Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Beaches Near Puerto Plata: Cabarete

Cabarete Beach
Just 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long, Cabarete is a thriving, thumping seaside destination.  A far cry from the sleepy fishing village it once was just a couple short decades ago, Cabarete today shines as the destination for independent tourism on the north coast. Hugging a simple two-lane highway are thousands of hotel rooms, dozens of cafés, bars, restaurants, and a wide expanse of palm tree-studded sandy beach. Days in Cabarete are bustling, warm, and sunny; its nights are nothing but hot.

Cabarete was transformed in the late 1980s after area beaches were discovered to have ideal conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding. The town is now a haven for these new adventure sports, as well as hiking in the nearby hills. Of course, lounging on a reclining beach chair with a drink in hand is a perfectly respectable way to pass time on the sandy expanses.

Outdoor Dining along Cabarete Beach
Where to Eat and Drink

Panadería Dick
Much like with their cured meats, Germans don’t loaf around when it comes to bread – Panadería Dick is the best bakery and pastry shop in Cabarete. Right in the middle of town, this restaurant’s breakfasts run around RD$100 for eggs, toast, and coffee. RD$50-100; Thu-Tue 7am-6pm; C/ Principal; 571-0612; panarolfdick@yahoo.com

José O'Shays
There is no beachside watering hole better known or more perfectly located than José O’Shays. It might be the quintessential Irish pub, except for the fact that its draft beer is Presidente and it serves pitchers of caipirinhas alongside Irish Car Bombs. The sea breeze and crashing waves outside compete with sports on a half-dozen televisions, watched by expats of all stripes. RD$100-450; C/ Principal in the center of town; 571-0775; www.joseoshay.com

Jose O'Shay's at Night

Bambú Bar
A deceivingly quiet restaurant during the day, Bambú cranks up the music after dark, ascribing to the “if you blast it, they will come” philosophy of nighttime entertainment. The party, lasting late into the night, spills out of the tiered dance floor onto the beach, where sweaty revelers take breathers and quaff Presidente. RD$100-300; restaurant 9am-11pm, bar until very late; C/ Principal; 982-4549

Friendly Cabarete Locals
Where to Sleep

Casa Blanca
Cool and Canadian-owned, this budget hotel has splendid tropical garden and delicious pool. See about the rooftop pad for 360-degree views of the beach and countryside. US$20-60; 113 C/ Principal next to Janet’s; 571-0934 or 935-0809

Kite Beach Hotel
The upscale Kite Beach Hotel offers spacious accommodations decorated with modern sculpture and paintings. Guests enjoy the on-site pool and restaurant and take comfort in the 24-hour security and gated parking lot. Special rates are available for kite-surfers getting lessons with Kitexcite (see below). US$59-US$600; just east of Extreme Hotel; 571-0878; kitebeachhotel@gmail.com; www.kitebeachhotel.com;

What to Do

Quite the sight from happy hour on the beach, the brightly colored kites of boarders across the bay from Cabarete Beach contrast with the deep blue color of the Caribbean waters. Kiteboarding, almost unheard of 15 years ago, is quickly gaining interest and popularity. Conditions at Cabarete are near perfect during almost the entire year for kiteboarding. Bozo beach, between Kitebeach and Cabarete Beach, is also a kiteboarding hotspot. www.cabaretekiteboarding.com

Windsurfing appeared in Cabarete in the 1980s as the sport began to experience international growth. The beaches around Cabarete offer that rare environment perfect for windsurfing: good winds and calm surf. Windsurfing season runs from December through April, when waves are the best, and again from June through September, with placid waters. Various companies offer windsurfing rentals and lessons.

Kiteboarding & Windsurfing Companies
Kitexcite: Kite & Surf Center at the western entrance of Cabarete; Stefan (manager) 829-962-4556; http://www.kitexcite.com/
Bozo Beach Kite Club: 571-0285; 866-1754; info@noworkteamcabarete.com;

Cabarete Coffee Company (CCC)
CCC caters to the responsible tourist, offering full-day coffee (US$100) and cacao (US$75) tours into the mountains. Beyond exploring the processing of both crops, the tours also include meals and transport. The cacao tour is local, taking place in the mountains by Cabarete, while the coffee option removes tourists to the Jarabacoa-area farm of Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies. CCC began Haitian relief efforts after the earthquake and also offers internships to local youth. C/ Principal; 571-0919; info@cabaretecoffeecompany.com; www.cabaretecoffeecompany.com

For a full description of where to stay, eat and have fun, check out the complete Cabarete chapter in Dominican Republic (Other Places Travel Guide)!   

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