Cabarete is a charming town on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic and is famous particularly for kitesurfing and windsurfing.
The Town – View Listings
Cabarete is a laid back and relaxed town. Even though it is popular with tourists, particularly from December to Easter, you get a small-town vibe as the population is only around 15,000. Thanks to an active expat community it can be easy to make friends, but there is no pressure to do so. If you enjoy a wide-ranging social life you can but if you prefer to live quietly that is equally an option. There are plenty of fundraisers, events, and parties organized regularly if you want to get really involved with both the ex-pat and the local community.
Cabarete has one long main thoroughfare through the heart of town, with condos, shops, and restaurants on either side. The whole town is walkable, although there are motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) ready to zip you around town if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere or don’t want to walk. The larger town of Sosua with an approximate 45,000 population just a few miles to the west. Further to the west is the city of Puerto Plata with a wider range of supermarkets, and stores. and the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic, Santiago De Los Caballeros, with almost a million people in its metro area, is currently about two hours away.
With frequent direct and relatively short flights from several cities in the U.S. and Canada, it’s easy and cheap to get to Cabarete. The closest airports are in Puerto Plata or Santiago de Los Caballeros where flights tend to be cheaper. A new road, currently under construction will make the journey from Santiago much quicker and safer than the present road that meanders through the mountains.
In Cabarete, most of the action is on the beach. One of the attractions is the coral reef that shelters the bay from the full force of the Atlantic Ocean. Another is the trade winds that provide the impetus for water sports and the bay comes alive with sails and kites. An interesting phenomenon is that early in the day the winds are lighter, making it ideal for beginners to learn safely. As the day progresses winds strengthen and that is when the experienced enthusiasts can display their skills to the full. The onshore winds make it easy to head out straight from shore and then come right back.
If you are a wind sports veteran or live in the town, you can bring your own gear or rent at affordable prices at one of the many kite shops or schools. The popularity of the sport in Cabarete draws enthusiasts across the globe, giving Cabarete a distinctly international feel; it’s not uncommon to hear a half-dozen languages spoken just walking through town.
But you don’t have to be into water sports to enjoy living in Cabarete. There’s a lot happening onshore too. You can take miles-long walks on the beach, where the development of the town gives way to undeveloped beaches. There are also many yoga classes, gymnasiums, and alternative healers.
Cabarete also enjoys good healthcare, conveniences like high-speed internet, a reliable cellphone service, and there are international schools available if you have young children.
There are no large resorts or condo/hotel towers in Cabarete, so the skyline fronting the beach is low buildings with palm trees. It’s a chilled outlook and attitude. If you’ve previously holidayed in one of the major resort areas of the Dominican Republic, like the all-inclusive-filled Punta Cana, this is a whole different world. You really feel you are living in a real Dominican lifestyle instead of a manufactured resort style.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Cabarete makes living in this beach town, even though it is popular with tourists, affordable. A retired couple can live comfortably, with plenty of fun activities, for around $2,500 a month, all in. Of course, everyone is different and you can live on a lower or higher level of income depending on where you choose to live and your lifestyle.
A meal in a restaurant will probably cost you less than $20 for two people. Well-stocked grocery stores mean you can get imported products for about the same price as you would pay in the U.S. Janet’s is a very well-stocked supermarket, and you can get fresh fruits and vegetables for pennies on the dollar if you shop wisely. The Dominican Republic has a very active agricultural sector and you can get a week’s supply of tropical fruits like mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and papayas, as well as broccoli and apples at very cheap prices from a produce stand or one of the trucks that sell on the street.
In Cabarete, the choice is really between a condo on a community, either beachfront or inland, or a villa. Beachfront properties are naturally the most expensive and will depend on the location and facilities provided. Condos normally do not exceed 3 or 4 stories so are low level. The advantage of a community is that if you are not living at the property all year round your community is taking care of the surroundings and it will be easy to arrange for your condo to be regularly checked out. Communities also invariably employ security guards offering additional protection.
Villas can also be inside a community and can vary in size from something relatively small with just a couple of bedrooms to mansions with many bedrooms and bathrooms. Your personal choice may be dependent on whether you will be living permanently or using the property for holidays and rental opportunities.
Both condos and villas offer the potential for holiday rentals.