Cabarete, DR is one of my favorite places to surf. Playa Encuentro, 5 miles from Cabarete is a long reef with several different breaks. For the tyro/intermediate, there is plenty of real estate to go around. It is a fairly consistent 2-3′ and is head to double head high a few times per month. Winter swells are bigger – this great video captures Encuentro at its best. For the tyros and intermediates, this is what it is like most of the time…nice long rides.
The beach has several surf shacks where you can easily rent a board, get refreshments etc. Water is clean and caribbean blue. While in the line up, you often can see down to the bottom. For non-surfers, it really is a beautiful spot to just relax. Reef shoes are definitely recommended. As you can see from the chart below, the breaks provide a great range based on ability.
The trip down from NYC couldn’t be easier. Jetblue and American have direct flights to Puerto Plata (5 Miles from Cabarete, 10 miles from Encuentro). Lodging choices range from hostel to luxury rentals. I have primarily stayed at Cabarete Surf Camp which has affordable bungalows and is a 5 minute walk to Cabarete. Daily shuttles to Encuentro.Another higher end option, yet still relatively inexpensive is Villa Taina.
The restaurant at the surf camp is excellent so even if you don’t stay there, eat there (churasco is amazing). If you are there for a few days, splurge and eat at Bliss – you won’t be disappointed.
Nightlife… ah, Cabarete nightlife can make it difficult to get up for the early surf session. All the restaurants on the beach turn into bars/nightclubs after 10pm with some staying open until 2/3am. Each day one of them is the “place to go” and you don’t need to guess which one – it will be very obvious. Moto concho (moped taxis) are the easiest way to get around and cost about a $1. Be careful of pick pockets, have the DR fresh coconuts whenever you can. Lastly, you will ultimately get a DR tattoo ~ burn on your leg on the moto concho exhaust but that is the price of admission to this paradise.