Cabarete, Dominican Republic: Windsurfing capital of the Caribbean
A small, laid-back town located on the northern shore of the Dominican Republic, Cabarete boasts a beautiful, long, white sand beach, clear blue Caribbean waters and plenty of wind–which makes it a popular spot among sailing, paragliding, windsurfing and kite boarding enthusiasts.
Thanks to the large protected bay and plentiful ocean breezes, this Caribbean beach village has long been popular among adventurous and sporty tourists who may want to hang out a beautiful Caribbean beach, but don’t want to spend their time in an all-inclusive compound. While the skyline is usually dotted with sails and parachutes and wind-related sports are certainly abound, this by no means makes Cabarete off limits to the casual beach traveler who may be looking for some R & R away from the expensive (and often boring) all-inclusives.
The best part about Cabarete is that it blends a little bit of both sides of the Dominican—it has both tourism infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, banks, internet cafes) without being a town full of resorts that you never have to leave and make you feel like you never left the United States. Offering travelers both a little Dominican flavor, while still providing many comforts of the developed world (hot showers!), Cabarete is a great destination for travelers looking for a beautiful Caribbean beach without all the pomp of an all-inclusive.
There are several bars/restaurants located ON the beach, which is great for those that want to sip a cocktail and never have to put on shoes, or for those determined to stay in the sand during as much of their trip as possible. At night, these bars and restaurants also become colorfully illuminated and diners or drinkers can enjoy the lights reflecting off the ocean waters all while sitting under palms with their feet in the sand (it’s pretty idyllic).
Where to Stay
There are several affordable, comfortable beachside hotels to choose from in Cabarete. Here are a few to choose from.
Kite Beach Hotel: Located front and center of the main drag of Cabarete’s long beach, this hotel offers up both regular rooms and larger suite-style apartment lodgings. The hotel has a pool (though who needs a pool when you have the Caribbean, but that’s just my opinion), air-conditioning, hot water, a prime ocean-front location and rates that start at just $50/night.
Casa Blanca Hotel: This hotel owned by a friendly Canadian couple is a great bargain. Starting at just $30/night, guests can enjoy basic, yet comfortable rooms or studios, many of which even boast a view of the ocean. While simple, this hotel is clean and the hot showers, comfortable beds and prime location make it a great place to stay on a budget.
Hotel Alegria: Guests at this family run hotel can shoes from either regular rooms (starting at $40/night) or larger studios with kitchens (starting at $60/night) or even 2-bedroom apartments (starting at $100/night). The hotel is located just east of the commercial center of town (which consists of one half-mile stretch along the main road). The ocean front location is close to the main beach bars and restaurants, but far enough away it is removed from some of the noise and traffic. This hotel also has a rooftop deck, which offers not only great views, but also has a Jacuzzi and gym where you can soak or sweat whilst looking out over blue Caribbean waters.
How to Get There
From Santo Domingo: Cabarete is actually a fairly easy trip from the capital city. If you are traveling by bus, most buses will take you through Santiago (the Dominican’s second biggest city) before dropping you off in Puerto Playa or Puta Cana. When you get off the bus, you’ll need to hop on a nearby guagua (a local bus) or risk your life and hop on the back of a motoconcho (motorcycle taxi) that will take you into town.
From abroad or by air: Cabarete is located just 20 minutes from the Puerto Plata International Airport. From the airport you can either get a taxi, motoconcho or bus to Cabarete.