CabareteWhy choose Cabarete?
Choose Cabarete if you love windsurfing or kiteboarding. Cabarete is famous for having excellent conditions for the sports. Everything revolves around the six kilometers of Cabarete Beach. On a two kilometer stretch (Cabarete Bay) businesses of all types have sprung up, many run by foreigners who first came as tourists and then came back to stay.
The restaurants, bars, surf shops and occasional hotel are located
just far enough from the beach to add to the destination, not detract from the enjoyment of
the beach. Many feel the attractiveness of Cabarete is in the people, the mingling of tourists
who enjoy the intimacy of the smaller non inclusive hotels that encourage their guests to venture out
and discover Cabarete. In the evening, the restaurants place their tables on the beach to serve dinner.
While most are plastic tables, don't be fooled. The quality of some of the restaurants is first class.
The whole evening experience of strolling on the beach under the stars from one place to the other
to pick the restaurant for the evening is special. Many tourists even dress up for a
fun people-watching evening. See and be seen.
While Cabarete caters to a young sports-minded crowd, it is also perfect for those who just want the leisure of sitting in the shade or taking sun on the beach, and for parents with little children.
What else is nearby
Cabarete is also a great day trip for those staying in Playa Dorada, Playa Grande or Sosua hotels. Located 14 kilometers to the East of Sosua, Cabarete is about a 40 minute drive from Playa Dorada to the west or from Playa Grande to the east.
Port of Entry/How to get there
You will likely fly into the Gregorio Luperon International Airport of Puerto Plata (POP). For the flight schedule, check the Puerto Plata travel section. If you fly into Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) you will be a 4 hour drive away from Cabarete. There is coach bus service from Santo Domingo to Sosua, from which point you can take a minibus or taxi onward to Cabarete. Minibuses travel to and from Cabarete all day long from Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada or Sosua.
You can get around Cabarete by foot. Everything is close by if you are staying in the town. Some resorts are located about a five minute drive from the center of the town and in that case, your hotel will likely provide a shuttle service into town.
Few people realize that Cabarete beach is one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted sand beach in the DR. The bay of Cabarete is two kilometers long. You can walk west to Sosua until Perla Marina, probably 6 kms. Going east, it is 7 kms to the Yasica River which you can cross walking usually only waist-deep pending on rain in the mountains the night before. Before crossing, you might have lunch in the Dominican bar overlooking the lagoon that serves fresh fish with an incredible view. Then you can walk another 30 kilometers on a totally deserted palm trees lined beach. That's 6+2+ 7 +30= 45 kms. So close to civilization, such a long beach.
With a wide beach and soft white sand, the coral reef-protected bay has ideal conditions for windsurfing. Windsurfers revel in progressive winds that pick up around noon with waves breaking from three to six feet high and only light currents.
As a world class windsurfing destination, Cabarete was discovered in December 1984 by Canadian Jean Laporte who spread the word. He set up a windsurfing school and wrote several articles for Voile Libre wind magazine and Hifly Canadian Rep. Claude Marois from Quebec brought the first windsurfing championship to Cabarete -- the Professional Windsurfing Association World Cup in 1988. The World Cup event came to Cabarete again in June of 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1997. The big names of professional world class windsurfing have competed here, including Robby Naish, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Anders Bringdal, Robert Teriitehau and many others.
While the cost of the World Cup has lately been too high to find sponsors in the DR, the Cabarete windsurf community organizes an annual international amateur event, the Cabarete Race Week, that attracts some of the leading amateur competitors of the world for a week of windsurfing days and partying nights. Competitions are organized in the Open Class, Masters, Grand Masters, Women, Juniors and Sports Class categories. This year the event took place 18-23 June 2001.
Windsurfers say the best months for the sport are the summer months (June through August) when you can expect good flat water. Trade winds and thermal winds create perfect conditions for world class sailing, with winds averaging 15 to 25 miles per hour (24-40 kph). The best waves occur from January to March. The worst months are May, October and November. But, if you can't make it in the summer don't worry.
Wind conditions vary all year and it is more than likely there will be many good surfing days regardless of when you travel.
For those of you bringing your own equipment, there is no duty or deposit required upon entry through the airport. But for those who don't want to bring their gear, quality equipment and instruction are available at the resorts here.
Cabarete has hosted World Kiteboarding Championships since 2001. The site is regarded as a world class kiteboarding destination and has been ranked as the world's best. Mauricio Toscani, president of the PKRA, the Professional Kiteboarders Riders Association, during his visit for the June 2004 World Cup described Cabarete as the best place in the Caribbean for kiteboarding. In his opinion, the natural conditions make Cabarete the preferred beach by kitesurfers the world over.
Several kiteboarding schools are located right on the beach for those who want to perfect their skills or take up this extreme sport.
Cabarete is a good choice if you want to go surfing. Playa Encuentro, just five minutes from Cabarete, has a reputation among local surfers as the best spot. You can bring your own surf board or rent one in Cabarete. Some businesses will offer lessons and shuttle buses to North Coast surf spots.
Skateboarding was also added to the active sports of Cabarete with a new facility opening in 2004 of a vet skateramp, that is the first underground ramp built in the world. The skateboard facility is located at the Extreme Hotel.
In Cabarete the beach is the main attraction, with body boarding and kite surfing being offered as options to windsurfing. But tour companies have also arrived to take advantage of the energies of the usually under-40 crowd that visits. Tourists should take advantage of well-organized horse ranch tours, cave tours in El Choco National Park (Laguna Cabarete and Laguna Goleta), and mountain biking in the neighborhood. There is waterskiing in Yasica River and safari-type excursions. These same companies will help you climb the highest mountain in the Caribbean or take you river rafting in the Central Mountain Range. Visitors to this area should likewise check out the Puerto Plata, Sosua and Playa Grande sections of DR1 Travel Pages for more on what to do in the area.
The Puerto Plata Jazz Festival is held in the first week of October. An annual Sand Castle Festival is held in mid February weekends at Cabarete Beach with participation open to children and adults.
There is a nine-hole golf course in the area, Costa Azul. But Cabarete is also only half an hour away from the Playa Grande golf course, one of the better courses in the entire Caribbean. For more information see our Golf Page
Dive shops in Cabarete offer to take tourists on diving trips (open water and resort course dives) to Sosúa Bay. There are many opportunities for experienced divers to discover walls, a sunken cargo ship wreck, coral reefs and even underwater caves in the area.
Skin Diver Magazine describes the area: The bay's broad, peninsula shaped reef begins 15 feet from the surface, dropping down to a depth of 60 feet on one side and 45 feet on the other with a narrow slit that cuts through it, forming a small canyon. Outside the bay, a second system featuring a broad network of patch reefs known as Tropical Garden, follows the bottom's easy sloping contours from a maximum depth of 100 feet, stretching back up to 30 feet, ending on a site named Three Rocks. Coming to within 15 feet of the surface, Three Rock's three linear shaped, patch reef formations make an exciting macro dive through their rich presence of small reef beauties like juvenile Spotted Drums, swimming about the corals with almost complete abandon."
There are several PADI dive operations operating in the area that will take tourists to the sites that can be swum to from the shore, but also to walls, a sunken cargo ship wreck, coral heads and even underwater cave near Cabrera, a short distance from Playa Grande and Rio San Juan to the East. Expect underwater temperatures between 26C and 29C and visibility ranging from 18 to 35 meters.
Most hotels in Cabarete are small to medium size, with less than 50 rooms.
For more information, see our Hotel Directory
Dining Outside the Hotel
Dining in Cabarete is fun. There is a wide selection of restaurants because most hotels are not all-inclusive and thus guests will go restaurant shopping, following up on word of mouth recommendations.
Nightlife outside the hotel
Cabarete attracts a young crowd so expect the night life to be lively while it happens right on the beach strip that during the evenings converts to restaurants, bars and discos.