A Guide to Cabarete: A Beach Town In The Dominican Republic That Goes Under The Radar

The island of the Dominican Republic is a Caribbean oasis and a popular spot for tourists and travelers typically looking to relax. Although most known for its beautiful beaches, soft sand and bath-tub-like water, the Puerto Plata area is also home to thrilling adventures. Cabarete, a gem of a town on the north end of the island, is a dangerously exhilarating sanctuary of exploration and thrilling adventures on both sand and sea.

A top location for many professional kitesurfing competitions – including the Copa Mundial de Kitesurf – Cabarete Bay, formed by a barrier coral reef, is among the most popular beaches in the Caribbean for surfing of all varieties.

Though surfing is just the beginning. You can also swim among the plentiful parrot fish and electric Blue Tangs, rubbing fins as if part of the school. Dive into the deep blue and get acquainted with creatures of the sea — from a nurse shark to a moray eel and a Caribbean dolphin, if you’re lucky. Explore monkey jungles or the riverbanks of Rio Yasica, tour sugar cane plantations and kayak down the Jamao River. Adventure enthusiasts have plenty with which to fill an itinerary.

Whether you choose to explore the Dominican Republic’s Cabarete region on land or underwater, opt to immerse yourself in the wild side of the island. Indulge in adventure. Feel the pang of adrenaline as you experience what makes this town so quintessentially cool. The type of place you could see yourself leaving everything behind for. Get to know what makes Cabarete so charming and addictively bold.


Day One:  Sea, Sun & Surf

 9  A.M.

Every day in Cabarete should start at Fresh Fresh Cafe — serving homegrown produce from local farms, including superfood smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices and organic coffee. Fresh Fresh is a downtown health haven, only a short distance from Kite Beach (aptly named for Cabarete’s favorite watersport, kite-surfing) with natural and healthy fuel for your day.


10 A.M.

Adventure awaits at House of Waves, a mobile surf school offering private lessons for all ages and levels. You can test your skills among the waves and learn to hang ten from Jesmarin Puente, a former professional surfer and national champion, who’ll lead you to uncrowded spots and pass on his surf knowledge and tips. Lessons are always private, so be sure to call ahead and make an early morning arrangement.


1 P.M.

After catching waves across a number of beaches in Cabarete, you’ll work up an appetite that can only be satisfied by Miro’s, an eclectic seafood spot that’s been open for more than 20 years. Chef-owner Lydia Wazana brings a sophisticated sensibility to this delightful beach lounge and restaurant, offering a top-notch menu with live music and artistic events.


3 P.M.

If surfing waves wasn’t your forte – Vela Cabarete has everything else to offer. From stand-up paddle boards to catching perfect sideshore winds with kite-boarding or wind-surfing, there is plenty of adventure in this area of the Domnicana Republic, or the DR as its better known. The Vela center will teach you to pivot and chop waves like a watersport professional.


6:30 P.M.

Close out your day with a rewarding and delicious dinner on one of DR’s top-rated beaches. La Casita de Papi has been serving fresh seafood on Cabarete Beach for more than two decades, giving guests the experience of dining with their toes in the sand and the stars overhead. Relish in plates of seafood and strong cocktails to the sound of waves crashing on the beach – the same waves you spent all day fiercely tearing up.



Day Two:  Coral Reef Exploration

10 A.M.

Head just north of Cabarete along the coast to Sosúa Beach, the top spot in the Dominican Republic for water sport enthusiasts and adventurous souls.  Sosúa Bay features crystal-clear water and a diverse collection of marine life species, thanks to the intricate coral reef structures spread about.


11 A.M.

Schedule an experience with Tip Top Catamaran for a day of breathtaking scenery, aquatic life and coral reef exploration along the North Coast of the DR. Embark on a 75-ft.catamaran with sips of champagne and light tapas, and work on your tan as you head to your reef-filled destination.


1:30 P.M.

Dive in and embrace the energy of life underwater with this high-quality experience of swimming with tropical fish, many of which are native to the waters of the Dominican Republic. Keep an eye out for the Banded Butterflyfish with its thick black stripes or the brightly colored Queen Angelfish. After voyaging the sea and swimming above the beautiful coral reefs, enjoy lunch on the boat and dance to local merengue and bachata.


6 P.M.

From your underwater discovery and exploration of Sosúa Beach, head to Waterfront Restaurant to have dinner overlooking Playa Alicia. White-sand beaches as soft as sugar and turquoise-blue waters create the perfect backdrop for a beachfront supper of seafood and Caribbean drinks.


Day Three:  Seaside Horseback Riding

10:30 A.M.

Fulfill your Caribbean fantasy of riding horses along the sea, a completely authentic activity in the Dominican Republic – and at one of the most majestic facilities to experience it. The Equestrian Center at Sea Horse Ranch is a full-service stable facility and distinctive amenity to Sea Horse Ranch – one of the best luxury resorts on the north coast of the DR. This gated community of oceanfront villas will arrange you a horseback tour on beautiful thoroughbreds, allowing you to see the island from a different perspective at a galloping pace through tropical woods and pristine beaches.


2 P.M.

Enjoy a late lunch at the Beach Club at Sea Horse Ranch for a spectacularly panoramic view of Cabarete Beach, where you can treat yourself to an elegant meal of fresh seafood. Featuring a menu with Caribbean and Mediterranean flare and using locally sourced ingredients for a superb dining experience.


3:30 P.M.

Then there’s the other side to Sea Horse Ranch, and it doesn’t involve horses, but balls and racquets. Finish off your day with a cool match or two at The Tennis Club, with professional and high-performance instruction, five clay courts, private lessons and a pro shop. Join the members on the court for a match in paradise.


7 P.M.

Savor today’s adventure at one of the best fine-dining experiences in Dominican Republic, located just off Sosúa Beach. Restaurant Casa Veinituno (part of the Boutique B&B Casa Veintiuno) is a stylish property on the hillside of Sosúa, (a five minute stroll from the beach) featuring gourmet European and Caribbean seafood. Note that this establishment is cash only.




Day 4:  Boat La Boca

11 A.M.

There is no finer way to enjoy your last day in the Dominican Republic than with Rugama Tours. Transport yourself down the Yasica River to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, where you can immerse yourself in jungle surroundings and lush vegetation as if you were actually in the Amazon.


1 P.M.

A mid-river boat tour down the Yasica River will land you in La Boca – a playground for adventurers, tucked away from the center of Cabarete through mangrove tree forests and villages. It’s not easy to get to, and often requires directional help from locals, unless you take this scenic tour with Rugama. Drink cold beers and spot creatures like eels and lobsters along the river beds as you cruise the warm waters and ride through tropical foliage.


2:30 P.M.

Losing track of time exploring the deep woodland of the Dominican Republic is natural for guests of Rugama Tours, but Proprietor Ruddy Martinez Juma takes care of every last detail so you don’t have to. A fresh lunch prepared on open fire pits and coals will fill your stomach – served in a tree house overlooking a lush green field, while Ruddy tells nostalgic stories and shares his love for the enchanting surroundings.


4 P.M.

Days worth of energetic adventure deserves some reward. Let yourself indulge in the retail shops along Cabarete, where you can find the handcrafted works of art and design from local artisans and vendors. Shop for jewelry, handbags, carpets and art at FEDUJAZZ and Lili Lou, both located in the downtown Cabarete center.


8 P.M.

Head to a local hotspot on Cabarete Beach for your final meal. Pomodoro serves freshly made pasta, brick-oven pizza and salads; it also hosts weekly live jazz performances. Pomodoro is the original location for what has become the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival (now in its 20th year). This favorite might just give you a little taste of home before you depart, and don’t miss the gelato stand – located along the beach alley entrance and open until late afternoon.



Where to Stay

Sea Horse Ranch
Where: Carretera Sosúa-Cabarete, (Rt. 5), Sea Horse Ranch, Cabarete
Why: The oceanfront, luxury villa resort with 27/7 concierge service pampers you from sunrise to sunset.
Learn More: sea-horse- ranch.com



Where to Eat & Drink

Miro’s Cabarete
Where: Carretera Principal (Rt. 5), Cabarete central beach, Cabarete
Cuisine: Eclectic, Mediterranean, seafood
Learn More: facebook.com/mirocabarete


La Casita de Papi
Where: Carretera Principal, (Rt. 5), Cabarete central beach, Cabarete
Cuisine: Caribbean, Seafood, Spanish
Learn More: facebook.com/lacasitadepapi


Where: Carretera Principal, (Rt. 5), Don Chiche Passage, Cabarete Beach
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza
Learn More: facebook.com/pomodorocabarete


The Beach Club at Sea Horse Ranch
Where: Carretera Principal, (Rt. 5), Sea Horse Ranch, Cabarete
Cuisine: Seafood, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Learn More: sea-horse- ranch.com/amenities/the-beach- club/


Waterfront Restaurant
Where: Dr. Rosen Street, Calle Sin Salida, Playa Alicia, Sosúa
Cuisine: Seafood, Mediterranean
Learn More: facebook.com/waterfrontsosua


Restaurant Casa Veintiuno/21
Where: Calle Piano #1 – Reparto Tavares, El Batey, Sosúa
Cuisine: Caribbean, Mediterranean, European, Seafood
Learn More: casaveintiuno.com



What to See & Do

Tip Top Catamaran
Where: Sosúa Beach, Sosúa, Dominican Republic
Why: Boat tours, snorkeling and coral reef exploration give you an entirely different perspective of the island.
Learn More: facebook.com/TipTopCatamaran


Rugama Tours
Where: Carretera Principal, Islabon, Sabaneta de Yasica
Why: River boat eco-tours accompanied by Dominican cuisine and scenic botanical gardens
Learn More: rugama.npage.de


House of Waves Surf School
Why: Surf lessons, guided surf excursions and board rentals ensure you catch the best wave.
Where: Mobile surf school, various beaches, Cabarete
Learn More: houseofwaves.com


The Equestrian Center at Sea Horse Ranch
Where: Carretera Sosúa-Cabarete, (Rt. 5), Sea Horse Ranch, Cabarete
Why: Whether you’re a pro or first time rider, the Ranch offers horseback riding on the beach and trails, as well as professional training.
Learn More: sea-horse- ranch.com/amenities/equestrian-center


Tennis Club at Sea Horse Ranch
Where: Carretera Sosúa-Cabarete, (Rt. 5), Sea Horse Ranch, Cabarete
Why: Stay active with tennis lessons, clay courts and  pro shop.
Learn More: sea-horse- ranch.com/amenities/tennis-club


Kite Surfing at Vela Cabarete
Where: Carretera Principal (Rt. 5); Main Street in downtown Cabarete center
Why: Get your thrill fix with kite surfing or seek some serenity with Stand-up Paddleboarding.
Learn More: velacabarete.com/



Where to Shop

Where: Carretera Principal, Cabarete
Why: A variety of handcrafted jewelry, handbags and carpets by local artisans. Jazz Festival memorabilia with original designs by artist Adolfo Faringthon.
Learn More: drjazzfestival.com/fedujazz


Fresh Fresh Cafe Cabarete
Where: Carretera Principal (Rt. 5); Main Street in downtown Cabarete center
Why: Organic locally produced coffee and organic chocolate.
Learn More: facebook.com/freshfreshcab


Lili Lou
Where: Careterra Principal (Rt 5); Main Street in downtown Cabarete center
Why: Trendy beach wear and accessories from a signature collection made in the DR.


Photographer: Aaron Feaver