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need some sound advice (Dominican Republic)

Hi all,
My boyfriend and I are coming to the DR for two months (or so) this winter. I've been doing all kinds of research, but think it's always best to ask those who actually know.
To that end, we think we've settled on Samana, specifically, a private villa near Playa Coson in Las Terrenas, but we are still open to options. We want to be as close to the beach as possible, but not too far from access to markets, wifi, etc. We don't really want any "all inclusive" style luxury resort living either. We also want to be able to meet people, as well as explore the island. And, we want to do it on the cheap :)

Any advise you guys might have regarding our options for apartments or housing, our choice of location for this length of time; info on car and/or bike etc. rentals, currency exchange, cost of living, options for a vegetarian, and any other things we should know etc., including the best/most cost effective, and specific way/means to get from the Santo Domingo airport to Las Terrenas, would be tremendously appreciated.
jo :)