a mbt biker, and a tuff one. Its his life. They offer bike rent, guided bike excursions (easy rides, cross-country or enduro) for all levels, private or in group. If you are beginner, adventurer or advanced cyclist you are welcome to visit us in our shop. Come and join our ADVENTURES and have FUN.
All kind of tours in Las Terrenas
Tours by horses
Tour to the El Limon Waterfall
Coffee tour by ATV and/or buggies
boat tours with fishing, snorkeling, deserted beach visits
hiking and canyoning
Tours to Los Haitises national parks
Whale watching tours
Ziplining at Playa el Valle
Nightlife in Las Terrenas
Pueblo de Pescadores, is something that has to be on the list for sure. A cluster from small beach cabins where you will find a diversity of restaurants, bars, lounge clubs. Here enjoy meals directly at the beach, enjoy the sunsets, cool down at the beach in front of you, take a drink and go towards the nightlife. Everything is moving here.
Sports in Las Terrenas
We have a well-equipped gym. Check out Gymnasio Forma y Nutricion. Everything that you need is here, also on your holiday. Then, of course, soccer, jiu-jitsu, baseball, tennis. Dancing is also a sport, so several very good options. In the daytime or evenings. Salsa, merengue y bachata.
Wellness and Yoga in and around Las Terrenas
We have a new yoga retreat in Playa Bonita. Owner is Patrick and gives the classes. Check him out here at Com On, Do Yoga.Has its own private pool as well! Also bed and breakfast at Patricks. Perfect for a relaxed and healthy stay. Also strength training, agua yoga and private classes. The yoga spot is a little quiet location of peace and tranquility in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. At this purpose built Yoga Sanctuary and Wellness Center and have a range of Yoga classes to suit everyone from beginner to advanced, including water Yoga, with our resident Instructor, Shaman Patrick Leonard. Classes are run every day so why not come by and see what you are missing?
Patrick created a small piece of paradise in Las Terrenas.
Basic procedure to buy a house in the Dominican Republic:
A “Contract of Sale” or “Purchase Agreement” is made and signed by the parties of interest and the required deposit, usually 10% is placed in the Escrow account. This will reserve the property for you and, in essence, take it off the market.
Most properties are held in Dominican Corporate names, which give you two major advantages. One is, not having to pay any transfer taxes. You simply transfer the Corporation which contains the only asset, the property you are buying. The second is the avoidance of any inheritance issues.
If a property is not held in a Dominican corporation, then you will need to pay a transfer tax. Currently, the tax approximately is 3% of the appraised value. This value is a government calculation and does not necessarily reflect the true value of your purchase (usually far less that the actual cost). At this point, it is highly recommended that you have your Attorney form a Corporation for you to avoid this tax in the future if you decide to sell and to provide you with the inheritance benefit. The costs today to form a Dominican corporation are approximate $1,200.00.
Closings are normally within 30-60 days depending on the agreement of buyer and seller. All buyers’ funds should be in the Escrow account 3 days prior to closing. On the closing date, both buyer and seller will sign the appropriate documents, or someone you appoint can act on your “Power of Attorney” to handle the closing for you.
Your Attorney will record the sale with the Registrar of Titles, and typically it will be in the new owner’s names within 30-45 days. Legal fees are 1% of the actual sales price.
Further information about taxation, permanent legal residency, inheritance taxes, incorporation of a Dominican company and other legal matter you find at Guzman Ariza, Attorneys.
Internet services: now, 2017, on a very good level. Several wireless providers like Silkglobal and HotSpot. If a property has access to a fixed telephone line you can also do Claro tv and internet. works perfect.
There are also the small internet boxes from Claro and Orange. Not perfect...
TV-services: depends where you are you could hook up to local cable at 11 usd per month. If not SKY TV satellite system starts at 25 usd per month. Or just take a fast internet connection with Netflix.
Mobile phone service: Claro and Orange are the largest ones in the country. Both also have now 4g speed data packages.
Forget about the national post service. Does not work! There are several services in Las Terrenas which handle packages. You can order in fact everything you want for example per ebay and ship it to Las Terrenas. CPS Las Terrenas is one from these offices. Mailbox in the Plaza rosada is another and similar office.
You will find several banks and atm machines in Las Terrenas. Atm's give funds in pesos in general with a max. from 10,000 pesos per day. In general open at 9am and close at 4pm. Saturdays 12pm.
If you want to open a bank account here, in general banks are asking for id, letter of recommendation from your own bank. Sometimes more. You can have accounts in pesos, dollars and euro's. All banks offer online services, credit and debit cards.
Employees are compared to the USA or Europe extremely cheap here. Below a small overview.
gardener who in general can do your garden, pool cleaning and some small things around the house 8000-9000 pesos per month. Around 170-190 usd per month. Full time is 6 days a week from monday till saturday 8-5 with 1,5 hr lunch time.
a cleaning lady has the same. They often do cooking as well and watch over children. If you use them only half days or 1 day per week then it would be around 800 pesos per day, around 17 usd.
Evening watchman are a bit more expensive. Think around 230-240 usd per month, 7 nights a week.
The Dominican Republic has labor law. At the end of the year the 13th month and when one stops you need to pay a so called "liquidacion". Las Terrenas has a labor office.
Going through town Las Terrenas you will notice that there are many places where they rent scooters, atv's (quads), buggies and cars. Even since a short while mountainbikes (at Luis in de Calle Carmen). When you rent something, whatever, good advice is take pictures how it looks when you start. So you never have any discussion.
Rental prices for a car around 50-60 usd per day, atv's and buggies bit the same. Scooters around 25 usd per day.
Of course ask about the insurance!
Buying or importing a car: cars older then 5 years is not allowed to import. Also, importing a car can give headaches if you do not know how to handle this. There are many very good car dealers in the DR. Take a look at the largest car and motor website in the DR at SuperCarros. Remember, everything is negotiable.
Here the prices from gasoil in the Dominican Republic.
There are 2 companies managing electricity in and around Las Terrenas: Luz y Fuerza and Progreso de Limon. Both have same prices per kw, around 15 pesos / 0,32 usd per kwh.
Few blackouts and good quality compared to the rest from the country. To give you an indication: a 3 bedroom home with a pool does around 6000 pesos / 130 usd and a 2 bedroom apartment for around 2000 pesos / 45 usd per month.
Water in Samana and Las Terrenas: still not potable. Safe to use for shower, teeth and cook. For drinking only use the 5 gallon bottles at 1 usd each. There is a city water system but not everybody is connected. Sometimes owners are connected to the project water or have a private well.
Always difficult to explain... crime. Yes there is crime. Like everywhere in the world. Feeling safe is something else. I feel safe. Safer then in my original country. Is there discrimination or any tension between Dominican and foreigners: NO. They are warm and helpful people. They respect us as residents and tourists.
Always use common sense: do not leave valuable things alone or out of sight on the beach or in whatever other place.
The Police force: we have tourist police, national police and traffic police in Las Terrenas. All with different tasks and uniforms. The police station is in center town and has english speaking assistance.
Difficult question and perhaps nobody can give you the answer on that. In general Las Terrenas is a safe area. But let me ask you some questions: is it safe in Belgium Brussel airport? Is it safe in Paris? Is it safe in a school in USA?
Safety is always a complicated issue. A person can travel around the world safe if he or she uses common sense. So also in or around Las Terrenas.
And yes, there are horror stories in the internet and in the hotels. Like everywhere. And yes, when leaving the resorts at the gate they warn you that you will get robbed, that you will get shot and that you will get murdered outside from their hotel.... I can't change that they will tell you that. Just experience the feel of freedom there is in and around Las Terrenas town. You will be surprised.
Couple of weeks ago somebody from USA said to me "Tony, DR is unsafe. Just 2 people got shot inside a school!" The true: since 2012 there where more then 620 shoot outs in schools in the USA !!!
Everywhere in the world, every part has area's where one would not feel comfortable. Common sense is very important. Here in the DR , but also in every other part from the world. This means: leave no valuables unattended, dont wear flashy articles, dont show off with your money. Keep it in your pocket.
Las Terrenas has a wide variety of restaurants, local and international. In all price ranges. The fun starts at around 100 pesos, which is a bit more then 2 us dollars. A decent 3 course meal in a nice beachfront restaurant would do around 50 usd for 2 persons.
There is no specific dress code in Las Terrenas. Its a beachfront village with lots of sand.. Do what you like and wear what you like! Of course also here common sense...
There are no restrictions for foreigners to purchase and/or own real estate in the Dominican Republic. Full ownership 100% on your name or whatever other legal entity/company.
The tax on property transfer, which is 3,1% of the registered value from the property at the DGII (DR tax-office).
If the property is owned/registered on a company, this company pays an annual 1% tax on company assets. However, the amount of tax on assets paid by a company can be applied as a credit toward its income tax obligations.
There are no restrictions on foreigners inheriting title to real property in the Dominican Republic. Inheritance taxes is 3% of the appraised value of the DGII. If the beneficiary resides outside the Dominican Republic, inheritance taxes are subject to a 4.5% of the appraised value of the estate.
National health care in the Dominican Republic is socialized and government hospitals are free or almost free. Most expats who live in the country in general take private health insurance and so they can use private hospitals and/or clinics. There are several insurance companies in Las Terrenas.
Local health insurance is available and comes in various types. Some plans reimburse for expenses, including certain medications, after-the-fact and require that services be paid in cash at the time they are provided. Others are a co-payment style system where patients pay a certain amount out-of-pocket and the physician or clinic will bill insurance for the remainder. Many of the policies available through employers are available on an individual basis at virtually the same cost, but the premium is usually paid a year in advance instead of monthly.
Foreign insurance carriers (mainly U.S.) are also available to residents of the Dominican Republic.
Insurance companies Las Terrenas:
AS Asesores: tel. 809-240-6445
Monumental, Plaza Rosada local 19
Property(s) owned by an individual and assessed by the DGII (DR tax-office) below DOP 7,019,383 (around 150,000 usd) will be exempt of yearly property taxes and any excess will pay 1% per year over that difference. All properties owned by a company will pay 1% per year of the assessed value with no exemptions. The following properties are exempt from paying real estate tax: farm/rural properties, homes whose owner is 65 years old or older (and has no other property in his or her name) and properties owned by companies, which pay a separate tax on their company assets.
In general around 1% of the actual sale price + 18% vat-tax over that amount. This includes all necessary contracts for closure, due diligence from the property and the steps to transfer the Certificate of Title in the name from the new owner. The buyer pays for legal fees. The seller pays the real estate commission.
Example on a property from 300,000 usd: 1% = 3,000 usd. 18% over that amount is 540 usd so total legal fees 3,540 usd.
According the DR's Property Registry Law a property purchase cannot be recorded at the Property Registry without a clear Certificate of Title (with deslinde).
Prior to this law, transfers ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer did not necessarily guarantee the buyer the seller owned the property free and clear. Therefore, previous to this amendment, properties could be bought and sold, but the responsibility of obtaining a Clear Title Certificate was left to the buyer after the purchase. With the new law, a property must have a clear Certificate of Title prior to its sale, just as it is done in the United States, Canada or Europe.
A "deslinde" refers to a clear title which has been issued after the property has received the final judge's approval certifying it has been properly surveyed and that its property lines and boundaries have been clearly defined and established from the original title dating prior to the new registry law or a new title altogether. No purchase should be carried out without a clear Certificate of Title.
Choose a lawyer which at least speaks your language. From a reputable lawyer office. One of the lawyers is Cesar Calderon from Guzman Ariza. Also notary.
Hospitals and doctors:
International hospital: 809-240-6701, Calle Fabio Abreu, Las Terrenas
Doctor Polanco: 809-240-6028, Main Street 12, Las Terrenas
The get to Samana and or Las Terrenas by international flights there are several options:
international airport El Catey (AZS) at around 20 minutes drive from Las Terrenas.
international airport Las Americas (SDQ) at Santo Domingo is at 1,5 hr drive over a new highway. With toll Total around 1000 pesos).
Punta Cana airport (PUJ) is at around 4 hrs drive from Las Terrenas. In general to far for driving.
Puerto Plata airport (POP) is also a long drive, at 3 hrs.
The famous motoconchos: cheapest way to go around in Las Terrenas are these guys on there motors. They bring you from one part to another part in town on a low budget. 25 - 50 pesos. They do also shopping, delivery, etc. The moto easy fits 2 persons.
Bus transport: on a daily basis busses go up and down from Las Terrenas to Santo Domingo. Around 10 usd. These are comfortable larger busses.
Then the guaguas: these can be open pickup cars or small mini busses. They often go from one village to another village. Cheap and easy. When you see one, just raise your hand and they stop.
Not yet... or its mini golf...
Las Terrenas and/or Samana still does not have a golf course. Close to center town is a large 10 ha property designated to an 18 holes golf course. Work started with the greens and some buildings but then stopped. So, for now, NO golf in Las Terrenas or Samana.
The most nearby golf course is Playa Grande 18 holes in Cabrera at 1,5 hr drive. However not available to the public anymore. So the nearest golf courses are in Santa Domingo, La Romana, Punta Cana or Puerto Plata.Here a link to all golf courses in the Dominican Republic.
There are 2 large supermarkets in Las Terrenas: the brand new (which is part from the largest supermarket chain in the Dominican Republic, “La Sirena” and Supermercado Lindo, a very nice and good French supermarket. Besides that of course many smaller local “colmados” and fruit shops.s flight.
Both supermarkets are also open on sundays. Both have home delivery.
There are several good insurance companies and offices located in Las Terrenas. One can insure here whatever you are used to in your own country: car, motor, scooter, home, health, liability. Homes can be insured without any problem for flooding, hurricanes and other disasters.
In and around Las Terrenas you will find many churches. Here a link to Google Map from Las Terrenas and here a link from Google Map to churches in Samana.
There are many churches more and of course in varias religions.
Las Terrenas and its surroundings has building zones. Every zone has its specific requirements and limits. Most important is the building density, which is counted in bedrooms per hectare / ha / 10,000 m2.
Example on a 2,000 m2 lot in Playa Coson:
the building density is there 30 bedrooms per ha. 2,000 m2 is 1/5 from a ha. So the density number is 30/5=6. That means you can make a total from 6 bedrooms. In whatever configuration.
You can make 3 villas with each 2 bedrooms or 6 villas with each 1 bedroom or apartment building or hotel with a max. from 6 bedrooms. Permit is not talking about salons or kitchens.
Creative architects can assist you in converting your idea's in what you want.
Here under 3 links to maps from the new zone law. This is part from the building permit. The area you can view is from El Catey to Playa el Valle. The maps are from the Ministry of Turism Dominican Republic, april 26, 2012.
The average construction prices are starting around 700 usd per m2 (70 usd per sf2). This is a basic construction with concrete polished floor, wooden or concrete thatched roof for example. Wood for doors Brazilian oak.
Pool prices do around 650 usd per m2 (65 usd per sf2). Marmoline inside, with poolpump and filter.