When you visit Cabarete Beach, you can’t miss the kiteboarders. You could join them … or not!
Kiteboarding could be described as an extreme water sport. Its disasters tend to be so spectacular—say, being yanked from the surf by a gust of wind and deposited on top of a thatch-roofed beach bar—that participants have coined a term: kitemares. But the potential for serious mishap hasn’t kept it from becoming a popular sport in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Steady winds that blow at a perfect angle to the beach make the place one of the best kiteboarding locations in the world. (The same conditions also suit kiteboarding’s slightly less adrenaline-laced cousin, windsurfing.) As a result, Cabarete’s beaches are often mobbed with people whose acrobatic athleticism can easily make you feel older than you already are.
THE SUNNY SIDE
But for you laid-back visitors, Cabarete has a secret. Even in the best months for kiteboarding and windsurfing—which means all months except May and October through December—those winds seldom kick in until early afternoon. Kiteboarders and windsurfers tend to be a party-late crowd, so when there’s no incentive to be on the water, they sleep in. That leaves morning beach time to a less athletic set.
To get the most out of your ante meridiem time on the beach, step onto the sand near Kahuna, Onno’s or one of the many other bars along Cabarete Beach proper. In the morning light, the bedraggled scene in the bars will probably resemble those partiers from the previous evening. But someone will already be there on the beach, trying to rent you a lounge chair, sell you a souvenir hat or braid your hair. The beach is wide here, the sand white and the swimming good. But if you feel like getting some kinks out, walk west about 25 minutes, along Bozo Beach, where you may want to pause for a pickup volleyball game with some early players, and down to Kite Beach. By 10 a.m. the Kite Club Café can serve you the hearty Calin’s breakfast (scrambled eggs, fruit, yogurt, toast and salsa) or get you started on fish tacos.
NOW YOU TRY IT
Later in the day, the breezes will pick up and you can watch the kiteboarders dart like dragonflies across the sparkling water. If that isn’t enough excitement, try kiteboarding yourself. Two good places to learn are Kite Club Cabarete, right on Kite Beach (3-day beginner course, $535*; kiteclubcabarete.com), and Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding, about halfway down Bozo Beach (2-hour lesson, $132; laureleastman.com). Just remember, they’re called kitemares for a reason.
*Prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.