Known for its windsurfing and kitesurfing, Cabarete’s active nightlife and idyllic surroundings have made it an increasingly popular destination for tourists both from within the Dominican Republic and around the world.
Like many coastal Caribbean towns, Cabarete began from humble origins. It was established as part of the Mayorasgo de Koka estate founded in 1835 by a British merchant seeking a refuge where his mixed-race family could thrive. It evolved into a quiet fishing village over the decades that followed though it remained largely unknown outside the island of Hispaniola until the 1980s, when the Bay of Cabarete became an increasingly popular spot for watersports like kitesurfing and snorkeling, especially once it began hosting the annual Master of the Ocean competition. Cabarete today is known more for its tourism than it is for fishing, with a wealth of natural beauty both off the coast and in the surrounding jungles. Spots like Kite Beach and Sosua are renowned for their world-class diving, along with providing visitors plenty of places to try their hand at all forms of surfing. The town’s nightlife of beach-side bars and parties is equally popular with tourists, giving Cabarete a reputation as one of the top backpacker destinations in the Caribbean.
Where to live in Cabarete
Cabarete is a relatively compact area and fairly easy to navigate on foot. The beach-side areas are the most pedestrian-friendly, the main reason they’re favored by car-free digital nomads. These are also the areas with the most vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene, and as you might expect the regions most prone to getting crowded during the tourist seasons. If you’d rather live in a more residential area, you’ll find several housing developments both inland and to the north of Cabarete along the coast.
Best Neighborhoods in Cabarete
Most people come to Cabarete for its beaches, and there are several great beach-side neighborhoods where you can live and work mere minutes from the water. Playa Cabarete and Kite Beach are the most popular, though you’ll also find delightful beaches in areas like Punta Cabarete and Punta Galeta. Artists, musicians, and other creative types should consider moving to El Callejon De La Loma. This lively central neighborhood is where you’ll find many of Cabarete’s best music venues and cafes, making it an easy place to find entertainment day or night.
Amazing Apartments, Coliving Spaces and More
We've been rounded up the best housing options in Cabarete. All are available on flexible terms, so you can stay one month or as long as you want
Quick Facts About CabareteThough it’s grown beyond the quiet fishing village it once was, Cabarete is still not a large town, with a population of roughly 15,000. Here are some more things you should know about Cabarete before you visit:
Taxis take many forms.You’ll find traditional private taxis around Cabarete, along with motoconchos (motorcycle taxis). Rates can vary for these and should be negotiated in advance. For public transportation, you can flag down a publico (sedan) or guagua (mini-van). These shared rides cost RD$25 for locals, but be aware most drivers raise their rates for anyone who looks like a tourist.
It has vibrant music and art scenes.You can find live music somewhere nearly any night in Cabarete, and the weekends often bring music and cultural festivals like the DR Jazz Festival. For handcrafted goods made by local artisans, head to the beach on Sunday nights and check out the craft market.
It hosts the Butterfly Effect every summer.Usually held around the same time as the Master of the Ocean competition, the Butterfly Effect is a non-competitive celebration of women in watersports.
You’ll get the best prices by paying in Dominican pesos.Most places in Cabarete will accept US dollars but at a much worse exchange rate than you’d get buying pesos from a bank or supermarket. The same is true of paying with credit cards, which also often carry high fees. Your best bet is to pay “en efectivo” (with pesos) in restaurants and stores.
Tips and taxes add up.The sales tax in the Dominican Republic is 18%. Hotels and restaurants also typically add a 10% service charge on top of this. If they don’t, it’s expected to leave a 10-20% tip for servers in restaurants. Basically, add about 30% to the base price you see on menus.
Cabarete takes Caribbean time to a whole new level.As in most resort towns, life moves slower in Cabarete than you might be used to. If you make dinner plans at 7, don’t be surprised if it’s 7:30 or later before you’re at the table.
The Bachata is the local dance.Though now danced all over the world, this 3-step dance originated in the Dominican Republic, combining indigenous, Spanish, and African influences. You’ll see the dance, and hear the associated music, all around Cabarete.
It was founded by a reformed slave trader.Zephaniah Kingsley, the first settler of Cabarete, married a slave and declared her free, but was soon disillusioned by her lack of rights in Florida, where they lived at the time. He purchased the land that is now Cabarete and built a new plantation, bringing more than 50 of his former slaves with him. Many of Cabrete’s current residents are descendants of these freed slaves.
Work in Cabarete
Since the 1980s, tourism has been the main driver of the economy in Cabarete. You don’t have to go far to find a bit more diversity in employment options, though. While services jobs account for about 65% of the labor force across the Dominican Republic, agriculture and industry are still significant contributors, between them accounting for most of the remaining 35% of jobs. Getting traditional employment as a foreigner in Cabarete can be tricky since you’ll need to have an employer before being eligible for a work visa. Most of the expat community are either retired or work as digital nomads, and it’s known for being a friendly environment for remote workers.
How good is Cabarete for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Cabarete. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Cabarete for both of these growing movements?
Average Internet SpeedInternet speeds have improved dramatically in Cabarete over the past two years. The average connection speed is around 10Mbps, but you’ll find many public Wi-Fi connections of 50-100Mbps in cafes and hotels.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsThe large expat community in Cabarete is largely responsible for its abundance of coffee shops. You’ll find most cafes in Cabarete have free Wi-Fi for customers and don’t mind serving as an alternative office for remote workers. Here are our favorite spots: Cabarete Coffee Company: Located near Punta Goleta, Cabarete Coffee Company has some of the most consistent Wi-Fi in town, along with friendly service and delicious coffee. Vagamundo: This spacious cafe has a good amount and variety of seating with easy access to power outlets. The food here is delicious, too, and the laid-back vibe makes it a great work environment. Fresh Fresh Cafe: This spot in the heart of town is open from 8am until 10pm, so it’s a great option no matter when you prefer to work. Their healthy menu makes great brain food while you’re working and the Wi-Fi is reliable, even when they get busy.
Coworking SpacesCoworking in Cabarete is a relatively recent development but it’s been growing quickly since the first spots opened in the 2010s. Here are the three best-rated options Co-Cab: The first coworking space to open on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, Co-Cab has a creative work environment where it’s easy to be productive. They also function as a digital learning center for Cabarete’s youth, making it a great option for those who want to get involved with the local community. Surfsana Lab: Located a quick 3-minute walk from the beach, Surfsana Lab has a variety of workspaces for nomads, along with meeting rooms and a soundproof phone booth. They also have some of the best Wi-Fi in Cabarete, with consistent speeds of 100Mbps. CoCoHub Cabarete: This coworking and coliving space is the top choice if you want to connect with other digital nomads. Along with workspace and networking events, their nomad deals help travelers make the most of their money. Most of Cabarete’s workspaces are in the main town area, though you’ll also find spots along the beach if that’s more convenient to where you’re living.
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsThe tropical climate in Cabarete is a big draw for nomads, especially for those looking for a warm escape from cooler climates. It’s also a great place to find a community since it’s home to remote workers and expats from across Europe and North America. You’ll also find a good infrastructure for working remotely, with consistent internet speeds and ample workspaces, and the comparatively low cost of living makes it a viable choice for nomads at all stages of their career.
Visa RequirementsCitizens of 92 countries, including the United States and Canada, can enter the Dominican Republic without a visa. There is still an entry tax for most nations, though this is often included in the price of airfare. This initial entry fee covers stays of 30 days but you can extend this up to 120 days through the Direccion General de Migracion after your arrival. Keep in mind this tourist visa doesn’t permit you to get traditional employment in Cabarete. For that, you’ll need a Temporary Worker Permit, but getting one can be a catch-22 since you’ll need an employment contract to apply. If you’re considering this option, check with the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in your home country before you travel to find out about the requirements and application process.
Food and Drink in Cabarete
Given the town’s history of fishing, it’s not surprising you’ll find excellent seafood in local restaurants. The family-run La Casita de Papi is a local favorite, with popular dishes including the mixed seafood plate and camarones a la Papi (shrimp Papi style). Casa del Pescador has a bigger menu, including live lobster you can pick out from the tank yourself. If you’re looking for the best authentic Caribbean dining experience, check out Los Nativo’s Cafe. Their Sanchocho and Mufongo are excellent, and they often have live Bachata or Merengue bands to listen to while you eat. For those with dietary restrictions, Restaurant Natura has a mix of authentic Caribbean cuisine and fusion dishes, with lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. You’ll find lots of great international cuisine in Cabarete, too. Bliss Restaurant is a great place for Italian food. For Mexican cuisine, hit up Gordito’s Fresh Mex for a Presidente beer and a Mambo fish taco. Lazy Dog Beach Bar and Grill is a great late-night food option, with classic American fare and a full bar, along with live music and a TV playing American sports.
Top 6 Things To Do in Cabarete
With both the beach and El Choco National Park in easy walking distance, outdoor activities are favorite pastimes in Cabarete. You’ll find tons of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, along with great nature-watching opportunities and your choice of swimming in the ocean or an underground cave. The wealth of beaches along the coast make it a favorite spot for surfing, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding. The Rio Yasica is a quick day trip away, too, if you’d rather go tubing or kayaking. When you need a break, you can hit the spa at one of the upscale resorts dotting the coastline, or unwind with a few drinks in one of the many beach-side bars.
Cabarete Palm Beach Condos
Ultravioleta Boutique Residences
Millennium Resort & Spa
Calle Principal #87, Cabarete
Hotel Villa Taina