Looks amazing huh? So there’s two ways you can do this trip to Cabarete, Dominican Republic. One is cheap, and one is ridiculously cheap. My husband does this trip more in the ridiculously cheap category.
If you are willing to rough it, you can stay at Ali’s surf camp for just $28 a night. This includes continental breakfast and a great dinner. The rooms are very basic, no a/c unless you pay extra, but they do have a fan, bathroom, and mosquito net around the bed (yes, you will be battling it out with mosquitos, insects and intense heat and humidity in the DR). You may also encounter power outages. It’s more like a hostel with private rooms, a beautiful pool, and an excellent outdoor restaurant. There is also a beginner surfing class in the mornings for $20 extra if you are interested. However, the best part about it is that It’s a great place to meet other interesting world travelers who like extreme sports and traveling on a budget.
If I lost you at mosquitos and insects, I don’t blame you, especially with all the concern about Zika and chikungunya, dengue fever and malaria. It’s not my cup of tea either but my husband has some beautiful photos from his recent kitesurfing trip there. He actually takes malaria pills before he goes. This year he is also using a blend of essential oils in a spray bottle, which seems to be keeping those pesky little guys at bay. The mixture is chemical free and uses NO deet. It is made mostly with an “outdoor blend,” but I altered it with a few additional drops of arborvitae, eucalyptus and cedarwood.
If you prefer luxury, there are also plenty of nice beachfront resorts with a/c and less mosquitos because they are oceanfront (Ali’s camp is 10 minutes walk from the beach). You will be paying more than $28/night, but the DR is still one of the cheapest islands in the Caribbean.
The water is clear and it’s almost always sunny out, so it’s also a beautiful place for snorkeling and diving. The sun can be terribly draining though, so there’s plenty of vacationers just lounging at the beach with a book and a mojito. Be sure to try a shot of mamajuana, a favorite Dominican drink made by soaking rum, wine, and honey in a mixture with bark and herbs. Also be sure to enjoy an hour long massage at the beach for only $20.
It’s also probably the cheapest and best place to learn to kiteboard. It’s windy year round, and lessons cost only $60/day vs. over $400/day in the US. On any given day there, you can see 100-200 kites sailing across the water, many of them hurling themselves 30 feet into the air.
After a full day of kiting, you can enjoy 2 for 1 Cuba libres (rum and coke) for about $4. It’s very hard to beat the price and atmosphere of a day at the beach in caberete. The town is swamped with friendly and adventurous tourists, many from Europe (the Germans love this town). The locals are also very friendly and welcoming despite their beach being overrun with tourists crashing kites. Nightlife can be crazy, so you definitely need to be safer and smarter at night in the Dominican Republic.
The town of Cabarete, about 30 minutes from Puerto Plata airport, is quite small so you don’t even need a car once you are there. The main beach, bars, restaurants, and nightlife are all on one short stretch of beach maybe a mile long. The roads are actually quite dangerous though, and so my husband doesn’t recommend a car. He also avoids the motorcycle taxis (motoconchos) and associated “Dominican tattoo” (a common burn tourists get on their calf from touching the hot engine while hanging onto the back of their motoconcho driver). If you need to go somewhere, either walk or take a large taxi the size of a van. The drivers on the roads make extreme kitesurfing look like child’s play.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs for a two week trip in Cabarete (done the “ridiculously cheap” way):
Total cost of trip:
Airfare from San Diego – $650
14 nights at Ali’s surf camp including breakfast and dinners – $392
Lunches and drinks – $300
Transfers/Incidentals – $100
Click HERE for PART TWO… with more tips and photos!