The Dominican Republic is a recognized surfing capital of the Caribbean. The Atlantic waves that come to the northern coast of the republic are steady, long-lasting and warm, with temperatures not lower than +24…+26 °C all year round. There are about 30 surf spots in the country, most of which are either a steady four or an honest five on a five-point scale. Here you can easily find both right- and left-handed surfing, and the number of places for beginners and professionals is about the same. Most of the spots are reef spots, but there are also sections with sandy bottoms.
Surfing season in the Dominican Republic
The high season for surfers lasts from October to April, with a peak in February and March, when waves reach 6 meters in height. In May and September, the waves are about 2 meters high and there are no more strong storms, which is suitable for intermediate surfers. In the summer, the waves are small – just right for beginners. In August and September, tropical storms and hurricanes sweeping through the North Atlantic bring the so-called “swell” to the northern coast of Española – smoothly and high rising masses of fresh ocean water. Riding such waves is a pleasure for confident surfers and pros. When the swell change’s direction (and this can happen at any time), almost all bottom relief differences turn into surf spots: sheer walls, “blue wells”, reefs and reeks – and then you can surf almost anywhere on the northern coast.
Kurorti and Surf Spots
Cabarete is the best resort for kite, wind, and just plain surfing in the Dominican Republic. With its modest length of 800 meters, the local beach is famous for its strong and constant winds and waves, ideal for boarding extremes. Paddleboarders mostly ride here – low and very long waves provide a steady ride. Bozo Beach in the very center of the city is especially good with the arrival of swell and attracts beginners with a shallow sandy bottom. Kite Beach is for the daredevils: the waves here are high and steep, especially on the northern swell.
Cabarete, with its many accommodation and entertainment options, is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding surf spots.
El Mañanero, 15 km from Cabarete – a classic beach break with multidirectional waves. Early in the morning, before the breeze picks up, beginners ride, and in the afternoon, on a steady wind, advanced boarders ride. There are 6 surf spots 7-10 km north of Cabarete at a distance of 100–200 meters from each other. Coco Pipe is suitable for pros: the waves here are high and fast, forming pipes and barrels, and the sea is not deep. The best surfing conditions are in winter, on the northern swell.
Both Bobo – outer and inner – will be appreciated by those who are taking their first steps in surfing. Surfers from the local school learn on the inner one: the waves here do not exceed half a meter, the sea depth is below the waist. The outer one is suitable for those who continue their studies: the waves are of medium height and stable throughout the year.
Encuentro boasts the most diverse and consistent waves in the entire Caribbean – you can ride here 350 days a year. Its neighbor is the spot with the telling name Left: it has great left-directional waves of acceptable length that form good barrels. The bottom is shallow, so beginners should stay away. For the desperate, there’s a direct route to the most extreme spot, Destroyers. The three ingredients for its success are shallow water, steep waves of medium height, and plenty of barrels. Bodyboarding is recommended, as full-length surfing can be dangerous.
El Canal is the most remote and, therefore, the least “inhabited” spot on the northern coast, so those who like solitude will feel comfortable here.
The spots are easily accessible from Cabarete: a taxi or moto taxi ride will take no more than 10 minutes and cost 10-15 USD. Prices on the page are as of February 2023.
Sosua is an intimate, all-in-one resort with a lot of young people. The town cannot be called a purely surfer’s town, but there are several spots in the vicinity.
The spot on the Sosua waterfront for adult surfers will not be serious – it’s more like a frog pond for young boarders. Sosua Bay is more interesting, but it’s only suitable for experienced surfers – it has a strong current and a shallow bottom covered with coral colonies.
The waves on Rio San Juan are very simple, suitable for the most unpretentious athletes. Playa Grande is a popular choice for bodyboarders: it has an excellent coastal break and several sandbanks for long, calm rides. Experienced paddleboarders ride the strong currents of Presios and El Barco. Advanced surfers come here in the winter in search of great waves of the North Swell.
Radiomo pelelanyuti: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
There is no shortage of surf schools in the Dominican Republic – there are more than a dozen in Cabarete alone. Each has courses for beginners and master classes for experienced surfers. A three-hour individual or pair lesson will cost 30-40 USD if paid on site, and 85-90 USD with a transfer from the hotel. As a rule, surfers bring their own boards – both longboards and shortboards. If you don’t have a board with you, it doesn’t matter: any school offers a rental service at a price of no more than 5-7 USD.