If it involves standing on a board in the Caribbean Sea, the Dominican Republic’s got it in spades – here you will find world-class kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing and wakeboarding. While there are some great spots across the island if you’re adventurous, the undisputed water sports capital of the Dominican Republic is Cabarete, on the North Coast. Here you will find the top 5 most popular water sports in the Dominican Republic!
Water boarding is rising – the principle is the same as water skiing but instead of ‘water skis’ you use a ‘water board,’ or ‘wakeboard.’ A small but passionate community of enthusiasts and kiteboarders swear it is a great way to develop your board skills. There is only one wakeboarding school in the Dominican Republic, located at La Boca just outside Cabarete, where there’s more than 2km of flat, straight river water to play with. This water sport attracts devoted wakeboarders from around the world, and on windless days they are joined by kiteboarders looking to practice their tricks. Wakeboarding is the last but not least of the top 5 most popular water sports in the Dominican Republic.
Cabarete’s bay seems almost custom-made for windsurfing, and it is here where the sport is most popular. You will also find a small windsurfing school in Las Terrenas. The best time to come is generally in winter, when the wind is strongest. In general, windsurfing requires stronger winds than kitesurfing does. The beach at Cabarete is lined with out with small and large wind surf shacks, renting windsurf equipment and offering lessons. Thew cost of renting a board and sail is about US$35/65/300 per hour/day/week. The lessons range from just one hour (US$50) to a complete four-session course about (US$200).
3. Diving and snorkeling
The Dominican Republic is not particularly known as a famous diving destination, however it has some great places for underwater exploring. The warm Caribbean waters on the south coast have beautiful fields of coral and tropical fish. The most beautiful areas for snorkeling and diving are two national marine parks located on the east side of Santo Domingo – Parque Nacional Submarino La Caleta and Parque Nacional del Este which can be reached through dive shops in Boca Chica, Bayahibe and La Caleta. The main diving attraction in the Dominican Republic is the Hickory, a 39m salvage ship with an interesting past that was intentionally sunk in 1994. Parque Nacional del Este has a number of interesting dives, too, including another wreck – a massive 89m cargo ship – and a site ominously called Shark Point. The Dominican Republic’s north coast provides a very different diving experience. Facing the Atlantic, the water there is cooler and less transparent, but the underwater terrain is much more varied, making for challenging dives and unique profiles. Sosúa is the dive capital here, and from where excursions can be organized to all points along the coast. Las Galeras also has a few small dive shops. Other off-the-beaten-track options are two diveable freshwater caves – Dudu Cave, near Río San Juan, and Padre Nuestro, near Bayahibe. Dudu, with two openings, three different tunnels and a spacious stalactite-filled chamber. This is our personal favorite from the top 5 most popular water sports in the Dominican Republic.
Cabarete is the top spot in the country for surfing! The best season to surf is December through March, when the region can get waves up to 4m high. Playa Encuentro, 4km west of Cabarete, has the best waves on the island, where awesome tubes often pound into shore. Other popular places for surfing are Playa Grande and Playa Preciosa, both near Río San Juan. There are a number of surf shops in Cabarete and on Playa Encuentro itself where you can rent boards or take surfing lessons. Rentals cost US$25 to US$30 for half a day; courses may vary from three-hour introductory sessions. Surfing definitely belongs to the top 5 most popular water sports in the Dominican Republic.
“The top 5 most popular water sports in the Dominican Republic”
Kitesurfing is the absolute winner when it comes to The top 5 most popular water sports in the Dominican Republic, and we will tell you why! Kitesurfing involves strapping a board to your feet and a powerful kite to your torso, which propels you through the waves at sometimes breakneck speeds. The learning curve to get good enough to enjoy kitesurfing is quite steep – as much as a week’s worth of lessons to go out alone, and weeks of practice to get comfortable with it. It’s also an expensive sport – to make this a regular hobby, you’ll end up investing at least US$5000 in lessons and gear. That said, if you have the time and the money, and you relish a challenge, the Dominican Republic is one of the world’s leading kitesurfing destinations – even the International Kiteboarding Organization has its headquarters in Cabarete. Unlike surfing or windsurfing, where risk increases with ability – you have to be good to get out to the reef line – kitesurfing is risky from the very beginning. The kite leads, pulled taught by the wind, are diving, swooping knife blades, and it’s important you learn from qualified instructors, for your safety and for that of others. Plenty of kitesurfing schools offer instruction in Cabarete. Most people need a minimum of four days of lessons at a cost of around US$350 to US$450. Schools and instructors vary considerably in personality, so spend some time finding one where you feel comfortable. There are also a few good kitesurfing spots in Las Terrenas, although the wind is lighter and the water shallower.