It’s one of my favorite Caribbean destinations…and it’s not even on the Caribbean.
It’s got year-round beautiful weather with blue skies and tropical sunshine. It’s got beaches that stretch for miles in front of you, fringed with palm trees and lapped by clear water.
It’s got attractive little cafes and bars painted in rainbow colors. It’s got the laidback, relaxed, easy-going lifestyle that goes hand in hand with the perfect Caribbean destination.
In this stunning location you can buy a condo close to the beach for less than $150,000. Or if you fancy something a bit more lavish, you can splash out and get a dream home for a fraction of the cost you would pay on other Caribbean islands.
I’m talking about Las Terrenas, a little piece of paradise on the Dominican Republic’s Samana peninsula, which sits on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country.
The D.R. has been grabbing some attention in recent months thanks to a tourism boom that has seen visitor numbers rise to record highs. Last year the country of just over 10 million people saw nearly five million visitors, more than any other country in the Caribbean.
The rise was due in part to the D.R.’s tourist-friendly Covid policies, which allowed visitors to enter the country without requiring proof of vaccination or a Covid test.
It also helps that the D.R. is so easy to reach. Travel hungry North Americans can get direct flights from numerous major cities that take as little as two hours. And thanks to low-cost airlines like jetBlue, Spirit and American Airlines, it’s very affordable too.
It’s got great beach weather. Temperatures along the coast hover in the 80s year-round.
It’s a beautiful paradise island, with a stunning landscape that is rich and varied. From rugged mountain peaks, tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps to palm-lined, pristine, white-sand shores with crystal clear waters and much, much more. It’s also home to the Caribbean’s highest peak, Pico Duarte. In Santo Domingo, the capital city, you can discover bewitching colonial buildings and ancient forts.
The D.R. has also become a hot spot for expats thanks to the ease of becoming a resident here. And like I say, the cost of real estate is low here, compared to many other Caribbean getaways.
For many years the Dominican Republic was a popular vacation spot for Europeans. But today they’re far outnumbered by visitors from the U.S. and Canada.
Most vacationers fly into Punta Cana, where large all-inclusive hotels line the powdered beaches, crowding out any authentic local ambience.
But my top spot in the Dominican Republic is far removed from cookie-cutter hotels and extravagant resorts. It’s the little town of Las Terrenas, on the Samana peninsula.
Las Terrenas is low rise and low key. Thirty years ago, it was a rustic fishing village. The town didn’t have an electricity supply until the 1990s. But it attracted thousands of French and Italians who came as tourists, fell in love with the town, and started businesses: Restaurants, cafes, bakeries, art galleries, small hotels…
The old wooden fishermen’s huts sitting on the beach are now trendy cafes and restaurants. They serve wood-fired pizza and simple snacks, right up to gourmet Italian and French food. You can dine on a covered outdoor deck on the sand, with good food and fine wine, soft music, and the ocean a few steps away.
Development around Las Terrenas has been tightly restricted. There’s no high rise. Outside of town there’s a couple of larger all-inclusive hotels. But that’s it. Everything else is boutique. They don’t want to adopt the mass-market all-inclusive model. Expats and locals don’t want it. They want boutique development that will keep Las Terrenas as it is. And will keep more money in the local economy.
In this area there is a total of almost 19 miles of beach interrupted only by a couple of rocky points. It’s all walkable and public. The beaches don’t run in a straight line. They weave their way almost serpent-like. It’s difficult not to walk for hours.
It’s been a number of years since I visited Las Terrenas, but I’ve always kept a tight eye on real estate here. Like I say, you’ll find some of the best value in the Caribbean.
For instance, one of my researchers recently dug out some interesting looking bargains…including a two-bedroom villa, just five minutes from Playa Bonita beach that lists for $151,000. The community is in a tropical surrounding, with a swimming pool, jacuzzis, a massage room, and a bar.
On the higher end, you can get something very special in the $500,000 to $900,000 range.
This modern four-bedroom, four-bathroom ocean view villa has a stunning hillside view over the sea and jungle. The villa is built over three levels so all the rooms are facing the ocean.
The villa includes an outdoor covered seating area with a pool and a jacuzzi. Plus, it has an independent apartment that can be used for guests or as a rental. It lists for $799,000.
Like I say, it’s been a while since I was there myself. But Las Terrenas is one location which I’ve previously highlighted as a good place to make good rental income when you’re not staying in your home. It has shown strong demand for decent accommodation, especially downtown where you can walk to the beach, dining and entertainment.
My senior researcher Margaret Summerfield traveled to the Dominican Republic four times and scouted pretty much the whole island. Last time she was there she found savvy expats renting short-term and making as much as 10% gross annual yields.
It’s definitely worth a return scouting trip. I hope to get back there as soon as possible.
P.S. I haven’t personally visited or done any due diligence on any of the properties presented here. Always do your own due diligence before considering any real estate transaction.