Cabarete… a little town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic that is known by many as one of the funnest places to come if you are into wind sports.
Not many places in the windy world have a community like Cabarete. Windsurfers have been coming to this town since the 80’s and since the birth of kite surfing, a whole new generation of wind lovers have to started to come.
Quick Location Overview
Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic (map link)
Windy Months: June – August & December – January
Wind speed: 18 – 25knts
Best Wind direction: Easterly
Air Temperature: 25 – 33°C (77 – 91°F)
Water Temperature: 24 – 28°C (75 – 82°F)
Water Flatness (Kite Beach): 30cm chop (before reef) – ~1m waves (on Reef)
Water Flatness (La Boca): <5cm Glass like
Water Flatness (Bozo Beach): ~45cm chop to ocean swells of ~1m
Water Flatness (Encuentro): Waves ranging from ~30cm – 2m
Beach Type (Kite and Bozo Beaches): Sandy but with reef in areas
Beach Type (La Boca): Sandy river mouth
Beach Type (Encuentro): Sandy but with rocky ledge
Experience level (Kite Beach): Beginner – Expert
Experience level (La Boca): Intermediate – Expert
Gear rental/Storage: Kite Club, LEK
Closest Airport: Puerto Plata Airport (Airport Code: POP)
Cabarete has its best windy months from June – August but they also have a smaller season over December – January which can offer good wind conditions.
The easterly Caribbean trade winds coupled with the thermal gradient effect of the mountains and sea temperatures is what makes this place a great place to kite.
Expect to see the winds pick up from 11am and stay around until sunset during the kiting months.
- Kite Beach – side onshore to side shore
- La Boca – side offshore – side shore (river)
- Bozo Beach – onshore to Side onshore
- Encuentro – side onshore to side shore
There are multiple areas to kite around the Cabarete town which offer a variety of water conditions. Ranging from glass like conditions at La Boca through to waves at Kite Beach and Encuentro.
- Kite Beach – small bump and jump chop in front of the reef that is ~30cm which is fun to play in and then out the back, a fun reef break of about ~1m waves which makes for some fun.
- La Boca – glass like conditions that is created due to the low sand dunes on the eastern side of the river.
- Bozo Beach – small bump and jump of ~45cm to ocean swells of ~1m
- Encuentro – Waves ranging from ~30cm – 2m
Where to stay
The Kite Beach area is great during the day but is very quiet on most evenings while the main town of Cabarete is where all the action happens in the evenings.
Kite Beach has a few hotels ranging from budget to medium quality/price. Bozo Beach has some nice hotels (Millennium and Ultravioleta) that are of high quality. There is also a lot of options on AirBnB which I prefer to stay in while I visit.
How to get there
At the time of writing this the easiest way is to get a flight into Puerto Plata (POP) from either Miami (American Airlines) or New York (Jet Blue) if you are coming from the US. Or, if coming from Europe you might be best getting the flight from Frankfurt (Air Berlin).
One thing to note is that flights are almost double the price to fly into Puerto Plata (POP) as they are to either Santiago (~1.5 hours away) or from Santo Domingo (~4 hours away).
A cab from Puerto Plata airport to Cabarete should cost you ~$35 USD
The bus from Santo Domingo to Sosua will be ~$10 USD
The best way to get around Cabarete is on a moto coche. It should cost you no more than 100 Dominican Pesos to go about anywhere in the town.
You can also walk easily from Kite Beach to the main town of Cabarete withi 25mins but be careful doing this at night as I have heard many stories of people being robbed. If you do choose to, walk in a group of 4 or more.
If you are looking at visiting Sosua or Puerta Plata on the cheap I recommend catching a GuaGua (local van transport) as it will only cost 50 pesos.
Experience level needed
Cabarete is a great place for first timers all the way through to seasoned professional kiters. There are many schools about and I highly recommend Kite Club at Kite Beach and LEK (Laurel Eastman Kiting) at Bozo Beach next to the Millennium hotel. Both these schools are IKO certified and are run by amazing people (Jon Dodds @ Kite Club and Laurel Eastman @ LEK).
Most of the hotels, bars and kite schools offer free WiFi but to have data everywhere I recommend using the Claro or Orange networks. You can pick up a SIM card at the airport or in Cabarete. Claro and Orange offer 4G/LTE in Cabarete and 3G+ (HSPA) around most of the greater Cabarete region.
No wind Activities
- Surfing at Encuentro in the mornings is super fun and sometimes you can get some big swells rolling in.
- SUPing in the waves out the back of Kite Beach is a fun activity in the early morning.
- Horse riding on the beaches or up in the jungle mountains and creeks with Tommy is also a lot of fun.
- Hiking the 27 waterfalls in the mountains behind Puerto Plata is also great if there has been some rain. You walk to the top along a track and then you walk the river jumping and sliding down waterfalls to the base. A lot of fun.
- Nights out – Monday Night Kareoke at Voy Voy, Saturday Dance night at LAX, Sunday night Open Mic at La Chabola
There are some new baggage rules that effect kite bags flying into/out of the Dominican Republic on some airlines. At the time of writing this Jet Blue was not allowing kite bags to/from Santiago or Santo Domingo but was from Puerto Plata. Make sure to check the airline before you book and remember to keep your kite bag under 23kg (50lbs) to avoid ridiculous fees.
Also published on Medium.