Restaurant Meal: DOP500
Accommodation: DOP2,800 – 5,300 per night.
If you crave sun and wind, then the four kilometre long beach that is the kitesurfing haven of Cabarete, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, could be just for you. Open stretches of golden sandy beaches are combed by a regular cross-onshore wind and protected by an offshore reef. Cabarete is also a great holiday destination with a wide range of activities and experiences to choose from and the unique atmosphere is fuelled by the Caribbean nightlife.
When the trade winds are in, there's no shortage of good riding and Cabarete offers several classic spots. Cabarete beach can get busy near to shore as advanced riders like to kite close to each other and there are beginners along the shoreline, but head up- or downwind and you'll have waves and open water all to yourself. There are also many other options. Take a trip directly east or upwind of Kite Beach and you'll find Cabarete Bay. La Policia is just upwind of the windsurfing zone on the main beach and is the perfect playground for advanced kitesurfers. Beginners can learn to fly kites here too as the conditions are perfect. Bozo Beach is situated downwind in Cabarete's main bay with a cross-onshore wind and flat to choppy water conditions. Bozo is suitable for all levels and the more advanced can venture 800 metres out to the reef to find a lovely breaking wave. Although not as windy as Cabarete, Punta Cana on the south side of the island, offers flat, shallow waters, beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
Cross-onshore winds from the right, stronger in summer, but Cabarete is a year-round destination. The most reliable time is April - September when the temperatures reach just over 30°C / 86°F and the waters are nice and flat. Better waves in winter. There are literally well over 200 days kiting here a year. October is rainy though. Kite Beach's wind is solar driven, so the best riding is generally later in the day with the wind cranking after 4pm, leaving plenty of time to catch a morning surf at Encuentro or sleep off a night of partying on the beach. Generally the day's heat rises and cool trade winds fill in, providing cross-onshore winds of 20 knots. These same trade winds push water on to a well-defined outer reef that kicks up chest- to head-high waves and protects the bay, making for flat water on the inside and rolling blue water swells on the outside. Find anything from flat or choppy water through to world class reef and shore-break starboard tack wave riding. The water temperature sits in the mid-20s all year / roughly 75°F.
Go budget or go large; you've got all the options around here. Some beautiful hotels in lovely spots, or apartments, like the Luxury SeaLane apartments on Bozo Beach. Check out www.oceandreamcabarete.com
THE STARKITES boutique is at the entrance to Cabarete. Sociable and friendly, the manufacturer's pro riders are there to help. Watch videos or pick up some advice. The shop has a full selection of Starkites gear and accessories and there's gear for demo on Bozo beach behind the shop. Linked with Luxury Sea Lane apartments (www.oceandreamcabarete.com) on Bozo beach as well as most schools and repair centres.
+1 809 571 9745
CLUB MISTRAL operate a mobile school, so you can be sure of being at the right spot for the conditions, although you'll find the centre nestled beneath shady palm trees with a cosy chill out overlooking the ocean. Providing lessons, rescue and kiteboarding rentals, they also offer windsurfing, surfing, SUP, Laser sailing, beach volleyball and excursions.
With so many activities on offer Cabarete is the perfect destination for non-kiting partners and family. Choose from other watersports such as surfing, windsurfing and wakeboarding. There's also a host of excursions into the tropical countryside, as well as mountain biking and even taking a romantic horse ride or the full moon boat trip down the Yasica river.
Cabarete isn't as big as most people seem to imagine and car hire is optional, but really isn't necessary as everything is in walking distance or within a short motoconcho ride. Watch Susi Mai's guide to Cabarete on the Kite Show episode 3 at: www.thekiteshow.tv
Dominican Peso (DOP) - £1 = DOP70 / €1 = DOP60 / $1 = DOP42
FOOD AND DRINK
Directly east or upwind of Kite Beach is Cabarete Bay with a great quality and quantity of food options to replenish your energy after a long day on the water. This beach is packed with great restaurants offering every type of food and drink. There's always a party going on in Cabarete, including three very lively bars on the beach where you can party until six in the morning.
Puerto Plata airport (POP) is a 25 minute drive from Cabarete and the transfer costs around US$30 in a cab. Santo Domingo (SDQ) is a four hour drive and can cost US$100 by cab.
Icapuí | Brazil
Tremembé is something of a dream spot! Featuring flat water to little waves, warm water and an authentic Brazilian ambience
Dahab | Egypt
Dahab, a hotspot for wind sports due to its world class, reliable, safe learning conditions in the lagoons
Lake Como | Italy
Just an hour from Milan and home of the Italian Freestyle Champion, Stefano Martinelli, you can be sure you’ll pack in the riding time on Lake Como. Mix your kitesurfing trip with beautiful food, historical site visits and there’s also a cable park filled with kickers and sliders just a ten minute bike ride from the spot of Colico.
Cocos Keeling Islands | Australia
Warm, flat aqua-blue waters that you’ll find here are like the kiting conditions you see in your dreams. Perfect for beginner and advanced riders wanting 15 – 20 knot winds morning, noon and night. There’s no wonder that The Cocos Islands are growing in reputation for blissful kiteboarding and if you’re lucky you can kite with the turtles, reef sharks and manta rays.
Kalpitiya | Sri Lanka
One of the most consistently windy destination in the word, people are only just now beginning to believe all that they see and hear
Ulcinj | Montenegro
A new kiting hotspot on mainland Europe is being developed in Montenegro, former Yugoslavia. Ulcinj (pronounced: ‘Ooltseenie’), the southernmost town in Montenegro features a 14 kilometre long sandy beach and super steady side-onshore thermal winds that blow every day in the summer!
Keros | Limnos | Greece
Keros is a super safe sandy kitesurfing bay with a variety of conditions, suitable for all. The whole set up is within a protected ecosystem where you can spot wildlife such as rabbits, flamingos and rare species of flora.
The Algarve | Portugal
Glassy morning wakeboarding or surfing sessions are the perfect way to kick the early hours off, then it’s over to an afternoon of regular 25 knot wind speeds for some kiting action, changing spots a few times a week.