Kite surfing in Carbarete
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
Cabarete is a mecca for surfers and kitesurfers, but there’s so much more to do here, and the town has attracted a unique crowd of beach nomads.
School girls in Carbarete
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
The beach town of Cabarete is the perfect place for traveling adventurers to kick back, enjoy a beer and meet some awesome new friends. Like the wind, fellow surfers are here all year round, so expect to find a great social scene, quality nightlife and plenty of parties where you can meet some people to go enjoy the sights with.
Cabarete is also home to some amazing local pro surfers and kitesurfers. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet them and learn a few things. Cabarete has some awesome surprises in store - it’s a great place to find incredible kitesurfing opportunities and experiences.
At its heart, Cabarete is a peaceful and picturesque beach town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The warm water, reliable wind conditions and sunny weather makes it an ideal place for every kind of water sport. Windsurfing, kitesurfing and navigation are practiced all year long at Cabarete, and many international surfing tournaments are held here.
On weekends, you’ll see plenty of sails and kites at the beach, a fabulous opportunity for photographers as well as surfers! If neither of those are your jam, you can look forward to endless swimming, sunbathing, relaxing and a great time at Cabarete’s numerous bars, restaurants and markets.
Kite surfing in Cabarete
What to do in Cabarete
Surf with the pros at Playa Encuentro
The North Coast of the Dominican Republic is home to some of the world's most popular beaches for surf lovers. Playa Encuentro has beautiful scenery, pristine blue waters, and great winds. This is where regular kitesurfing competitions take place as waves can get seriously heavy in winter.
Every weekend, local pros and international stars head to Playa Encuentro to practice. If you’re an experienced surfer and want to head to Encuentro, the best time is afternoons, when the heat dies down and the wind picks up.
If you’ve never surfed but always wanted to try, this is a great place to start, with beginner lessons averaging US $50 for a 2-3 hour lesson. The beach is fringed with places to rent boards and grab drinks afterwards.
The Master of the Ocean surfing tournament is held the last week of February every year at Playa Encuentro, in Cabarete, Puerto Plata. The world's best surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers hit Playa Encuentro every February to compete.
Learn how to kitesurf at Bozo Beach
If you’re after some decent kite schools then head north-west to Bozo beach where some of the best schools ply their trade. The reef is located about 1km out, and you can expect some choppy conditions here, making this beach more appropriate for advanced kiters. Beginners are best kiting in the afternoon when everything calms down.
Go tubing with your buddies
This low-key, low-skills sport is the perfect mix of having an adventure and doing absolutely nothing - and it’s a great way to spend half a day with your new friends! Many local tour companies arrange tours down the Boca de Yasica river. The float lasts about two hours and includes tubes and a cooler packed with drinks and a dominican lunch.
Go paddle boarding at Boca de Yasica
If surfing or kitesurfing seem too extreme for you, paddle boarding could be a fun alternative! Head to the Boca de Yasica river, where many paddle boarding tours are organized, and get your paddle boarding on like it’s the 90s again.
Horseback riding on the beach, Cabarete
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
Go mountain biking along the Islabon
Cabarete is home to some of the most interesting mountain biking in the Dominican Republic, with great dirt tracks. The scenery here is jaw-dropping, so you might want to account for some extra time in case you find yourself stopping for a photo every ten minutes along the trail. Tracing the meandering Islabon and Yasica rivers is highly recommended - for the breathtaking scenery, of course, but also the chance to spot unique local wildlife. Look out for snakes, iguanas, ravens, and squirrel monkeys (yes, really). Cabarete is also where you’ll find the trailhead for a scenic route through the countryside to the small town of Moca, affording great views over the Cibao Valley.
Go horseback riding at the Sea Horse Ranch
There are a few equestrian centers in the area, including the Sea Horse Ranch and Rancho Luisa, where you can take a horseback tour by the beach or through the woods. Absolute beginner but have a #lifegoal of galloping along the shoreline? Take a horseback riding lesson while you’re here.
Browse local clothing and gift shops
There are plenty of gift shops in the area offering jewelry, clothes, hats, flip-flops and unique souvenirs, many of them handcrafted by local artisans. Traveling on a shoestring? Check out our article on money and costs in the Dominican Republic for lots of tips on how to make your money go further, including how to haggle.
Vagamundo Coffee & Waffles, Cabarete
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
Where to eat and drink
Fresh-caught seafood? Traditional hearty Dominican fare? Hipster vegan health food? Cabarete caters for everyone.
-Wilson's La Boca: located at the foot of Yasica river, offers fresh delicious seafood to the visitors. You can choose your fresh fish in the kitchen and weigh it. One of the best seafood restaurants in the area.
-Casita de Papi restaurant by the beach is also a seafood specialty restaurant.
-Vagamundo: international cuisine in beautiful, spacious surrounds.
-Vitamin D: healthy, gluten-free food. This mostly vegan restaurant on Kite Beach features beautiful decorations and sea views.
-Fresh Fresh: A well-known franchise here in the DR, Fresh Fresh does reliable healthy food options like wraps, salads and smoothies.
-When the sun sets, head to Voy Voy, Mojito Bar, Leaf and La Chabola for live music, drinks, conversation and dancing.
Written by Nora Pérez.
Published August 2020
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