You spend all winter tearing up the slopes. Now, put those hard-earned board skills to good use in the low season at one of the Caribbean’s hottest action-sport destinations: Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Farther east, Punta Cana is by far the island’s most heavily trafficked tourist spot, with an array of family-friendly attractions and wall-to-wall all-inclusive properties to suit every budget. But for a truly memorable Caribbean escape this year – one in which you can really flex your extreme-sports muscle – bypass Punta Cana and the La Altagracia region altogether, and fly straight to the island’s North Shore.
Just a short drive from Puerto Plata , a popular hub for a variety of airlines, including American and JetBlue, Cabarete boasts strong trade winds and an expanse of picture-perfect beach, making the tiny outpost a popular spot for water sports lovers year-round. Windsurfing and kiteboarding junkies can soak up the best conditions in the world just offshore, and even surfers will find plenty of places to hang ten here. (Beginners: check out the Cabarete Surf Camp along Playa Encuentro for group and individual lessons and clinics throughout the year.)
With a steady crowd of sun worshippers and ocean enthusiasts, the area’s golden-sand beach is punctured by a smattering of open-air restaurants, boisterous nightlife venues, and a handful of mid-star hotels, guest houses, and eco-lodges. So what’s the best hotel for your next weekend escape?
WHERE TO STAY
The 50-suite Casa Colonial is arguably the best bet on the North Shore for a honeymoon, anniversary, or romantic escape. The intimate resort blends Colonial-Chic styling with one of the prettiest stretches of shoreline in the region, and the state-of-the-art Bagua Spa offers over 12,000 square feet of blissful treatment space. For golfers of all levels, the Robert Trent Jones-designed, par-72 Playa Dorado course is just minutes away.
Reconnect with nature at the eco-friendly Natura Cabana Hotel just outside of Cabarete. The boutique eco-lodge offers 10 romantic cabanas constructed from mahogany, bamboo, and natural coralline stone, while swanky interior appointments and amenities ensure you’ll still have all the comforts of home.
On a Budget
For an excellent mid-star property, you can’t miss with the Velero Beach Resort – rated #1 on TripAdvisor’s list of Cabarete properties, and a favorite among watersports enthusiasts and budget travelers alike. The resort is just steps from the area’s best bars and restaurants, and occupies a quiet stretch of beach that’s perfect for sunbathing and swimming away from the windsurfing and kiteboarding fray.
Stay a While
Among the latest options, a new luxury venue is set to broaden the appeal of this laid-back beach outpost. When the 138-unit Palmera de Cabarete luxury condo complex opens (slated for later this year), jetsetters and real estate investors will have a five-star place to call home along one of the Dominican’s best stretches of shoreline.