Kite & Surf Holiday


Summer season is upon us here in the Dominican Republic, which means the afternoon trade winds start blowing like clock work at around midday.

More and more people are interested in our learn to kitesurf packages.  We have created a package that incorporates the pleasant stay at Swell Surf camp in comfortable rooms, healthy fresh breakfasts, 4 dinners and kite surf lessons on Cabarete’s Bozo beach at the best kitesurf school in Cabarete. They have IKO qualified kite surf instructors working for them and teach with the latest 2015 kitesurf gear.

What else is new in Cabarete? The 2015 Cabarete kitesurfing world cup is taken off the agenda unfortunately due to logistical / organisational difficulties. It’s a real shame since for most of the kite surf pro’s Cabarete is their favorite PKRA stop on the world tour. Hopefully the world cup will be back next year for some spectacular action.



If you are interested in a Kite & Surf holiday in Cabarete this summer we have good news, we have drastically reduced our rates for the summer. Have a look on the pricing page, or send Clare a message to get a price and availability quote today.



190 Tripadvisor reviews, Frommers recommends Swell as one of the top 10 surf camps in the world, and Lonely Planet wrote the following about us:

We hope to welcome you in Cabarete soon

Interested in an active adventure holiday to the Caribbean? Have a look at this page

How about a Family Surf Holiday?

In the popular kids vacation weeks, christmass, summer holiday we are also open for familiy surf holidays to join Swell.
Ready to buy your first surfboard? read our guide on choosing your first surfboard

For those interested in learning to kitesurf on their caribbean, here’s a good starter guide

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surfing encuentro


We get a lot of questions via email from people that want to know how to get to us, so here’s more info on where Swell is and how to get here.



Any easy and quick way to check the various routes is via Kayak and

Keep in mind that not all airlines choose to display their routes via those sites. JetBlue, which has direct flights to Puerto Plata and Santiago from New York and Boston (thanks for the Swell surf camp mention Boston Globe)



The best (closest) airport to fly into is Puerto Plata (airport code POP). It`s only 25 minutes away from us with direct daily flights from New York (JetBlue and Continental airlines) or Miami (American Airlines). There are also a ton of charter flights that come in from all major airports in the US, Canada and Europe.  Transfers to and from POP are included in each package.  Another option is to fly into Santiago airport (airport code STI but make sure it`s Santiago de los Caballeros or you might end up in Chile).  Flying into STI adds $150 USD round trip to the transfers (this is per taxi, not per person). Santiago is a little bit further away, but still a very manageable 1 hour and 15 minutes by taxi. Flying into SDQ adds $365 USD round trip to the transfers (again, price is per taxi, not per person).



From / via New York, USA
If you come from New York or are flying via New York ( lots of Europeans do), Continental, JetBlue and United Airlines fly directly into Puerto Plata.  Check for their services into STI and SDQ too; they are often cheaper, but bear in mind the extra taxi costs noted above.

From / via Miami, USA:
American Airlines has a direct, short flight to Puerto Plata from Miami

From / via Toronto, Canada:
WestJet, Sunwing & Air Canada have direct flights to Puerto Plata from Toronto

From / via Montreal, Canada:
Sunwing & Air Canada have direct flights to Puerto Plata from Montreal

From / via the UK:
Thomsons has direct flights to Puerto Plata from both Gatwick and Manchester

From / via Amsterdam, The Netherlands:
Arkefly has a direct flight to Puerto Plata from Amsterdam

From / via Dusseldorf, Germany:
Airberlin has a direct flight to Puerto Plata from Dusseldorf and a couple of other German airports.

From / via Frankfurt, Germany:
Condor has a direct flight to Puerto Plata from Frankfurt

From / via Paris, France:
Air France has a direct flight to Santo Domingo (SDQ) from Paris

There are two more airports in the Dominican Republic; AZS (Samana) and PUJ (Punta Cana).  AZS has some limited services but is 2.5 hours from Cabarete.  Punta Cana has many flights, but we do not see this point of entry as viable as the journey by road to Cabarete is 7 hours each way. Use search engines like and – but bear in mind, some airlines, like Jet Blue, will not let their flights show on some ticket searching websites.

Need more help? send us a message and we will point you in the right direction.

Want to join us? have a look at the surf holiday packages we offer and contact us today.

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Surfing Cabarete




Cabarete was put on the map a few decades ago as a windsurfing spot, and it still is a very popular place in the Caribbean for windsports like sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. However Cabarete has more to offer than wind sports, it’s in fact the mornings where the trade winds are not present that surfing is the most popular sport for expats, local dominicans and tourist of all different surfing levels.

Ideal Conditions!


The Dominican Republic is not known for the biggest or longest waves in the world, but 1 feature that makes the DR such a popular spot for surfers is that it caters for 99% of the surfers: from complete beginners to experts surfers.
The other aspects that make Playa Encuentro such a unique surf spot is the consistency of the waves, we have no ‘off’ season, on 350 days per year there’s a surf able wave to be found at Playa Encuentro.



Playa Encuentro
Is about 4 km ( 2,5 miles) west of Cabarete. It’s the most consistent surf spot for surfers in the mornings,  several different surf spots for different surfing abilities. See More info about Surfing Cabarete on this page

The bottom is a flat limestone rock, reef, so we provide surf booties for our beginners. For forecasts check magicseaweed, windguru and the webcam at kitebeach for current conditions

Good surf spot for good surfers, if you don’t mind the distant paddle out, and the shallow reef with fire coral. Only good on North Swells. Bring a good leash.

Punchy beach break a few miles east of Cabarete, best in summer months, and when there’s zero wind.



What is the best equipment for surfing in Cabarete?
Standard shortboard or longboard will do, for winter months or hurricane season maybe bring something that can handle some bigger waves. For summer months bring a board with a bit of extra volume, so it floats you trough the flat sections.



We, the owners of Swell, are avid surfers ourselves, and love the variety of surf conditions that the Cabarete area brings. Reef breaks, beach breaks, offshore empty reefs, the North coast of the Dominican republic has something to offer for everyone. Are you interested in a surf holiday in the Dominican republic? Check out our surfing package holidays

More Info:
Kitesurfing in the Dominican Republic
Caribbean Surf & Yoga Holiday
Our accommodation

We hope to see you soon at our purpose built yoga and surf retreat

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Surf Season in Full Swing


Here in the Dominican Republic, the surf season is in full swing, we had a great xmass and new years with another full camp of people learning to surf.

The surf conditions at Encuentro have been very good so far in January.



Some days with sizable surf in the overhead + range, but also plenty of days with clean and glassy surf conditions in the 2-3 foot range, ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers at Playa Encuentro

Aaron, our ISA qualified head Surf coach has been taking lots of pictures for our clients, and his picture package (40 USD) is in high demand.



A new surf instructor has arrived.
A first for Swell: Charlie is the first qualified Surf instructor at Swell from New Zealand.

From the cool surf town of Ragland, he is a superb surfer with year of surf instruction under his belt.

Loves to play his acoustic guitar and is also up for a party in Cabarete once every while.

Here’s some picture of what’s been going on at the #1 Surf Camp in the Caribbean in the month of January
Interested in joining us in the Dominican Republic?
We have some spaces left fro February and March, so if you want to you Swell for an incredible surf holiday, send Clare an email today.

Want to learn to kitesurf in Cabarete, we offer that too. Want to see what other activities are on offer with Swell, have a look at this page. Interested in a Yoga Surf Camp holiday? We offer that too



  • Swell is the only purposely built surf camp in the Caribbean.
  • Swell is the only surf camp that employs qualified surf instructors.
  • We are located at the best location in town, close to bars and restaurant.
  • Best food
  • Clean, comfortable and stylish
  • But most of all, Swell has the best vibe!

See you soon

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What our guests say

surfing dominican republic

We at Swell have a love/hate relationship with Tripadvisor, what started out as a great idea: real reviews by real guests quickly got abused and turned into: Fake reviews by hotel owners. Swell has had a few fake reviews over the year from competitors. Since it’s hard to get a hold of anyone at Tripadvisor to talk to about these issues, we gave up on actively promoting tripadvisor and switched to   sites like  google + , or facebook.

The last few weeks we had some very nice reviews on tripadvisor from real guests like the one below.

SO, you’ve probably read tons of reviews already. I’m the kind of person that is incertain of ease of making friends easily with strangers, but I read so many reviews on Swell Surf Camp that I decided to give it a go.

First thing that happens when you land in Dominican Republic is that a cool driver waits with a paper with your name on it. Starts pretty nicely.

Then, you arrive at Swell and the lovely Haudy welcomes you and then the people that stays at Swell welcomes you. You unpack your stuff and grab a beer (if you’re like me).

Now starts the good part, the place is CLEAN, looks better than the pictures and people are super friendly. There will be at least one party person to be your drinking partner, that’s for sure.

On your first morning, you wake up super early, Michel the awesome taxi driver picks you up and trash talk with the surf instructors.

You end up on an awesome beach and then the dream begins. Learning surf is HARD. But other people want to learn and it’s the best atmosphere. Instructors are cool and will go party with you at night.

The free dinners are super awesome, and the free breakfast are pretty awesome too! Both cooks are lovely and will make your craziest meals made from eggs, ham and cheese. Try to beat my 8 different ones.

I made lifelong friends with people from USA, Canada, Switzerland, UK, Australia and even local Dominicans. It was my best trip ever and I’ve travelled A LOT.

Special mention to Norm who beat Brianna at pool, Ken who’s living the dream, Haudy who was the best, Moriah and Sadie who helped me become better at surfing, Aaron, Jack and Neno who made me a surfer, Elisa who was super cute, Selina who didn’t have facebook, Alex who bailed so hard and always stood up, Michele and Piera who were the cutest couple around, Ramone who made me the best domino player around, Cameron who was my Canadian drinking partner, Maja who we called MAHA !!! And all of those who I forget to mention who made this trip my best trip ever.

Oh and the rum is super cheap and doesn’t give hangovers, how couldn’t you like that place?[/quote]

Or another review from Steph, titled “Better than advertised”
[quote]I found Swell Surf Camp after looking for an all inclusive place where I could learn to surf. The best thing about Swell is that the accommodation is part of Swell, run by Swell, not a hostel or hotel that they have a pricing deal with. A very short walk in to Cabarete’s shops and bars right on the beach and a yummy local chicken BBQ place ($4 for dinner!). Everything is really well organised and everyone there is so friendly. The instructors join in breakfast and dinner with everyone and just make everyone feel part of the group. I am going back for my second trip this November and am waiting for their Costa Rica camp to open in the next year!![/quote]

Whilst we enjoy reading these experiences, since clearly these guests had a great time at Swell. We prefer that our guests spread the word via Facebook instead of Tripadvisor.

Enough of the Tripadvisor rant: we still have a few spaces open for September and October, so if you are interested in a learn to surf holiday , shoot us an email

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Learn To Surf Holiday


What’s new at Swell Surf Camp?
Summer is coming to an end in Cabarete, it’s been one of the best summer’s we have ever had. Superb wind for the kitesurfers and excellent waves for the surfers throughout the whole of the summer. Swell also had one of it’s busiest summers; most weeks were completely sold out, and as a result the social vibes have been great. Lots of parties, communal dinners at Swell or our in town.

surf holiday

Anyway, today I wanted to provide you with some background on our learn to surf holiday package.

Most of the clients that come to Swell have never surfed before and choose to Learn with us. Why? We are not the cheapest surf school in Cabarete, but most of our clients realise that you get what you pay for.

We set up a 7 day learn to surf course that takes place at Playa Encuentro. We use qualified surf instructors that speak English as their first language.

We use safe soft top boards for the first few days of lessons. We provide good surf booties and rash guards. Besides the lessons we gave on the beach, we also provide theory lessons at the camp for more background on topics such as:

  • Safety briefing
  • Where to sit in the line up
  • Rip currents ( there’s none at Encuentro but at most other surf spots around the world there are)
  • Surfer’s etiquette ( don’t drop in, priority rules etc.)
  • Board designs and accessories.
  • How waves are formed.

Most other  surf schools and surf camps just focus on 2-3 days of lessons to make sure that the client manages to stand up on a board at least once. At Swell we want to make sure that when you leave the Dominican Republic you can not only stand up on a surfboard, but continue your surfing career at your local beach in a safe and fun manner.



What does a normal surf day at Swell look like when you are on the learn to surf holiday

  • Get up at 6.30 for the first morning session.
  • Quick cup of fresh coffee
  • Taxi takes you from Swell to Playa Encuentro.
  • Surf lessons or session until 9 at Playa Encuentro.
  • taxi ride back to Swell
  • Delicious fresh cooked breakfast at Swell.
  • Relax for a bit.
  • Back to Playa Encuentro for a second surf session ( free surf with tips from the instructors)
  • 12.30 back to Swell
  • Chill
  • Grab a lunch in town ( our clients love Gordito’s Fresh Mexican across the road from us)
  • If the conditions are very good and glassy we might go back for another surf  for a sunset session.
  • Chill at Swell until dinner is served or go in town with the other clients for a nice bite to eat.
  • Maybe a few cold Presidente beers at one of the bars that’s within walking distance.
  • Back to Swell, good night sleep in comfortable beds.
  • Repeat

If the above sounds appealing to you, have a look at our learn to surf package prices here and shoot Clare a quick email to see if your dates are still available.

We look forward to welcoming you this autumn or winter for a unique one of a kind surf holiday.

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Kitesurfing Cabarete



Cabarete is known worldwide as one of the kitesurfing meccas in the world. Many of the past and current pros on the world tour call Cabarete their home for 6 or more months of the year.  Until 15 years ago, Cabarete was mostly known as the best place in the Caribbean for a windsurf holiday, but when kitesurfing started to take off in popularity around 2000-2001 many windsurfers converted to kitesurfing. Why? because kiteboarding is an exciting healthy watersport, and even though it looks like a difficult and dangerous sport, it is actually a relatively easy and safe sport to learn.Why do so many people choose Cabarete as the place to learn this new sport?

Ideal Conditions!
See the Learn 2 Kitesurf packages that Swell provides



For kitesurfing to be enjoyable you need a steady ( not gusty) wind in the 15 to 25 knots range, which is exactly what Cabarete has. For safety a wind that is side onshore is also ideal ( so when something bad happens you float back to the shore safely) , which is what Cabarete has. Because kites used 22 meter ( or longer) lines you need a good amount of large open beaches, which is what Cabarete has.



Cabarete kitesurfing 2  main and most known kitesurf spots are kitebeach and Cabarete’s main beach ( often called Bozo beach)
Cabarete ( bozo) beach
The upwind half of the bay is more used by windsurfers, so if you are kitesurfing here, try to stay our of their way. Starting at Ocean One ( in the middle of the bay) the kitesurfing starts, since there’s no windshadow from the point. It’s a large open beach, easy to launch your kite. Good for riders of all levels. This is also the beach where most years the Cabarete kitesurf world cup is held. ( although cancelled unfortunately for 2014)
Dangers:Can get a heavy shorebreak in front Of Laurel Eastman kiteboarding school, if this is the case walk upwind and launch in easier conditions. Other dangers include Dominican riders showing off very close to the shore. 99% of them are world class and know what they are doing, just be careful with the odd one that doesn’t have the kite skills yet.

The locals guys showing their kiteboarding skills at Cabarete beach

is located about 2 km ( 1+ mile) west of Cabarete, it’s a good kite spot since the water on the inside of the reef is pretty flat, which makes learning easy, for more experienced riders the waves on the reef are worldclass for wave riding and outside of the reef there’s tons of space for experienced riders.
Dangers: Inside the reef can get crowded. The reef is pretty shallow with urchins and fire coral which is pretty unpleasant if you touch it.
In summer ( july and August) the beach gets pretty small because of seasonal erosion so be careful with landing your kite.
Plenty of kite schools and places to rent kites from to be found here.

Playa Encuentro
is about 4 km ( 2,5 miles) west of Cabarete. It’s the most consistent surf spot for surfers in the mornings, but for kitesurfers that like waves, it’s also a popular spot to ride in the afternoon. Lots of kitesurfers take downwinders from bozo or kitebeach. There’s a few spots between kitebeach and Encuentro where you want to make sure you do NOT drop your kite, since there’s no beach, just very sharp rocks.
Dangers: Small place to land and launch your kite. Urchins on the reef are unpleasant. When doing a downwinder keep in mind that the wind is always 2-5 knots lighter at Encuentro.
No kite schools or rentals are found at Encuentro.

Martha (ex Swell manager) riding waves at Encuentro)

La Boca River mouth
6 km ( 4 miles) east of cabarete. A flat water rivermouth / lagoon. Ideal for flat water freestyle training. It’s a nice place to kitesurf when there’s only a few people there.
Dangers: lack of space, relatively small so a maximum of 3-4 riders at the same time.



What is the best equipment for kitesurfing in Cabarete?
When the tradewinds are present, expect the wind to start kicking in at around 1 in the afternoon, reach max strength at around 3. Average wind strength is around 18 knots, so for and average kiter that weighs 80 kilos (175 pounds) a kite size between 8 and 11 m2 will be most used. Type of kiteboard depends on your riding preference . There are a few kiteboards shops in Cabarete to replace something if it gets broken. Starkites and Bic Carib center are your best places to go to. Although the schools also sell kites , boards and accessories.



We use windguru to forecast the wind for Cabarete. Windguru also has a good option to look at Historic wind conditions over the years, to see which months have the best wind average. Our experiences is that the following months have the best chances ( 75% of days with over 15 knots): June, July, August, December, Januari, Februari,March, April and May. the months of September and October vcan be a bit of hit and miss, since there could be some tropical hurricane activity somewhere far away over the atlantic that disrupts the tradewinds.



There are at least a dozen kite surf schools in Cabarete. One mistake that a lot of beginners make is to start shopping around for the cheapest kitesurf school. Some schools offers lessons that are half the price of other schools, why? Because they use dated and old equipment and the lessons are taught by unqualified instructors. In my opinion the oldest 3 schools in Cabarete are also the safest and best schools: Laurel eastman kitebaording( LEK), Kiteclub and Dare2Fly at Kitebeach.



We ( the owners of Swell) love kitesurfing, we have been kitesurfing for over 10 years ( we learned in Cabarete) and we still love the riding conditions that cabarete offers,they are the best in the world. We have kitesurfed in lots of places around the world, but have yet to come across one town that offers such varied kite conditions as Cabarete does,
Swell is a surf camp, but we don’t just focus on surfing. A large part of our clients do a action sport combo package ; surf in the morning and learn to kitesurf in the afternoon. If you are interested in learning kiteboarding on your holiday, have a look at our kitesurf packages, or feel free to send us an email and ask us some questions.

More info on Swell website regarding kitesurfing in Cabarete:

Kitesurf lessons with Swell

Gallery of Cabarete kitesurf pics

Kitesurf holiday prices with Swell

We hope to see you on the water soon.

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Best Surf Camp


Interesting title isn’t it? Are we claiming? No

We don’t think Swell Surf Camp is THE best Surf camp in the world, there’s no such thing as the best surf camp, since every person looking for a surf holiday has different criteria for judging what makes the best.

What we do claim is that we are



in the caribbean, and I think that that is one of the many things that sets Swell apart from other places in Cabarete.
Since we started 4,5 years ago a lot of places in Cabarete have tried to copy what we do, whilst other have just jumped on the bandwagon and have added the term ‘ surf camp’ to their name.

We had very specific demands for the building, a large social area that is integrated into the building for socializing, theory surf lessons, breakfasts and dinner. Swell Surf Camp did not start as individual apartment accommodation, bungalows or long term studio rentals for surfers, we started as a surf camp, and that is the only thing we do, and ever will do.

On that note, we have been looking at expanding our surf camp to keep up with demand, either in Cabarete or abroad in places like Costa Rica or Nicaragua. It’s not easy finding another place around the globe that has the benefits that Cabarete has:

  • Consistent surfable waves 350 days of the year.
  • Waves for surfers of all levels, from complete beginners to experienced surfers looking for barrels.
  • Easy to get to (Puerto Plata international airport is only 20 minutes away).
  • Has numerous good restaurants catering for all different kinds of budgets.
  • Offers great alternative activities besides surfing ( kite and windsurfing, canyoning, ziplining, Stand up paddle surfing).
  • A year round warm climate ( with warm water, no wetsuit is ever needed).

We have visited many places around the world in the last years to find a good alternative location, and there’s really only a handful of spots that we would consider building another surf camp. At the moment we are still orientating, so for now our Surf Camp in the Dominican Republic is your best bet for a one of a kind surf holiday.

Hope to see you in the water soon!
The Team at Swell

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