Caribbean Surfing – Dominican Republic

Swell Surf Camp Beach

For North Americans looking to catch some sand and surf during the winter months, Puerto Plata (specifically Cabarete) in the Dominican Republic has become a surfers’ paradise as of late. With its warm waters, beautiful beaches, safe streets (minus the crazy moto-bikers), and small-town feeling it’s an all-around great place to be active in a relaxed atmosphere.

Getting There:
Lots of flight options. Only 1.5 hours from Miami!

Lodging:
Swell Surf Camp
Arguably offers the best facilities of all the surf camps in Cabarete. Amenities are comparable to 4-star resorts with unbelievably friendly staff and cooks. Brunch is included everyday (usually omelets, cereal, yogurt and breads) with a tasteful dinner included (usually) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. See their great reviews on Facebook and TripAdvisor.

Pricing starts at $540 for 7 nights of dorm-style accommodations and includes:
Brunch everyday
Some dinners
Airport pickup and drop-off
Transport to surf area twice a day
Unlimited purified (water-cooler) water and bananas
Decent internet (can be slow at times)
*Flight must be booked and paid separately on your own

Daily Schedule:
6am – Wake up!
7am – Shuttle leaves for surf spot
9:30am – Shuttle returns for brunch
12:30pm – Shuttle leaves for surf spot
3pm – Shuttle returns
Free-time for the rest of the day!

Cabarete and Area:
Cabarete and its neighbor Sosua offer some great restaurant and nightlife options. Cabarete offers a great strip of bars and restaurants right on the beach and is about 10 minutes walking from Swell. Sosua on the other hand offers a casino with a good mix of restaurant and bars, but is about a 10 minute tax ride from Swell. During the day, Sosua has some great snorkeling and scuba options that are highly recommended. Snorkeling is about $35/person and includes round-trip transport.

Money:
Most vendors accept U.S., Canadian and European currencies and for the most part will calculate it at the day’s trading rate. You will find that being touristy areas, the general cost of meals, drinks, and entertainment isn’t all that much cheaper than in North America, but be sure to negotiate on souvenirs and the exchange rate.

Food:
Overall, very safe to eat and drink in the area, including fresh fruits and veggies from the restaurants (too many great options to name). If you want something fast and cheap, try the fish tacos from across the main street from Swell (probably the best you’ll ever have).