A 40-minute drive east of Puerto Plata, Cabarete’s a phenom that started blossoming as a destination in the mid-1980s, as foreign visitors discovered the water, wind conditions, and nearly four miles of beach that have given this single-street town of some 37,000 a rep as one of the world’s top meccas for windsurfing, kitesurfing, just plain ol’ surfing, and sailing. That’s not to say you can’t have fun here if you don’t do any of these sports, but it sure does help.
Today, more than 20 years later, the vibe in this town remains intimate and barefoot as well as young and active – mostly small hotels and guesthouses, shops, eateries, and bars, with pretty much everything in easy walking distance along the main drag through town, running along the wide beach.
The Water's the Key
Protected by a coral reef, the bay provides the nice flat water and snappy offshore breezes that add up to a perfect combo for windsurfing and kiting (above right). And if you love getting wet, you can also find just about anything else to float your boat, like snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, diving, waterskiing, paragliding, whitewater rafting, canyoning, cascading, and wakeboarding (not in the Atlantic, but on a nearby river, the Yasica). Over the years, as the Cabarete scene expanded, so did the types of thrills, with local outfitters now offering land-based ATV, mountain biking, and caving.
So if you’re one of those dudes or gals whose idea of a good time is pushing the envelope in the hunt for adrenaline, Cabarete should definitely be on your list.
José Balido is a longtime travel writer and president of Tripatini.com.