Best summer camps

best surf vacation

Spring has begun and we at Swell Surf Camp already get a lot of inquiries and bookings in for the summer.

Maybe it’s because we got mentions on a lot of external / independent websites for offering awesome summer surf camp holidays.

Mentions:

Needless to say we are very happy when we get a mention in the media, another thing to say is that we never pay for media coverage or let anyone have a free stay in return for a write up. These reviews of Swell Surf Camp are genuine.

What’s going on in Cabarete?

Winter has provided us with lots of top quality surf days at Playa Encuentro, and the kite surfers have also been happy days with plenty of windy afternoons. With summer coming up: if you have been wanting to learn kitesurfing, the next few months is the time to come over to Cabarete for a kite surfing lessons / course. Steady trade winds in the afternoon will be a steady fixture all the way until the end of August for kiteboarding

Want to learn to surf ? Summer months provide excellent learning conditions for beginners with waves in the waist to chest high range.

Did we mention the Yoga Surf Camp ?

Need more activities? have a look at the active adventure holiday page.

 

We hope to see you in Cabarete, the action sport’s capital of the Caribbean this summer.

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

If you are looking for more info on the seasons in the Dominican Republic:

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic

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Getting around Cabarete

TRANSPORTATION IN CABARETE

And a quick guide on ‘how to ride bitch

Our clients get picked up by our drivers at the airport on their way to Swell and in the mornings, our clients go with Michel’s van to Playa Encuentro. The rest of the transportation from Swell to bars and restaurants can be done by foot, since Swell is so centrally located.

But if you don’t want to walk, for example to go to Kitebeach for lunch or a kite session, there is a very popular mode of transportation in and around Cabarete: The Moto Concho (moto taxi) and you will find them every where in town. You don’t have to look for them, they’ll find you, anywhere in town, especially along Cabarete’s main road. In fact, anyone walking along the road will soon get a quick whistle, offering a ride.

Prices:  20 -50 pesos in town, with lower prices during the day and higher prices at night and an extortionate amount when they know you are drunk (which is a time by the way when you should definitely not be on the back of a moto!), or when they know that you have no idea about the going moto-concho rates (usually a lack of a sun tan will give them a clue).

Payment: Note: A moto concho driver never has change (or so they tell you), so try to make sure to have 20 or 50 pesos on you. They will not even give you change from 500 pesos (12 dollars).

The ‘Dominican Tattoo’  Beware: motorbike exhausts are HOT!  A leg-burn from an exhaust pipe is so common when you are riding ‘bitch’ that it even has a name!

How to: Well watch this video to find the right etiquette for ‘riding bitch’. Applies to moto concho’s and rides with friends (our personal favorite is the ‘Meerkat’).

 

SEE YOU SOON IN CABARETE!

Interested in an active adventure holiday? we got something for you too

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Kite & Surf Holiday

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.

 

SUMMER PRICES

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.

 

SURF CAMP REVIEWS

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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LOCATION OF SWELL SURF CAMP

surfing encuentro

GETTING TO SWELL SURF CAMP

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.

 

FLIGHTS TO  THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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

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)

 

AIRPORTS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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).

 

COMMON DIRECT FLIGHTS TO PUERTO PLATA

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 Hipmunk.com and Kayak.com – 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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Surf Season in Full Swing

GOOD TIMES IN CABARETE

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.

 

GOOD SURF

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.

 

NEW SURF INSTRUCTOR

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

 
Remember:

6 QUICK REASONS WHY TO GO TO SWELL

  • 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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Kitesurfing Cabarete

KITESURFING  CABARETE

INFO AND KITE SURF SPOT GUIDE FOR CABARETE

 
Introduction
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

 

WHAT MAKES IDEAL KITESURF CONDITIONS

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.

 

WHERE TO KITESURF IN CABARETE

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

Kitebeach
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.

 

KITESURF EQUIPMENT FOR CABARETE

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.

 

WIND FORECAST FOR CABARETE

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.

 

KITESURF SCHOOLS IN CABARETE

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.

 

SWELL AND KITESURFING

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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