Guloya Festival


It is no surprise, given the country’s rich and varied history, starting with the original Taino Caribbean people and followed by invasions from the Spanish, French and even the Americans in 1965, that the Dominican Republic has such an incredible array of cultural and music festivals and celebrations on offer, year-round.


For Dominicans, music and dance are vital ingredients for a good life and so when they decide to put on a party, you can guarantee that it will be an almighty spectacle. Combine that with religious syncretism, a history of slavery, emancipation and going even further back, roots in Voodoo and Changó, you can begin to get a picture of just how varied and entertaining their festivals and parades are.

We want you to know where and when these festivals take place so you don’t miss out on some of the very best things to do in the Dominican Republic. We’ve put them more or less in date order, so you can plan a trip to travel around the island and join in the fun.

Bear in mind that getting around in the Dominican Republic is pretty easy; coaches or buses (Caribe Tours and Metro Tours) travel South and North, East and West between all major cities and there are smaller, more localised mini-buses or taxis, called gua-guas and carritos respectively, which flit between towns and offer very affordable transport. It’s safe to get around too, just follow the usual precautions you would use in any city in the world; Dominicans are super-friendly and helpful and many speak English too.


New Year’s Eve all cities, especially Santo Domingo, Santiago and Cabarete – Dec 31st/Jan 1st

We may as well start with the very beginning of the year: All major towns and cities on the island will enjoy bringing in the New Year. In the capital, Santo Domingo, revellers head to The Malecón (which is Ave. George Washington). Bordering the ocean, this wide avenue will host music of all genres with dancing and fireworks continuing through the night. On the north coast, the surf-beach town of Cabarete has one of the most popular parties, with live bands on the beach and fireworks + a party to last the whole night.

Guloya Festival San Pedro de Macorís

When January 1st

Guloya Festival

This is a festival not to be missed if you are looking for one of the most colourful and vibrant on the whole island. The Guloya Festival is held to celebrate the start of the new year and more importantly, the considerable cultural influence of the Cuban immigrants who founded this town when fleeing from their own country’s War of Independence in the 1800’s. UNESCO has listed this spectacular festival as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Patrimony of Humanity’.


Where: Major cities and towns
When: October through January

Baseball in the Dominican Republic
Baseball in the Dominican Republic

Did you know that many of the Major League Baseball players in the United States are Dominicans? Baseball to the Dominicans is as important as their music and dancing and is a vital part of local culture. All towns will have a baseball ground of some description and the larger stadiums are funded and maintained by wealthy benefactors. Since the 1950’s all 30 MBL franchises have a training academy in the Dominican Republic. The natural athleticism of Dominicans unsurprisingly leads to their success first at home and then often in the US leagues.

If you want to spectate at one of these high quality and lively matches, then head for the professional league (L.I.D.O.M.) baseball teams, based in Santo Domingo (Estadio Quisqueya), San Pedro de Marcoris (Estadio Tetelo Vargas), La Romana (Estadio Francisco Micheli), San Francisco de Macoris (Estadio Julián Javier) or Santiago (Estadio Cibao). Lower league teams can be found in Puerto Plata and most larger towns throughout the island.

Día de Duarte

Where:various cities
When: January 26th.

Juan Pablo Duarte is revered as the founding father of the Dominican Republic, and his birthday, January 26th, is celebrated with carnivals all over the island, including (of course) music and dancing in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macorís, Samaná and La Romana.


Where: all across the island
When:  The whole month of February,  especially February 27th.

carnival in the Dominican Republic
Carnival in the Dominican Republic

February 27th marks the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day. After years of emancipation by several different occupying forces, you can understand why the Dominicans celebrate their freedom every Sunday in February, right across the island. You will find Carnivals in most of the towns each Sunday in February; Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Romana, Punta Cana, La Vega, Bonao, Río San Juan and Puerto Plata will all hold celebrations. Each region has its own carnival characters, for example, Lechones will be in Santiago and Taimáscaros in Puerto Plata, but also ‘Comparsas’ and other Dominican folklore characters in each parade. If you want to wait for the big one, be sure to be in Santo Domingo on the 27th of February, on the Malecón, when the winners of each regional carnival meet and compete in one huge parade. Cabarete on the north coast now also hosts a great carnival parade.

Cabarete Sand Castle Festival

Where: Cabarete
When:February for 10 days

Cabarete beach is transformed for 10 days in February for the annual sandcastle competition. Forget your bucket turrets and shaky ramparts; these sandcastles are real works of art, worthy of any art gallery exhibition. What a crying shame that they will all be destroyed once the competition winner is announced!

Barceló Desalia Festival

Where:  Punta Cana
When: February.
Organised by the famous Ron Barcelo (the rum company), this is the 2nd largest electronic dance music festival in the Caribbean and is held in Punta Cana during February. Approximately 5000 revellers will dance to some of the biggest names in this genre of music.

Semana Santa (Easter)

Where: whole island, particularly Cabarete
When: Easter

Semana Santa in Cabarete
Semana Santa in Cabarete

The majority of Dominicans these days are practising Catholics, so the Religious significance of Easter is huge. Santo Domingo sees the biggest religious parade on Good Friday with a mass at the main Cathedral on Easter Saturday.

However, once Good Friday has been celebrated quietly and respectfully, most Dominicans actually head for the beaches (especially young people) for the party of all parties. The surf town of Cabarete is the pick of the bunch and is worth avoiding over Easter weekend if you are not into noise, music and dancing. If you are, then you will enjoy a spectacular concert right on the beach and streets packed full of excitable revellers. This party lasts from late Friday night until Monday morning!

Cimarrón Festival

Where: Cabral only
When: weekend after Easter.

In Cabral, during Easter week you will find the Cimarrón Festival, lasting for 3 days, the following weekend after the Easter holidays. The festival celebrates much older traditional African practices, mixed with the traditional burning of the Judas doll, as well as Cachuas, who hold whips whilst wearing beautiful papier mache, multicolor masks with horns, set to impersonate the colonial master as well as the abused slaves of old. It’s a very traditional festival; not very ‘touristy’ as it is not on the regular tourist routes, but that’s not to say you won’t be welcome to go along and enjoy this celebration of history and culture.

San Juan Bautista Festival

Where: only in San Juan de Managua
When:  June
This festival offers a perfect example of how religious syncretism defines the Dominican people: Celebrating both Changó, a god revered in the ancient religion of the West African Yoruba people, along with Saint John the Baptist. This festival, as with all Dominican festivals, has enough music and dance to keep you entertained all day and all night.


Where: only in Santo Domingo
When: Dates vary, normally May or June.

Housed in a baseball stadium in the capital, Barbarella is organised by Presidente (the best beer in the Dominican Republic) and is the biggest electronic music event in the Caribbean.

Puerto Plata Cultural festival

Where: Puerto Plata city
When: during July (normally).

In this fiesta patronal, you will enjoy a variety of concerts and parades where you can dance to merengue, salsa, blues and jazz and watch demonstrations of African tribal dances, all taking place around the ancient San Felipe Fort. You’ll also enjoy arts and crafts exhibitions near the Central Park which showcase the work of many local artisans.

Festival de Merengue

Where: Santo Domingo
When: July or August,

Puerto Plata in late September (dates can vary).
Merengue originated in the Dominican Republic and is a joyous music genre, suiting the Dominican character perfectly. Legend has it that this close form of the dance (couples holding each other tightly whilst their hips flow and move to the fast rhythm) began when slaves were chained closely together to work in the sugar plantations and were unable to separate to dance. As a result, the Merengue dance is incredibly sexy and dynamic. If you want to go to one of these stunning festivals, take a dance lesson in this fairly simple dance style so you can join in. The dance is energetic and somewhat frenetic, but it’s also beautiful to watch as a Merengue specialist will keep their upper body in a smooth majestic rhythm while their hips do all the work.

In Santo Domingo and also in Puerto Plata, all along the Malecóns in either city, you will see Merengue bands and dancers showing the very best way to enjoy this wonderful music.

Fiesta Patria de la Restauración

Where: All cities
When: August 16th

Celebrating the day the Dominican Republic finally gained its independence from Spain, this nationwide festival will lead to parades, street festivals, concerts and food festivals in all major towns.

Dominican Republic Fashion Week

Where: Santo Domingo
When: October
Dominicans love their fashion and the capital city has some great shopping on offer. During October, top designers will display their latest designs on the catwalks.

The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

2018 dates are; Punta Cana August 24/25,
Santiago Oct 27
Santo Domingo Oct 28
Sosua Nov 1st
Puerto Plata Nov 2nd
Cabarete, November 3rd and 4th

DR jazz festival

This amazing Jazz festival will leave you breathless. From humble beginnings, the festival is now huge and heavily funded by major sponsors. There are several locations to enjoy not just the best jazz musicians of the Dominican Republic, but also guest appearances from Jazz stars from all over the world. If you can only manage one location, we especially recommend Cabarete for the best venue, as the festival there lasts two days and often has the best head-liners. The stage is right on the beach, so there’s no need to interrupt your sun holiday to enjoy the music. You can see more information on this amazing yearly festival on their website:

Merengue Típico Festival

Where: Guananico
When:  November

Another chance to enjoy a traditional Merengue festival, this annual event is held in a smaller town, close to Puerto Plata. If you want a truly authentic musical experience, this is it.

I hope we have given you a taste of the amazing array of festivals, parades, carnivals and music festivals on offer year-round in the Dominican Republic. Don’t stay inside your all-inclusive hotel and ‘enjoy’ mediocre food and watered-down drinks; get out and about and travel cheaply and easily around this stunningly beautiful and diverse country. The people will LOVE to see you at their parades and festivals; they are proud of their amazing and varied culture and will enjoy sharing the celebrations with you.


So as you can see and read, the Dominican Republic has more to offer than just a water sport holiday. Combine your surf holiday with any of these festival to get sport and culture on your holiday to the Dominican Republic.

That’s why the saying is:

“The Dominican Republic has it all”

We hope to welcome you to our Surf retreat in the Caribbean

Share on Facebook

Kitesurf Holiday


Kitesurf season is coming up in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.Besides awesome surfing conditions for surfers of all levels, Cabarete is also widely regarded as the kitesurf capital of the world.

Perfect conditions for kiteboarders of all levels.

What to expect if you are coming to Cabarete for a kitesurf holiday?

  • Steady tradewinds that kick in in the afternoon, so no need to get up early in the morning.
  • Warm water and air temperatures so no need for a wetsuit.
  • Different kite surf spots close to cabarete, from waves to flat water.
  • Plenty of space, no need to get lines tangled.
  • Good kite surf schools so you can learn in a safe manner.
  • Awesome local talent that put on a great show.

We have converted many surfers into kitesurfers over the years, and if you are also interested in learning this exciting sport, join us this summer and sign up for our kitesurf package.

How many hours of kitesurf lessons do I need?
Some advertise 4-6 hours of kitesurf lesson packages, to lure clients in with low prices. We don’t believe in this approach, learning in a safe manner, requires at least 8-10 hours of lessons and another few hours of supervised kitesurfing.

Do I need to be strong for kitesurfing?
No,  kids as young as 6 have learned kiteboarding and people as old as 70 are still kitesurfing.

Is Kitesurfing dangerous?
Not when you take lessons with a qualified kite surf school in Cabarete.

How much does the kitesurf equipment costs?

  • Used board starts at 200-300 USD
  • Used kite and bar starts at 400-500 USD
  • Harness costs around 65 USD

Is used kite equipment available for purchase in Cabarete?

yes plenty of people have good used kite equipment for sale, ask around at the different kite school.

For more information on kitesurfing Dominican Republic visit this page which has a full kitesurfing dominican republic travel guide
The 2015 Cabarete PKRA kiteboard worldcup sponsored by Virgin ( Branson’s company) will be stopping by in June , see the event schedule.

Have anymore questions about kitesurfing , Cabarete or a surf holiday to the DR’s #1 surf camp, send us an email.

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

Share on Facebook

What level is my surfing?

what level of surfer am i?

Here at Swell, we deal with this question on a weekly basis.

Of the many emails we receive each week, we find that several of our potential guests are unsure how to class the level of surf experience they have: Many people call themselves intermediate surfers, but in our experience, it’s such a generic term, this is not applicable.  Far better to judge the term by what you can actually achieve on your surfboard in the water, so we’ve put together a simple guide for you to help you decide which level you are really at and if you can still benefit from taking surf lessons.


How much surfing have you actually done?

We start by asking this question.  The answer is that if you have only visited one or two surf camps, you have less than 20 hours of surf lessons, or you have not surfed regularly, we, and most reputable surf camps, will consider you still to be a beginner surfer.

I’d give myself as a good example to compare and consider your own level; I have been surfing pretty regularly (several days in each month) for two years, and whilst I am no longer a beginner, I still consider myself a Novice, not yet an Intermediate.  Why?  The answer is that I am still not comfortable in larger waves and despite being generally paddle fit (which many of our guests are not, having just come out of an office) I am not completely confident in catching green waves larger than chest high.   And, whilst I can trim, I can’t yet carve.


The next question is: Do you need surf lessons?

Again, using myself as an example, I don’t take regular surf lessons, but sometimes, I will take a couple of hours of lessons to improve a particular aspect of my surfing that I know i  need help with.

If you are someone who has taken say 10 to 15 good lessons in recent months and are able to paddle independently, select your own waves and pop up consistently, we might say that you just need practise rather than lessons and can get by on tips from our coaching staff (who are ever-present) to improve certain aspects of your surfing.

To help you correctly judge your level, we’ve made a list below which we hope will  indicate the steps you should have accomplished to reach the various surfing stages.


Complete Beginner:

happy surf school
When you have no previous surf experience at all, or maybe have taken a single lesson at some stage. Before entering the water, you will taught the terminology of a surfboard (rail, tail, etc.) and be shown how to lie on the board + how to ‘pop-up’ correctly once the wave is carrying you.

In a complete beginner lesson, you will be taught in the shallow water, using the power of waves which have already broken.   Once you are able to pop-up regularly, you’ll be taught the correct stance to take and how you can start to place certain pressures on the board, allowing you to ‘turn’ to ride in one direction or another.  A complete beginner can enjoy the benefit of having a surf coach give them a push to get them started on a wave.


first surf lesson
When you have only done a few hours of surf lessons or a couple of surf camps. Most importantly, you are still a Beginner if you cannot yet achieve the following steps independently 1. Enter the water and paddle out to unbroken waves. 2. Select a wave to ride.  3. Pop-up quickly. 4. Turn the surfboard easily and ride down the line.

Much like a complete beginner lesson, our team will go over the pop-up with you to see if you have the basics (bad habits in a pop-up are certain to cause you future issues).  Once you are in the water, our team will assess where you are with your paddling and your pop-up, moving you quickly on to new tips if you have already mastered those vital skills. Surfing depends so much on fitness, so even if you were rocking in a previous lesson at another surf camp, you may find that paddling again exhausts you fairly quickly, so you too will benefit from some helpful pushes from our surf coaches.

Let’s expel a myth about surf lessons: Just because you are not catching green, unbroken waves, it doesn’t mean you are not learning to surf.  Every paddle, every pop-up, every ride, every turn; they all count, even in the white water.  Everyone has to master those basic skills before you can move onto the unbroken waves.



surfer girl
This is you if you already have several months of regular surfing behind you and can achieve the following: 1. You feel comfortable paddling independently out to a line up on a smaller swell. 2. You can paddle yourself into a wave and are able to pop up and trim the surfboard to ride down the line.

Our staff can still teach you a great deal; tips on popping up more quickly, taking the correct stance, better trimming,  even beginning to make bottom and top turns (carving).



surfing cabarete
When you are surfing regularly (every week) for at least one year and more importantly, you can achieve all of the following: 1.  You can catch head high, unbroken waves independently (you certainly don’t need to be pushed by a surf coach to get into a wave).  2. You can control your speed on a wave.  3. You can carve or trim the surfboard whilst on the wave, changing direction easily. Giving lessons to a genuine Intermediate surfer is mostly dependent on wave co-operation (too big a swell makes coaching intermediates very challenging).   We coach intermediates at Swell by being out in the water with you and giving tips and advice on improving certain aspects of your technique.


Interested in a Swell learn to surf holiday? Have a look at our approach to surf lessons



Single / Solo Traveller? Read this article why Swell is the place for you

Share on Facebook

Surf & Yoga Camp

Surf & Yoga Camp

So, the love affair between Surfing and Yoga continues to gain strength and it’s no accident that the two pair-up so well.

surf yoga campPre-surf stretching has been a vital part of the surfing process – using limbs in a way that is alien to most other daily activities or sports can take it’s toll, even on bodies whose owners consider themselves to be quite fit ordinarily.

Unless you are a seasoned swimmer, arms are not used to paddling as a rule so shoulders can react unpleasantly to the demands of catching those waves. Good balance is also an essential part of the surfing process.

Yoga brings together many of the skills you will need to learn to surf well and perhaps most importantly, helps to stretch, relax, repair and tone aching limbs. At Swell, we are very fortunate to have the lovely Molly O’Meara as our Yogi – Molly’s very friendly and relaxed way of teaching Yoga really concentrates on the individual…..she’s wonderful at pin-pointing your sore spots and gently encouraging your body to ‘give’ and relax.


Yoga sessions are held at least twice per week and can be increased on request.
The Yoga and Surf  package we offer at Swell has become more popular of the last 4 years since we opened our surf camp in the Dominican Republic.


What is the Yoga & Surf package Swell offers?

yoga surfingAt least twice a week our local Yoga instructor who is a full time resident in Cabarete comes to Swell to teach a Yoga class in the garden at Yoga. The Yoga classes we offer are accessible for people of all levels, so it doesn’t matter if you have never been to a class before.

The instructor will assess your abilities and adjust the level of the exercises to that accordingly.


Yoga  Surf Holiday

Who is the package for?

yoga & surf campWe get Yoga fanatics  who have been to many surf & yoga retreats in the past , who cannot go a few days without a class, but also complete newbies who see the benefits of having good balance in body and mind, as well as better breathing as a huge advantage for a surfing holiday.
more info can be found on this page: Yoga surf holiday


Sign up for the Surf & Yoga Camp

Every surf holiday package  that Swell offers has the possibility of adding Yoga Classes. It is best to mention to Clare ( who answers your emails) that  you are interested in the Yoga, so she knows what the availability is like for that specific week.

Besides Yoga there are a ton of activities you can do on a surf yoga camp: see our list of watersport activities in the Dominican republic

Quick tip: Swell is a popular place and as a result we can sometimes fill up months in advance, so if you are interested in joining us, don’t wait too long; send us an email today.


Have a look at the following pages to see if the learn to surf holidays we offer are something that would suit you.


The 9 best yoga poses for surfers


Share on Facebook

Top Things to do in Cabarete

Top Things to do in Cabarete (other than Surfing & Yoga)

Caberete, the action sport capital of the Caribbean. Located on the North coast of the Dominican republic, 20 minutes from Puerto Plata international airport (POP).


all inclusive hotel cabareteThe first words that come to most peoples minds when they think of a holiday to the Dominican Republic is: Lazy all inclusive holiday. Whilst this is true for most resort towns in the DR like Punta Cana, Sosua, Puerto Plata. It couldn’t be further from the truth for Cabarete.

No gated big all inclusive resorts are found in Cabarete. What you will find is lots of smaller hotels / guesthouses and B&B’s. Why? The people that visit Cabarete are not your average lazy all inclusive hotel guests that sit on a sunbed and drink horrible cheap rum & coke’s from a plastic cup. The average tourist visiting Cabarete is there to be active in, under or above the water.


So what are the Top Things to do in Cabarete?

kitesurf-holiday1. KiteSurfing  and Windsurfing

Cabarete is ranked as one of the world’s top Kitesurfing and windsurfing destinations in the world. Big beaches, side onshore trade winds make for safe conditions for kitesurfers of all levels. The other reasons that beginners, intermediates & pros all love Cabarete is the variety of kite surfing spots in and around Cabarete. From the flat water at la Boca to the waves on the offshore reefs or the flat water at Kitebeach cabarete that is ideal for beginners and intermediates


G09556652. Snorkeling and Diving

A short drive from Cabarete is Sosua. Clear water makes for great snorkelling and diving. There are a few dive operators offering half day snorkelling trips. From Swell we usually organize a snorkeling trip to Sosua once per week. Ask our manager for the snorkeling schedule. It is also possible to do a Padi dive course in Sosua or Cabarete.


active-holiday3. Canyoning through the waterfalls

Swell guests repeatedly say that the Cayoning trip organised by Helmut and Matt for Swell is one of the best adrenaline fun filled day trips they have ever done. Expect to see spectacular scenery, jumping off waterfalls, swimming through gorges.


cabarete beach4. Enjoy fine food and drinks at Cabarete beach

Cabarete beach has a great dining and party scene. Start of with a sunset drink on one of the beach side bars, under palms trees on a white sandy beach. Then enjoy some fine food, from new york steak to fine sea food. Top recommendations are La Casita de Papi’s sea food restaurant right on the beach.

Party scene: the bars and nightclubs start to getting going by 10 in the evening until …. well..late. Which days of the week? Any day although friday and saturday it’s usually a BIG party.


5.Take a day trip to Playa Grande & ziplining at Laguna Dudu

Playa Grande is an hour away from Cabarete and is  a stunning white sandy beach, lined with tall palm trees, and no development. Laguna El Dudu is an exciting and mostly unknown attraction on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. It requires a bit of bravery before one is able to swim in the water as the lagoon is surrounded by natural cliffs from which to jump into refreshment.

Top Things to do in Cabarete

This is just a short list of the top things you can do in and around Cabarete, there’s loads more stuff to do. Have a look at this video and see for yourself if Cabarete and Swell Surf & Yoga retreat is the kind of place for your active holiday.



Want to see more ideas on what the Dominican republic has to offer? Read our extensive article on the top 20 DR activities

top 20 activities in the DR


Interested in an Active Surf & Yoa Holiday? Send us a message

Read our 5 reasons why a visit to the Dominican republic will satisfy all adventure holiday makers

Single / Solo Traveller? Read this article why Swell is the place for you

Share on Facebook

10 Ways You Can Benefit from Surfing Retreats


Blue skies, turquoise-blue waters, and a fiery sunset.

The soothing sound of waves delicately caressing the shore.

The smell of salt water.

The tickle of sand on your bare feet.

A new taste for surfing.

They’re the fastest growing trend in wellness travel; designed to feed mind, body, and the senses. They’re called surfing retreats. And it’s something you have to try.

Surfing retreats are more than learning a fun, invigorating watersport. They offer so much more than the name implies.

You’ll leave your travel adventure with much more than you came with. Check out all the ways you can benefit from the experience.

learn surfing older age


Let’s face it. One huge reason you’re looking to get away is to relax in a place that oozes calm and serene. (But also has a great nightlife too!)

The gorgeous sandy beaches of Cabarete offer the best of both.

The Dominican Republic has some of the most consistent waves in the world, especially the local surf break.

And the off-site excursions take you deep into some of the most breath-taking scenery the Caribbean has to offer.

If you want to truly experience the Dominican Republic and escape to paradise, Swell surf camp is the place to go.

yoga surf retreat


There’s a reason most surfers have slim, toned muscles and bodies to-die-for. A duck-dive under the waves isn’t easy.

Surfing engages the entire core constantly. It requires good endurance, muscle power, and flexibility.

Paddling uses arm, shoulder, and chest muscles.

Heard of surfies? They’re basically the burpee of the surf world. They’re what you need to master for a flawless pop-up onto your board.

Surfing may be challenging and physically demanding, but you’ll have so much fun learning you won’t even notice. (Until after!)


Surfing retreats are extremely popular for solo travellers. You walk in on day one to meet a bunch of strangers and leave on the last day with ten new friends.

surf yoga retreats

How can you not become close-knit when you spend all day encouraging and “whoop-whooping” for one another? The spirit of camaraderie is only made stronger by the team of supportive, friendly and skilled surf instructors.

Designed as a communal gathering place you can also spend time getting to know your surf mates outside of lessons.

A surf getaway is a perfect way to meet and bond with positive, like-minded travellers.


Cowabunga dude! Hang loose. Watch me shoot the curl.

It’s such a crazy sport that it has its own language.

surf coaching retreat
Learn to Surf retreat

The best practice for surfing lessons is to the two-a-day approach.

The first session includes a thorough warm-up, dryland practice, and often one on one instruction. Instructors are knowledgeable and encouraging. Their goal is to make you feel comfortable while trying something new and unfamiliar.

The second session is a looser practice. Here you will practice what you learned earlier on your own. Instructors are present to offer tips, advice, and encouragement.

Remember to manage your own expectations. Not everyone picks up surfing the first time they try. But every time you get out and try again is a step closer to riding the waves.

But every time you get out and try again is a step closer to riding the waves.


This is a question we hear a lot at Swell. Unlike with other board sports like skateboarding and snowboarding, the variables around you constantly change. Waves, ocean, tide and wind all affect the surfing conditions. With snowboarding, you can practise the same turnover and over, with surfing that is not the case.
At Swell we aim to be the best Surf camp, teaching the sport of surfing in a structured way from qualified surf instructors so your surfing can progress fast and in a safe way.

surfing retreat

Playa Encuentro, Cabarete’s main surfing spot on the north coast of the

Dominican Republic is a super consistent surf spot. Encuentro has waves 350 days of the year and the water is always warm, so no need to bring a wetsuit.


Part of travelling to another country is the anticipation of savouring the local cuisine.

The best surfing retreats have their own kitchen with an in-house chef and cooking staff.

surfer retreats

Because the cooks are local, guess what that means? It’s like home cookin’ — Dominican Republic style.

Even the most health-conscious, diet-watching people need to fuel their bodies.

The resort or company hosting your surf retreat knows the importance of this.

A light breakfast is commonly available before the first surf lesson (you don’t want to fill your stomach before getting on the water). Then a hearty, filling, healthy meal will await once you’ve completed your lesson.

As one Swell review says: “The meals I had at camp were some of the best I had the whole trip.”

And for the nights you feel like venturing out, you’ll find it hard to choose. Some of Cabarete’s popular eateries are within a 5-minute walk from the Swell surf camp.


There’s no better way to build self-esteem than by tackling something new.

Instruction is broken down into small, manageable steps. But you can also expect to be pushed to your limits, without going farther than you can handle. Each day promises a new success.

surf vacation

Each day promises a new success.

Because instructors tailor their instruction to fit individual needs, you’re guaranteed to leave with better surfing skills than when you came. Even if you don’t manage to ride your board on the inside break you’ll experience the joy of simply trying.

Just remember, with any new skill you learn, it starts with baby steps. In this case, it starts with baby waves. Small, tiny waves today; big and wild waves the next.

In this case, it starts with baby waves. Small, tiny waves today; big and wild waves the next.


Surfing retreats are becoming more and more popular among women.

surf yoga retreatMost of us live in a constant whirlwind, taking care of others and sometimes forgetting to look after ourselves. When’s the last time you treated yourself to a much-needed break?

Get a massage. Read a book on the beach without interruption. Come back to a cleaned room every day. Talk with other women without censoring what you say. Get your workouts in daily. Enjoy a cocktail without having to answer a text, call, or request from a needy three-year-old.

Get your workouts in daily. Enjoy a cocktail without having to answer a text, call, or request from a needy three-year-old.

Whatever it is you need to get away from, transform and return rejuvenated.

Even those around you will appreciate it.


Although you may find it hard to tear yourself away from the warm sand and soothing splash of waves, it’s a must-do to venture out.

poolMost surfing retreats are located in areas full of fabulous adventures.

In Cabarete you can choose from many different activities:

  • Try kitesurfing
  • Go snorkelling the beautiful bay of Sosua
  • Into scuba? How about a wreck dive or night diving?
  • A guided horseback ride takes you to exotic areas no cars can drive
  • Mountain biking is available for the hard-core and the leisurely rider

Of course, your trip wouldn’t be complete without rappelling down the “Magic Mushroom.” Yes. That’s a thing. And yes, it’s something you’ll never forget.



The surfer lifestyle coined the phrase “hang loose.” And that’s the atmosphere you’ll be surrounded by when you venture into the local haunts.

Your surf instructor and staff can offer many great suggestions for food, fun, and fantastic people watching.

Local surfers are always out on the water. They are an extremely accepting and generous group of people. They enjoy shouting encouragement to newbies of the sport.


Many surfing retreats offer a combination of surf instruction and yoga. Push your mind and your body to experience the fullness of what you are doing.

Yoga practice helps relax your body after long, physically taxing days in the water. Gentle yoga poses help stretch and loosen muscles and are perfect for post-surfing relaxation.


Most surfing retreats are so much more than the surfing; “beautiful, chill location, great food, fabulous restorative yoga classes, fun adventurous activities, and relaxing with new friends.”

No matter what surf level you’re at, Swell Surf & Yoga Retreat is an experience you will never forget. And one you will want to do over and over again.


Swell now has 2 location to choose from for your surfing retreat. The original Swell surf camp in the Caribbean, or the brand new swell Bali location, located in the hip and quaint surfing/fishing village of Bingin, in the south of Bali.

swell bali Surf Retreat

More info at Swell Bali Surf Retreat


In the popular kids vacation weeks, Christmas, summer holiday we are also open for family surf holidays to join Swell.

Ready to treat yourself to the adventure of a lifetime?

Your contact is Clare. And she’s ready to answer all your questions and help you book the perfect surf holiday.

Read our 5 reasons why a visit to the Dominican Republic will satisfy all adventure holidaymakers.

Ready to buy your first surfboard? read our guide on choosing your first surfboard

Single / Solo Traveller? Read this article why Swell is the place for you

Share on Facebook

The Best Time to Go to the Dominican Republic For a Water Sport Holiday

If a surf holiday doesn’t sound like a great time to you, then you probably need one urgently. It’s both a relaxing and thrilling getaway.

You’ll likely be in a picturesque location wherever you decide to go. But we want to talk to you about the Dominican Republic for now.

Why? Because it’s a fantastic spot for a surfing getaway. You do need to know how and when to go about it, however. The surf season Dominican Republic has to offer is long and beautiful, but there are some finer points to be aware of.

So here’s your guide to taking a surf holiday in the Dominican Republic.


Surf Season Dominican Republic Style

Here’s something you probably didn’t know—there are actually four surf seasons in the Dominican Republic. That’s right, no matter when you come, you can be assured of catching some waves.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t differences that might matter to you.


Summer (June- Jul- Aug)

Summer is the time when many people are thinking about making a trip. If you’ve never surfed before, this might be a good time to take your vacation. The waves are smaller and this is ideal for learning to surf.


Fall (Sep-Oct-Nov)

This is when things start to pick up a little. The fall surf season in the Dominican Republic offers slightly bigger waves than the summer The waves are around waist to head high, and you’ll find them to be largely consistent from day to day.

Great for beginners and intermediate surfers


Winter (Dec-Jan- Feb)

Winter is when the biggest and most frequent swells and waves come in.  Winter is great for surfers of all levels, Beginners and Intermediate surfers surf the inside of the surfbreaks, experts try to catch the big waves on the outside


Spring (Mar-Apr-May)

In the spring, storms become less frequent. Average waves size is around waist to Chest high, ideal for people who have never surfed before or intermediate surfers that want to work on their thechnique. Big Swells still occur, but they slowly come to a halt as summer approaches.

Tons of people come down to learn how to surf in the DR. A surf holiday doesn’t have to just be for those who already know how to surf.

Other Considerations

As you start thinking about when you want to head to the DR, you may be thinking about more than surfing. Since you can surf year-round, it’s important to think about other considerations.


1. High Season

High tourist season actually coincides with the winter surf season Dominican Republic provides. That’s because winter up north is a good time for many people to escape down to the DR.

If you do choose high season, remember a few things.

  • You’ll likely pay more for flights and hotels.
  • There are tons of great festivals and activities going on.

So you’ll want to make all of your reservations as soon as you can. Everything from flights to restaurant reservations should be handled ahead of time. That way you can enjoy the beauty of the island, or the waves, in peace.


2. Low Season

From late April into the summer months, prices drop and tourism slows. It actually doesn’t get much hotter. It’s basically hot all year round, which isn’t a bad thing for most people.

Keep in mind that there isn’t really a rainy season, either. It can rain at any time, but generally not for long periods of time. So there aren’t weather-related reasons that low season is so, well, low.

But as I mentioned earlier, the surf season Dominican Republic offers during the summer is much better for beginners. For experts, it simply won’t be as challenging. Here are a few things to think about when considering coming during low season.

  • It’s less expensive.
  • It will be less crowded and more low-key.
  • But that could mean hotels and restaurants are renovating or undergoing construction at this time.


3. Festivals

We mentioned that high season includes some great festivals. If you’re intrigued by that, then take a look at this quick list of some of the better-known festivals.


Guloya Festival

Held in January in San Pedro, this festival includes rowdy drummers making their way through the streets. Huge crowds make this a can’t-miss for avid party-goers.



Carnaval in Santa Domingo is the largest annual celebration in the DR. If you’re in the country during February, this is one you won’t want to miss.

In fact, there’s a street party every Sunday that month. So you can catch some fun even if you aren’t there for the culminating blow-out party.


Festival de Merengue

Feeling glum because you’re coming during the low season? No worries! There’s still the Festival de Merengue during the last week of July and the first week of August.

The music is incredible, with the world’s top meringue bands playing for two weeks. It’s the perfect way to experience the culture and music of the DR.


Wrapping Up

Have you made a decision about when you’d like to come? With the year-round surf season Dominican Republic provides, it can be a tough choice.

Come in high season for big waves and lots of festivals, or low season for smaller waves and a (somewhat) quieter stay.

Whatever your choice, I’d encourage you to give us a call at Swell Surf Camp. At Swell, you’ll be surrounded by people just like you who are there to surf, relax, and have a good time.

There’s no need to have surfing experience. Our qualified instructors are top-notch and have taught thousands of people to surf.
Read our 5 reasons why a visit to the Dominican republic will satisfy all adventure holiday makers

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

So what are you waiting for? Have a look at our surf accommodation, find a surf package  Contact us today!

Single / Solo Traveller? Read this article why Swell is the place for you

Share on Facebook