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Old 12-11-2018, 16:50   #1
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Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Looking for a place (onshore) in the Caribbean to retire and have close access to a boat harbor etc. Geographically and socially Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic look like a great place to live and for jumping in/out of the VIís, Lee and Windward islands but then when you figure the prevailing headwind Puerto Rico and Dominican would seem less attractive. Any comments on my thinking? Currently my boat is in a charter program in Grenada and love the brisk beam reach (mostly) sailing conditions.
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Old 13-11-2018, 03:27   #2
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

I am looking forward to this discussion. My wife is Colombian and we have a condo on the beach in Cartagena. We will probably always keep that but as far as "home base" for me being a gringo we are keeping our options open. My wife has a son working in Costa Rica so that is also high on our list.

Retirement is 6-8 years away so we are starting our research. The considerations are stability of the economy, ease of retirement visa, cost of living, medical care and a big one is we are looking for a place that has an active, social and friendly marina scene with good repair facilities.

We are looking at
Costa Rica
Colombia
Belize
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Panama
Maybe Venezuela

We are currently all over the map but currently the top 2 are Colombia and Costa Rica with the added bonus of being well south during Hurricane season.

Our plan is to start vacationing in the various places to get a feel on the ground. This year we did Cartagena and poked around the Yacht Clubs and boat yards. Found the yacht clubs pretty quiet and sleepy... We are looking for a more robust social scene.
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Old 13-11-2018, 05:34   #3
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I am looking forward to this discussion. My wife is Colombian and we have a condo on the beach in Cartagena. We will probably always keep that but as far as "home base" for me being a gringo we are keeping our options open. My wife has a son working in Costa Rica so that is also high on our list.

Retirement is 6-8 years away so we are starting our research. The considerations are stability of the economy, ease of retirement visa, cost of living, medical care and a big one is we are looking for a place that has an active, social and friendly marina scene with good repair facilities.

We are looking at
Costa Rica
Colombia
Belize
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Panama
Maybe Venezuela

We are currently all over the map but currently the top 2 are Colombia and Costa Rica with the added bonus of being well south during Hurricane season.

Our plan is to start vacationing in the various places to get a feel on the ground. This year we did Cartagena and poked around the Yacht Clubs and boat yards. Found the yacht clubs pretty quiet and sleepy... We are looking for a more robust social scene.
Rio Dulce?
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Old 13-11-2018, 06:38   #4
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

i would feel a lot safer in the DR .. from the hurricanes.
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Old 13-11-2018, 09:06   #5
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

I love Puerto Rico, but it is having some massive infrastructure problems due to debt.

One of the issues most relevant to you is the mass exodus of doctors:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/...n-dire-n783776

I don't know enough DR to comment on that country, though.
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Old 13-11-2018, 09:26   #6
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

As, when and if PR recovers from last years storms, you will still have to face a society that views graft, even at the local level, as a normal state of affairs and virtually nothing gets done without payoffs. Three years ago, our nephew and his wife moved to PR because of the favorable tax treatment his company would have received by being there. After only six weeks of trying to deal with the situation and constant demands for payoffs by officials and services providers, they chalked off the experience, and costs, and relocated the company, and its jobs, back to the mainland. Since the storms, the situation has gotten worse, which is a, if not the, principal, reason why the island's "recovery" has taken so long.

FWIW...
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Old 13-11-2018, 09:31   #7
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

I lived in SEA for almost 20 years so graft corruption and payoffs are pretty common to me.

Running a business it is definitely a royal PITA and a detractor. For an individual often it is somewhat culturally interesting and fun, especially in economies were $100 is considered a huge "bribe" - LOL...

I can see for the average American how this would be a big turn off...
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Old 13-11-2018, 10:56   #8
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Panama is a great selection: stable, booming economy, large modern city, 2 coast access, mountains, jungle, no hurricanes, inexpensive living, great airline access, large expat community, uses US currency. We bought around Bocas del Toro on Isle Solarte and plan to build home and dock. Yes, we shopped around.
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Old 13-11-2018, 11:11   #9
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Think of Belize. They speak English and Spanish and other Indian dialects.
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Old 13-11-2018, 12:31   #10
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heliades View Post
Looking for a place (onshore) in the Caribbean to retire and have close access to a boat harbor etc. Geographically and socially Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic look like a great place to live and for jumping in/out of the VI’s, Lee and Windward islands but then when you figure the prevailing headwind Puerto Rico and Dominican would seem less attractive. Any comments on my thinking? Currently my boat is in a charter program in Grenada and love the brisk beam reach (mostly) sailing conditions.
There are so many choices it really comes down to the mix of trade offs that work best for you, personal taste and the kind of sailing you want to do and where. It will be fun to spend the next 8 years checking out all the different options.

Below is a partial list not in any particular order. Many of the below have multiple excellent options to consider within their borders. For example for the DR you could chose a place like Luperon or live in a place that has a high elevation and a completely different climate but still not too long a trip to the boat.

1. DR
2. PR
3. Anywhere in the leeward or windward islands
4. Roatan
5. Rio Dulce, Guatemala
6. Bahamas
7. Panama
8. Columbia

I love Cartagena but it is blistering hot and humid most of the year. That would eliminate it for me.

You said Caribbean but don't rule out somewhere on the Sea of Cortez as another option to keep the boat. You could live two hours away from the boat at high elevation, and have spring like weather year around.

You said on land, but how about the largest Cat you can manage to sail and move it around? You can live on your boat but not sail your house.

To have your $$ go the furthest I think the DR, Columbia or Rio Dulce would be best. Or somewhere on the Sea of Cortez if that could be added to the list even though is outside the Caribbean.

Rio Dulce is OK as long as you don't want or need to often sail east against the prevailing wind. Plus you have 20 miles to usually motor to get to the ocean.

My wife and I live at 7000 ft elevation in a little town, San Lucas Sacatepequez, 10 minutes from Antigua, Guatemala. We are 45 minutes from Guatemala City and an International airport. But 5 hour drive from Rio Dulce and 2 hours from Puerto San Jose where we have a house on a canal with access to the Pacific Ocean. We prefer a cooler climate and love the spring like weather year around. We never have to heat or cool our house and have everything open all the time rain or shine. The trade offs in place like San Lucas Sacatepequez work for us but for others it could easily not. I am starting and planning to do most of my sailing in the Channel islands and Sea of Cortez for all different reasons specific to my wife and me.

If you want something different than Cartagena, a different culture than a Spanish or an English speaking place and want to have the trade winds then Martinique or Guadeloupe or San Martin could be a great option.

Enjoy the process checking out all the different options!
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Old 13-11-2018, 14:01   #11
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Weíve been thinking about Luperon for some time now, for all the reasons already mentioned and because 2 very best friends and veteran sailors LOVE it there. Recently hearsay informed us that purchasing property there can be risky.
IE reports indicate some folks who have done so have been troubled to learn that the selling parties did not own the properties sold. How one gets clear on that score up front I havenít the pea soupiest idea, but I like to think it must be doable. Big question right now: anybody have first hand knowledge of whatever damages Luperon suffered during 2017-2018 hurricanes?
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Old 13-11-2018, 15:59   #12
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

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Originally Posted by gwbull View Post
We’ve been thinking about Luperon for some time now, for all the reasons already mentioned and because 2 very best friends and veteran sailors LOVE it there. Recently hearsay informed us that purchasing property there can be risky.
IE reports indicate some folks who have done so have been troubled to learn that the selling parties did not own the properties sold. How one gets clear on that score up front I haven’t the pea soupiest idea, but I like to think it must be doable. Big question right now: anybody have first hand knowledge of whatever damages Luperon suffered during 2017-2018 hurricanes?

I know a little a bit about Luperon and a little bit about buying property in the DR.

Luperon is beautiful but relatively isolated. It has a fantastic natural harbor to anchor. I would suggest spending a lot of time in the DR before buying property or buying property anywhere overseas especially in a place like the DR. The vast majority of Americans that move overseas return to the USA within 5 years.

My experience was from 10-12 years ago. I owned property there which I sold and made a little bit on and almost bought 50 acres of ocean front property in Luperon, which I almost bought.

When I bought and sold property in the DR none of the records were digitized and often not well managed, and subject to being altered. There are areas where the locals and lawyers know are fraught with legal and ownership issues. The only way to buy property in the DR is to have a good lawyer that is highly recommended to be honest and that knows the area from a real estate perspective that you want to buy property in.

I worked with Julio Brea at a law firm called Guzman. Julio saved my ass.

As you might guess the rule of law is weak so buying property in the DR is 100% caveat emptor. I have lived in the DR, Brazil, South Africa, and Guatemala. Of the 4 the DR was by far the worst for owning real estate: Poor records subject to being altered or fake, weak rule of law(very corrupt), expensive in terms of taxes and fees to buy and sell, lousiest infrastructure of the 4 above, very shallow real estate market in terms of demand from locals to buy anything you likely would be willing to live in.

The biggest mistake ex pats make is assuming that the locals think and have the same incentives as they do.

Take baby steps. Before pulling up roots from home, visit the DR or anywhere you think you want to live overseas for some extended stays. Get to know locals and other expats. I suggest renting for at least a few years until you know you will be there for the long term and really understand how things work. You can rent great properties for not much. I have lived all over the world(and owned real estate all over the world), including in a number of 3rd world countries. I only buy property to live in where no expats live and the area and real estate market is supported by relatively deep demand from locals.

All the general common sense rules apply. If it is too good to be true, 99.999% of the time it is. If you sit down at the poker table(to buy real estate), and you cannot figure out who the sucker is, then you know it is you. Never assume.

Places like the DR are great. You can enjoy them without putting down roots or even moving there or having to pull up roots back home.

If you already having a cruising sailboat park it in Luperon.
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Old 13-11-2018, 16:52   #13
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Excellent information mis amigos. Having a career in Oil & Gas living mostly overseas in the likes of Venezuela, Colombia, Pakistan, Indonesia and more, am not overly concerned with the challenges of bureaucracy and the hype of security. I did pick up some good nuggets to consider from your posts. I love Panama and Colombia, Belize (my wife is Venezuelan) but just don't see as good an easy sailing backyard as DR, PR and the Windwards... but a lot of good information to digest and dream about.
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Old 13-11-2018, 17:17   #14
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Did not read thru the long list of replys.......

Not sure of where you live now, but when we retired , we looked into several areas, and we love sailing , including the BVI and the Caribbean.

But, we both had to take into account our health care, the VA for me, and KAISER for Erica. That meant someplace associated with the U.S.A.

We also loved Kauai Island, Hawaii.....and we sold , or gave it all away, and moved from the beach cities of orange county, ca, to Kauai, Hawaii. Most times those medical needs were handled locally and with high quality care, anything bigtime, I had to fly over to Oahu to Trippler ( Outstanding.

If sailing was an actual number one priority, good chance that we would chose......

St. Johns, USVI .

We have been to puerto rico, and they are having major problems in all categories. No experience with Domincan Republic, but not good for us.

St. Johns is a great departure point for the USVI and BVI, and the rest of the Caribbean Island Chain . Great sailing and good times. As to cost of living, that would take some additional research .

I have served in the military and spent time on deployments in foreign countries, and have a great deal of respect for the good ol USA...also, traveled , Europe, Mexico, Central America....and we loved Costa Rica....

The idea of U.S. territory , However, might not be correct for many, many other people . But we plan well ahead, and really do a lot of research, including visiting and spending some time melding in with any choice that we would make.

Have a most fantastic retirement, and adventures sailing....no matter your personal choice that works for you.
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Old 14-11-2018, 01:58   #15
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Re: Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic for a sailors retirement spot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi View Post
I know a little a bit about Luperon and a little bit about buying property in the DR.

Luperon is beautiful but relatively isolated. It has a fantastic natural harbor to anchor. I would suggest spending a lot of time in the DR before buying property or buying property anywhere overseas especially in a place like the DR. The vast majority of Americans that move overseas return to the USA within 5 years.

My experience was from 10-12 years ago. I owned property there which I sold and made a little bit on and almost bought 50 acres of ocean front property in Luperon, which I almost bought.

When I bought and sold property in the DR none of the records were digitized and often not well managed, and subject to being altered. There are areas where the locals and lawyers know are fraught with legal and ownership issues. The only way to buy property in the DR is to have a good lawyer that is highly recommended to be honest and that knows the area from a real estate perspective that you want to buy property in.

I worked with Julio Brea at a law firm called Guzman. Julio saved my ass.

As you might guess the rule of law is weak so buying property in the DR is 100% caveat emptor. I have lived in the DR, Brazil, South Africa, and Guatemala. Of the 4 the DR was by far the worst for owning real estate: Poor records subject to being altered or fake, weak rule of law(very corrupt), expensive in terms of taxes and fees to buy and sell, lousiest infrastructure of the 4 above, very shallow real estate market in terms of demand from locals to buy anything you likely would be willing to live in.

The biggest mistake ex pats make is assuming that the locals think and have the same incentives as they do.

Take baby steps. Before pulling up roots from home, visit the DR or anywhere you think you want to live overseas for some extended stays. Get to know locals and other expats. I suggest renting for at least a few years until you know you will be there for the long term and really understand how things work. You can rent great properties for not much. I have lived all over the world(and owned real estate all over the world), including in a number of 3rd world countries. I only buy property to live in where no expats live and the area and real estate market is supported by relatively deep demand from locals.

All the general common sense rules apply. If it is too good to be true, 99.999% of the time it is. If you sit down at the poker table(to buy real estate), and you cannot figure out who the sucker is, then you know it is you. Never assume.

Places like the DR are great. You can enjoy them without putting down roots or even moving there or having to pull up roots back home.

If you already having a cruising sailboat park it in Luperon.
Much of this is very true for many of the countries posted on this thread. Its quite easy to find real estate problems throughout Central America for example and your recourse in most situations is limited to nil.

Proceed with caution, dont rush to buy, there are lots of upsides to renting: like reduced risk and much easier & less expensive to change plans. Try before you buy by renting for at least a year, many discover what they thought was paradise is ultimately not for them. Ive lived in Belize, Guatemala, and Panama...Ive watched expats come and go in all of them.
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