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Kiteboarding Travel Guide: Cabarete, Dominican Republic - Destinations EP 02

Posted by Crystal Veness on

Your one stop kiteboarding video travel guide. 


Wind By Season 

It's warn and windy most of the year but summer is the the best season to visit. Granted, even the winter months seem to work like clockwork. There's really not a bad time to visit. 

Adventure scale 

There are plenty of high end accommodations for kiters and non kiters alike. If Grey Goose and infinity pools are on your radar you can find it. On the other hand, if you'd prefer something a little more adventurous like a cheap room on the beach. You can find that as well. Best of all, nothing is overly expensive in contrast to destinations in the USA or Europe.   

Quick Contacts 

Waves 

There are good small to medium waves found on the reef break here. Weather you're looking to get a surf session in the morning or a kite surf session in the afternoon when the winds picks up. You won't be disappointed. 

Slicks

There is a famous flat water slick here known as La Boca. It's easier to reach with a car yet you can take a moto concho here too. For advanced freestylers this is a great place to train, if you're a newer rider you might want to stick to kite beach. Some slicks are shallow and easy, La boca is deep and if you can not relaunch quickly, there are plenty of trees to shred your kite on the other bank of the river so keep that in mind.  

Downwinders

Cabarete offers some incredible options for downwinder trips, which can be organized through schools like Big Willy's Kite School.  The best routes are from:

  • La Boca to Cabarete Beach/Kite Beach
  • Cabarete/Kite Beach to Encuentro

Or why not do both?!  These two legs can be combined to create a truly epic, multi-hour session.  Encuentro is widely known as the surf spot of choice in the mornings, with it's stunning scenery.  When the winds pick up in the afternoon, it transforms into an exquisite spot for riders to take advantage of the premium waves away from the crowds of the other beaches. Note: Due to the lack of people and the slightly reduced landing space options, Encuentro sessions are recommended for intermediate to advanced riders.

Beginner 

Many people take their first lesson here. It's not the easiest spot and at times it can be crowded. That said, don't let that stop you from coming here for a lesson! There is a plethora of options regarding lessons and the kiteboarding lifestyle is so prevalent here. While there are easier places, few have the flavor found at kite beach Cabarete. 

Alternative Activities 

Guided tours with  Iguanamama.com

Accessibility

It's not hard to get to Cabarete, the nearest airport is a 30 minute cab ride to the kite beach and accommodations are plentiful. With most hotels located right on the water you can simply walk out of your room, pump up and ride. 

Most food a short walk away and transportation is as easy as flagging down a moto concho for a $1.00 ride. 


If you're a kiteboarder, you already know what we’re talking about. Caribbean chill, steady thermal wind, and a kite community that will forever be considered one of the originals. The adventure sports capital of the Dominican Republic, Cabarete is a kiteboarding hot spot that every kiter should experience.

While it's a hot spot in the kiteboarding community, Cabarete is still very much an adventurous destination. With only one all-inclusive resort in town, it’s the ocean playground and the jungle excursions that bring adrenaline lovers from all over the world.

We’re going to fill you in on all the technical details and need to know information on kiteboarding in Cabarete, as well as travel tips to help you plan your kiteboarding holiday!

Windy Season

Summer: It’s hard to beat summers in Cabarete. It's windy from April to September, with the most reliable wind being right in the middle of that period. Summer winds are typically in the 15-28mph range.

Winter: The winter season runs from December to March with typically lighter or less reliable wind, but great swell for the wave riders. Wind is closer to the 12-25mph range, and often stays on the lighter end. This is a great time to bring bigger kiters or a directional or foil board.

In Cabarete, you’ll experience thermal winds and bay breezes. On windy days, you can expect to have wind building around lunchtime and blowing until sunset.

See the forecast! 

Weather / Temperature

It’s essentially summer all the time in Cabarete. Apart from the rainy months of October and November, you’ll be in tropical, humid summer conditions day and night. That means board shorts, bikinis, and flip flops. Best of all, it’s not just warm on land… the water temperature is perfect! You will not need a wetsuit here, unless you’d like exposure and sun protection, in which case a 1mm neoprene top will do the trick.

Launch Spots

There are a handful of great launch spots in and near Cabarete, but the main two you’ll find yourself riding at are Cabarete Bay/Bozo Beach and Kite Beach. It’s worth riding in both spots to figure out which one you like the best!

Cabarete Bay / Bozo Beach: This spot has a lot of room on the beach and even more space out on the water. The shore break can be a bit difficult to navigate on bigger swell days, so the easiest thing to do is body drag out with your board and jump on once you’ve cleared the break. The bay has ocean chop with some clean waves on the reef quite far out.

Kite Beach: Kite Beach has a smaller shore break and a closer reef break that protects the riding area so you get more predictable small chop, but the beach is usually shorter, and can be very short and difficult to find room to launch and land in the heart of summer. If you’re a little nervous about the space on the beach, starting and ending your session down near Dare2Fly will give you much more space to play.

If you’re riding a directional board and looking for wave conditions, a downwinder from Kite Beach to Encuentro is a great way to shred the waves on the Kite Beach reef break all the way down to the Encuentro surf beach. For those who want flatwater and freestyle, La Boca is the flatwater river mouth about 10-15 minutes out of town. It’s a bit of a mission and one that’s best done with a vehicle and a small crew!

Riding level & Style

Level: This is a suitable spot for every level of kiteboarding, and a great spot for beginners or those who wish to learn to kite. This isn’t the easiest spot in the world, but the challenges beginner kiteboarders learn to overcome here (shore break and chop) will serve riders very well in other spots. For intermediate, advanced, and even pro level riders… there’s something for everyone. Those who wish to focus on progression will be stoked to see many professional kiteboarders here, and local riders that would be able to go trick for trick with the pros given the opportunity.

Riding Style: You’ll see every style of riding possible in Cabarete. Foiling, surfing, big air, old school, freestyle… it’s all here! The wind is pretty consistent in Cabarete, so your average day will bring a blend of everything, but especially freestylers and free riders. If the wind is light, the foilers and directional riders will be first on the water. When it’s pumping, the big air lovers will be taking to the sky to see who can go the biggest or who has the best moves.

Facilities & Cautions

Facilities: Because kiteboarding has been such a quintessential part of Cabarete's growth in the past several years, this spot has a prime setup for kiters. Most of the kite schools have shower and storage facilities for your gear, space to chill and enjoy the sunset or watch your friends ride, and beachfront restaurants and cafes to keep you fed and session ready.

Check with Tracy at Dare2Fly or reach out to Kite Club Cabarete for beginner to intermediate lessons.  Wilson can also be found just steps down the beach, where all experience levels are accommodated at Big Willy's Kite School. For advanced directional and foil coaching or pro camps, Andreas at Uncharted Kite Sessions is your guy.

Cautions: Cabarete can get busy, so take a moment to observe how the spot works before you get going, and if you have any concerns check in with your local kite school. At Kite Beach, there's an interesting blend of learners and pro level riders getting down close to the shore, so if traffic isn't your thing, ride out a little further or session up in Cabarete Bay.

Watch for palm trees, especially at the top of Kite Beach when the beach is short in the summer. There is shallow reef in some spots, particularly at the point at the top of Kite Beach – if you’re doing a downwinder, go extra wide and avoid this area. There is fire coral in this spot, so you’ll definitely want to avoid touching it!

Tracy and Crystal chilling at Vitamin D cafe watching the show on the water. 


Travel Guide

Cabarete is an adventurous destination, but it’s a very accessible spot with plenty of options for travel, accommodation, food, and other activities. Here’s a quick start guide on traveling to Cabarete. For a detailed travel guide – and one you can share with non-kiting travel companions - check out this article by Crystal Veness.

How to get there

There are several airports in the Dominican Republic, with the three best airports to fly into being:

Puerto Plata [POP] – 30 minutes from Cabarete. Approx. $35 taxi ride.

Santiago de los Caballeros [STI] – 90 minutes from Cabarete. Approx. $100 taxi ride.

Santo Domingo [SDQ] - 4-5 hours from Cabarete. Approx. $200 taxi ride.

While you're in Cabarete, you can get around in a rental car if you're wanting to visit other kite spots in the area or wanting to adventure off the beach. If you’re staying beachfront or close to, you’ll get by just fine on foot or taking local transportation options - motoconchos and gua guas.


Driving Tips 

  • Be very careful driving at night. Be slow and pay attention. It's nearly impossible to see motoconchos or pedestrians, and they can be a bit unpredictable.
  • Don't leave valuables in the car and save some pesos to tip the parking lot attendants to ensure better security.
  • If you're driving to La Boca, be sure to bring supplies to dig yourself out of sand just in case! The road to the kite spot is a lot of fun, but there is always the chance of getting stuck if you're not familiar with driving in these conditions.
  • Best kite spots to mission to are Buen Hombre and Punta Salinas. They are a similar distance from Cabarete and offer some incredible, low traffic kiting.

Where to stay

Cabarete is a spot where you can go as luxury or as laid back as you want. From beachfront boutique hotels off the beaten path like Natura Cabana to hotels and apartments on kite beach, to hostels and local style accommodation down the back streets, you have your pick of living the wild life or the high life! A dorm bed in a hostel is around $12-15 a night. Longer term local style apartments can be found for well under $500 a month. Beachfront hotels can be anywhere from $50 a night to a few hundred.  

Cabarete also boasts accommodation hotspots like Hooked Cabarete, which offer direct access to some of the best local kiting and surfing, as well as lesson packages for those who are still looking to learn!

Crystal’s Accommodation Picks:

Exotic bungalow vibes - Hooked Cabarete

Barefoot boutique luxury – Natura Cabana

Modern comfort – Millennium

Kite Beach local vibes – Mango House

Budget living – Hostel Laguna Park Extreme Hotel 

In the heart of Cabarete – Villa Taina

What to eat & drink

Food is definitely cheaper here than it is in North America, but dining out can add up, especially with so many incredible options! If you want to eat like the locals, fried plantains, rice, and grilled or stewed meat is the usual. You’ll find stands on the street across from Kite Beach and in town. You’ve got restaurants of all kinds here - from health food spots to pizza houses, waffle shops to catch of the day seafood. Mojitos, rum punches, or a cold Presidente or Bohemia are a great way to celebrate an awesome kite session!

Crystal’s Food & Bev Picks:

Best healthy eats – Vitamin D Café

Best farm to table – Natura Cabana

Best coffee (and waffles!) – Vagamundo

Best pizza in town – Pizza & Spaghetti House

Best breakfast hidden gem – The Honey Co

Best delivery – The Chocolate Bar

For a quick meal – Gordito’s Fresh Mex

For a classy meal - Bliss

For quality seafood on the beach – La Casita De Papi

Best budget dinner & drink specials – Mojito Bar

Other activities

Adventure is everywhere you look in Cabarete. Whether you're going on an organized tour or renting a car and setting off on your own, do not miss the opportunity to get off the beach and get into the jungle. You can even go on some kitesurfing adventures.. Dare2Fly kite school offers some great overnight trips to stunning kite spots like Buen Hombre.

If relaxing is in your plans, Cabarete has great yoga classes, massage therapy, and some beautiful beachfront spas. For something a little different, look into trapeze classes, waterfall hikes, ATV and dirtbike adventures, and more.

We loved horseback riding through jungle rivers at Rancho Tommy y Luisa. For a quick getaway accessible by motoconcho, Las Cuevas is a fun outing deep in Cabarete’s local community of El Callejon. Here, you can explore sinkholes and caves, and do a few cliff jumps! These are both great ways to cool off on a hot day.

Cabarete is also a well known surf spot, so if you want to spend your free time in the water, head down to the surf beach of Encuentro. There’s waves and breaks for all levels of surfers, and you can easily rent a board on the beach and take a lesson.

Crystal’s Activity Picks:

Horseback Riding – Rancho Tommy y Luisa

Surf Lessons & Board Rental – LG Surf Camp

Lagoon + River SUP tours - Big Willy's Kite School

Kite Safari – Dare2Fly

River Float – Somewhere in DR

Massage on the Beach – Natura Cabana

Spa Day – Andari Spa at Millennium

Gym – Zendo Fitness

Crystal’s Nightlife Picks:

Monday Karaoke Night – Voy Voy Cabarete

Club Vibes (Thursday is Latin night!) – Lax Ojo

Full Moon Parties – Kite Club Cabarete

There is truly no shortage of things to do here in the Dominican Republic, on the water and off. As kiteboarders, it can be hard to get away from the beach when all we’re hoping for is great wind, but it’s definitely worth taking some time to explore the culture and nature off the beach.

But when the wind is working, kiteboarding in Cabarete is unforgettable. The sessions, the vibe, and the new friends you’ll make on the beach are why most visitors to Cabarete can’t wait to come back!

Don’t forget to check out the Cabarete video spot guide and the Cabarete travel guide. If you have any questions about this kite spot, please send us a message or reach out to Crystal Veness on Facebook or Instagram.

Learn more about Paula Novotna here: https://www.facebook.com/PaulaNovotna.kiteboardin...

Written and produced by Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic and Crystal Venese


Crystal Veness

North Kites USA team rider and a MACkite team rider. Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her home, playground, and her workplace. She goes where the wind blows - so if you see her at a kite beach somewhere in the world, say hello! Her primary goal is to share her love of kiteboarding and travel and all the lessons learned along the way with the world.

Website: CrystalVeness.com

Instagram: @crystalintl

Facebook: CrystalVeness