Cabarete is lucky enough to have a perpetual summer climate as well as nearly year round winds, allowing kiters to enjoy their stuff without having to slip on a wetsuit.
The protective reef, located about a kilometer offshore, means that you can kite in all safety and when you’re lucky you’ll be surrounded by small sea turtles.
Different spots in Cabarete
Kiters have three main spots in the Cabarete area to choose from: Cabarete Bay (the spot starts a little west from the center) Bozo Beach (the western part of Cabarete Bay up to the reef) and Kite Beach (just past the reef point at the end of Bozo Beach). Windsurfers usually start sailing from the most eastern part of Cabarete Bay as the beach break is easy and kiters don’t go there. There’s an unwritten rule that specifies that the eastern side of the Bay is for windsurfers only.
The wind usually always comes from the east, south east. The months with the most windy days tend to be December through to April included, as well as June, July, August and part of September.
There are many online resources to check out the wind forecast, including windguru and windalert. Just keep in mind that often these resources don’t take into account local conditions including thermal winds, which tend to develop when it’s hot and there are no clouds inland. Especially in summer, the thermal effect means that the wind turns out to be much stronger than forecast.
Also climate patterns like El Niño and La Niña, which oscillate from one phase to the other every two or three years, also influence the wind. Past observations have shown that in years when a La Niña phase take place that there are over 330 kiteable days in Cabarete. El Niño on the other hand means a little over 200 kiteable days. Periods in between tend to have around 280 kiteable days.
Cabarete has a wide choice of established kite schools as well as a number of freelance kite instructors, who work from the beach. When choosing a kite instructor be sure to check the equipment used and whether they have an insurance. Same goes for the schools, but in this case also ask to meet your instructor in advance. After all, you need to be sure that you feel comfortable with your instructor to be able to learn how to kite at your pace.
Also ask if the instructor or school of your choice can give you IKO certification once you have finished your lessons. Especially in Europe there are many spots that now require IKO certification before you can kite there.
Some schools or instructors offer packages and will give discounts if you book a complete beginner course of eight to ten hours for example. Shop around, talk to locals to get feedback, look on the IKO website to see whether the instructors have IKO certification and how many classes they have given, but most importantly of all, be sure that you feel good with the instructor.
Don’t attempt to learn kiting on your own. Doing so will most likely result in bodily harm, be it to yourself, bystanders or fellow kiters. Also be a fair judge of your capabilities. If you come to a new spot and find that your kiting skills don’t match the skills necessary for the spot just take an hour worth of classes to get your skills up to scratch.
Cabarete Bay and Bozo Beach tend to be quite choppy in winter, and flatter in summer. Kite Beach, because it is protected by the reef tends to be flatter all year round. The outside reef creates some great waves which are definitely fun for medium to advanced riders. Waves can become quite big in winter, in summer they sometimes disappear totally. The shore break in winter sometimes takes newcomers unawares and can be quite strong. Talk to locals to figure out the best way to pass it.
As such Cabarete is probably not the easiest spot to learn how to kite, with the learning curve being a bit steeper here than in flat shallow spots, but once you have learned how to kite here, you can kite anywhere!
The water temperature throughout the year is an amazing 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) so need for those irritating wetsuits. In the mornings the water tends to be flat and great for stand-up paddling.
Kite Beach is probably the most well-known spot of Cabarete. It has relatively flat water as it is protected by the reef point at the western end of Cabarete Bay. In high season this spot does tend to get a bit busy with schools teaching students and more advanced kiters crossing their paths so for those wanting to ride with more space, they can walk towards Cabarete, past the reef point and find themselves on Bozo Beach.
Bozo Beach is the western side of the Cabarete Bay, starting about half way until the reef point on the western side of the Bay. Here, the water tends to be more choppy. The waves are great fun when the swell comes in on the protective reef about 1km into the ocean, and on less choppy days the bay is fantastic for normal riding and tricks. Locals will show off their mad jumping tricks very close to shore so beware when you ride out.
Other close-by spots
La Boca is the estuary of the Yasica River, located about 8km (5 miles) to the east of Cabarete. The river mouth is spectacularly flat but relatively narrow so this spot is recommended for more advanced kiters.
Another fun day, especially when the spots are quite busy, is taking off either from Bozo Beach or Kite Beach and do a downwinder to Encuentro, the local surf spot about ten kilometers to the east. Just be sure to ask locals where the fun areas and danger areas are; or better yet, befriend some locals and let them take you.
Also Puerto Plata has a kite spot that is nice and flat. Just be sure to go there when the tide is high, otherwise it can get dangerously shallow. Also talk to local riders there as there are some fantastic wave areas to ride but again that spot comes with a manual.
Many other downwinders can be organized and if you stay in Cabarete for a couple of weeks you can always rent a car and check out some other spots like Las Terrenas or Montecristi.