Sometimes you want to travel someplace you’ve never been, but sometimes you find a special place that keeps you coming back for more. Cabarete is one of those special places that keeps people coming back for more. It has so much to offer, but It’s also such a small town that you really get to know the locals that work there as well as many tourists that come back year after year.
Like most popular vacation destinations, Cabarete is full of tourists. However, the friendly locals are also very visibly present, running their shops and restaurants, taxiing tourists on their motorcycles, teaching kiting lessons, playing volleyball, selling things on the beach, and even climbing trees to cut down coconuts. It’s impressive how quickly they can scale these trees without ropes. They can get about 8 pesos (20 cents) per coconut while also helping to prevent death by falling coconuts for unsuspecting tourists. Before lounging on a chair on the beach, always look up and make sure there are no coconuts above, especially when the wind is blowing.
While at home or on any other trip, my husband checks the wind forecast online daily (not for falling coconuts, but for kitesurfing conditions). In the last three summers he has gone, the wind has been roughly the same strength (17-25mph) almost every afternoon. However, even with steady wind conditions this year, he was reminded that kiting is an extreme sport when he accidentally launched about 30 feet across the water and smacked his ribs on impact. He then had to kite back to shore injured and hobble around for the next few days in severe pain with every breath, cough, laugh, or movement of his rib cage. This gave him time to take pictures and read on the beach like a “normal” tourist. Fortunately, he doesn’t think any ribs are broken and he got back on his board a few days later (and the photos below of flying kiters are not of my husband!)
There is plenty to do near Cabarete even if you don’t want to learn to kite, surf or play volleyball. Less than an hour away, there are beautiful waterfalls, and several companies offer canyon tours and mountain biking, among other adventures. The tropical island also offers gorgeous displays of nature including interesting birds, geckos, flowers and trees.
Playa Encuentro is a surfing beach 6km from Cabarete where there are several surf schools and horseback riding riding along the beach. The waves are typically small in the summer, but my husband got lucky this year scoring head high and overhead waves and long rides. The break is good for beginning long boarders and advanced riders alike.
The wind is slightly offshore in the morning switching to side onshore in the afternoon as the land heats up and colder air rushes onshore to replace the rising hot air on the land (thermal wind). This creates good surfing in the morning and good kitesurfing in the afternoon. My husband’s favorite thing to do there is kite 6km downwind from Cabarete to Encuentro and then catch a taxi back.
Another popular spot about 5 kilometers from the main strip in Cabarete is La Boca, where the river meets the ocean. Flat water kiters like this spot for the smooth water conditions, and tourists come for the restaurant that serves excellent shrimp and fish. The restaurant ferries people across the river for free while the kiters put on a show for the guests.
The taxi to and from La Boca cost him just $20, and the friendly driver waited for him while he enjoyed his lunch and watched the kiters. He knew he could have bargained the price down further but we like to support the local people and economy when we travel. Marino, the taxi driver was a reminder of the good vibes in the DR – The first thing Marino said when he got into the car to La Boca was “Cabarete – best place in the world man!”
In case you missed the Dominican Republic on a budget (part 1) you can check it out HERE!