The Dominican Republic, part of the gloriously sunny and relaxed Caribbean, and visited by adventurers, honeymooners, and sun-seekers alike, young and old, from around the world.
I’m in the young(ish) sun-seeking (wannabe) adventurer category!
We stay for two weeks in Cabarete, 30mins drive East of Puerto Plata in the North of the Island. Its famous for being a kiteboarding mecca, and also has an excellent long established windsurfing community.
Cabarete is a hub for various adventure sports, day trips, and tourism, and after two weeks there, we could easily have found more to do.
Where we stayed…
Cabarete Beach Houses, a nice and affordable self-catering villa right on the beach – they were nice, however because it was located between Bozo and Kite Beach, it did sometimes mean a lengthy 25min walk to Cabarete Beach, not that I minded, it was a nice walk, although it was dark in places at night.
Where should you stay…
Cabarete Beach, you’re probably best there. Most of the restaurants, night-life and shops are based around it, and there’s a range of accommodation to suit.
There was also some very nice looking hotels on Bozo Beach.
If on the other hand you want to spend the whole holiday kiteboarding (get in touch with me!!) then you might be best on, or near, Kite Beach. I’d recommend contacting a Kiteboarding School.
What we did…
Kiteboarding, windsurfing, the fantastic ‘27 Waterfalls Tour’, horseback riding, downhill mountain biking, white water rafting, zip-lining, and a trip up Mount Isabella – most of which was organised by “Iguana Mama” Tours.
What else can you do! Lots…
SCUBA diving, surfing, kayaking, wakeboarding, fishing trips, canyoning, hiking, horseback riding on the beach, quad biking, Ocean World Adventure Park (in Puerto Plata), and of course – relaxing in the sun!
What you should do…
If nothing else, do the 27 Waterfalls Tour, it was fantastic.
When to go?
We were there in September, and it had just entered into the off-peak season, something which slipped us past during our researching, and to be honest it was quiet, for many of the locals and businesses it was too quiet, but on the plus side, it was cheaper!
The big downer was that it was also the start of Hurricane season and in the second week, a passing hurricane spoiled the conditions for the learner kiteboarders (me) and windsurfers – however I think the surfers were delighted.
As always, it depends what you’re looking for, and if it’s lots of socialising and night-life you’d best stick to the peak season. We actually had one tour cancelled until the following week as there wasn’t enough interest.
Come on people, didn’t you read the “what we did” above!!
Anyway, enough of the review, how did I actually get on!
During the first day we strolled down the beach, along with the usual few stray dogs, and people trying to sell you jewelry, to the Vela windsurfing school and shop, they were very helpful and even booked all our Iguana Mama tours for us! It was shaping up to be a busy two weeks with early starts nearly every day that first week.
I enjoyed all the tours, but in particular the 27 Waterfalls Tour where you hike up a river and then jump, slide, and float back down some amazing scenery. The White Water Rafting was also good, although it was an early start, and the mountain biking took us through some of the more rural areas of the Dominican which are sadly very poor indeed.
We also asked Iguana Mama if they could arrange a trip up Mount Isabella, which we’d seen from a distance various times during the trips and tours. Collected in the morning we headed for Puerto Plata, and got the cable car up to the top. There’s a nice botanical garden, a small cafe and shop, and the views were fantastic.
We unfortunately had a local guide in tow and although he knew his stuff, I’d have preferred just to walk around in a bit more of a relaxed way.
All in all, Cabarete was an awesome place, definitely worth a visit for any number of reasons.
And remember Iguana Mama’s tagline – “Mama knows best”, you’d be struggling to argue.
Links & Resources:
Iguana Mama Tours – you don’t have to stay in Cabarete, but it is where they are based.
Cabarete Beach Houses, part of the Nanny Estate:
Vela Windsurfing, Cabarete – they’re very helpful with everything, even non-windsurfing stuff.
Dare2Fly, Cabarete Kiteboarding School – partnered with Vela, and excellent. It’s also the home of the awesome Audrey Meyer.
Flights with Thompson Airways
Dominican Adventures Website
MAP from Active Cabarete: