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+ Indented coastline with good reefs
+ Great surf/wind/kite combo
+ All-inclusive comfortable resorts
+ Cheap for the Caribbean
- Short swell season
- Unfavourable trade winds
- Only early morning offshores
- Shallow urchin infested reefs

Amber Coast, Dominican Republic, Central America and The Caribbean

La Derecha,

Surf Spots

La Puntilla
Coffee Break
La Bahia
El Canal
La Izquierda
La Derecha
Coco Pipe
Kite Beach
Bozo Beach
Police Station
La Bomba
Playa Grande
La Preciosa
El Barco
La Muela

The Surf

The Dominican Republic is the second largest and most populous country in the Caribbean, occupying the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola, adjacent to Haiti. To the east of the Dominican Republic is the Mona Passage, which separates it from Puerto Rico. Both the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south produce rideable surf on an ideally indented coastline. While the Dominican Republic is a mountainous country, golden sandy beaches remain the main tourist attraction, which explains the high concentration of hotels and resorts on the Amber Coast, especially the 65km (41mi) zone between Puerto Plata and Cabarete.

Considering it’s position next to wave-drenched Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic should have a much longer history and established surf culture. It has managed to duck the spotlight and remain relatively low-key until recently, as north coast hotspots are now getting swamped by surfers from the US, Puerto Rico, Europe and a growing local contingent. The Amber Coast extends along the central, north-facing part of the island, picking up the constant N-E swells, either wind generated or from North Atlantic frontal and pressure systems. Either way, its hard to avoid the wind, which blows hard from the NE or E most days from 10am or sometimes even earlier, resulting in towns like Cabarete becoming world-class kite and windsurfing centres.

When to Go

The north shore, referred to as “La Costa” by the locals, receives consistent North Atlantic swells between November and March. N swells are perfect for the Amber Coast, arriving from lows located off Florida, usually tracking NE towards Europe. These 2-15ft (0.6-5m) waves hit the exposed northern coastline and the major breaks receive up to 15ft (5m) a couple of times a year. Early winter (November and December) is usually good despite rain making surfing less pleasant. Then the rains diminish, but the trade winds will pick-up from mid-January. Prevailing winds are E/NE all year-round, getting super strong in winter and only a few spots around Sosua will remain offshore all day, so surf early in the morning before the trades kick in. The Caribbean cyclonic swells only produce waves for the south coast of the Dominican Republic, where many spots will fire through the summer months. Tidal range remains micro, ie; under 0.6m (2ft).

dominant swell N -NE N -NE NE -E NE -E N -E N -NE
swell size (ft) 3-4 3 1-2 1 3 3-4
consistency (%) 80 65 30 30 60 75
dominant wind NE -E NE -NE NE -SE NE -E NE -SE NE -E
average force F4 F4 F4 F4 F4 F4
consistency (%) 79 76 89 81 84 79
water temp (C) 25 26 27 28 28 27
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Puerto Plata - 320,000

1,288km (805mi)

GMT -4hr

Travel Information


The Dominican Republic has a semi-tropical climate, tempered by prevailing easterly winds. The so-called “cool” season (November to March) is pleasantly warm with low humidity and a few days rain each month. On the coast, the temperature hovers fairly constantly around 29°C (84°F) during the day and drops to around a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night. During the summer months, temperatures range between 28ºC-35°C (60-95°F). The highlands are considerably cooler. June to September is the hurricane season, but chances of seeing one blowing through are minimal.


Cabarete is a busy town with bars, restaurants and nightclubs spinning Caribbean and American music. Take a trip to Playa Grande for fish meals on the beach and check Lake Dudu’s tarzan swing and 10m cliff jump. Visit the beautiful island of Cayo Lavandado, in the Bay of Samana or travel through the highest mountain chain in the Caribbean. West of Puerto Plata, Damajagua has 27 waterfalls. Kitesurfing conditions are world-class in Cabarete.


Most locals are friendly and open when shown respect. Urchins cover many reefs, so bring booties (surf schools supply them). Most areas are quite safe, although Sosua’s nightlife can lean towards the seedy.


In Cabarete, there’s a big surf shop (Carib Bic Centre) with leashes, wax, boardshorts, lycras and so on, but only a small selection of surfboards. At Encuentro you can find several surf schools with good board rentals and lessons. Buena Honda Surf School organises daily transfers from Cabarete to Encuentro and has a selection of good boards from $20 and lessons from $35. The peso is the national currency, but many businesses prefer US$.