Windy sports need windy spots!
With Puerto Rico to the right (East) and Haiti to the left (West), Dominican Republic is some sort of incredible hispanic Caribbean hybrid, merging a little bit of everything into its culture, language, food, and landscape – it is diverse in every way. From the seemingly endless stretch of white sand to the soaring mountain tops, the mapped out network of mangroves steering inland, and cascading waterfalls that just, keep, going. Rainforest. Desert. Highlands. Caves. Islands. Beaches. Get ready for the hype.
When to go?
If you’re looking for the best of the best kitesurfing spots in the world then you just hit the jackpot – welcome to the Dominican Republic!
You may think that this Caribbean island only attracts golfers or casino addicts, and yes, the casinos here are in their plenty (in the South) but you are forgetting something – those Northern shore tradies. Kitesurfing pros flock in their masses to the north coast of the Dominican Republic for non-stop year-round backyard practice. Sun, sea and of course, wind. Wind that hits the north of this tropical paradise at least 265 days a year! Pretty cool huh! And even better news is that the season runs all year around.
Summer months offer smaller swells but the wind is pretty reliable which equals some great kickers. The swells in the winter can get full on, but if you’re feeling ballsy and want some barrelling challenges then this is perfect for you. If you’re not a fan of rain showers then avoid October/November but we don’t mind getting a little wet! Otherwise, if you want to avoid those hurricanes then we would suggest sticking somewhere between April and September!
Where to rig up?
Here are the hot spots you need to know about when visiting Dominican Republic. Head to the 4km long stretch of kitesurfing bliss on the north coast of the Dominican Republic and you will come across these 3 key areas …
Cab Bay, buzzing with beach-side accommodation, kitesurfing schools, SUP, surfing, wake boarding and more. This is the hub. Plenty to do by day, plenty to do by night. The kitesurfing opportunities are everywhere but the area is big so there are a few different launch spots to consider all the way up to Kite Beach and beyond. The launch area (from the right) can get hectic with windsurfers galore so once you’re up and running, our suggestion would be get out! There is enough chop in the water to entertain all abilities so make the most of it. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part – a lengthy reef break that is a perfect playground to catch those waves!
Sitting just between Cabarete Bay and Kite Beach. Bozo Beach is home to many local kitesurfing schools. The spot is not overly crowded, at least comparing to the other hotspots. But when the waves are big, the shore break here could be a bit challenging to get past, especially for the beginners.
Slightly further downwind, it is no surprise that Kite Beach is littered with kites… always .. as long as the wind’s up. It has kitesurfing schools everywhere, and is, for many, the preferred spot on the north shore. The reef, 300m out, is shallow but protects the bay, meaning inside the bay is great for beginners and freestylers, and outside the bay scratches the itch for intermediate to expert wave riders. So yeah, a unique spot where beginners and pros ride side by side hitting big air loops, mobes and rolls all over the place. Winds are side-on-shore from the right (99% of the time) and best months are December – January and May – September which hit around 20-25 knots.
La Boca de Yasica
Further down South-east of Cabarete the Yasica river meets the ocean creating a perfect flat water sweet spot. So if you’re after a more chilled out day, head down to La Boca; a sexy, shallow, glassy lagoon that is perfect for intermediate and freestyle kiteboarding. The launch can get a little hectic sometimes so be confident and head further out to the river mouth where you’ll catch the side-shore cross winds and waves for some serious power. And afterwards, check out Wilson’s BBQ shack to fuel up for your ride.
If you consider yourself to be pretty damn ballsy, and you want something a little more challenging then Encuentro is for you. A kitesurf world renowned competition hub just north of Kite Beach, you’ll meet Encuentro in Amber Coast. Not for the faint hearted, and generally more reliable in the winter and spring months, things can get pretty intense here. Experts tackle the heavy drop-barrel-bail routine at Coco Pipe and there really is little calm. With plenty to battle, you’ll find both left and right reef breaks, and a tonne of sea urchins (no joke, you’ll want those booties!) Look out for the north/northeast swell as this is tip top awesome! Generally best to hit this in the afternoon, after a morning in Cabarete and midday at La Boca, but this routine is popular so be ready to share the love.
Top tip: Everyone likes to hit the “G-Spot”, a secret break between Encuentro and Kite Beach that’s sweet for wave riding. You know when you’ve hit the G-Spot when the swell is good.
If you find that paradise holds back the wind (unlikely) and you’re bored (even more unlikely) then fear not! – here are 5 things to keep you entertained on those down days…
1. A World of Watersports – No wind? No problem! There are a tonne of other water activities to get stuck into, whether it be SUP, surfing or tubing …
2. Go chase waterfalls – all 27 of them! Take a hike through the Damajagua jungle all the way to the top, and then simply jump, slide and swim your way back down through cascading waterfalls, crystal clear pools and jungle rivers.
3. Road Trip! Well, technically ‘boat trip’, out to Paradise Island and Montecristi National Park. This is a pretty cool day out, with mangroves, lagoons, forests, white sandy beaches, and hundreds of tropical fish, brain coral and a lot more sea urchins to gawk at.
4. Strip naked! Not literally, but temperatures start from 26°C/80°F and keep on rising up in the summer, so get into your bikinis and boardies … relax and catch some rays!
5. Keep Hydrated – if you’re looking for something stronger than the local Presidente beer or more adventurous than a quadruple rum and coke, then take a wander down Calle Principal and try a Mamajuana – a rum, red wine and honey potion infused in tree bark, herbs and originally a Carey turtle penis. Yup, you heard right. Turtle penis! Spiritual legend states this tipple is a natural aphrodisiac so it may just get your loins pumping.