Thinking of moving with 4 kids to Dominican

Hey everyone! My name is Maria and me and my husband have been thinking of moving to Dominican or Spain for years now. We have 4 kids ages 2,4,6,and 8. We love the weather, culture and food in those places. We have been to the Dominican 3 times but at the resorts.
I want to experience real life living though but in an area where there are kids activities and schools so we can see how life would be.
Can anyone suggest an area in Dominican that may have martial art schools,gymnastics, or gyms, and bilingual schools?. If it was just me and my husband the move would be easy.. we would just buy a villa near a beach and shops but I am nervous about the kids..
Anyone else made the move with small kids?

Thanks in advance!!

It appears that I am the first to read your post and as such, I welcome you to the Forum. As a relative newbie here, others will come on with more info on schools and potential locations. I know of one International School which is located in Sosua. THere are others in different areas that I'm sure will be covered by others. As far as housing and beaches, shops and restaurants, Sosua has many as it is a tourist town which encompasses many of the issues, good and bad, of such areas. I will leave others to provide greated details and info as per your questions.....cheers ( I will say that if your look into the threads you may find more info there....)

Thanks so much!!! :)

Welcome, fellow Canuck. We have been living in Sosua full-time for a year, and we love it.  We left our kids in the cold, and took off for paradise. Mind you, they are much older than yours.  I agree with 2VP that the North Coast is our preferred place, but this tiny country varies so much from coast to coast to coast to Haiti, no one can tell you where you should live, but I will suggest that the bigger cities and towns will have more of what you are looking for.  Sosua/Cabarete would likely be the smallest places you could live and find what you need. Puerto Plata would work too, Santiago is bigger but not close to any beaches, and Santo Domingo has the beaches, but also a lot of chaos.  Worse than Toronto.  Much worse.  Punta Cana may work, but it's very touristy. We thought we wanted beach-front living, but we bought a Villa tucked away in a gated community, and we absolutely love it.  Beach living has some great views, but comes with many drawbacks.  Weather, rusting fixtures, noise, and so forth.  If you're moving the family, come for an extended visit, and check places out before committing.  Check them out in the evenings, nights, weekends and holidays to make sure you know what you're getting into.  "Boots on the ground" is really the only way to make the decision.  It will be an awesome adventure, whatever you decide.

It will be quite a challenge to move here with 4 young children.

You need to start by considering the basics: residency for all of you to live here legally permanently and can you qualify? And what will be your means of support, because finding work that pays locally will be most difficult unless you have work options remotely online which can be viable?

Your children are still at an age where you can find suitable education and activities in resort areas. Once they are older good education may prove more challenging in resort areas but by then you will have sussed things out.

You should not discount Las Terrenas as a location to set up home. Personally if I were in your situation knowing the country well, it would be my first choice by a long shot. It is multi national and frankly a good safe place to bring up children with perhaps some of the best beaches in the country at hand. A great place to learn several languages.There are a number of posters who reside there including Canadians and those with families who can offer more advice.

Speaking of bringing Children with to the Dominican Republic .
Looking at my Experiences and the Experiences of other People I know pretty well I would not do it .
Why?
The number of real good Schools is very low Bilingual Schools even more but there are some . You will always find Bilingual Schools in Tourist Areas and it will go without any Problems if you would have the Kids only going to School . But I guess you also want them to have a good Career and therefore they need to go to a University and here start the Problems : In Puerto Plata you are not able to finish University if you study Medicine or Law the Best University PUCCM you will only find in Santiago and in Santo Domingo and PUCCM Degrees are international recognized others I do not know .
The Question is if you have the Money to pay the School how to arrange the Transport . The Food in most Schools are not that great and bad in Nutrition but charge a Fortune .
I suggest to come to the Dominican republic alone without the Kids look for someone who will take you around to the Schools in the Area you did choose and  you make yourself a Picture . I learned from several Friends that they moved to Santiago or even to Santo Domingo to get a better education for their Children and did spend a Fortune (never too much if it is for a good School) In San Pedro de Macoris you will finde the UCE a good University for Dominicans if this University would fit for you this Question is open . la romana for sure has also Bilingual Schools but I do not see that the Qualifications same as in Puerto Plata ( including Sosua) do fit to international Limits .
Again ! I would not do it ! The other Site your Children would grow in a Country with much more liberty to do things then in Europe or the US a  mostly lazy Way to do Jobs . And responsible people you can find but you have to look hard around . if Children grown here when adults go back to their Home country will have difficulties.  I would Think twice ! But hey this is only me, a person who lives here since 1996

Welcome to the forums.  These answers have covered things pretty well for you.  I really appreciate the informative responses.

Residencia: you will need significant passive income or a major investment to qualify for residencia.

Schools: there are quite a few private schools. The largest numbers are in Santo Domingo and Santiago.  Both are big cities so not likely what you are looking for.

Best bet is to start researching specific areas and schools based on your ability to pay.  For example Punta Cana is much more expensive to live then Las terrenas or Sosua/ north coast.

You are receiving good information so far.  As a retired Canadian (married to a Dominican) that moved here with 1 child to the Punta Cana area and in an International school, I will have to say... You will have to be wealthy.  International school will run you 4-10K per child per year or more, plus expenses.  Getting residency could be very difficult for you as you will need to have a substantial income, be independently wealthy or have very good jobs to come to and obtain a work visa(s).  Keep in mind, average salaries here are about $3-400USD per month.  Living here for a foreigner is not easy especially with children.  Not knowing your circumstances, it would be best to come and rent a place here and test it out for several months.  Possibly you and then your husband, leaving the children at home and in school.  If it pans out, then you know what you are getting into.

Good luck.

lennoxnev,

You seem to have a very strong grasp of many different areas of the DR. How would you assess the cost of living in Las Terranas vs the Sosua/Cabarete area? Restaurant costs, rent, daily life, things like that....

Mark and Al :

lennoxnev,

You seem to have a very strong grasp of many different areas of the DR. How would you assess the cost of living in Las Terranas vs the Sosua/Cabarete area? Restaurant costs, rent, daily life, things like that....

I lived in Las Terrenas for over 2 years a few years ago and spent over 4 months working in the Sosua/Cabarete a year ago and my comments below are based upon that.

You can buy all manner of fruit and vegetables in Las Terrenas in town from the small shops at very competitive prices indeed. I found such outlets in Cabarete particularly had less produce and were more expensive so I settled for vendors selling from the back of their vans near Sosua to get decent value. Both destinations have a Super Pola supermarket and prices are fairly consistent from this chain (including parent La Sirena) throughout the country. You have a very good alternative in Supermarket Lindo in Las Terrenas and some good prices and Playero in Sosua which I discounted using having found some prices were hiked. I often did my general food shopping in the smaller supermarkets in Las Terrenas further inland at very good prices. My general opinion is that Las Terrenas is cheaper for food shopping compared to Sosua/Cabarete.

When it comes to accommodation and longer term rentals I believe that one will find better deals in the Sosua/Cabaret area if you are flexible where you stay. You will however pay equally high if not higher prices to rent a high standard place in Sosua/Cabarete with pool in good location than Las Terrenas is my assessment based upon the rentals I had in both locations. A point to bear in mind is that the rental stock in Las Terrenas is such that it can be difficult to source in high season due to high occupancy, so rent long term in low season for the best deal. Hotel accommodation varies with both locations having smaller hotels as the norm. I have struggled to find decent hotels to stay in the Sosua/Cabarete area. Las Terrenas has some lovely small hotels in great beach locations.

Eating out is more readily available in the Sosua/Cabarete area with more outlets and more choice. Cheap meals are there too especially in Sosua. But I found the restaurants in Cabarete very expensive and of no better quality than those you find in Las Terrenas.

Buying a drink in Cabarete can be very expensive but that is a better alternative to drinking in Sosua imo where it just isn't nice with hookers all around. Las Terrenas is not a town with many bars but you can drinks cheaply in most outlets including colmados. Even the late night venue La Bodega is cheap.

Probably one of the biggest costs you will encounter when living in Las Terrenas is the toll fee for the road to El Catey. The alternative is a winding and tricky road over the hills to Sanchez.

When it comes to beaches, I am biased. I so much enjoy spending time of day on all the LT beaches which are rarely crowded and all have their own character and calmer spots to swim in all weathers. Their locations are generally spectacular with lush green backdrops and over hanging coconut palms. Truly topical. The main beach in Sosua is actually nice but in my opinion ruined. I've visited many if not most local beaches in DR but the presence of peddlers and hookers is a serious downside and the beach shacks imo are nothing special compared to other such beaches. It just doesn't feel anything like real DR to me. The beaches of Cabarete are wide and of course famed for kite surfing which is great to watch. But they are not what I call leisure beaches where you can laze in shade under coconut palms and close to the water edge and take a dip from time to time and not be harassed every minute by peddlers selling their wares. You get very little of that in LT.

Las Terrenas is a spread out resort off the main road and you need transport to fully enjoy all parts. It is suited to quads and bikes and at weekends the use of a car can be slow going in the narrow one way streets. Many better off Dominicans with second homes in the area come to LT at weekends. During the week it can appear to be very quiet and the typical visitor was European but that is changing. There are many French and Italian owned businesses. Night life is limited and after 9.30 pm it could seem the town is dead at times during the week. Cabarete and Sosua are perhaps the opposite with a busy nightlife and much more commercial. The main north coast road through both these towns can be congested during peak times and a car is a better and safer mode of transport for an expat imo. I avoid going into Sosua and would not take my wife into that town when she was staying with me during my work spell there and we went to Cabarete instead. Such is the stigma of the town for most Dominicans.

Yes I am biased in preferring Las Terrenas. I'm European and I don't like places that are too commercial. I also prefer to be closer to Dominican life that one can find a short distance from the town centre including nearby in Limon and Sanchez. And the general population of LT and Samana as a whole are much more welcoming imo to expats than further west on the North Coast. Imo, it is a good place to bring up younger children without distraction. It does have martial arts groups too.

As you can read here on this forum, many expats differ in their opinion and have made a happy life for themselves in Sosua/Cabarete which may suit some especially anglophiles better. Everybody to their own.

Residency first...then...my two cents

If I could move my kids to Cabrera in DR (custody agreement prevents this) I would.  However, I would work with their US school and see what options there are to home school and keep them on track to graduate in US.  Our choice of living in DR isn't necessarily theirs and I would want all options open. Where there is a will there is a way. There are a couple private schools: One big, one small in Cabrera as well as public schools and a Swiss funded school that serves the lower income brackets AND the upper echelons of Cabrera; mayor's kids, judge's kids, etc. But, as expats you wouldn't be able to matriculate.

I hope to learn a lot during our trip to the Dominican next spring. It's so hard to process all the options from a distance, Casa Linda and other developments appear to have fantastic pricing for nice homes and a large expat presence. Also highly important is close proximity to the airport and international school as we have a teenage son.

Las Terranas just looks so laid back and beautiful. The beaches I've been able to access via live webcams look fantastic. I think there is an international school there as well, but LT is not close to a usable airport - I don't think there are any US flights to that airport. We are trying to schedule at least 10 days in the DR, so I hope we can visit all the places we want to see.

My understanding is if you are flying to/from the US of A you need to fly out of Santo Domingo. No other options (currently) other than Punta Cana. That's good and bad IMHO. Yes, it is costly and inconvenient getting to LT from SD; but, I don't think I want an express lane from the US directly to LT.  ;0)

Rocky,

True to a point, but I can also fly into Santiago (STI) or Puerto Plata (POP) which is only 15 or so minutes from Sosua/Cabarete. This is what makes that area appealing to me, I want visitors to be able to travel to us without having to drive across a foreign country.

While I sometimes think I need to move to the DR before everyone else figures it out, most people I talk to about moving there look at me like I have two heads. The DR is just not on the radar of most people in the US.   So far..... LOL.

Very true...we get the same reactions from friends and family.

We have always flew into SD and either rented a car or cab, which are both costly. We have spoiled ourselves and have not tried the bus yet!

Rocky, the bus is simple, and dirt cheap.  I wouldn't make our guests do it, but it would be a valid choice for my wife and I.  $200 for a taxi, or $10 for the bus is a no-brainer.  Give it a shot, you might be surprised.

UncleBuck you may have talked me into it!  I think we have avoided it because of our suitcase burden. We wife packs a large and heavy suitcase for donations to the local school, along with our other baggage.  We blew out the wheels on two suitcases during our last trip!
I must say each trip we do venture further out of our comfort zone. Years ago we strictly visited the all inclusives in Punta Cana (don't go outside the resort gringo!). We've come a long way baby!!  ;0)

Rocky,  its a piece of cake.  You arrive,  buy your ticket at the window,  go to where the buses park,  wait till they open underneath. Put the suitcases in the right compartment.

On arrival get off the bus,  wait till they open the compartment and take your bag out.  Taxis are there waiting to help you!

If I read the previous posts correctly, Rocky you are talking about getting to Las  Terrenas?

Yes Jet Blue no longer fly in El Catey and flying into SDQ, Santo Domingo Las Americas is your best option but an airport taxi to Las Terrenas is costly (but your flight will be costing less than into Puerto Plata (POP) so there is some offset.

Getting a bus to Las Terrenas is a bit more complicated. You can either get a taxi into Santo Domingo to the terminus for the 6 times daily service which costs 350 pesos per person http://us.las-terrenas-live.com/las-ter … nibus.html The terminus is behind Plaza Lama on Av Barahona off Duarte and the attached link above gives the map. Be early as in high season the buses fill up quickly.

The other option is to take a taxi from the airport to the entrance of the Samana highway which is where a Carib Tours bus station is located.

https://www.google.com/maps/[at]18.4589742,-69.726369,17z

Here you can either take a Carib Tour bus to Sanchez and ask to get off the bus just after the town at the Las Terrenas turn and then get a smaller guagua to Las Terrenas. You can also take any of the many gauguas heading to Sanchez/Samana/Limon and get off after Sanchez as above or pick up the Las Terrenas buses if they are not full and which will stop there for you at the junction.

My regular taxi driver would have to charge $175 including the $40* tolls for a Las Terrenas transfer for 6 comfortably, which should be less than the airport taxis. But the reality in LT is that one needs transport to get around whether car or quads to enjoy the place and the whole of Samana which is a great and safe place to explore.

(* taxi driver has to pay tolls on his empty return journey)

Hmmm  somehow I thought he was going to the north coast?   Okay now we know how to get to Las Terrenas too!  And that price of US 175 is excellent including tolls!  Tolls now come to  RD 2,200 return, that is a big deal.

With a family I would bet you will pay much more in airfares flying into Puerto Plata than Santo Domingo, even more than double the $175 with siblings added in. Less via Santiago but with a slightly longer transfer than SDQ to LT which is about 1 hour 45 minutes by taxi or car.

Hello,

I recommend you check out this video and channel to get an idea of things to consider. We live in Las Terrenas where there are several international schools offering bi or multilingual education. We first visited when my son was 6. He's now 9 and thriving. Good luck!

https://youtu.be/uNN0SR_C3lg

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