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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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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Kitesurfing in Cabarete

Tarifa as a kitesurf destination

Kitesurfing in Cabarete

Yes Swell is a surf camp in the Dominican Republic, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t offer any other sports at Swell. In fact the reason we built Swell in Cabarete is because Cabarete is considered the watersport capital of the Caribbean.
Cabarete first became famous because of the world class windsurfing conditions in Cabarete in the mid 80’s. The popularity of windsurfing started to drop in the late 90’s and 2000, just in time for a new sport to arrive: kitesurfing (or kiteboarding same thing).

There are a few reasons that make Cabarete an ideal place for a kitesurfing holiday.


Reasons to go kitesurfing in Cabarete, Dominican republic

  1. The tradewinds that pick up in the afternoon are steady and reach perfect strenght for kitesurfing: between 16 and 22 knots on average ( 4 to 5 beaufort).
  2. The tradewinds are side onshore, which means if something happens to you or your kite, you will not be blown out to see but come floating into safety in a short time.
  3. Large open spaces, cabarete bay, Goletta and kitebeach are big area’s were there is enough space for 100’s of kiters to enjoy the sport without getting in each others ways.
  4. Large variety of conditions to enjoy: from Flat water at La Boca river mouth to the waves at Kitebeach and Encuentro; it doesn’t matter if you are in to freestyle kitesurfing or wave riding, Cabarete offers something for everyone.
  5. Availability of good kitesurf schools in Cabarete: There are at least a dozen kiteboard schools in Cabarete. But just like with Surf schools some are better than others, at Swell we offer our clients the lessons from the most renowned kiteschool located at Cabarete bay. They employ qualified kite instructors, use top quality equipment and have the best safety record.

If you want a change of scenery from just kitesurfing in Cabarete, there’s a few more spots to enjoy in the Dominican republic: Las terrenas is a stunning beach with turquoise flat waters that many Cabarete kitesurfers go to for a few days to enjoy the tranquility of a different kitesurf spot.

Another popular spot going west from cabarete is Punta Russia: no development there, just gorgeous beaches with flat water and great views.

Swell Surf camp offer learn to kitesurf packages for complete beginners. See our kitesurfing page or pricing page for details.

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Surf Camp Cabarete

surf balance

The #1 Surf Camp in Cabarete

High season is about to start in Cabarete, and for us at Swell this means we get more and more facebook & email messages every day. Clare, who answers the emails, is very good and quick with replying to everyone, but since there are some recurring questions that come back on a daily basis, I thought I’d answer some of them here.


How do I get to Cabarete, Dominican Republic?

We have made a page about the location of Swell and how to easily get to the Dominican republic


When is the best time to visit the DR for surfing?

For beginners: any time of the year is a good time to come and learn with Swell Surf School in Cabarete
For intermediates if you  just started catching unbroken waves,  spring / summer and autumn are best, for more advanced intermediates  the winter is a good time to start challenging yourself with some bigger waves.
Experts Surfers: best time to come is between October and April when the winter swells roll in for overhead + conditions most of the time.


Can you convince me why I need to choose Swell?

In short? No
We do not try to convince people to stay at Swell over the email. Have a good look at our website, read the reviews, check our facebook page to see what our current clients are up to, check the photo galleries on our site and you should be able to get a very good idea what Swell Surf camp is all about. We are honest in our marketing, we do not try to make our place look better than it really is, we are NOT going to promise that you are going to have amazing waves in the time you are with us, since we cannot control nature. What we CAN control is things like how clean our place is, the freshness of the food, the quality of the lessons etc.


What about this other…. hotel / apartement / ‘surf camp’?

Kind of the same answer as above. Have a look at their website, prices, photos etc and compare it with what we offer.  Swell is not the cheapest place in Cabarete. If price is your only criteria for choosing your surf holiday, then Swell is probably not for you. There are other places in town where you can book a surf camp in the $15 to $35 per night price range, BUT

Are they at the best location in town?

Do they provide quality surf lessons from qualified surf instructors?

Do they offer daily maid service for your room?

Is there going to be 10-20 other guests to socialise and surf with?

Owners / managers with years of experience in the surf travel industry?

Are they purpose built to be a surf camp like Swell?

Have the owner(s) ever done much surfing, kitesurfing, SUP or windsurfing?

We are not saying we are top pro’s in these sports, but they are our lifelong passions, which we think is important to provide the top service that we like to give at Swell. Would you trust a chef that doesn’t eat his own food?

Ok, here’s the only pics of us (the owners) on this website doing what we love doing (besides making sure all is well at Swell)

We could go on, just be careful that the term ‘surf camp cabarete’ has become very popular in Cabarete the last few years. Apartments or budget hotels have quickly rebranded themselves as surf camps to attract clients. If you want to stay in an apartment, old house or old hotel as the only surfer, then the above places might suit you well. If you want quality and are willing to pay a bit more for a top surf holiday, send us an email.

Last question

What are the waves going to be week / month etc.

We use MagicSeaweed and Windguru for wind and waves forecasts, they are pretty accurate.

I hope this answers some questions, also every page on the main part of our website has some FAQ’s as well, so maybe your question is answerd there.

Jeroen Mutsaars

Jeroen & Clare Mutsaars

Who is team Swell?

Swell is owned and founded by Jeroen Mutsaars & Clare Mutsaars

Jeroen Mutsaars has worked in the surf travel industry for 20+ years.

Jeroen Mutsaars Snowboarding

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Surfing Cabarete

Surfing Cabarete

Here’s some information regarding the different surf spots , conditions and what to expect on a surf holiday in and around Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

Surf spots close to Cabarete
The most popular surfspot on the North Coast of the DR is Playa Encuentro, it’s 3 miles west of Cabarete town.
The beach of Playa Encuentro or ( or just plain Encuentro as everyone calls it) has several different surf spots:
From West to East they are:

  • Destroyer: like the name suggests, not a wave for beginners, it’s fast and barreling and best in the winter months. It’s shallow with pretty sharp reef so kamikazes and bodyboarders only!
  • The left at Encuentro: a quality left hander that can peel for a good distance, barrel sections, works in NE and North swells, and when it does you will not be the only one out there, so can get a bit crowded with good surfers
  • Encuentro main peak: a fun , consistent ( breaks all year round) wave, the right is longer, the left shorter and faster. Great for short and longboarders, also good for intermediates and experts.
  • Bobo’s point: right in front of Bobo’s surf school, a fun left and right wave for surfers of all levels.
  • Coco Pipe: good right hand wave, that only gets good in a North swell with some size. Barrels and good walls to hit. Shallow and uneven reef below the surface, so not for beginners

Cabarete’s main bay also has waves that you could surf, but it’s a long paddle, 30 minutes on a shortboard. Not the easiest place to surf since it’s hard to predict the peaks, No crowds, just the occasional Stand up Paddle surfer.
East of Cabarete is Mananero: best in East swells, without wind, so early summer mornings. It’s fast & it has a good punch for intermediate and experts surfers.

About 45 minutes east of Cabarete is Playa Grande which has several surf spots in the region. Playa Grande itself has a fun beach break, great for bodyboarding & bodysurfing. The next bay has several surf spots, the most well know spot in Preciosa, a world class reef break in front of a headland, the left is better and longer than the right.

These spots are the most well known surf spots in the Cabarete region, there’s a good amount more spots, some are surfed less frequent in their consistency, some are secret spots, so you’ll need a willing local to share the info. At Swell staff has lived here for over 10 years, so we know all the major spots, but will not publish them here on the web ( maybe at Swell after a few beers, we can be bribed;-)

More info about Surfing Cabarete

Surf forecast for Surfing Cabarete can be found here.

More photo’s of surfing on the North coast of the DR.

Interested in other sports on your surf holiday in Cabarete can be found here or click here if  want to stay up to date on the Swell Costa Rica Surf camp

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