Moving abroad was made possible thanks to the Dominican Republic

“I’ve had enough vacations in the Caribbean for one year!” This is the response Bill Piatt received from his wife, Anne, when he proposed a trip to the Dominican Republic. It was a cold February day in Virginia. The couple had just returned from four weeks on another Caribbean island, originally booked for five weeks. However, they couldn’t bear to stay a minute longer. The constant arrival of new cruise ships filled with tourists invading the coasts, restaurants, and shops had made them eager to return home. Despite Anne’s contentment with being home, Bill felt disappointed. He stumbled upon a Delta voucher that was about to expire and decided to see where he could use it. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, seemed like the perfect destination.

Bill revealed to us that prior to this spontaneous trip to the Dominican Republic, he and Anne had spent many years searching for their dream location abroad. Over a span of 10 years, they had explored various regions in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, and Spain, spending about a month in each country. Unfortunately, none of these places had met their expectations. Bill and Anne had created a list of criteria for their new home abroad. In Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, it only took three days for Bill to realize that he had finally found the place, pending Anne’s approval.

Here is the Piatts’ list of criteria for their new home abroad, along with their impressions of how Las Terrenas measured up:

1. Close proximity to the beach, with nearby mountains and trees providing shade: Las Terrenas boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic, each with its own unique charm. The area is surrounded by mountains and abundant palm trees offer ample shade.
2. Affordable restaurants and cafes within walking distance: Las Terrenas offers a wide range of affordable dining options, from French fusion to Italian and Asian cuisines. Enjoying a BBQ dish on the beach can cost as little as US$2 to US$4, while a three-course dinner at a French restaurant costs around US$7. Even on a splurge, it’s difficult to spend more than US$40 for a complete meal with drinks included.
3. A welcoming and cosmopolitan community: European expats have been residing in Las Terrenas for decades, creating a diverse and welcoming community. Each nationality brings its own unique flair to the city, resulting in an eclectic mix that is not commonly found on other Caribbean islands.
4. Relatively unknown: Las Terrenas is primarily inhabited by part- and full-time expats, outnumbering tourists. Unlike many other Caribbean islands that solely offer bars and souvenir shops, Las Terrenas is home to a variety of stores, including German and French butcher shops, bakeries, and high-quality clothing boutiques.
5. Easy access for local and international travel: Las Terrenas is connected to the capital city, Santo Domingo, by a highway, making it a convenient two-hour drive from the airport. Santo Domingo’s airport offers flights to Miami in two hours and New York City in three and a half hours.
6. A promising location with visible progress: Las Terrenas has experienced significant development and progress, starting with the installation of electricity in 1994. In 2006, the El Catey airport was inaugurated, followed by the completion of the highway to Santo Domingo in 2008. Additionally, a promenade was constructed along Playa Bonita in 2014.
7. Quality construction: The houses in Las Terrenas are built to be earthquake and hurricane-proof, utilizing high-quality finishes and materials. Construction prices in Las Terrenas are lower than other Caribbean locations, averaging $200 per square foot.
8. Political stability: The government of the Dominican Republic is known for its stable and conservative management of the country.
9. Foreigner-friendly: The Dominican Republic offers accessible, affordable, and fast residency and citizenship options, making it an attractive place for foreigners to live and invest.
10. An active lifestyle: Las Terrenas provides numerous free and low-cost activities, including kitesurfing, surfing, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, sailing, hiking, and swimming.
11. A walkable community: Everything in Las Terrenas, from the beaches to the city, can be easily reached on foot or by bike.
12. Quality medical care: In 2014, an international clinic with English-speaking staff was opened in Las Terrenas. Additionally, there is an emergency helicopter service to Santo Domingo, where a world-class hospital with specialist doctors can be found.

Las Terrenas met all the criteria on Bill Piatt’s list. It only took 48 hours for Anne to go from initially not wanting to purchase anything to deciding that they should buy a small villa in Las Terrenas.

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