Hispaniola houses two strikingly contrasting countries—Haiti, one of the poorest and most de-forested in the world, and the Dominican Republic, which has one of the largest economies in the Caribbean and a largely intact rainforest. While academics, environmentalists, and sociologists will argue the various causes for this disparity, one thing is indisputable—while Haiti sees virtually no visitors (with the exception of aid workers), the Dominican Republic is a popular tourist destination, and has much to offer the intrepid surf wanderer.
Dominican Republic Surf: With dozens of different waves breaking over assorted coral reefs and sand bars, the Dominican Republic is an intermediate surf destination which helps to explain why places like Cabarete have become a hot bed for Dominican Republic Surf Camps.
Five Waves Worth Surfing in the Dominican Republic:
- Encuentro: Worth a look If you’re surfing Cabarete in the Dominican republic (the kite and windsurfing capital of the Caribbean), Encuentro can offer up a short, heavy right and a long left when the wind permits.
- Arenaso: This rocky beach break supplies heavy barrels and is popular with the bodyboarding crowd.
- Sosua: One of the only reef passes in the Dominican Republic, the left at this peak is better than the right, but both are hollow and heavy.
- Destroyer: With such a frightening moniker, you’d think Destroyer is a gnarly wave—and you’d be correct. Located near Encuentro, this dangerous reef peak has some of the heaviest barrels on Hispaniola.
- Cabarete Beach: In addition to its plentiful reefs, Cabarete also has beach break peaks on offer for those looking for a mellower surf experience.
The in the Dominican Republic Water: Like other destinations in the Caribbean, as long as you are outside of heavily populated areas, the water around the Dominican Republic is a beautiful crystal blue. Surface temps range from 79–84 F (26–29 C) year round.
The Season: The Dominican Republic has two surfable coasts, each firing during different surf seasons. The south coast is typically best in spring and summer (March through August), while the north coast gets large swell (accompanied by a lot of wind) in fall and winter (September through March).
The Vibe: There is an established surf scene in the Dominican Republic, and some reports of aggressive localism, but for the most part the locals are welcoming and friendly, so if you tread carefully at crowded spots and come with a good attitude, you should be all right.
Things To Do: For a bit of local scenery and culture, check out Los Haitises National Park, Punta Cana Ecological Park, and Museo de las Casas Reales.
Where To Stay: For surf access, Cabarete is quite convenient, and the Swell Surf Camp is a convenient option there. If you’re thinking of surfing Cabarete in the Dominican Republic – Hooked Cabarete is also worth a look.
Dominican Republic Surf Camps
Swell Surf Camp
What To Bring : A shortboard, and a step-up if you are coming in winter. Lots of board shorts and a good pair of flip-flops. Sun protection and a bag full of surf accessories, as local shops can be quite expensive. Your favorite baseball jersey (the sport is huge here).
Getting There: Santa Domingo has two international airports, and is a convenient starting point if you are heading to the south coast, while and Puerto Plata has the Gegorio Luperon International Aiport, with easy access to Cabarete on the north coast. Most visitors require a tourist card, which are available upon arrival. Airport codes: SDQ and JQB (Santa Domingo), and POP (Puerto Plata).