Surfing in or around Punta Cana (south east of the island) is practically non-existent. If you are looking for a surf camp in Punta Cana, or to take surf lessons in or around Punta Cana, you may be disappointed. This is because Punta Cana is bordered by the Caribbean sea, a largely flat body of water. Waves need open water to generate (you may not know that waves travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles before they reach the shore). Punta Cana will get some waves in hurricane season, being one of the most exposed points to any approaching storm approaching as they do from the East.
It’s not that Punta Cana has no waves at all; there are occasional waves at a location called Macao Beach, but don’t expect consistent waves or anything over waist high on most days.
Cabarete, on the North coast is bordered not by the Caribbean Sea, but by the Atlantic Ocean and the waves which reach the north shore are often started (as I already mentioned above) many miles away from a passing storm over North America. The waves generated take longer to arrive to shore, which makes them more organised and powerful.
Encuentro, Puerto Plata, Canal, Preciosa and El Barco on the North coast all face the Atlantic and are recognised surf spots. Here is a guide to the best spot for you to go and surf, depending on your level, the time of year and swell direction.
SURF SPOTS OF THE NORTH COAST OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
For Scale: From Puerto Plata To Cabarete: 25 Minute Drive
From Cabarete To Playa Grande : 1.15 Minute Drive
(No Secret Spots Are Published Here)
DETAILED SURF MAP OF PLAYA ENCUENTRO
Shallow, fast & hollow // For bodyboarders or kamikaze expert surfers
Great left hander, best in winter months with north swell direction // For advanced surfers, and respect the local surfers
Main Peak of Encuentro
Ultra consistent right and left hander // Melow waves for intermediate and expert surfers
Inside at Bobo’s is a perfect learning wave where the surf school of Encuentro teach the surfing on a mellow inside wave
Quality left (short) and right (longer) // For advanced surfers only, it’s a fast barreling wave over pretty shallow reef
A few miles of offshore reef all the way to Cabarete, ideal for SUP ( SUP is banned at Encuentro for safety reasons). Also a few peaks that have quality waves on north swells for surfers. ( no crowds)
Learning to surf in the Dominican Republic
It’s not just intermediate and expert surfers that will benefit from a surf holiday to the DR. For people that have never surfed before The DR provides ideal learning to surf conditions pretty much year round. Playa Encuentro is one of the most consistent surf spots in Central America and the Caribbean, rivalling Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
What makes Cabarete such and ideal place to learn to surf?
There are several reason:
-Hardly and rips or dangerous currents
-Shallow waters ( beginners surf in water that is generally chest deep)
-Nor dangerous sea creatures ( no sharks or crocodiles, unlike Costa Rica)
-A large designated area for beginners ( so people learning to surf don’t get hit or are in the way of more advanced surfers)
When to go to the Dominican Republic for a learn to surf holiday:
Playa Encuentro gets waves year round for surfers of all levels, but there are some differences in wave heights. Generally speaking from April to October the waves are at the smallest ( around waist to chest high) so for complete beginners and intermediates this would be an ideal time to go. Between November and March the waves are a bit bgigger ( between Chest high and overhead) which makes it a good time for people that want to practise their turning and riding down the line.