CABARETE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Cabarete, situated on the North East Coast of the Dominican Republic is famous for the perfect conditions it offers to kitesurfers, windsurfers and surfers. With rolling surf out at the reef and flat water in between the chop closer to shore, it really does have something for everyone.
Cabarete bay stretches from town at one end to kitebeach, 20 minutes walk from town (town is just to the right of Bozo beach in the picture above) and the whole bay is open to kitesurfers, windsurfers, body boarders and anyone who dares swim amongst the boards and kites when it's windy!
WHERE TO STAY
There's a whole range of accomodation options to chose from - hostels, hotels, guest houses and apartments. The most popular place for kitesurfer is kite beach - Kite beach hotel and Aguilina are good choices and if your budget can stretch to it, Ocean Dream is a brand new hotel on the point and would also be a good option. If you want to do some star spotting, Susi Mai kites out of the Cabrinha centre at Agualina! Going towards town, Cabarete Beach Houses on Bozo beach are really good value and the water is usually far less crowded than kite beach. The houses are spacious and comfortable and there's a good patch of grass in front of the houses to set up your kit in the morning and rinse it off in the evening. If you're on a budget, the best value options are the Kite Beach inn up at Kite beach or Ali's surf camp in town.
If it's windy and you're staying on the beach, you can kitesurf anywhere! There are always people around to help you launch and land and it's easy to do downwinders to kitebeach or tack up wind into town. If you're not staying on the beach, the best place to launch is in front of LEK, just next to the Ocean Dream condo complex. If you're after some lessons, Kite Club Cabarete are highly recommended - ask for the owner Silke who is always happy to meet people and happy to help! They also run IKO instructor courses. If you want to get away from the crowds, ask a taxi to take you to La Boca - the flat water spot 10 minutes away from town - where you can throw down some tricks before enjoying the downwinder back to Cabarete or kite beach.
Eating out is CHEAP and delicious in Cabarete - the same price or cheaper even than buying provisions from the super market. If you're strolling into town for breakfast (no need to rush as the wind doesn't pick up until midday), Friends, located on the main road and run by a fiesty frensh lady, offers the widest choice from full english to pancakes, sandwiches and super fresh smoothies. Food and drinks for two people will set you back 400 pesos or 10 dollars. If you don't want to deviate from the beach, the best place we found was Vela Vela at the far end of town. It's easy to grab lunch on the beach front - the Kite Club at kite beach has a small cafe run by Calin who makes everything fresh to order and even bakes fresh cookies and muffins daily. Her fish taco's are to die for as is the chicken and feta wrap. Another good lunch option is Agua - a more upmarket resturant next to LEK on Bozo beach. You can still turn up in wet boardies and rashies and you can land your kite on the sand right next to your table . Expect to pay a bit more than a simple cafe but the panini's and salads are worth it. There's a variety of places to chose from for dinner. Our faves were all located on the beach in town - Pomedoro's for their fresh pizzas (they will also deliver to your accomodation if you don't have the energy to go out), Papi's for their delicious seafood - try the langoustine "a la papi" - you won't regret it, and lax for the pub style menu and better than pub standard food.
A crate of beer from the liquor store will set you back 25 dollars and around 1.50 in a bar or restaurant. Rum is cheaper than soda so cocktails are equally affordable. The best places to go out are Cabaha bar - live music from jp and Calin on Wednesday nights is definitely worth a look - Lax bar which later turns into a club and if you really want a boogie head to the new Ojo's club
The Dominican Republic has plenty to offer and is a truly beautiful country. The 27 waterfalls are not to be missed - an hour trek up to the top of a lush forest gorge which hides 27 waterfalls with crystal clear pools of water at the foot. The return trip is a much easier but adrenalin fueled route as you jump, slip and slide down all the waterfalls. Go early in the day to avoid the crowds and take your trainers.
The best way to get around is by moto taxi - quick, cheap and fun but don't get ripped off. A ride from town to kite beach should not cost more than 100 pesos.
There are 4 ATM's in town so withdrawing cash is not a problem. Check with your accomodation before you travel though - many prefer payment in USD and credit cards incur high charges.
Cabarete is fairly safe and most accomodations have security guards but keep your wits about you - don't leave stuff out on the beach and don't walk far once the sun goes down - jump on a moto taxi and stay out of crimes way.
Stay safe and have fun!