SURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

SURF HEALTH

SURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

THE ULTIMATE SURF TRAVEL GUIDE

Name:  República Dominicana

Capital:  Santo Domingo

Location:  Caribbean region

Lat / Lon:  19°00′N 70°40′W

Currency:  Dominican peso

Language: Spanish

Coastline: 800 Miles / 1288 KM

GETTING TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Easy quick flights from New York, Boston, Miami, Toronto  and major cities in Europe bring you to Puerto Plata (POP) or Santiago (STI) international airport

travel to the dominican republic

BEST TIME TO VISIT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Year round surf varying from waist high in the summer months to well overhead in the winter months. Always warm and no need for a wetsuit. There’s no distinct rainy season or dry season

LOCATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic borders the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea in south.

Hispaniola is home to the independent nations of Haiti in the west and the Dominican Republic, which occupies the eastern part. The nation covers an area of 48,310 km² making the Dominican Republic slightly smaller than Slovakia or about the size of the U.S. states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.

surf map dominican republic

WHY THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AS A SURF DESTINATION?

  • Year-round surf destination
  • No need for wetsuits / warm clothes
  • Fun waves for all different levels
  • Plenty of non-surfing activities
  • Easy travel
  • Friendly Caribbean vibes
  • Great food
  • Good choice of accommodation

BEST TIME TO GO ON A SURF TRIP

The great thing about choosing a surf holiday in the Dominican Republic is that there are approximately 350 surfable days each year, with very few flat days to spoil the fun.  Another notable thing about surfing in the Caribbean is that there is no distinct rainy season (unlike in Costa Rica and Nicaragua where June to September are a wash-out).

WAVE SEASON

JAN-MAR

APR-JUN

JUL-SEP

OCT-DEC

Average wave size

4-6′

3-5′ 3-5′ 4-6′
For beginners Good Good Good Good
For Intermediates Good Good Good Good
For Experts Good so-so so-so Good

THE BEST SURF  SPOTS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Surfing in or around Punta Cana (south east of the island) is practically non-existent.  If you are looking for a surf camp in Punta Cana, or to take surf lessons in or around Punta Cana, you may be disappointed.  This is because Punta Cana is bordered by the Caribbean sea, a largely flat body of water.  Waves need open water to generate (you may not know that waves travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles before they reach the shore).  Punta Cana will get some waves in hurricane season, being one of the most exposed points to any approaching storm approaching as they do from the East.

It’s not that Punta Cana has no waves at all; there are occasional waves at a location called Macao Beach, but don’t expect consistent waves or anything over waist high on most days.

Cabarete, on the North coast is bordered not by the Caribbean Sea, but by the Atlantic Ocean and the waves which reach the north shore are often started (as I already mentioned above) many miles away from a passing storm over North America.  The waves generated take longer to arrive to shore, which makes them more organised and powerful.

Encuentro, Puerto Plata, Canal, Preciosa and El Barco on the North coast all face the Atlantic and are recognised surf spots.  Here is a guide to the best spot for you to go and surf, depending on your level, the time of year and swell direction.

SURF SPOTS OF THE NORTH COAST OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

surf spots dominican republic

TYPE DIRECTION QUALITY CONSISTENCY
 La Puntilla Reef break Right 8/10 3/10
 Sosua Bay Reef break Right 7/10 3/10
 El Canal Reef break Right 8/10 6/10
 Playa Encuentro* Reef / beach break Right & Left 8/10 10/10
 Offshore reefs Reef break Right & Left 6/10 4/10
 Bozo Beach Beach break Right & Left 3/10 3/10
 Mananero Beach break Right & Left 7/10 5/10
 Rio San Juan Reef break Right 4/10 3/10
 Preciosa Reef break Right & Left 10/10 4/10

DETAILED SURF MAP OF PLAYA ENCUENTRO

surf spots playa encuentro

Destroyers

Shallow, fast & hollow // For bodyboarders or kamikaze expert surfers

The left

Great left hander, best in winter months with north swell direction // For advanced surfers, and respect the local surfers

Main Peak of Encuentro

Ultra consistent right and left hander // Melow waves for intermediate and expert surfers
surf spot playa encuentro

Bobos

Inside at Bobo’s is a perfect learning wave where the surf school of Encuentro teach surfing on a mellow inside wave

Coco Pipe

Quality left (short) and right (longer) // For advanced surfers only, it’s a fast barreling wave over a pretty shallow reef

Offshore reefsA few miles of offshore reef all the way to Cabarete, ideal for SUP ( SUP is banned at Encuentro for safety reasons). Also, a few peaks that have quality waves on north swells for surfers. ( no crowds)More surfing cabarete info can be found on this page

LEARNING TO SURF IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

It’s not just intermediate and expert surfers that will benefit from a surf holiday to the DR. For people that have never surfed before The DR provides ideal learning to surf conditions pretty much year-round. Playa Encuentro is one of the most consistent surf spots in Central America and the Caribbean, rivalling Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

What makes Cabarete such and ideal place to learn to surf?

SURF SCHOOL playa encuentro
There are several reasons:

  • Mellow waves
  • Hardly any rips or dangerous currents
  • Shallow waters ( beginners surf in water that is generally chest-deep)
  • Nor dangerous sea creatures ( no sharks or crocodiles, unlike Costa Rica)
  • A large designated area for beginners ( so people learning to surf don’t get hit or are in the way of more advanced surfers)

WHEN TO GO TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOR A LEARN TO SURF HOLIDAY:

playa encuentro
Playa Encuentro gets waves year-round for surfers of all levels, but there are some differences in wave heights. Generally speaking from April to October the waves are at the smallest ( around waist to chest high) so for complete beginners and intermediates this would be an ideal time to go. Between November and March, the waves are a bit bigger ( between Chest high and overhead) which makes it a good time for people that want to practise their turning and riding down the line.

Want to be prepared before you go on a learn to surf holiday? Read this surf technique page for more info.

More info on the (surf) season of the Dominican Republic can be found on this page

HURICANE SEASON

From mid-August onwards, sea temperatures can warm up to such a degree that storms forming off the coast of Africa start to wing their way across the Atlantic, heading in the direction of the Caribbean.  Some of these storms will stay as tropical depressions, but some will become tropical storms and some hurricanes if conditions are conducive.

Whilst Puerto Rico and other smaller islands suffered huge, even catastrophic damage in 2017 from H. Maria and H. Irma , the Dominican Republic was largely unaffected.  Why is this?  Well, there is a very good reason why the Dominican Republic is safer from big storms and has not had a direct hit from storm since 2004 (T.S Jeanne).  This is because of Pico Duarte ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pico_Duarte ), the highest mountain peak in the entire Caribbean region.

Hurricanes need to keep rotating to maintain their power and are always strongest across open water where there is nothing to disturb them.

Pico Duarte and the Cordillera Mountain range which cross from one side of the Dominican Republic to the other, form a physical barrier to the forces of a hurricane or tropical storm and disturb the centrifugal forces needed to keep these storms active.

As a result, even when a storm looks on track to ‘visit’ the Dominican Republic, this mountain range tends to bounce the storm away from the land mass, keeping the island from suffering any real damage.

* (Whilst on the subject of hurricanes, it’s important to point out that the Dominican Republic is NOT the same place as Dominica (which was devastated by H. Maria).  The Dominican Republic is a totally different island, a whopping 1004 km. distance from Dominica.  Hurricanes which pass north of the D.R. (approx. 50% pass to the south of the island) are known to give some of the very best waves of the year.  Instead of fear rising when a storm is approaching the north coast, Dominican surfers start waxing their big guns.  )

There are a few different websites who do a good job of predicting the surf and wind forecast for the DR

How to Get There and Arriving in the Dominican Republic

There are 4 major airports on the island and a couple of smaller ones too.  The Dominican Republic is actually located on Hispaniola, which is a BIG island; made up of 1/3 Haiti and 2/3 Dominican Republic.  It’s approximately 470km from Punta Cana in the far West to the Haitian Border in the East (that’s a 7 hour + drive).

While Costa Rica and Nicaragua are often surf destinations which involve a day or more travel to get to, the Dominican Republic is much more accessible, with direct flights from New York, Boston, Miami, Toronto, and Montreal, all taking around 4 hours to POP, from where you can reach Cabarete in 25 minutes.

If you are planning on surfing the north coast, try to fly into Puerto Plata (airport code POP).  The 2nd best option is Santiago Los Caballeros (STI) and the 3rd best is Santo Domingo (SDQ).  Flying to Punta Cana might be cheap (lots of cheap charter flights go there to ferry people to the many all-inclusive hotels lining the coast) but it’s not a viable entry point if you want to surf.  Punta Cana is all about white sand beaches and all-inclusives; there’s no ‘real’ Dominican culture close by.

American Airlines, Jet Blue, Continental, Air Canada, West Jet are just some of the flights arriving into POP, STI and SDQ.  There are also charter flights arriving daily from Europe.  You can see more flight suggestions on this page.

surf GETTING TO THE DR

General travel info Dominican Republic

Getting around The DR

Getting from the airport to your choice of hotel or accommodation is pretty easy in the D.R, especially if you can afford a private taxi.  Taxi drivers all have to be licensed and are very well protected and regulated by the authorities.  Taxi fares are set nationally and are advertised at all ports of entry.  Upon your arrival at the airport, you will always find an official taxi desk and a driver can be allocated to you for a set fare.  Uber exists within the country but having an Uber collect you from the airport is extremely unlikely as the regulated taxis will not stand for it.

Your other options are to take a ‘carrito’ or a gua-gua if you are going somewhere fairly local.  Both are forms of public transportation.  A gua-gua is a mini-bus and a carrito is normally a beaten-up Toyota Camry or similar.

Both will stop for you at the side of a main road wherever you are standing, if you put your hand out, but be prepared for a crowded journey; whilst they are super-cheap (a 19km journey from Puerto Plata airport to Cabarete will cost around 100 to 200 pesos depending on your negotiating skills with the exchange rate at the time of writing being 45 pesos to 1 USD), they make up for the low-prices by seriously squeezing bodies in.

Neither are really a viable option with a surfboard or a suitcase of any size and be prepared to have your personal space invaded.

There are also Moto-taxis, which are small motorbikes which cost (generally speaking) 50 pesos (just over one US dollar) for around 5km.  You will frequently hear the ‘ssssssssttt’ from a passing driver offering you a ride.  Be careful of the safety of these bikes and watch for very serious burns to your calf (commonly known as ‘the Dominican Tattoo’) from the exhaust pipe.  It’s a terrible way to start your surf vacation and will take weeks to heal.  It’s not unknown for these guys to double up as drug dealers or pimps, so beware.

Car rental is cheap but driving in the Dominican Republic is not for the faint-hearted.  Dominicans have a rather laissez-faire attitude towards driving, so always expect the unexpected (people coming out of junctions without looking, or driving on the wrong side of the road), don’t drive fast, never drive under the influence and you should stay safe.

Keep your eyes open and your mirrors tuned, especially for the motos, as they will approach at speed from all directions.  A Sat Nav is a good idea for longer journeys as good signposting is a rarity.  If you are involved in an accident, stay in your vehicle if it is safe to do so and call your insurance company.  Dominicans can tend to flock to an accident, especially if a local person is injured, and it can be intimidating. If you rent a motorbike, and wear a helmet; it’s not only the law, but in a country with a very poor R.T.A. record, it may just save your life.

 

surf encuentro drone

Entry requirements and visa

Generally speaking, the Dominican Republic is a visa-free country to visit.  Very few nationalities require a visa to enter this Caribbean island.  The majority of nationalities though will need to purchase a Tourist Card upon entry at Puerto Plata (airport code POP), or any of the other airports of the Dominican Republic

The Tourist Card costs $10 USD and is valid for 30 days of entry.  You need to pay for the card in USD only.  Some countries are exempt from this and I’ve provided a link below to check whether your country of origin requires a visa, a Tourist Card or neither.  Generally speaking, Americans, Canadians and Europeans don’t need a visa, but do require the Tourist Card.http://www.dominicanrepublic.com/dominican-republic-visa-2/

​Medical Information Before You Travel

So most of the medical-related websites, such as the CDC for example, will give you blanket advice about vaccinations required and list all medical risks.  The truth is that from region to region, the risks vary considerably and some risks mentioned on these websites are not much of a risk at all. Malaria is practically non-existent in the Dominican Republic with the last reported case in 2011.  The Zika virus; again, although it is reported there have been cases in the Dominican Republic, these have been centred in Santo Domingo, the capital city, located on the south coast, which is about 4 hours by road from Cabarete on the North coast.

There are no recent reports of Zika on the North Coast at the time of writing.  The daytime mosquito (Aedes) carries the worst diseases, including Dengue, so it’s obviously better to prevent being bitten at all.  Wear a good repellent containing DEET.  Windy coastal areas have far fewer mosquitos than inland on the island. Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended; Hep A can be caught from contaminated food or water and Hep B from sexual partners who are themselves contaminated, or even from getting a tattoo done.  If you feel you might be in either risk group, it could be a good idea to get these shots.

Lost luggage

In our experience, the airlines are good at reuniting you with your baggage as long as you have forwarding information.  It’s always best to print off a map of where you are staying so you have it to hand for the airline if your bags are lost and/or for the driver who takes you to your accommodation.

Damaged Surfboards

If you’ve paid to bring your surfboard or even your quiver to the Dominican Republic, it might be (God forbid) that you have a broken surfboard, or a ding to repair.  Luckily, down at the surf beach and in Cabarete town itself, there are some really good guys doing first-class repairs.  If you are a Swell surf camp client, we will help get your board to the repair shop so you can be back riding your favourite surfboard in no time. Here’s a useful link to 2017 prices for surfboard carriage from all the major airlines here are many shops and shacks at the beach that will rent you a surfboard if you don’t want to pay to bring your own.

​About the Money

Don’t change your money at the airport.  Airport currency exchanges are notorious for having appalling rates.  In May 2018, Wally Exchange (based in Cabarete) are buying a US dollar for approximately 45 DOP (Dominican pesos).  Here’s the link to check the correct rate around the time of your visit http://www.cabarete-dr.com/banco/index.php?lg=fr

Banks are also good places to change money with decent rates.  Cabarete has plenty of banks to choose from.  Take an ID with you as they won’t change money for you without proof of who you are. There are money changers on the street, but you might be cheated, even with an attractive rate to lure you in, sleight of hand and dubious counting techniques will normally mean you don’t end up with the correct amount of DOP for your dollars.

ATM machines are widely available.  But, as in other countries, devices can sometimes be fitted to these machines to copy card information for the purpose of fraud.  Guard your pin number very carefully and mask it effectively when entering it.  ATM machines only give out DOP and will frequently run out of money by Friday evening as people head from the cities to Cabarete for the weekend.

Where to Stay?

There is a huge amount of accommodation on offer in and around Cabarete alone and much more in the wider area.  From all-inclusive hotels to guest houses and Airbnb’s.

Outside of Puerto Plata is Playa Dorada, an area which was developed some 40 years ago to be one of the first all-inclusive one-stop-holiday shops in the Caribbean region.  Sadly, it’s showing its age and the cheapness of the flights, packaged with accommodation, reveals itself in the quality of room and food/drink you will receive.

If you value cheapness above quality, then these holidays are still a good option for some sun and beach.  Playa Dorada is a good 40-minute drive to Cabarete, so getting to and from the surf beach, if you are coming to surf, will not be easy or cheap.

Sosua is a 15-minute taxi from Cabarete (Encuentro, the surf beach is only 5 minutes outside of Cabarete in the direction of Sosua).  Sosua itself has a stunning bay and beautiful water for snorkelling, but a rather deserved reputation for being a bachelor haunt.  Bars and clubs at night are frequented by prostitutes.

The new Mayor of the town is doing her best to clean up Sosua, but she faces a tough task. Cabarete is the sporty neighbour of Sosua.  Itself set inside a panoramic bay, there’s a safe area for swimming with calm water and an area of the beach reserved for windsurfers and kiteboarders.  SUP is now very popular in this huge bay where you can paddle out to the reef to catch some waves, or stay on the flat water inside and paddle up and down the bay.

The bay is light sand and lined with palm trees, just in front of a large number of charming restaurants.  The restaurants have their own sun loungers where you can pay a couple of dollars to sit all day, have food and drinks served to your lounger, and watch the various water spots go on around you.

Cabarete has a ban on motorised water sports, so you won’t be disturbed by any motorboats or jet skis.  There are modern apartment complexes right on the beach, Ocean One, Harmony, Ocean Dream which have apartment rentals aplenty.  You can find these rentals advertised on Airbnb or on a specialist agency website like L’Agence in Cabarete http://agencerd.com/  Luxury places like Ultra-Violeta recently opened and are offering high-end, relatively expensive apartments on the beach. Kite Beach and Cabarete East also have accommodation on offer which might suit fervent kite-boarders looking for cheap accommodation, but bear in mind you will have a 20-30 minute walk back to town for dining and partying, so you will likely need transportation. Specialist accommodations like Swell surf camp offer packages of accommodation including surf lessons, airport pickups, some meals and surf beach transportation.

surfing retreat

Surfboard Rentals and Surf Shops

Naturally, in a surf town, surf shops are abundant.  You’ll find genuine article shops like the Carib Wind Centre (opens a new window) at the east end of the bay, Surfea in the middle of town but you’ll also find cheaper imitation shops, selling fake branded goods.

There are surf shops that will rent you a surfboard for a week, but at the surf beach itself, there are numerous surf schools that also rent boards.  You can turn up and take a surf lesson at Encuentro, at schools like Bobo’s, Pauhana, Chino’s, etc.  Pauhana specialises in teaching kids to surf. Swell surf camp will only teach their own guests to surf.

Shopping in General

Cabarete is full of boutique shops.  Lili and Lou, Olivia’s and several other charming independent clothing retailers offer locally made and imported clothes/beachwear for men, women and kids.  There are numerous artisan jewellery stores using locally mined stones such as Amber (the north coast of the Dominican Republic is known as The Amber Coast because of the large number of amber deposits found there).  It’s a shopping beachside paradise.

For groceries, there are several choices.  Food shopping has improved hugely in the last 10 years and what was a very basic provision of produce is now pretty international.  Much of the Dominican Republic’s own fruit and vegetables are organic.  There is not much that you cannot buy in the DR now, but be aware that specialist produce, such as gluten-free ingredients is more scarce and if found, will be pricey.  If you are travelling with babies or young children, you will find everything you need for your child in the local supermarkets, from milk formulas and diapers to rash creams and soothers.

You will be able to buy sunscreen and mosquito repellent in Cabarete, but prepare to pay more for anything which is imported, as many of these products are.

Communications

The Dominican Republic is rapidly improving its cellular coverage.  4G is now available through providers like Claro and Altice Dominicana.  Get yourself a local sim; it will save you a fortune in roaming data charges.  Claro and Altice have offices in Cabarete. You’ll just need a passport for ID to buy one.

Pharmacies

There are a couple of good pharmacies in Cabarete and the staff there are able to give you some decent medical advice for minor ailments.  A lot of drugs which would ordinarily require a Doctor’s prescription in your country of origin can be bought over the counter without one.  Hospitals and Medical Emergencies.

Between Cabarete and Sosua is the CMC (Cabarete Medical Centre), a well-equipped hospital.  Seriously, don’t travel to the Dominican Republic without comprehensive travel insurance and make sure your insurance does not have exclusions for water sports.

If you have to see a doctor at a drop-in centre (there’s also one in the centre of Cabarete) it will not be cheap and you might face a bill of $200 USD for a consultation.  Normally, even if your condition is serious, you will not be treated until you have demonstrated the funds to pay for your treatment.  The first thing you will be asked for is your insurance information.

Eating Out; The Choice is Vast!

I’ll start with the best first; Dominican food.  Dominican recipes are handed down for generations; varied, rich stews of fish, chicken, beef or pork marinaded for hours with a huge array of herbs and spices: the tender fish, meat and sauces are to die for.  If you are not a meat lover, you will also love the many traditional Dominican vegetarian dishes, like Yucca fritas, aroz con guandules, and delicious platanos; really, the list is endless.

There are several traditional Dominican restaurants in and around Cabarete; they are often the simplest-looking places but you can trust the food will be well prepared and delicious.  Try the famous ‘chicken man’ of Cabarete main street; marinated quarter, half or whole chicken BBQ’d to perfection and served with rice and salad.  ​

Restaurants in Cabarete

There are a ton of places to eat, but these are our top tips​Le Bistro // French cuisine // Highly recommend // Price range: $$

Otra Cosa // Western cuisine // Romantics setting // Price range: $$$​Pomodoro // ​Italian cuisine // Great fresh pasta // Price range: $$

Chinese // Friendly owners // Cheap & Tasty // Price range: $

Gordito’s // Mexican // Cheap , Tasty & quick // Price range: $

Fresh fresh cafe // Healthy Lunches // Price range: $$

Wilson, La Boca // Top  Dominican Experience // Price range: $$​

Nightlife

Cabarete has a vibrant party scene.  Not so much that it spoils the place for those of us (myself included) who no longer wish to dance the night away, but enough that those of you who love to go out and dance will find a party on the beach most nights of the week.  Once dinner is over and chairs and tables are stacked, the music is cranked up at two or three venues in the bay.

Some of the kite surf schools in Cabarete will host bonfire parties and pig roasts, especially in high season.

Recommended Drinks

Presidente and Bohemia are the two major beers; Presidente being particularly good. The Dominicans are famous for their rum and it’s cheap.  A Cuba libre (rum and coke) is probably the most downed drink on the island but you’ll find every type of cocktail available at the bars.

Lots of people start their party night at one of the cheaper street side bars in town before heading to the beachside to dance.  Drinks are powerful in those street side bars, with big measures, so pace yourself.

If you are a smoker, cigarettes are cheap on the island, so no need to stock up before you arrive. Dominican cigars are world-famous, so make sure to visit one of the specialist cigar shops in town.

Safety in General.

The biggest danger in and around Cabarete that you will face will be from or on the roads.  I don’t recommend renting a car or a bike as the driving really is nuts.  Yes, it’s great to bomb back and forth from the surf beach with no helmet and no T-shirt, but we’ve seen so many horrible accidents over the years, it’s just not worth it.  Take a taxi, and share a ride with others to keep the costs down.  Better still, if you are there for surfing, stay at a surf camp, like Swell, where you are a short, safe walk from all the bars and restaurants and you get taken back and forth from the surf beach.

Tourist Police patrol Cabarete day and night and keep it very safe for tourists, but don’t do stupid things like leaving your stuff unattended on the beach.  It’s a poor country and your iPhone is a valuable commodity.

It’s generally safe to be out late, but be sensible and apply logic.  Pick pockets are operating in the night clubs and they looking for the easy targets, who it must be said are mostly drunk tourists.  Top tip; if a local girl approaches you for a cuddle, it might be a set-up.  Often they are doing it to distract you whilst someone else lifts your wallet/phone, etc. from your pocket.  Don’t walk home alone along long, unlit stretches of beach in the early hours; stick with a friend or partner and stay on the lit streets.  If your walk back to your lodging must involve a deserted area, take a taxi.

If you have suffered a theft, you will need to go and get a police report from your insurance company.  There is a police station in Cabarete at the far east end of the main street. Drugs carry very high penalties in the Dominican Republic and whilst they are available to buy, consider the time you may end up in a very unpleasant prison if you are caught in possession. Being LGBT in the Dominican Republic is completely accepted and there is a relaxed attitude towards same-sex relationships.  Cabarete has a vibrant gay community.

Top Things to Do in and Around Cabarete, Other Than Surfing

Parts of the movie Jurassic Park were filmed on location on the Amber Coast so naturally, it is a beautiful setting.  Mountains and rivers abound and there are a number of tour companies who will help you explore this wonderful landscape.

Kayak River Adventures and Iguana Mama are the two most widely respected operators with high safety standards, and both offer exciting tours of the many canyons and rivers.  The Magic Mushroom, Big Bastard, Ciguapa Falls and the 27 Waterfalls (Charcos) of Damajagua are just some on offer.

​You have the choice of caving, mountain biking, ziplining, monkey jungle, SUP and kayak tours of the rivers, together with a huge road cycling community who regularly cross the country on their bikes.  Sailing both Optimists and Lasers is available from the Carib Wind Centre and windsurf, SUP and kite lessons are all right on Cabarete Bay with providers like Vela Cabarete.

If you are into horses, both beach rides and mountain trekking are available to you. Check out Tommy at Rancho Luisa; he’s French Canadian born but lived most of his life in the Dominican Republic, and it seems, on the back of a horse.  His rides through the mountains, rivers and villages are epic. Snorkelling in the bay of Sosua is really lovely (15-minute taxi from Cabarete) and there’s deep sea fishing from Puerto Plata harbour. Go visit the ancient port of Fortaleza San Felipe in Puerto Plata (built-in 1564 for King Felipe II of Spain).  From the port, you can walk to the recently updated/restored town with its many old colonial buildings and find plenty of shopping and eating too.

Take the cable car up to Isabel de Torres, also close to Puerto Plata, early one morning to see the sunrise; there’s a botanic garden at the top with breathtaking views of the north coast.  Visit the truly beautiful, huge beach of Playa Grande for the day to swim in clear, blue water and eat BBQ fish beneath the palm trees.  Visit Laguna Dudu, Gri Gri and the Blue Lagoon, all close to Playa Grande. Treat yourself to a massage and an afternoon of pampering at Naomi Day Spa in the centre of Cabarete: They have all the latest cosmetic treatments available. There is so much to do in and around Cabarete that you will struggle to fit it all in.

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SURF & YOGA HOLIDAYS IN THE CARIBEAN

surf & yoga holiday

SURF & YOGA IN PARADISE

surfing yoga retreat

SURF & YOGA: WHY IT’S SUCH A PERFECT MATCH!

As surfers we have long been big fans of Yoga, it’s the perfect supplement to a healthy lifestyle and ensures you can stay fit and flexible to continue your surfing as you get older. Below

SURF & YOGA HOLIDAYS

Are you craving an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Do you dream of basking in the warm sun, riding the waves, and finding inner peace? If so, a surf and yoga holiday might be just what you need. And there’s no better place to experience this perfect blend of adventure and relaxation than with Swell Surf Camp. In this article, we’ll explore the compelling reasons why you should embark on a surf and yoga holiday with Swell Surf Camp for an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
surfing yoga retreat

HARMONIZING THE ELEMENTS: SURFING AND YOGA

Surfing and yoga, though seemingly different activities, share a beautiful harmony. Surfing allows you to connect with the powerful ocean, riding waves that bring a sense of exhilaration and freedom. On the other hand, yoga allows you to connect with your inner self, promoting physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The combination of these two practices creates a unique and transformative experience.

Swell Surf Camp has mastered the art of blending these two disciplines seamlessly. Imagine starting your day with a sunrise yoga session, where you’ll stretch and strengthen your body, preparing it for the exciting adventures that lie ahead. Afterward, you’ll hit the waves with expert instructors who will guide you through the surfing journey, helping you catch that perfect wave and feel the thrill of gliding on water. This balanced approach ensures you leave the camp feeling recharged, physically invigorated, and mentally centered.\
surfing yoga retreat

EXPERT GUIDANCE AND COACHING

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced surfer or yogi, Swell Surf Camp caters to all skill levels. The camp’s team of professional instructors is not only highly experienced in their respective fields but also passionate about sharing their knowledge with others. Their expertise will guide you to progress in both surfing and yoga, regardless of your starting point.

If you’re new to surfing, the instructors will provide you with a solid foundation, teaching you essential techniques, safety measures, and wave dynamics. For seasoned surfers, they’ll help you fine-tune your skills and even introduce you to advanced maneuvers. Similarly, the yoga instructors will lead you through various styles of yoga, catering to different preferences and abilities, ensuring that you benefit from the practice, both physically and mentally.
surfing lessons

THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE

One of the most remarkable aspects of a surf and yoga holiday with Swell Surf Camp is the stunning natural locations of their camps. Swell Surf Camp has thoughtfully selected pristine beaches and scenic spots that harmonize with the environment, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.

Picture yourself practicing yoga on the soft sand as the sun rises over the horizon, filling the sky with breathtaking colors. The soothing sound of waves crashing nearby and the gentle breeze brushing against your skin create an environment that fosters relaxation and self-reflection. The natural surroundings act as a catalyst for personal growth and healing, making your holiday truly transformative.

paradise

EMBRACING THE SURFING LIFESTYLE

Surfing is not just a sport; it’s a way of life. Swell Surf Camp embraces the surfing lifestyle, fostering a sense of community, camaraderie, and respect for the ocean. As you spend time with fellow surf enthusiasts, you’ll find yourself connecting with like-minded individuals from all over the world.

Whether you’re sharing stories around a beach bonfire or cheering each other on as you ride the waves, you’ll forge bonds that can last a lifetime. This sense of belonging and the shared passion for surfing and yoga create a positive and supportive atmosphere throughout the camp.

UNPLUGGING AND RECONNECTING

In our increasingly digital world, it’s essential to take time for ourselves and unplug from screens and constant distractions. A surf and yoga holiday with Swell Surf Camp provides the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the virtual world and reconnect with yourself and the present moment.

During your time at Swell Surf Camp, you’ll have the chance to slow down, savoring each moment without the pressure of deadlines and obligations. You’ll be encouraged to be fully present, embracing the simple joys of life: the sound of waves, the taste of fresh meals, and the joy of genuine human connections. Yes we have internet at Swell, but we encourage everyone to minimise the “online life” and instead enjoy social meals with new friends.
social

A UNIQUE SURF & YOGA EXPERIENCE

Swell Surf Camp understands that each individual is unique, with different preferences and needs. That’s why our surf and yoga holiday packages are customizable to you.

If you have dietary preferences or restrictions, our culinary team will prepare delicious meals that cater to your needs.

**Conclusion**

A surf and yoga holiday with Swell Surf Camp offers a unique opportunity to harmonize the elements of adventure and serenity. Through expert guidance, a vibrant community, and a focus on personalization, We try to create an unforgettable experience tailored to your needs. Embrace the surf & yoga lifestyle, unplug from the digital world, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. Book your surf and yoga holiday with Swell Surf Camp today and change your lifestyle.

ACCOMMODATION: STAY IN COMFORT AND STYLE

At Swell we have been providing active surf and kitesurfing holidays in the Caribbean since 2009, in 2021 we added learn to wingfoil packages to our services.

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Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

 

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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CARRIBEAN WINGFOIL PARADISE

surf wingsurfer

CABARETE A WINGFOILING PARADISE

surfing green waves

Cabarete: A Windsport Paradise

Located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Cabarete has earned a well-deserved reputation as a windsport paradise. This small town, once a quiet fishing village, has transformed into a mecca for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and other exhilarating watersports. From its perfect weather conditions to its stunning natural beauty and vibrant beach culture, Cabarete offers an irresistible combination of factors that make it a haven for windsport enthusiasts from around the world.

CABARETE WINGFOILING PARADISE PLAYGROUND

HISTORY OF CABARETE AS A WIND TOWN

The first ones to discover the appeal of Cabarete as a wind town were the windsurfers in the early 80’s. They enjoyed an empty Cabarete bay with white sandy beaches a large open bay for slalom windsurfing and the waves on the reef for wave windsurfing. It was windsurfers that put Cabarete on the map. In the early 2000, with the rise of kitesurfing become the new rage in watersports that cabarete got a new influx of watersport lovers. The steady side onshore wind of 15 to 25 knots (ideal range) appealed to kite surfers of all levels. Today Cabarete is still widely regarded as one of the best places in the world for kitesurfing. 20 years later, Cabarete is once again in the spotlight for being one of the best wingfoiling / Wingsurfing destinations in the world. Wide open spaces, flat water, gentle rolling deep water swell and waves create the ultimate playground for beginners and experts wingfoilers.

One of the primary reasons Cabarete is considered a windsport paradise is its exceptional wind conditions. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cordillera Septentrional mountain range, the town benefits from the constant trade winds that blow consistently throughout the year. The easterly trade winds, known as the Alisios, provide a steady and reliable breeze, creating ideal conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing. These consistent winds, typically ranging from 15 to 30 knots, allow riders of all levels to enjoy their favorite sports without interruptions or frustration. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to learn, Cabarete’s winds will not disappoint.

WIND CONDITIONS IN CABARETE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Trade Winds: Cabarete experiences the influence of the easterly trade winds, known as the Alisios. These trade winds blow consistently from the east and are responsible for the reliable wind conditions in the area. The prevailing wind direction ensures that riders can enjoy their sports with a steady and predictable breeze.

Wind Speed / wind strength : The wind speeds in Cabarete are generally suitable for windsports. The average wind speed ranges from 15 to 30 knots, providing enough power for riders to harness and enjoy their chosen activities. These wind speeds are suitable for riders of all levels, from beginners to professionals.

Wind Consistency: One of the key advantages of Cabarete is the consistency of its wind conditions. Throughout the year, the town experiences a high percentage of windy days, ensuring that windsport enthusiasts have ample opportunities to get out on the water. This consistency allows for regular practice, skill development, and a reliable wind-dependent lifestyle.

Seasonal Variation: While Cabarete enjoys consistent winds year-round, there are some seasonal variations in wind patterns. The summer months (June to August) tend to have stronger winds, making it an excellent time for advanced riders seeking more challenging conditions. The winter months (December to February) offer slightly milder winds, which are more suitable for beginners and freestyle enthusiasts.

Overall, Cabarete’s wind statistics demonstrate why it is considered a windsport paradise. The consistent trade winds, favorable wind speeds, and wide wind window make it an ideal destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and other related activities. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a beginner looking to learn, Cabarete’s wind conditions offer an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

OTHER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES

Cabarete boasts a diverse range of water conditions, further enhancing its appeal as a windsport paradise. The town is blessed with a unique geography that offers something for everyone. The expansive beach, stretching for several kilometers, provides ample space for kiteboarders and windsurfers to glide across the water, showcasing their skills and tricks. Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean’s waves, combined with the reef breaks and offshore swells, create excellent opportunities for wave riding. Cabarete Bay, protected by a natural coral reef, offers calmer waters, making it an ideal spot for beginners and freestyle enthusiasts. This variety of conditions ensures that windsport enthusiasts can always find their preferred style of riding, making Cabarete an inclusive and versatile destination.
Watersport adrenaline away from the ocean? That’s possible too. Go on a Canyoning trip to the 27 waterfalls, 30 minutes out of Cabarete. You’ll be swimming through turquoise canyons and jumping of waterfalls

Beyond its exceptional wind and water conditions, Cabarete’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring. The town is blessed with stunning beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking sunsets. The golden sand and warm, inviting waters provide the perfect backdrop for windsport activities. As riders harness the power of the wind and glide across the water, they are treated to panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and the picturesque coastline. The combination of the natural beauty and the thrill of windsports creates an unforgettable experience that keeps visitors coming back for more.

LEARN TO WINGSURF IN CABARETE

At Swell we have been offering wing foiling lessons to our clients since 2021 and have already had 100’s of clients into Wingfoiling enthusiasts. Wingfoiling is easy and quick to learn and when you are in the hands of a good instructor it is also a safe sport to learn. Many of our clients keep coming back to cabarete for more wingfoiling, since they find it hard to find a wingfoil destination anywhere in the world as good as our home town of Cabarete.

LEARN TO WINGFOIL

Cabarete’s vibrant beach culture is another factor that sets it apart as a windsport paradise. The town has a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere that embraces the windsport community. Along Cabarete Beach, there is a lively strip of beach bars, restaurants, and shops catering to the needs of windsport enthusiasts. The area buzzes with energy and excitement, with riders sharing their experiences, discussing gear, and celebrating their passion for the sport. The local community, including both residents and expatriates, is known for its warm hospitality and genuine love for windsports. This sense of community creates a supportive and inspiring environment that fosters growth and camaraderie among riders.

Furthermore, Cabarete is renowned for hosting world-class windsport events, attracting top athletes from around the globe. The town has been the venue for numerous prestigious competitions, including the Cabarete Kiteboarding World Cup and the Master of the Ocean contest, which combines kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. These events showcase the town’s commitment to windsports and bring together the best talent in the industry. For spectators, it is an opportunity to witness thrilling displays of skill and athleticism, further cementing Cabarete’s status as a windsport paradise.

CABARETE A WINDFOILING PARADISE

WHY YOU WILL LOVE A WINGFOILING HOLIDAY TO CABARETE

  • Steady tradewinds
  • Warm water
  • Warm air
  • Friendly Caribbean vibes
  • Easy to get to
  • Budget friendly
  • Good for all levels
  • Variety of other sports
  • Stunning scenery

 

ABOUT SWELL

At Swell we have been providing active surf and kitesurfing holidays in the Caribbean since 2009, in 2021 we added learn to wingfoil packages to our services.

BOUTIQUE SURF HOLIDAYS IN THE CARIBBEAN

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

 

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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WHAT TO PACK FOR A SURF HOLIDAY

take off surfing

PACKING FOR YOUR NEXT SURF DESTINATION

If you have just booked your surf vacation or surf camp and are a novice or beginner surfer, it’s a little daunting knowing what you need to bring along, especially if you have never surfed before. Even if you already have surf experience, this can act as a good surf holiday checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered before leaving home.

Some surf destinations will have a lot or some of the items we’ve listed below to save you lugging them from home, but often, especially if you are travelling to an island destination for your surf trip, some things can be quite costly on location so you will save some money if you include them in your surf camp packing list. How annoying it would be to wait to get to your surf camp only to find that an essential item you require on your surf vacation is not actually available or costs 3x more than at home!

Let’s start with the basics: What’s the weather like where you are going on your surf holiday?

Always check the water and air temperature where you are headed. If you are someone who feels the cold anyway (like, you’re always the one shivering when everyone else thinks it’s still quite warm out) be extra-prepared. The general advice is that if the water temperature is above 75ºF (24ºC) you won’t need a neoprene wetsuit, but if the temps are hovering between 70ºF (21ºC) and 75ºF (24ºC), you might feel more comfortable in what we call a ‘shorty’ (a neoprene wetsuit with short legs rather than a full wetsuit). Anything below 70ºF (21ºC) you definitely need a full wetsuit.

If you are coming to Swell between December and April and you do tend to feel the cold more, bring a shorty, a 1mm (or 2mm if you are extra-shivery) neoprene body suit as our water temperatures hover around 23/24ºC during those months. You definitely don’t need one between May and November when water temps are more like 28ºC/29ºC.

What do you need to wear when surfing?

This is one of those most common questions we get in our inbox at Swell. As a beginner surfer, your experience of surfers so far is probably only in magazines or movies; bronzed dudes in surf shorts and gorgeous tanned chicks in bikinis. Well, (and hopefully this news won’t disappoint you), lots of surfers don’t look at all like that. In fact, now we know so much more about the damage the sun does to our skin, most surfers over 30 are choosing to cover up.

TIP: It’s a good idea when packing your hand luggage to pack some essential items should your larger bags be delayed. Toothbrush and paste, travel-sized sunscreen, a spare T-shirt or two, underwear and something to swim in the ocean will all help you get through the first 24 hours should your bags not arrive with you.

Here’s what we recommend bringing to wear in the water during your surf vacation:

A surf cap: I wear an FCS surf cap with straps that come around your ears and fasten beneath the chin. Mine has an all-around brim like the one shown in the photo below and offers me excellent sun protection on my face.

surf hat

One of the reasons why we recommend a hat is because however well you put sunscreen on your face, you inevitably wipe your eyes and cheeks each time you fall off the surfboard and the protection your sunscreen offers inevitably wanes

 

Long leggings.surf packing list destination Surf leggings will protect you from rashes that the rough surface beginner surfboards have for grip. They will also protect your legs from being burned by the sun. I wear ones from Speedo, but they are also available from many other brands.

 

A one-piece swimsuit, or a bikini?

It’s really your preference. We get it that you probably want to get a tan on your surf holiday and do feel free to wear just a bikini and sunscreen whilst you are surfing if you are not having lessons with us. We do recommend a one-piece suit to avoid losing one or more essential parts of a bikini during a wipeout. As someone who once lost the bottom part of a bikini entirely once during a shore break wipeout in Barbados (you know, the ones we regularly see on Kookslams’ Instagram feed) a one-piece is a much safer bet. We don’t have any shore break in the Dominican Republic where we surf by the way.

A ‘Rashguard’ or ‘Lycra’

surf lycra

This is a top that you wear over your bikini or one-piece to protect you from the sun (and from rashes on your arms whilst paddling). The best ones are made with a fabric that is already Factor-50 sun-protection guaranteed, i.e. when you wear one, you don’t need sunscreen beneath. We strongly recommend the use of them whilst you surf and at Swell they are compulsory during lessons (but we provide them for you!). If you are not coming to us for your surf camp vacation, then check with your host whether they provide them for you, or if you have to buy your own. Ideally, they are tight-fitting as it’s easier to paddle without ‘flapping’ fabric around you. Our advice is to buy genuine ones from good, recognised brands like Quicksilver, Ripcurl, ONeill etc. as they will last much longer and offer genuine sun protection. The cheaper ones tend to be faked brands and the fabric stretches quickly, breaking up the surface and destroying the sun protection offered.

 

Surf or reef booties

Surf or reef booties are not necessary if you are surfing on sand (a beach break for example), but as most waves occur when a wave that has travelled across the ocean hits a reef protecting the shore, reef booties will help protect your feet from either sharper edges of rock or corals, or from things like sea urchins that have a nasty spine. We recommend a split-toe bootie like the one below from Quicksliver. 2mm is ideal. 1mm is not quite thick enough to repel the urchin’s spine and 3mm booties will then be a bit too stiff to surf in easily; that’s why we say 2mm is ideal.Sunscreen/Zinc.

Apart from your surfwear, the next item to bring on your surf vacation should be good quality sunscreen (assuming you are going to surf somewhere warm and sunny, like the Dominican Republic).

Sunscreens come in all levels of protection and whilst many purport to be waterproof, they often are not. Check the reviews of sunscreens and try and buy one that is manufactured for watersports rather than for someone who wants to tan and wade or swim gently in the sea. There’s a big difference (note our earlier comments about rubbing your eyes). We really like the Ambre Solaire Kids Factor 50 – not the spray, but the cream. I also use (on my face) Sunzapper Ultra because I find it can last me a full 2 to 3 hours in the water whilst surfing. Best of all, neither of these brands contains oxybenzone, a chemical that is known to damage coral reefs. A little pot of reef-friendly Zinc cream is also a good addition to pop in your bag – Zinc stays on even better than suncreams and is great for extra protection from sunburned lips.

A travel towel. The best ones are super lightweight travel towels made of microfiber, perfect for chucking into a backpack. And they dry quickly, usually just a few minutes in the sun is enough, so your bag won’t get soggy and heavy. They’re also great to sit on if your driver wants to keep the seats of their vehicle dry and as sand free as possible whilst you are driving back and forth to the beach. I always use mine to sit on, on my little scooter when I’ve finished surfing. It prevents me from sliding around on the seat whilst driving in wet clothes.

A changing poncho. These are towelling ‘mini-tents’ that you can put over your body whilst you change beneath, away from prying eyes. They are great, if not essential if you plan to change into ‘normal’ clothes straight after surfing and there is no changing room to hand.

An essentials medical kit. Whilst of course, we hope that you won’t have any injuries (thankfully it’s rare for people to get injured whilst surfing), inevitably at some stage during your surfing journey, you will have a scrape or a bump, so be prepared. We have our own medical kit at Swell, but nevertheless, travelling with your own little medical kit is smart. It can be small and really practical and should contain the following:

    • Iodine solution (for cleaning up a cut or scratch)
    • Cotton wool buds and cotton wool balls
    • Lint for dressing
    • Quality waterproof plasters
    • Emergency wound closures, like Micromend or Sterostrip
    • A sharp needle for removing foreign objects from your feet or other parts of the body.
    • Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and also a small tube (or tablets) of a product containing Aclovir. Aclovir is a cold sore remedy essential if you are unlucky enough to get those from too much sun exposure (it’s very common). Quick use of Aclovir can stop a cold sore before it breaks out.
    • An antibiotic powder or cream (for putting directly onto wounds).

That’s it, a small but really useful medical kit for surfers.

Surfing essentials

For beginner surfers, if you are travelling to a surf camp like Swell, usually, all the things listed below are automatically provided by your host teaching you to surf so you don’t need to bring any on your surf holiday. But, if you are not attending a surf camp, your host does not provide them, or you are surfing independently, here’s the list of surfboard/surfing-related items you would need to bring or buy at your destination:

A Surfboard: Do check the surf forecast to see if the surfboard you intend to bring is suitable for the expected surf conditions and ask for local advice if you are unsure. It can be better to rent so that you can change up your board depending on the conditions. Surfboards often get damaged in transit and are usually at least $100 USD each way on flights, so renting is often a smarter idea.

A Surfboard leash (and a spare one)

Surfboard fin set (don’t ever travel with your fins installed on your surfboard – always take them out and put them in a sleeve inside your surfboard bag).

Fin key (for putting in and taking the fins out)

Surfboard wax

Ding repair kit and/or an instant repair tape like Phix Doctor marine grade tape

 

Reusable water bottle. At Swell, we insist all our clients bring a reusable water bottle on their surf vacation. There’s no excuse now for using or buying plastic water bottles if there is a water supply that you can refill from. As you enter the surfing world, you will likely see first-hand the amount of plastic in our oceans 🙁

 

Travel insurance. I cannot tell you how many times we see in the surfing destinations we’ve lived in, a GO FUND ME page that has been set up for someone who has had an accident either surfing or more often, travelling around on a scooter for example but has no travel insurance to pay for their treatment. As a result, they are reduced to begging for help. Medical care is not usually free in any country in the World and it’s incredibly unwise to travel without an insurance policy in place. These policies are comparatively cheap to obtain and usually give a very high level of coverage for emergencies, including repatriation to your home country in case of anything really serious. These policies will also help you if you have delays or cancellations of your flights, lose items or have items stolen. Please, don’t be one of those people who think, ‘I’ll be ok’, because you just might not be: Spend the extra $50 to $100 USD to protect yourself. Use Google or your preferred search engine to search for ‘trip insurance’ ‘travel insurance’ or ‘vacation insurance’. Make sure that the policy you choose covers water sports (or doesn’t have exclusions for ‘extreme sports’ as surfing is sometimes classified). It’s a good idea to buy an annual policy if you are going to be making more than one trip in a calendar year.

 

Adaptors and chargers; For your adaptor, check the socket type of the destination you are headed to, or if you are not sure, buy one of the more expensive multi-socket adaptors that cover all socket types. Don’t forget your ‘phone charger!

Tip 

Check your data roaming policy from your ‘phone service provider. Does their data roaming cover where you are headed without incurring lots of extra fees? If their charges are going to be excessive, buy a local sim card as soon as you arrive at your destination: They are often sold in airport arrival areas. Using a local number can save you a fortune on roaming charges. Remember that apps like WhatsApp will still work even if you have a new SIM card with a different number in your ‘phone (just select ‘no’ if Whatsapp asks whether you wish to change the number registered to your Whatsapp account).

Final travel tips for your surf vacation

Check the validity of your passport before you book your vacation; when does it run out? How long will it take to renew, if necessary?
Check any visa requirements you might need for the country you are headed to. (Most nationals don’t need a visa for the Dominican Republic)
Check any compulsory or recommended immunisations you might need
Tell your bank you are travelling; most credit card providers have a travel advisory section where you can let them know it will be you using your card(s) in an unusual place. It will help prevent the rather embarrassing experience of not being able to pay for things!
If you are on medication, do you have enough for the length of time you will be away?

We think we’ve covered everything you need to bring on your surf vacation, but if you have any other tips we haven’t covered, do get in touch with us!

surf destination list

ABOUT SWELL SURF CAMP

At Swell we have been offering active watersport holidays since 2009. We offer high quality accommodation, tasty food and a social vibe for people of all ages. We offer surf lessons, kitesurfing lessons and Wingfoiling courses. Get in contact with Clare if you’d like to join Swell Surf camp

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AM I TOO OLD TO LEARN TO SURF?

am i too old to learn to surf?

WHAT IS THE PERFECT AGE TOO LEARN TO SURF?

Or: Am I too old to learn to surf?

Ah…….. this question. I promise it’s my favorite (and I get asked a lot of questions every week). I receive this particular one in my inbox at least once per week. Am I too old to start surfing? Will I fit in? It’s my favorite question because it’s the one I can answer with absolute surety because I’ve experienced it and I understand it, I get the doubt in the back of your mind. I’m 58 and began surfing at 52. My only regret is that I didn’t take up surfing even earlier in life.

too old to learn to surf
(That’s me surfing 2 years ago, ago 56)

We receive emails from people of 50, 60 and slightly less often of 70+ all asking the same thing about age and suitability. Surfing, after all, has a reputation for young dudes hasn’t it?

When we opened Swell in Cabarete, on the North coast of the Dominican Republic back in 2009, the first thing my husband and I noticed was that the people who were choosing our surf camp were older than we had been expecting. We had not even considered that there were this many ‘older’ people who wanted to learn to surf. It blew us away. Our website, in the beginning, was geared up to the audience we had been expecting, but as the ‘older’ surfers kept coming, we adapted, changed our website, and our mindset. Our average age at Swell is now 40; when you think about it, that means we have as many 50-year-olds as we do 30-year-olds. It’s pretty incredible and we are super proud of the fact that age is no barrier when you want to learn to surf. It just isn’t.

I’m pretty confident that you have heard the saying, 70 is the new 50. Whatever the age, it’s a fact that we are living much longer than a few decades ago. I’m no medical practitioner but I am 58 and I can see that being 70 years old is not far away. Barring a debilitating illness, I don’t see myself giving up my water sports any time soon. I began kiteboarding at 41, surfing at 52 and I’ve just started wingfoiling at 58. I’ll probably try the next new water sport that comes along, as long as my body lets me keep trying.

AM I TOO OLD TO LEARN TO SURF?

Let’s be really honest here, it’s definitely a bit harder on the body learning to surf at 50, 60 or 70+ than it is when you are learning to surf at 30 years old. But with good basic preparation and realistic expectations, it’s absolutely possible.

And if you have a desire to do it, then the health benefits are extraordinary. In fact, surfing is one of the best all-around fitness activities you can possibly undertake. It generally has low impact, it’s good for cardio, good for muscular strength (and let’s face it as we get older, our muscles can really benefit from being used more rather than less), and perhaps most importantly, it’s really good for the soul. I’ve left many a bad mood on the beach when I enter the water. Surfing has a tendency to connect you to nature and forget about all the other stuff. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling when you catch your first wave, even a little white water ride, it’s incredible and trust me, if you are 70+ it will probably give you more of a thrill than if you were 25.

So if you are someone who wants to ask the question, ‘I am too old to learn to surf?’ let me answer that here and now: No, you are not too old to learn to surf. Neither are you too old to ‘fit in’ with the surfing crew. As I answer every client who sends that question my way if you have the desire, it’s enough: It already puts you in the ‘crew’ before you’ve ridden your first surfboard. And, just as these wonderful Australian ladies in the video Taking Off demonstrate so well, it changes lives and always for the better.

NEED MORE INSPIRATION FOR LEARNING TO SURF AT AN ‘OLDER’ AGE?

Come and try it, regardless of your age. We look forward to teaching you how to surf and changing your life too! I’m on hand to answer any questions or doubts you might have about learning to surf as an ‘older’ person.

Clare, co-owner of Swell surf retreats

Sidenote: It’s not just surfing that you can learn later in life, I have also just started my first lessons in Wingfoiling, I will update you on that progress here too.

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JOB OPENINGS AT SWELL SURF CAMP

surf surf yoga retreat

Surf Camp Job Openings:

Surf Instructor Job

When:
Positions open for 2023 – 2024

Length:
Preferably 12 months, longer is possible and preferred

Position:
Surf instructors

Where:
Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Requirements for surf camp job in Cabarete, Dominican Republic:

  • Previous teaching experience & ideally ISA qualified
  • Fluent in english
  • Reliable
  • Social
  • Flexible

 

surf IMG 3754Swell has set whole new standards in accommodation and guest experience of surf camps.

Our place has a unique vibe and we have great clients, mostly professional people, who stay with us. The work can be 7 days a week when we are really busy but we have 3 coaches full time and normally between 6 and 12 people taking lessons at any one time.

Typical working day at Swell

  • Arrive at 6.45 to start going to the surf beach with the clients with the taxi Swell provides.
  • Surf lesson from 7 to 9 at our local surf beach
  • Back to Swell for home cooked breakfast
  • At 10.30 we go back to the surf beach for either a lesson or a guided surf session with the clients
  • 12.15 back to Swell
  • Instructors have the afternoon off: go surf, wingfoiling, kitesurfing or nap time.
  • Instructors are back at Swell at 17.00 for theory surf lessons or surf analysis.
  • Either dinner at Swell at 18.30 or when there is no dinner at Swell that evening instructors can go for their own dinner arrangements with or without clients.

If you read our Trip Advisor reviews, you will get a sense of how important the staff mixing with the clients is to the overall success of Swell.

Salary will vary dependent on skills offered and experience. Spanish is not essential but is an advantage.

Interested in working for Swell?
Fill out the form below, we get lots of interests from people, so double-check if your info is correct and up to date since incomplete applications will not be considered.

 

Incomplete forms, or applications not sent trough this form will not be taken in consideration.
For reference, average hours worked per week at Swell is 25
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

 

 

About Swell

We provide a quality surf holiday for surfers of all levels. The Surf & Yoga Holiday is a popular package where clients learn to surf and we teach Yoga in our garden 3 times a week.

The accommodation at Swell is of the highest standard found anywhere in the world for a surf camp. Stylish rooms and comfortable beds + AC and Fan and Ensuite bathroom

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THE 6 BEST SURF CAMPS FOR BEGINNERS

BEST SURF CAMPS FOR BEGINNERS

THE 6 BEST SURF CAMPS FOR BEGINNERS

In this article “6 best surf camps for beginners destinations”  we are going to explore some of the world’s best surf destinations for beginners.

Before we started Swell Surf Camp in the Caribbean in 2009 we operated a surf travel agency and that gave us the chance to visit over 25+ surf destinations to see what the surf conditions were like, so we had a pretty good idea of the different surfing conditions in the various surf destinations listed below.

beginner surf camp

But first, we need to have a look at what makes a good or best surf destination.

There is no such thing as one destination that ticks all the boxes. For one, someone who is in the early stages of their surf career is looking for a very different type of wave than a seasoned pro.

In this article, we focus on a region that has ideal learn-to-surf conditions for complete beginners.
We could have included more countries and regions on the list, but we have focussed on what we consider the best surf camp destinations.
Next month we will also feature 6 surf camp destinations for intermediate surfers.

BEST SURF CAMPS FOR BEGINNERS

EXPERIENCE LEVEL:

BETWEEN 0 AND 5 SURF SESSIONS.

BEST SURF CAMP DESTINATIONS  FOR BEGINNERS LEARNING TO SURF

best surf camp for beginners

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Dominican surf campWHERE IS IT LOCATED: Largest island In the Caribbean, the North coast faces the Atlantic, and the south coast faces the Caribbean.

 

GETTING THERE: Short direct flight from Miami or 3-hour flight from New York and Toronto. Charter flights from Europe

 

FOCUS SURF REGION: The north coast, 20 minutes from Puerto Plata International Airport.

LEARN TO SURF IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

dr learn to surf holiday

What makes it a great surf destination for beginners:
We are biased since this is where we opened Swell in 2009, but we did so for a reason: we wanted a place where we can teach people to surf in a safe way. Playa Encuentro is the ideal spot, it has 350 surfable days in the year, with mellow reform waves on the inside breaking over a flat reef, deep enough to stand in the water (around chest high), easy access to the beach, no dangerous current or sea life. We have taught 5000+ guests over 10 years the sport of surfing.
There is no dangerous sea life present, nor are there dangerous rips or currents present. All this makes it one of the best places for a learn-to-surf camp for beginners.

BEST TIME TO GO:  Any time of the year

More info: See this website

PROS

  • Pretty white sand beaches, lined with palm trees.
  • Friendly Caribbean vibes, in and out of the water.
  • Budget-friendly
  • Year-round surf destination
  • Lots of alternative activities and sports
  • No need to rent a car
  • Close to an international airport
  • Warm tropical climate and water

VIDEO OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC


beginner surf campMore info about the beginner surf camps Swell offers here >>

SURFING COSTA RICA

 

surf costa rica surf camp

Where is it located: In the middle of Central America. 2 coastlines, the West coast faces the Pacific, and the east coast faces the Caribbean

 

Focus surf region: Pacific region of Guanacaste

 

 

What makes Costa Rica a great surf destination for beginners:
We have spent a lot of time in Costa Rica between 2014 and 2017. The waves in Nosara and Tamarindo offer a great playground for people new to the sport of surfing, and there are plenty of surf schools and surf camps in this area of Costa Rica.
Mostly sand bottom beach breaks make learning to surf in Costa Rica safe.

Best time to go: Smaller waves between November and March

costa rica surf camp

PROS

  • Safe country to visit in Central America
  • Plenty of surf camps and surf schools to choose from
  • Pretty beaches and wildlife

CONS

  • The most expensive country to visit in the region, expect North American prices
  • Domestic travel from San Jose international airport takes time and money
  • Busy in the surf

BALI, INDONESIA

surf bali surf camp
Where is it located: Southeast Asia, northwest of Australia, Indonesia consists of 17,500 islands, of which Bali is one of them.

 

Focus surf region: West coast of Bali, between Seminyak in the north to Uluwatu in the south

 

 

 

What makes Bali one of the best surf camp destinations for beginners:
Having lived in Bali for 6 years, we the owners of Swell, decided to open a Bali surf camp in 2020. We quickly realized that after Corona and Bali re-opening in 2022, that the surfing beaches have now gotten too crowded for us to teach our students the sport of surfing in a safe and fun way, we closed the doors on our Bali Surf Camp in 2023

bali surf camps

 

Best time to go:  Any time of the year.

PROS

  • Close to Denpasar international airport
  • Budget-friendly
  • Great Balinese culture
  • Warm tropical climate and water

 

CONS

  • Kuta region traffic can be a nightmare
  • Very busy surfing beaches in the Kuta and Uluwatu area
  • Unregulated surf instructors and surf schools make for dangerous learning for beginning surfers
  • Air travel from Europe and North America is lengthy, although once landed at Bali it is a short trip to the surf beaches.

PORTUGAL

 

portugal surf destinationWhere is it located: Southwest corner of Europe, bordering Spain to the east.

 

Focus surf region: South Western tip of the Algarve and Alentejo

 

What makes Portugal one of the best surf destinations for beginners:
A mild climate makes Portugal a great place to visit for about 9 months of the year where the outside air temperature is  20° Celcius (69° Fahrenheit). Lots of open beach breaks mean there are not many days where the surf is too small to learn surfing.
A large variety of surf camps in schools cater for people between 18 and 24 years old.

Most teaching is done by qualified surf instructors

learn to surf in portugal

More info: coming soon

 

PROS

  • Lots of budget hostel-style surf camps  in Portugal to choose from
  • European culture

CONS

  • For most of the year, you have to wear a full wetsuit since the water is chilly
  • In the summer months of July and August, the beaches get very crowded

CORNWALL, ENGLAND

 

england surf school

Where is it located: SW tip of England.

 

Focus surf region: Cornwall

 

What makes Cornwall a great place for learning to surf
Cornwall has some of the most stunning beaches and coves in England ( and even Europe). Being well exposed to the Atlantic Ocean means that Cornwall gets plenty of waves. White sandy beaches make it a great place for your first surf lessons.

 

surf school cornwall

One of the surf school companies that we can highly recommend is Cornish Wave. Owned and operated by Jorrin, who also worked at Swell for a winter.

Highly professional, knowledgeable and friendly!

PROS

  • Stunning scenery
  • Sandy beaches
  • Friendly locals

CONS

  • Expensive destination
  • Busy in the European summer months

Video of Cornwall

 

AUSTRALIA, BYRON BAY

 

top surf camps

Where is it located: Easter tip of Australia

 

Focus surf region: North coast of NSW

 

What makes Byron Bay a great place for learning to surf?

Byron Bay has stunning white sandy beaches with a large variety of different surf breaks. There are a good amount of different surf schools to choose from. And if you are between 20 and 30 years old there’s a variety of different hostels/backpackers to choose from. If you want private accommodation, there are some very good hotels.

best surf camps

 

PROS

  • Sandy beaches
  • variety of different surf spots
  • Great beach culture

CONS

  • Busy year round
  • has gotten very expensive in recent years

 

We hope you enjoyed our “Best Surf Camp For Beginners” list. Next month we are focussing on surf camp destinations for intermediate and advanced surfers.
best beginner surf camp

If you have any questions about this article and want to join us in the Dominican Republic for a unique surf holiday:  do send us a message!

best beginner surf camp

 

 

 

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LEARNING WINGFOILING

surf wingsurfer

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINGFOILING

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WINGFOILING

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS WINGFOILING?

Wingfoiling (also called wingsurfing or winging) is an exciting new watersport that is quickly gaining traction among water sports enthusiasts. It is a combination of surfing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing, with the addition of a large inflatable wing.

Unlike other watersports, Wingfoiling does not require the rider’s board to be in constant contact with the water’s surface while using their body weight to control the speed and direction of the board. This makes it an exciting and unique way to explore the ocean or any body of water.

With its fast learning curve and accessibility, Wingfoiling has become a popular alternative for those looking for an adrenaline rush or just something different from traditional watersports. Many people coming into the sport of wingfoiling come from a background of kitesurfing, windsurfing or surfing. The feeling of riding on a foil can be best be described as hovering over the water on a magic carpet.

learn wingfoiling

LEARNING WINGFOILING

WINGFOILING GEAR: WHAT DO YOU NEED

Wingfoiling is an exciting new sport that requires the right gear and preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here we break down the gear that is needed to get you into Wingfoiling

-1- THE WING

This is the part you hold in your hand.

wing wingsurfing

When it comes to wings, it’s important to understand exactly how they work and how much power they need in order to get up on the foil. Generally speaking, if you’re a beginner, you’ll want to start with a bigger wing in lighter winds. For someone up to 70kg or 155lbs, go for a 4m version and if you’re heavier than that, opt for the 5m variant. Other factors to consider when choosing a wing include its handles (soft vs hard) and leash attachment (on your wrist or waist). The best way to decide is by demoing different wings so that you can find the right setup for you!

The Wing is inflatable and has an inner tube. Inflating the wing is done quickly with a kite pump via 1 valve. Defalting and packing up the wing takes 2 minutes and they roll up into the size of a normal backpack, which makes them easy to travel with. To prevent you from losing your wing when you fall, the wing is attached to your wrist with a leash. Manufacturers make different size wings varying in sizes from 3 m2(square meter surface area) to 8 m2. The wings have a good variety of wind ranges so 1 wing size will do for most people. Popular brands are Naish, Cabrinha, Fone and Neil Pryde and all have their background in either windsurfing or kitesurfing.

Prices of wings start at 600USD to 1000USD new.

-2- THE BOARD

wingfoil board

When you are learning the sport of Wingsurfing you will want a board with plenty of volume (measured in liters) to give you heaps of stability. So when you are learning wingsurfing you’ll be on a board with 120 to 140 liters of volume, the board will be wide and thick

Some wingschools give their first lessons on Stand up Paddle boards with a regular surf fin, without a foil under neath.

Most boards have large EVA deckpads to give your feet grip and might have inserts to attach footstraps. Footstraps are generally not used for beginners.

Advacnced Wingsurfers can use a smaller board with less volume (Between 35 and 65 Liters)

The board will be attached to you with a leash that goes to either your feet or your waist.

Prices of wingfoil boards start at 500USD to 1500USD new.

-3- THE FOIL

surf foil

This is where the magic happens!

Basically a surf foil is the water version of the wings of an airplane, with an airplane the fast air that hits the front wing gives it upward lift. the smaller rear wing balances that lift downward so it becomes stable. With surf foils exactly the same principle applies. The front and back wing start engaging in lift when water hits the wings at a certain speed

Terminology of the different parts of the foil

Mast: Usually around 70 cm in lenght

Fuselage: Connects the mast with the front and rear wing

Front wing: Provides the upward lift

Rear wing (also called stabiliser): Stablises the wing and is a lot smaller than the front wing

Materials used in the foils: there are 2 different materials used in the construction of a foil for surf or wingfoiling: carbaon and aluminium. carbon is the more epxensive of the 2, because it requirers less maintenance ( no oxidation) and is stiffer at a lower weight. Aluminium is more budget friendly but because they are less stiff, means lower responsiveness. Some companies make a combination of the 2 materials: an Aluminium mast and Carbon wings and fuselage.

Popular brands are: Naish, Armstrong and Axis Foils

Prices alu foils: between $800 and $1500 USD New

Prices full carbon foils: between $1800 and $2500 USD New

Prices alu / carbon foils: between $1200 and $2200 USD New

-4- SAFETY GEAR

Wingfoiling is a safe sport, ones of the reasons wingfoiling is so accesible to people of different ages and abilities is to instantly ‘depower’ the wing. Meaning you let go of the wing and the power is immediatly reduced to zer, reducing the chance of injury. With kitesurfing you are more attached to the kite and if something goes wrong a safety mechanism has to be activated to release the power.

The part that is the most harmfull in wingfoiling, or any kind of foiling is, you guessed it, the foil. Knocking any body parts against the sometimes sharp-ish edges can result in a bruise or a scratch.

that is why people wear a helmet and an impact / flotation vest when learning to wingfoil, and even advanced and expert riders wear these.

LEARNING WINGFOILING

One of the reasons wingsurfing is now one of the fastest-growing watersports is that the sport is accessible to most people between 10 and 70 years old. Prior watersport experience is not required. Another reason for the popularity is that progress is very quick, people can go from zero (no experience) to hero (riding upwind on foil ) in days. Here at Swell we have taught people wingsurfing with no experience and they were confident on foil in 3 days with around 6 hours of lessons.

WINGFOIL LESSONS

Here’s an example schedule of what you can expect when learning wingfoiling

DAY 1: Brief introduction on terminology followed by beach practise with the wing (1,5 hours) followed by 1 hour on a large board getting comfortable with the wing

DAY 2: Learning to stand up on the board and using the wing to sail out and come back to shore.

DAY 3: Getting enough speed standing on the board to start engaging the foil. First short ‘flights’ on foil.

DAY 4: Getting longer time on foil and start learning and using pumping techniques to get you on foil quicker.

learn foiling

BEST WINGFOILING DESTINATIONS


Windfoiling can be domne at lots of places arround the world, you need wind and water

What are historically good wind surfing and kitesurfing destinations also make for good wingfoiling destinations

What does a destination have to offer to make a good wingfoiling destination:

– A large area of open water (minimum depth around 1 meter or 3′). Lakes, rivers, or open oceans.

– Stable Winds (minimum wind of 10 knots or 3 Beaufort), ideally side or side onshore winds.

– Sandy shore to start from.

TOP WINGFOILING DESTINATIONS


Maui, Hawaii

Canary islands, Spain

Australia

Cabarete, Dominican Republic

One of the reasons that Cabarete, the Dominican Republic is so popular for people learning wingfoiling is that we have the ideal conditions: For beginners the wind is usually light of around 8 to 12 knots between 11 in the morning and 13.00. After that the wind picks up to 16 to 18 knots which makes it perfect for the next stages of your wingfoiling progression.

ADVANCED WINGFOILING IN CABARETE

Already know how to wingsurf? Cabarete offers worldclass conditions for advanced and expert riders: the gentle rolling waves at the outer reef at Cabarete Bay are ideal to de-power the wing and hone your surf foiling skills.

Rides of over 100 meters long are easily possible

Doing a downwinder from Cabarete to Encuentro the surfing beach is also a great way of exploring the stunning scenery along the north coast of the Dominican Republic

VARIATIONS OF WING SPORTS

The wingsport is not just for foilers to enjoy, since the sport started several years ago variations have already popped up.

learn wingfoiling sports

Snow wing, Ice wing, Skate Wing, SUP Wing

So you can keep practising and enjoying your wing even if the season doesn’t allow you to go on the water.

Getting into wingfoiling is also a great entry into other aspects of foiling such as SUP Foil, Surf Foil and even Kite and Windsurf foiling.

ABOUT SWELL AND WINGFOILING

In 2022 we started offering learn to wingfoil packages to Swell clients, and it has been received with great enthousiasm from our clients. Many do the learn to surf course in the morning and learn wingfoiling in the afternoon.

At Swell we have been open since 2009 teaching 1000’s of people the sport of surfing, with our learn to surf & yoga Retreats.

WINGFOILING IN CABARETE VIDEO

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KITESURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

KITESURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

KITESURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

kiteboarding dominican republic

It’s not just the surfing that is top class in Cabarete, in this updated 2022 Kitesurfing Dominican Republic guide you will find info on where and when to go, as well as all other relevant kiteboarding info to plan your kitesurfing holiday to the Dominican Republic with ease.

In case you are fed up with kiteboarding in a wet suit, come to the warm waters of the Caribbean, where you will be able to kiteboard in board shorts or a bikini!

What you will find in this kiteboarding guide:

Quick facts

Name:  República Dominicana (English: Dominican Republic, not the same as  Dominica which is a different island in the Caribbean)
Capital:  Santo Domingo
Location:  Caribbean region
Lat / Lon:  19°00′N 70°40′W
Currency:  Dominican peso
Language: Spanish
Coastline: 800 Miles / 1288 KM

WHY THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AS A KITESURF DESTINATION?

If you are looking for a kitesurfing (or kiteboarding) destination for your next holiday, you should definitely consider putting the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic on your short list of places to go
If you don’t want to read the entire article below, let us quickly give you 10 reasons why to choose Cabarete for your kitesurfing vacation:

  1. Super-steady, safe, side-onshore trade winds.
  2. Wide sandy beaches.
  3. Warm air and water temperatures.
  4. Lots of facilities (kite schools, kite rentals and kiteboard shops).
  5. Easy to get to.
  6. Lots of other activities to do other than kiting
  7. Variety of kite spots (flat water, waves, down winders)
  8. Leave the wet-suit behind and kite in board-shorts or bikinis
  9. Amazing choice of restaurants and bars on and off the beach
  10. Always a party to be had (if you want one)

THE BEST KITESURFING SPOTS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

There are many different kitesurfing beaches in the Dominican Republic, but the one area that really stands out is the Cabarete area on the North coast of the Dominican Republic. Cabarete is easily reached from Puerto Plata airport (POP) and is a short 25-minute car drive.

Dominican republic kitesurf spot map

The Kitesurfing spots in the Cabarete area:
(from East to West)

LA BOCA

La Boca is a lagoon at the end of the river Yassica. It’s not a huge area, but because of this, the water at the river mouth is butter smooth, ideal for freestyle kitesurfers to practice their moves. There are some basic facilities at La Boca, restaurants and small shops for some drinks and food.
Video: Luis Alberto Cruz, (nephew of Sipriana, Swell’s longest-serving staff member) kitesurfing at La Boca

Conditions: Super-flat water
Good for: Kitesurfers who love flat water for Freestyle moves
Level: Intermediate and Experts
Watch out for: After rain, there could be some floating wood logs & getting tangled with other kiters in a small area is always a risk.
Getting there: Take a car or moto-taxi from Cabarete; 15 minutes East
Tips: Don’t forget to bring a kite pump.  Kiteboard downwind back to Cabarete

CABARETE BAY / BOZO BEACH / LA GOLETTA

Cabarete’s main beach has several different sections: The up-wind part (East) is Cabarete’s windsurf area, but some kitesurfers venture there too, (although you might get the stink-eye from the rather territorial windsurfers). If you get too close to the windsurf schools, your kite might fall out of the sky because there’s a wind shadow (no steady wind) close to the beach.

The next part of the beach is called Bozo beach and this starts around the Ocean One & Ocean Dream developments. The wind shadow stops here, so you will find steady trade winds from here, all the way West.
200-300 meters west of Bozo is where Goleta beach starts, with reasonable flat water inside the reef and fun waves on the reef for wave kiters.

Conditions: Flat water with semi chop inside the reef, good waves on the reef
Good for: There’s something for everyone
Level: Beginners, Intermediate and Experts
Watch out for: Some shallow parts on the reef and at times (mostly Feb, March and April) there’s a heavy shore break at Bozo beach
Getting there: Right in the center of Cabarete (a couple of minutes walk from Swell)
Tip: Ride downwind to kitebeach from Cabarete Bay, a few tacks up wind and you’re back where you started.

CABARETE KITEBEACH

World-famous Cabarete kite beach is just a few minutes ride (or 15 minutes walk along the beach from Cabarete main beach) from Swell. What makes Cabarete Kitebeach such a popular spot?  It’s because Cabarete Kitebeach has something to offer for every kiter of every level. Flatwater, good waves & steady trade winds are why many of the world’s best kitesurfers call kitebeach their home kite spot.

Conditions: Flat water – semi chop inside the reef, good waves on the reef
Good for: There’s something for everyone
Level: Beginners, Intermediate and Experts
Watch out for: In Summer time seasonal erosion makes the beach smaller
Getting there: Short motor  ride from Cabarete or walk West for 20 minutes from Bozo Beach
Tip: Good food and vibes at KiteClub Cabarete

PLAYA ENCUENTRO

Playa Encuentro is the top surfing spot in the Dominican Republic, ultra-consistent with waves year-round make it a favourite for the surfers. But it’s not just the surfers who love Playa Encuentro, as at around 2 in the afternoon, the wind picks up enough for the kitesurfers who also flock to this spot. This spot is ideal for kitesurfers who like to ride good waves with surfboards. Many kitesurfers will do a “downwinder” from Cabarete bay or Kitebeach, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy good waves all along the coast.

Conditions: Waves
Good for: Wave riders
Level: Intermediate and Experts
Watch out for: Landing your kite is not easy, you might have to stand in the water (beware of sea urchins).  Don’t drop your kite when doing a downwinder from Cabarete, there are rocky spots without a beach for getting out of the water.
Tip: Go with a friend & landing is likely to be easier on a patch of sand just West of the main peak at Playa Encuentro

Wind and weather for Kitesurfing Dominican Republic

The winds that make Cabarete such a world-class kite surf destination are the steady Caribbean trade winds. Created by thermals around the equator, they generally start picking up in the afternoon and reach maximum strength by around 3pm in the afternoon. Normally winds are between 18 and 22 knots side-on-shore which is widely regarded as the most ideal wind for kitesurfing. The wind accelerates along the coast and reaches maximum strength at Cabarete.

Tip: Check sites like windy.tv and windguru Cabarete for accurate wind conditions in Cabarete (keep in mind that the forecasts usually shows 4-6 knots less than actual wind strength, since they don’t take the thermal effect along the coast into consideration)

There is no distinct on or off-season for kitesurfing in Cabarete, any month of the year can provide over 20 to 25 days of windy days in a month. However, there are certain months where the likelihood of wind is greater than other months.

WHEN TO GO ON A KITESURFING HOLIDAY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?

Below is an indication of what to expect as far as windy days at certain times of the year for a kite or windsurf holiday to Cabarete

Best Months:
June, July & August
(Average of 20 to 25 days with 14+ knots of wind)

Good alternatives: 
January, February, March, April, May and December
(Average of 12 to 15 days of 14+ knots of wind).

So So months:
September, October & November
(Average of 5 to 12 days of 14+ knots of wind).

CABARETE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC KITESURFING VIDEO


Let local kitesurf pro show you why Cabarete is still one of the best kite surf destinations in the world

One of the best things about the Dominican Republic is that it’s hard not to have a good time when you are looking for an active holiday, so when there’s a day without wind:  go surfing as the waves will be good, or take an adventure trip Canyoning.

Where to stay for a Dominican Kiteboard holiday?

Ok, surf swell kite campwe are going to be biased here ( look at the URL in your browser), even though we are called Swell Surf Camp, we get loads of kitesurfers (or people learning to kitesurf ) staying with us at Swell.

Why? Because they appreciate the communal & social vibe we provide. We eat breakfasts and dinners together, so you will not be staying in your room by yourself whilst on your holiday.

If you stay at Swell, you are guaranteed to meet new people.  You can kitesurf together, go on a day trip Canyoning or take a few learn-to-surf lessons with us.
We can book your kitesurf lessons for you, from complete beginners learn to kite courses, to someone who is looking for advanced kite surf lessons such as wave riding, jumping, learning to ride strapless or foiling.

CABARETE KITESURFING SCHOOLS AND LESSONS

So if you have decided to give the exciting sport of kitesurfing a try, have done your research, and have come to the conclusion that Cabarete is one of the best kitesurf destinations in the world; you’ve made a smart choice! Now you need to find the right kitesurf school in Cabarete. There are 2 choices: Contact us and we can prepare you with a stay and learn to kite package holiday with one of the 2 best schools in Cabarete, or you can contact the schools directly (by the way, we don’t charge extra for arranging your kite lessons).

Choice of kiteboard schools in Cabarete:
kitesurf school cabareteThere are at least a dozen or more kite surf schools in Cabarete, some are well established and very good, and some are, well not so. There are price differences too; but do keep in mind that kitesurfing is not a cheap sport, the lessons are not cheap and neither is the equipment.

Swell deals with Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding school (LEK), located at Cabarete beach, and with KiteClub at Cabarete Kitebeach. Both are very well-known and 2 of the most established, professionally run schools in Cabarete, neither of them are the cheapest kite schools, but what you will get with them is:

  • Qualified kitesurf instructors.
  • Top quality kite equipment during your lessons.
  • Helmets and impact vests during lessons.
  • A structured and organized lesson structure.

As said above, they are not the cheapest schools in Cabarete (per hour) however it might still work out cheaper having lessons with them versus another school or individual, here’s why:
Progress during your kite lessons will most likely be quicker (and safer) when taught by a very experienced kite instructor, using the right equipment (a choice of kite sizes) than when you get taught by an individual who uses old kites that repeatedly break or don’t fly properly (a badly flying kite is seriously dangerous)
Tip: Don’t just ask your mate to teach you kitesurfing, it will be most likely be unsafe and the quickest way to wreck his kite (or your skull). Also, private teaching by individuals not affiliated with a licensed kite school is banned for safety reasons on Cabarete beaches.

KITESURFING GEAR

There are several kiteboard shops in Cabarete that sell new kites, kiteboard and kiteboarding accessories.  Also, most of the better schools will have a good collection of new and used kites for sale as they update their equipment regularly.
Prices: Expect to pay between $500 and $700 for a good used kite and kite bar, $800 to $1100 for a new kite and bar.
A used kiteboard is around $200 to $400 and a new kiteboard is between $500 and $800 USD.  Tips for buying second-hand kiteboarding gear: When buying a second-hand kite, check that the valves are all functioning (blow up the kite and leave it for a while to eliminate any leaks).  Check also the condition of the fabric (repairs are fine when done well, but the material should be crisp and not generally soft and worn).  Check the bar and lines completely for frayed nylon.  Check the safety release system still works.

GETTING TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

flights dr
There are 4 major airports on the island and a couple of smaller ones too.  The Dominican Republic is actually located on Hispaniola, which is a BIG island; made up of 1/3 Haiti and 2/3 Dominican Republic.  It’s approximately 470km from Punta Cana in the far West to the Haitian Border in the East (that’s a 7 hour + drive).  

If you are planning on surfing the North coast, try to fly into Puerto Plata (airport code POP).  The 2nd best option is Santiago Los Caballeros (STI) and the 3rd best is Santo Domingo (SDQ).  Flying to Punta Cana might be cheap (lots of cheap charter flights go there to ferry people to the many all-inclusive hotels lining the coast) but it’s not a viable entry point if you want to surf.  Punta Cana is all about white sand beaches and all-inclusive; there’s no ‘real’ Dominican culture close by. 


American Airlines, Jet Blue, United, Air Canada, West Jet are just some of the flights arriving into POP, STI and SDQ.  There are also charter flights arriving daily from Europe.  You can see more flight suggestions on
 this page.

GETTING AROUND

There are also Moto-taxis, which are small motorbikes costing (generally speaking) 50 to 100 pesos (just over one or two US dollars) for around 5km.  You will frequently hear the ‘ssssssssttt’ from a passing driver offering you a ride.  Be careful of the safety of these bikes and watch for very serious burns to your calf (commonly known as ‘the Dominican Tattoo’) from the exhaust pipe.  It’s a terrible way to start your surf vacation and will take weeks to heal.  It’s not unknown for these guys to double up as drug dealers or pimps, so beware.

Car rental is cheap but driving in the Dominican Republic is not for the faint-hearted.  Dominicans have a rather laissez-faire attitude towards driving, so always expect the unexpected (people coming out of junctions without looking, or driving on the wrong side of the road), don’t drive fast, never drive under the influence and you should stay safe. 

Keep your eyes open and your mirrors tuned, especially for the motos, as they will approach at speed from all directions.  A Sat Nav is a good idea for longer journeys as good sign posts are a rarity.  If you are involved in an accident, stay in your vehicle if it is safe to do so and call your insurance company.  Dominicans can tend to flock to an accident, especially if a local person is injured, and it can be intimidating.
If you rent a motorbike, wear a helmet; it’s not only the law, but in a country with a very poor R.T.A. record, it may just save your life.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AND VISA

Generally speaking, the Dominican Republic is a visa-free country to visit.  Very few nationalities require a visa to enter this Caribbean island.  The majority of nationalities though will need to purchase a Tourist Card upon entry at Puerto Plata (airport code POP), or any of the other airports of the Dominican Republic

The Tourist Card costs $10 USD and is valid for 30 days entry.  You need to pay for the card in USD only.  Some countries are exempt from this and I’ve provided a link below to check whether your country of origin requires a visa, a Tourist Card or neither.  Generally speaking, Americans, Canadians and Europeans don’t need a visa, but do require the Tourist Card.
http://www.dominicanrepublic.com/dominican-republic-visa-2/

MEDICAL INFORMATION BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

So most of the medical-related websites, such as the CDC for example, will give you blanket advice about vaccinations required and list all medical risks.  The truth is that region to region, the risks vary considerably and some risks mentioned on these websites are not much of a risk at all.
Malaria is practically non-existent in the Dominican Republic with the last reported case in 2011.  The Zika virus; again, although it is reported there have been cases in the Dominican Republic, these have been centred in Santo Domingo, the capital city, located on the south coast, which is about 4 hours by road from Cabarete on the North Coast.   

There are no recent reports of Zika on the North Coast at the time of writing.  The day time mosquito (Aedes) carries the worst diseases, including Dengue, so it’s obviously better to prevent being bitten at all.  Wear a good repellent containing DEET.  Windy coastal areas (like Cabarete) have far fewer mosquitos than inland on the island.
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended; Hep A can be caught from contaminated food or water and Hep B from sexual partners who are themselves contaminated, or even from getting a tattoo done.  If you feel you might be in either risk group, it could be a good idea to get these shots.

KITESURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC GALLERY

Top things to do in & around Cabarete, other than kiteboarding

  • Surfing
  • Canyoning
  • Party (lots of bars and clubs on the main beach of Cabarete)
  • Beachside dining
  • Stand up paddle surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Sunbathe
  • Visit Puerto Plata
  • Shopping
  • Sailing
  • Fishing
  • Snorkeling and diving

We hope you enjoyed this Kitesurfing Dominican Republic guide, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to send us over your questions or comments.  If you are interested in a kiteboarding holiday to Cabarete, or a surf holiday, by yourself, or with friends or family we’d also love to welcome you to Swell.

Here’s a sample kitesurfing package we can provide for you at Swell:

  • 7 night’s accommodation for one person in a shared room or a private room
  • our wonderful, daily breakfast
  • 4 home-cooked dinners at Swell (restaurants are right on our doorstep for when we are not cooking).
  • 8 hours of one-on-one kitesurfing instruction with an IKO-qualified kite instructor
  • round-trip Puerto Plata airport transfers included
  • free wifi in the communal areas
  • safe, complimentary drinking water
  • amazing communal vibe

The cost for this package, in a shared room, is $1199 USD and in a private room, is $1599 USD.

We hope to see you soon in Cabarete, the Kiteboard capital of the Caribbean!

SEE WHAT SWELL IS ALL ABOUT

WANT TO STAY IN A COOL PLACE WITH FELLOW KITESURFERS AND SURFERS?

Have a look at our kite surf and surf accommodation in Cabarete by Swell Surf Camp

Dominican republic kitesurf spot map

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LEARN TO SURF AT 50

learning to surf at an older age

 LEARN TO SURF AT THE AGE OF 50?

If you are over 50 and considering learning to surf, you might be concerned that you’re too late to the game.

The fact that you will struggle to master the necessary skills, that you will appear foolish, and that all of the other younger, fitter surfers would laugh at your inexperience and slowness and ignore you, are all reasonable concerns.

This, however, is not the case.

surfing green waves

LEARNING TO SURF AT AN ‘OLDER’ AGE

Is it possible to learn to surf at the age of 50? Or Older?
Yes, as long as you have a reasonable level of physical fitness and flexibility. Learning to surf is primarily a matter of persistence, so if you’re ready to keep trying, you can learn to surf at that age.

Consider signing up for a beginner’s surf lesson, getting in shape, improving your swimming skills, selecting the perfect surfboard, and avoiding comparing yourself to others if you’re over 50 and want to learn to surf. You’ll be out there enjoying those waves before you know it!

Surfing has no age restrictions, and it’s never too late to start (even if you’re past 50!)

SURFING IS  A GREAT WAY TO:

  • Keep in shape,
  • Improve your mood,
  • Push yourself,
  • Feel younger for longer.
  • Meet new people

This comprehensive guide will help you learn to surf at 50. It has been compiled to answer your questions and provide support along the process. I’ll go over some of the advantages of this enjoyable outdoor activity and provide a step-by-step tutorial to get you started.

Tips on how to learn to surf aged  50 years or older.

learn to surf at 50

1. WORK ON YOUR FITNESS

Surfing is physically hard at any age, but especially so as you become older.

You’ll need to use your entire body to manage your weight as you paddle out, pop up on your board, and ride those waves. You’ll also be out for extended periods, so you’ll need plenty of stamina to be safe.

As a result, you should begin by increasing your physical activity and improving your fitness. The more physically fit you are, the easier it will be to learn to surf.

To be clear, you don’t need to be in marathon shape when you’re initially learning, but every little bit helps. Here are some suggestions:

Improve your cardiovascular fitness. Take long walks, begin running, ride your bike, or even run around with your children.

Put a premium on functional strength. If you want to keep control, you’ll need good core strength and good arm power for paddling.

Keep in mind to stretch. Stretching, flexibility, and balance should be part of your daily routine to avoid injury and improve your surfing skills.

Most of these surfing workouts may be done from the convenience of your own home. Simply go to YouTube, and you’ll find a plethora of online workouts that will help you get in shape quickly.
Read this article on surf fitness to get started.

2. TAKE SURF LESSON

While you can certainly teach yourself to surf, it’s so much easier and progress a lot quicker when you use the help of a local surf school or surf camp.

For beginners aged 50 and up, these can be invaluable because they give you confidence in your developing talents while also assisting you in improving your technique. You’ll also learn the proper surf ethics and gain a deeper understanding of the water.

SURFING AT AN OLDER AGE

3. IMPROVE YOUR SWIMMING ABILITIES.

If you don’t know how to swim, turn off your computer right now and enrol in some swimming classes. Seriously! If you’re not a great swimmer, there’s no way you’ll be able to stay safe in the ocean.

It is essential to keep in mind that the water is a massive force.

Because waves and currents can be powerful, and sea conditions can change in the blink of an eye, putting you in danger, knowing how to swim is essential. You must be capable enough to look after yourself and get to safety.

Because you’ll be starting in relatively shallow water, you don’t need to be a particularly great swimmer to begin. It is, nevertheless, necessary if you wish to proceed beyond the beginning stage.

Swimming in the ocean as much as possible will help you become a better swimmer. This will provide more authentic conditions than simply going to your local pool, and it will give you more confidence in ‘wild swimming.’

learn to surf at an older age

4. SELECT THE APPROPRIATE BOARD FOR LEARNING TO SURF

When you first begin, make sure you select the appropriate surfboard for a beginner like yourself.

Look for longer, thicker, and wider boards because they provide the most stability and make learning easier. Surfing beyond 40 or 50 is best learned on larger boards like 9 feet + beginner soft top surfboards. More info on beginner surfboards is detailed in this article. 

Avoid smaller boards as much as possible; they are more difficult to manage and can lower your confidence when you first begin. Your local surf shop can assist you in determining the suitable size and shape of a surfboard for your needs and abilities.

5. DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS TO OTHER PEOPLE

I know it is easy to say so rather than act, but you must avoid comparing your surfing abilities to others.

So, what if you’re in a group surf session and someone in your class can show there in 5 minutes, but you’re still having trouble an hour later? Maybe he or she has already learned to surf and is just brushing up on their skills. Perhaps they’re naturally sporty, whereas you’ve spent the last few years lazing on the couch.

Everyone is on their own individual path.

If you want to feel proud of yourself instead of comparing yourself to others, remember that you came up and took the risk of learning to surf at a time when many others would not.

Concentrate on your own game, be proud of your drive and dedication, and work hard to reap the rewards.

If you haven’t already, take benefit of the opportunity to learn to surf. You’ll notice a variety of mental and physical health benefits as soon as you begin.

What are the advantages of learning to surf at the age of 50+?

Learning to surf will change your life for the better, especially if you are over 50 years old. Check out below a few of the reasons behind this:

1. Surfing is a terrific way to stay in shape while having a good time and no more sweating it out for hours on machines in a dark, dingy gym! You’ll be outside, feeling the rush, inhaling in the fresh air while also getting in shape. Awesome.

2. Surfing is a fantastic cardio workout. All of that paddling, popping up, and riding will get your blood pumping, your heart pumping, and your body in terrific form.

surfing holiday

3. Surfing is a fantastic chance to meet new people. When you’re over 50, it’s more difficult to expand your social group. On the other hand, Surfing makes you part of a close-knit group that will keep an eye on you and is there for you when you need it.

4. Surfing aids in the prevention of aches and pains. You will become stronger overall, your joints will become less achy, and you will become more flexible if you engage in regular exercise such as surfing. If you have to sit at your desk all day or have been groaning as you stand up recently, this is the perfect remedy!

5. Surfing is excellent for improving your coordination. When you learn to surf, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your motor skills. If you participate in other sports, this will pay off handsomely and help you age more gracefully.

6. Surfing is a fantastic way to improve your mood. All of that natural daylight exposure, fresh air, exercise, and community spirit will get your endorphins flowing, raise your mood, and, according to some studies, may even help to alleviate your depression and stress.

Don’t let your age stop you from learning to surf. The average age of clients at Swell on a learn to surf holiday is 38. This means we get plenty of people in their 50’s and 60’s that join us.

Want an example:

Clare, one of the owners of Swell Surf Camp was never very interested in learning to surf, then at 52 decided it was time to get in the water and learn surfing. Now she goes for a surf with her surf friends whenever she has a chance. This is Clare 3 years after  her first surf sessions, aged 56 (see the smile on her face)

surf learning to surf holiday

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for surf lessons at your local surf beach, or join us in the warm and mellow waves of the Dominican Republic for a life-changing surf & yoga retreat holiday

ABOUT SWELL

Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s people the basics of surfing.

BOUTIQUE SURF HOLIDAYS IN THE CARIBEAN

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

 

dr learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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