An In-Depth Digital Nomad Guide to Las Terrenas

In this digital nomad guide to living in Las Terrenas, you’ll find everything you need to know to set yourself up in this beachfront town – home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic was originally a fisherman village but has developed into a European expat haven. It’s known for its scenic landscapes, tall palm trees, white sand beaches, clear turquoise waters and amazing sunsets.

Why Choose Las Terrenas

Cost of living: The Dominican Republic is one of the most affordable Caribbean islands you can live.  It’s not as cheap as places like Thailand or Mexico, but we managed to stick to a pretty frugal budget of $80 – $100 USD per day. This included accommodation, scooter hire, insurance, mobile and food. Electricity here is expensive, so you might find that some places charge additional costs on top of the base rate. An average meal for 2 with an alcoholic beverage set us back $30 USD, not the cheapest but there’s decent quality.

Weather: Consistently warm weather all year round with more rain occurring between May and October.The average high for the Las Terrenas is 87 F (30.55 C), with an average low of 73 F (22.77 C) degrees. The Winter season runs from November through April, with relatively low humidity. The Summer season runs begins in May and runs through October, with a higher humidity, 

Natural beauty: You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to clear turquoise water and white beaches lined with tall palm trees. You won’t find any big resorts, fast-food chains or hectic traffic here, only untouched natural beauty, which gives it that laid-back charm and slower pace of life.

Accessibility: The international airport is only 2 hours from Santo Domingo Las Americas International (SDQ) to Las Terrenas.

Visa policy: As of 1 January 2018 visitors to the Dominican Republic are no longer obliged to purchase a tourist card as this fee is now incorporated into airfare (For more info). After the expiration of the 30-day tourist card, the cost of the extension starts at US$10 (depending on the length of the stay) – go to this site for latest rates. We paid at the airport after the gates. Make sure you have enough cash because there aren’t many ATMs. A big plus is no need for visa runs or immigration office visits.

Las Terrenas Basics

Currency: Dominican Pesos (DOP) / $RD

Language: Spanish is the official language spoken by the majority of the population. There is also a Haitian community here, so you’ll find this is widely spoken. Due to the European expat community, you’ll find French, Italian and German are spoken, too. Knowing some basic Spanish will help.

Money: ATMs are widely available near main shopping centres/ plazas.

Safety: Like anywhere follow general safety precautions and have common sense. Make sure to keep your apartment locked and secure and the same for your bike or scooter. When riding on scooters, make sure your personal items are secure. Based on our experience, Las Terrenas felt relatively safe, however, do take extra care at night when the party revellers come out to play. The Dominican locals do love their rum. We never experienced any trouble but heard it can sometimes get a little out of hand late at night.

Groceries: The 2 major supermarkets are Supermercado Pola (generally cheaper) and Supermercado Lindo (more expensive and more overseas imported goods). Fruit and veg can be purchased cheaper from small local shops. 

Transport: Our monthly transport expenses: $224 USD per month for a scooter. Depending on where you stay, getting around by foot is relatively easy, however, it can be a stretch in the heat when you need to walk from the beach to the supermarket. Scooter hire is recommended. Instead of car taxis, the most popular and cheapest option is the conchos (motorbikes).

Coworking: There are no coworking places in Las Terrenas. There isn’t much of a digital nomad community here. Most foreigners are retired Europeans from France, Italy and Germany. Las Terrenas is still a bit of a hidden gem and is one of those less-traveled destinations.

How to Get to Las Terrenas

There are a number of ways to get from the Santo Domingo international airport (SDQ); taxi, bus, shuttle and car hire.

  • Can’t comment on car rental or shuttle, because this wasn’t an option we considered.
  • Taxi costs around $200 USD.
  • We chose the most cost-effective option, the bus. Take a taxi from the airport to the bus stop on Samana Toll Road, where you’ll take the bus to Las Terrenas. It’s only about 10 minutes away, should be about 700 DOP ($15 USD).

Departure times: 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:30am, 14:00pm, 15:30pm, 18.30pm.

Duration: Approximately 2.5 – 3 hours.

Cost: 300 DOP ($6.50 USD)

Drop off: Las Terrenas downtown, near El Paseo Plaza

The buses are run by Transporte Las Terrenas, call +1-809-687-1470 for most up-to-date times.

Accommodation in Las Terrenas

For long-term stays we only use Airbnb. It’s always worth asking the host if they offer any special rates for stays longer than 30 days because in most cases we’ve received a discount of 50%.

Don’t forget to ask about internet speed, reliability and if it’s a shared connection because the quality depends on the setup at the premises. Also, ask if they have a power generator.

April – June 2016 (3 months)

Cost: $1,200 USD per month (including wifi and utilities)

Location: 15 minute walk to beach

Amenities: Wifi, fully-equipped kitchen, washing machine, cleaner

Summary: Generous size house with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. What we liked most about this place was the big yard. Because there was no AC, we spent a lot of time outside on the veranda, which was lovely, because we were frequently visited by hummingbirds, frogs, bumble bees and geckos. But I’m not going to lie, it was challenging at times, let’s just say we’ll never live in the tropics without an AC again. We need it to stay alert for work. Besides the no AC, we had everything we needed (appliances and furniture) for a comfortable stay. Wifi was not so great during the day, so most of our work was done at night or we used our phone data as a backup which helped, but was costly.

June 2015 – July 2015 (1 month)

Cost: $1,200 USD per month (including wifi and utilities)

Location: 15 minute walk to beach

Amenities: Wifi, fully-equipped kitchen, washing machine, cable TV, pool, power generator and cleaner.

Summary: Our previous Airbnb was not available to extend our dates, however, our host’s neighbour offered her place to us while she went overseas. We paid the same price as the Airbnb but got so much more value like a pool, backup power generator which came in very handy, and the wifi was so faster, more reliable and unlimited.  We loved it there and didn’t want to leave.

Internet, Mobile & Power in Las Terrenas

Internet & Power: The wifi speed and reliability varies depending on the set up on the premises. Our first place was challenging at times, the wifi set up was Orange 3G dongle so was pretty slow and dropped out frequently. Our second place had much better internet, I believe it was broadband. I can’t remember the speeds, but we managed to use Skype with a few slow calls, however never did video calls.

Be prepared for regular power outages, these can last for 1 hour to several hours, once or twice a week. Sometimes our host would give us a heads up on when these would occur. Our second place had a power generator, which came in very handy.

We recommend setting up mobile data as a backup for when your home internet drops out or slows down and keep all devices charged. When we didn’t have any power, we used it as a welcomed break to hit the beach. But if you do need power, then there are a few restaurants in town that have power generators and wifi. We never resorted to this, so can’t name which ones they are, but you can usually pick them from jumping on your scooter and scoping it out around town.

While this isn’t ideal, we found the beauty and the pace of this town outweighed this sometimes-not-so-convenient occurrence. If you can’t afford running into these situations, just make sure your accommodation has a power generator then it will be a-ok.

Mobile: We went with Claro the biggest service provider, it cost us $25 USD for sim and 3GB. We recommend going to the Claro shop on the main road (Avenida Juan Pablo Duarte). You can go to the Claro shop in Supermercado Polo (supermarket), but they don’t sell credit so you need to purchase credit from the checkout first then go to the Claro shop to set up your package. It’s just easier to go to the other shop, plus the service is much better. The shop assistants don’t speak English, so be prepared to use your Google translator.

IMPORTANT: Before you top up, make sure you switch off your mobile data otherwise if you have any apps running in the background it will drain your credit at the highest rate. Wait until the shop assistant has topped up your phone and have received an SMS confirmation to switch it back on.

Where to Eat in Las Terrenas

For a small town, there are a number of decent international restaurants to choose from, mainly Italian and French and great fresh seafood options.

Le Tre Caravelle (beachfront)

Cuisine: Italian & Seafood

Must try: Snapper and sea urchin sauce.

Casa Azul (beachfront)

Cuisine: Italian & Pizza

Boulangerie Francaise

Cuisine: French bakery

Pizza Coco

Cuisine: Italian & Pizza

Dulce Playa (small shack on the beach – recommended by locals)

Cuisine: Seafood

Must try: Ceviche

Restaurant Luis

Cuisine: BBQ Seafood

Playa Coson, 15 mins drive away. Shack on the beach, a local favourite.

What to See in Las Terrenas

Beaches: Playa Las Ballenas, Playa Bonita, Playa Coson, Playa Punta Popy.

Short scooter ride to El Salto del Limon Waterfall.

Day tour Los Haitises National Park – take a boat tour that takes you through caves, mangroves and limestone formations.

Day trip to Samana – Las Galeras and Playa Rincon.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment, share our guide, or email us with any questions.