Thinking of Investing in Property in Costambar

sylindr

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How much clearer can I be?
There is only one real estate agent here who has an office and we went through her.
I would NEVER reccomend her to anyone.
Any one who has had dealings with her will tell you the same

On the other hand, i have used the same agent for multiple transactions with NO problems. I found her knowledgeable, efficeint and easy to deal with....so all in ones perspective I guess
 

Lambada

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I literally have not left my own little section of the beach in 3 years, because I hate being hassled by construction workers, peddlers, drunks and that type and I would love to live someplace where you can pass somebody by and smile or say a simple hello without them taking it as some kind of "invitation".

I've lived here in DR for nearly 6 years now

I've lived in Puerto Plata 16 years & am in Costambar every week. You could ask poster Matilda for a comparison - she lives in Juan Dolio & came over to Costambar with me once.

In Puerto Plata I get greeted & greet in return all the time - it is only ever taken as what it is. I do not get hassled by anyone. Last Friday I took two female friends from UK around & they got inundated - had I been on my own it would never have happened. Which leads me to conclude it was the message which the two friends were putting out (tourist plastic band ID, nervous at being approached, uncomfortable when children's hands got outstretched etc etc). Some of the Haitian kids jumped on to my running bar as I was slowly driving off - the friends were horrified that I didn't stop 'the kids'll fall off in traffic' - well they won't, they'll jump down when I pick up speed.

The more observably unperturbed you are the less hassle you'll get. Forgive me, peaceseeker, but for someone who has lived here 6 years you sound a trifle timid & more nervous than you need to be. If you are laid back about vendors, people begging etc etc you will get much less hassle. They are only other people, after all. Greet them & explain you don't want to buy & you're not a tourist, you live here and they'll evaporate. Do it warmly with a smile. And if you have a little money & want to give, do so. Do what Dominicans do in these circumstances.

If you haven't left 'your section' of the beach in 3 years, I'm wondering what you have had experience of. Yes you could stay in Costambar & never venture out (it has an all purpose shop) but would you want to? Would you not want to at least see Puerto Plata, Cofresi & other localities?

In other words, take a look at how those bad experiences in the first 3 years in the non-gringo surroundings have coloured your perceptions. Maybe part of the problem lies within rather than without? There are a load of places on the north coast where you can live cut off from the local population if you choose to. But, would you want to?

Please don't be offended by this post - I tend to 'tell it like it is'. It isn't meant to be critical of you but to help you feel happier about living here. And that is probably going to require some 'work' by you.
 

peaceseeker

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Lambada,

I appreciate your post, but I was really hoping to get some insight into the crime rate and info on what it is like to live in Costambar, rather than a personal psychoanalysis and lecture on "like it is." I know exactly how it is.

I had 7 guys in masks break into my house at 5:30 in the morning with guns and butcher knives a few years ago, attacking my husband, me and my then 8-year-old son. They bound our hands and feet with rope, and gagged us with packing tape wound around our heads. They beat up my husband and kidnapped him, and held my son and I hostage at knifepoint for 4 grueling hours while they ransacked our house and stole as much as they could carry out the door. Some quick thinking from my husband got us all saved, but it's a long story.

As it turned out, the people who were behind it were actually people who had done some work for us while we were building our house, in colusion with a few of our lovely neighbors. It gave a whole new meaning to "The Neighborhood Watch." Luckily we came through it alive and in one piece, and a few of the criminals were put in jail for a long time, while a few were let go for lack of evidence.

A year later after we moved to Juan Dolio, our new house was broken into...while I was at home by myself. This time thank Heaven it was just one female theif, and I chased her out with a pair of scissors. She had climbed the wall behind our house and pried open the lock on my back door...so needless to say, it was not a case of me leaving the door open and some mindless stranger wandering in to say hello and welcome me to the neighborhood. The police did nothing about it. About 6 months after that, our truck was broken into and $400 of stereo and dvd equipment was ripped out of it.

Perhaps that's why I'm a little reclusive...if you really wanted to know. You could stand to be a little more helpful and a little less judgmental. I don't talk about this experience much, and I haven't held it against the Dominican Republic or Dominicans in general (obviously since I still live here). I know bad things happen everywhere. However, I lived in the Bronx for 3 years and never had anything close to any of this happen to me there, so I guess you could say I'm more than a little disappointed to have to go through this kind of crap so often here in "paradise".

I just wanted to know if there are a lot of hustlers and/or thieves in Costambar (more or less in comparison to comparable beach towns). Sheesh. You've made me sorry I ever posted here.

I've been to a lot of places in the DR (Cabrera, Cabarete, Sosua, Santiago, Samana, Santo Domingo, Bonao, La Romana, San Pedro, Bani, San Cristobal and of course Juan Dolio), I've met a lot of people (most of them nice enough) and we have plenty of friends. I just find that every time I go for a walk by myself I get harassed and I'm sick of it. I was hoping to find a nice quiet place closer to Santiago to raise my family without having to be subjected to a bunch of whores, drunks and pick-pockets.

I'm glad you've had 16 years of bliss. I wish I could say the same, but if you really want to "tell it like it is" then you need to be honest and not sugarcoat what it is really like for a Gringo to live here. My husband is Dominican, so I have it "easier" than a Gringa on her own or a couple of Gringos moving to DR to find a better life. It's not all palm trees and paradise. Believe me, I wish it was.

You've got to be tough to live here, which I am...probably tougher than you in many ways. I know how to politely get rid of people...and not-so-politely get rid of people if necessary. I'm just sick of having to have my guard up all the time. And I do think it is horrible to drive off while there are children hanging on to your vehicle. You should have made them get off your car before driving away. That is just irresponsible and cold. I hope you don't take offense to that...it's just my opinion, after all.
 

Chris

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I'm sorry about those experiences peaceseeker.

Driving time from Costambar to Santiago would be closer to 1 hour for me and 40 minutes for others. I would hate to do this commute a day. A consideration could be to stay in Santiago and go to the beach every weekend?
 

Lambada

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No, of course I don't take offence :) And no it wasn't 'irresponsible & cold' - both the kids & I were grinning at each other, actually, - it was part of the usual game. And no, it hasn't all been 'bliss' in the 16 years. But there comes a point in time when having your 'guard up' becomes automatic & you don't think about it any more & certainly don't worry about it. You have your protections in place & then you get on & enjoy life.

Yes there have been incidents of crime in Costambar - the latest one I know of to an unoccupied home where all the fixtures & fittings were removed - no-one was there & no-one was hurt. What you will find in Costambar is a good community spirit if you want to involve yourself in the community - neighbours help each other, in my perception (there was a recent thread about a resident who needed surgery). There is also a residents association (the APC) which now appears to be quite active in the interests of the residents.

I don't believe that I'm inclined to sugarcoat things - most people tell me the opposite :cheeky:. I don't know why you get harassed each time you go for a walk by yourself - all I can say is that is not an experience I have.

Really sorry to hear about your horrendous experiences - I have never experienced anything like the first event you mentioned - truly awful. Yes we've had a couple of things stolen in the 16 years, both from the exterior of the house, nothing important.

I won't enter the 'who is toughest' debate - in my book the most inspiring poster on that score is Matilda who got shot in the throat in Juan Dolio where she lives, lived to tell the story & has the most tremendous charisma & ability to reach out & help others. Her story is posted on DR1 if you want to read it. She has what I would call strength rather than toughness & that strength shows in how she has handled a horrendous crime.

I'm sorry if my post made you angry but having seen your response perhaps I wasn't so wildly inaccurate? Crime is everywhere here in DR as you know. What can make the difference is how you respond to it. I hope Matilda chimes in on this thread because like you, she has had a bad experience, like you she lives in Juan Dolio, like you she is married to a Dominican but I have never heard her speak of being harassed in the way you have been harassed.

Wish you well wherever you decide to move to. :)
 
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peaceseeker

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First off, Thank you Chris! My husband has been driving from Juan Dolio to Santiago for the past few months, usually staying overnight or for a few nights up there but often times back and forth the same day...takes him about 2 and 1/2 hours on a good day. He feels that 40 minutes would be a breeze, but I feel so bad for him. You are probably right about living in Santiago and going to the beach on the weekend :p I am just spoiled and so happy living at the beach...we all love it. It's a gutt-wrenching decision...move back to Cibao and make lots more money or stay here where we're happy?

And to Lambada...I have to admit, I got pretty worked up when I read your post and I didn't much like it. But that's because it struck a nerve. I've been living like a hermit in my own way for the past 3 years and I know that's probably not healthy. But I swear to you, every time I venture out somebody messes with me! Maybe I just have to mess with them back...or drink more. Ha ha ha.

I so much admire Matilda. I have read a lot of her posts...mostly about how she has helped all of the families of the construction workers who have drowned recently. Wow. I never saw her post about getting shot. How horrible. But I have to tell you, I'm glad I never heard about it until now because it would have made me even more of a hermit! LOL Not to be glib, but for the most part I have felt pretty safe here in Juan Dolio. And even after her experience, she goes out of her way to help people. Yes, she has me beat in the toughness department by a landslide.

Thanks for cluing me in a little more about Costambar. I'm just trying to make an informed decision. I know that a lot of people who own properties are worried about talking openly about the problems in their areas because they are afraid it will negatively affect their property values. Which is kind of ludicrous. If that was the case, real estate in Manhattan would be dirt cheap. People buy what they want and deal with the problems later.

Petty theft and crap like that doesn't bother me. I'm not attached to stuff. I'd give it all away and start over tomorrow. But having people invade your home and abuse your family is an absolute horror. I don't even care so much about my own life but to see somebody terrorize and abuse the people I love so much, oh I just can't explain it.

I'm happy to be a hermit and have my own little swatch of place in the world...I don't ask for much. Just looking for a little peace.

P.S. I was feeling like I shouldn't have posted here and spilled my guts, but it has been very cathartic for me. Thank you Chris and Lambada for your kind input. I hope my story hasn't scared anybody, because even though I had some "bad luck" I feel that it has ultimately made me a better person, my family closer and stronger, and I still love the Dominican Republic! I haven't left since I moved here, and (hermit that I am) I really can't imagine living anywhere else.
 

Lambada

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Excellent, peaceseeker. That's what we do some of the time, hit nerves from which people can develop, deal with unresolved issues & put the past in perspective. That will stand you in good stead wherever you live. Yes it would take me an hour also to drive from Costambar to Santiago and I wouldn't want to do it daily, either. You could always rent in Costambar to start with & see if the journey was possible for your husband - unfortunately, though, that would mean a change of school for your child if you decided to move elsewhere. If you don't want to live in Santiago itself, what about somewhere like Jarabacoa?

Right, now get out there, stride confidently on your walk, head held high, no handbag, both hands free to ward off personal intrusions & body language which says 'Don't mess with me'. :cheeky: And socialise. No more hiding away.

You are going to be ok, you know. It will get easier. And the 'on alert' does become automatic and therefore not a problem. Very best of luck to you. :)
 

snowqueen

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Dec 15, 2004
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Costambar Tourist

We vacation in Costambar for 2-3 weeks each spring. We rent a condo and just love it there. We are not residents, and I guess even after 20 years we are still "tourists", but we are never hasselled. On the beach vendors will walk by, but they don't pester people like they do in the typical (AI) tourist areas. We love it because it is an international community, we have met people from all over the world.

There are several restaurants we enjoy. We never rent a car & only use a taxi if going to town, which is rare. For the short time we are there, we can get most of our food at the local market. Being able to walk everywhere is bliss. And sitting on the beach at Ton's is simply the best place to chill out in the shade and have a cold one, people watching.
 

J D Sauser

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Good or bad, when it comes to CostAmbar and other developments in the DR in general, you need to look further than just a dreadful access road.
CostAmbar has a very enviable location to start with. It is close to town (yet you'd probably need transportation), closer to the way out to Santiago and sits right on a nice beach. But then, questionable development planing and infrastructure execution paired with other problems like big oil burning electric power station, a polluting port and many other issues have managed to even run ocean front hotels into the ground so badly, they are unoccupied ruins... beach front. Others failed as half finished projects (for the choice of 3rd class locations within the development.
Yes, even asking prices may seem reasonable in CostAmbar while other apparently not so desirable locations in town can fetch asking prices double that. Some people have indeed found deals which seem out of, well, maybe not this world, but out of what most have painfully gotten used to on these Coasts. But then, you have to ask yourself why.
I have tried to, maybe not specifically answer this or these very question(s) on other related threads but this time I will choose to leave the OP with the option to read in between the lines and add his conclusions to his list of due diligence or to play around with the search feature of this very Forum.

Some people live happily in CostAmbar and for almost decades now... some have gone bankrupt and other have left it swearing never to come back. You will find that in most developments but from the collection of ruins, closed down and other wise vacated or failed project buildings one may come to suspect that the ratios of the above groups may be somewhat alarming.
Short, a bad access road, which has a history of promises of "being fixed" which resembles the one of the this countries electrical supply system, may indeed give a bad first impression yet turn out to be an almost bearable writeoff for a more afordable home in beach proximity. But I think one should not let himself be blinded by it either way so not to see a "good deal" and on the other hand overlook the other, maybe less repairable issues inside the development.

Bottom line, one is usually advised on the Forum to first come and RENT for a good couple of months (at least 6, IMO). A good advice even if you'd set your mind on any location. You will find many rentals in CostAmbar... so come on over and kick the tires.

A final comment on location:
You will again and again hear the quote: "Location, location, location".
I think it is the most wrongly understood quote there is, as most seem to believe that it is just the repeat of ONE word. In my opinion though, NO it sure ain't: There are so many things that make locations up. One may think that a particular breath taking or dramatic (to use terms commonly used in ads and by agents) view means location, or that where the rich and affluent have chosen to settle is THE location and maybe ocean, sea or lake front is the ultimate location... but then, they only make up parts in the puzzle of what builds up every one and each choice or ideal of a place to call home. So, don't fool your self in being blinded and say "beach, beach, beach" and think you just paraphrased "location, location, location"... instead look at ALL the aspects of locations and try to see the bigger picture... and then draw the line... for good or bad.


A few words of my opinions about SHR and comparing it to other developments and locations (since it came up):
Comparing Sea Horse Range and CostAmbar is probably further off reality than comparing chalk with cheese ;).
SHR is smaller, it is a residential only development and it has been, in my opinion mostly because of a very well planned development process a success, both financially and as a place of residence. Yet, even with it's enviable ocean front location, one should also not overlook some facts like, while it bears some homes which can resemble some of the ocean front homes of Palm Beach (island), the development has the looks, amenities, finish and qualities of a Florida development about 20 years ago. It's nice, I like it, I am not sure I would want to live there as only about 30% of all homes seem occupied on average thru the year (which can be a bit solitary and lacking the feel of living in a community) and the HOA (well, property management) is generating fees close to paying rent elsewhere, that besides quite high prices, given the amenities and lack thereof once one leaves the immediate development.
All points which will never find much similitude when comparing SHR and CA.


... J-D.
 

AK74

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Beach in Costambar?

Being an avid environmentalist I ask a vital question - how good and clean is the beach in Costambar? Last time when we visited BarbaNegra with friends to have some beer the beach did not look nice with lot of wood and other debris floating. But it was more than a year ago. What is its condition now?

Please respond very honestly only please!!
 

Reidy620

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Mar 30, 2008
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Beach in Costambar

Was over in June looking at properties and found a lot of the public beach to be full of the detritus of recent parties (plastic & glass bottles, paper plates, plastic bags etc). Got to say it wasn't a pleasant sight. :disappoin
 

Matilda

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Sep 13, 2006
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Only just seen this thread and welcome to Peaceseeker.

As Lambada says I live in Juan Dolio and had a bit of a nasty shooting a couple of years ago. Apart from that no robberies here, Just light fingered stepsons!!

I never get hassled neither here nor even in the indoor smelly market in San Pedro. There are probably various reasons.

1. I am not in the first flush of youth!!! The other side of 50 and often get called la vieja!!! Maybe you are younger and prettier!

2. I speak pretty fluent Spanish

3. I never wear shorts, low tops etc. Always combat trousers so I don't need to carry a bag and t shirts. Plus flip flops - no high shoes.

4. I walk purposefully to whereever I am going.

5. And I have been here for a while so maybe a lot of people know me.

Honestly I have no problems here and really do feel a lot safer than I did in UK. The shooting was just one of those things and I am sure will not happen again.

Please feel free to pm me Peaceseeker if you want to meet to talk about living here over a cup of coffee or glass of rum!!!

Matilda
 

ffritz

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I take my dog walking on the beach in Costambar, but do not go there on Monday mornings because of the mess left by the Sunday visitors.

The beach vendors & bars do a good job of clearing the beach most of the time & the "main" beach is generally quite acceptable. Definitely cleaner than public beaches hereabouts.

The beach in front of Blackbeards is a mess & I steer well clear of it.

Just so you know - if the beach is clean enough for my dog it's clean enough for kids ...
 

AK74

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Jun 18, 2007
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Only just seen this thread and welcome to Peaceseeker.

As Lambada says I live in Juan Dolio and had a bit of a nasty shooting a couple of years ago. Apart from that no robberies here, Just light fingered stepsons!!

I never get hassled neither here nor even in the indoor smelly market in San Pedro. There are probably various reasons.

1. I am not in the first flush of youth!!! The other side of 50 and often get called la vieja!!! Maybe you are younger and prettier!

2. I speak pretty fluent Spanish

3. I never wear shorts, low tops etc. Always combat trousers so I don't need to carry a bag and t shirts. Plus flip flops - no high shoes.

4. I walk purposefully to whereever I am going.

5. And I have been here for a while so maybe a lot of people know me.

Honestly I have no problems here and really do feel a lot safer than I did in UK. The shooting was just one of those things and I am sure will not happen again.

Please feel free to pm me Peaceseeker if you want to meet to talk about living here over a cup of coffee or glass of rum!!!

Matilda
A beautiful all-inclusive post, Matilda! I am all on your side! Just one question though. Regarding this - " The shooting was just one of those things and I am sure will not happen again."

How can you be "SURE"? You or any other person in this respect.

I also want to be "sure". Will you share the magic?

Just very short time ago a nice elderly woman-neighbour (very good safe neighborhood of Sosua) from her balcony asked people to put down very loud music in their jeepeta (it was at 3 A.M.). Their response was SHOOTING with their handguns. Luckily for her - in the air.

Now for four months already she is scared to go out to her balcony even during day time.

How is it possible to be "SURE" in Dominican Republic?
 
S

sokitoumi

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do you think she would like to post her story first hand on here - Im always dubious about second hand information.
Do you think she would have got a better response in the U.K- probably not firearms but more than likely beaten to death or petrol bombed
 

Matilda

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Sep 13, 2006
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Just one question though. Regarding this - " The shooting was just one of those things and I am sure will not happen again."

How can you be "SURE"? You or any other person in this respect.

I also want to be "sure". Will you share the magic?


How is it possible to be "SURE" in Dominican Republic?

Ok so I can't be sure and nor can anyone. But I am not going to spend my life worrying about what might happen. Life is for living and not for worrying about what might happen.

Matilda
 

peaceseeker

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Thanks for all of the great posts. I'm sorry I got off the subject and started a tangent about crime in DR.

Being a survivor of such, I agree with Matilda. You have to tell yourself that you're "sure it won't happen again" if you want to go on and have a good life, which I do.

I still have times of worry, but we're as careful as we can be without going around with armed bodyguards (which I'd personally love if I could afford it, but I'm a bit of a Diva...ha, ha, ha). In fact, I'm working on my goal of one day buying my own private island like Marlon Brando. A girl can still dream.