How did Cabarete become the Adventure Capital of the Caribbean? In 1984 French Canadian windsurfer, Jean Laport, embarked on a mission to find wind in the Dominican Republic. On his search, he just so happened to stop by a roadside stand for a beer on his way to Sosúa. He and his friend went to go check out the beach and it was blowing an ideal 15 knots! Having sailed in all types of conditions, Laport knew immediately that he had found his spot with some of the best conditions he could have imagined. Perfect windsurfing conditions with the consistent onshore afternoon breeze, combined with the warm, welcoming locals and a carefree vibe, Laport quickly put down roots and opened up Cabarete’s first windsurfing school.
Over the years people got word and the town began to grow, attracting diverse residents from all over the Dominican Republic and Haiti and the world. The town was established as a windsurfing mecca by the mid-1990s and more entrepreneurs flocked to Cabarete to set up shop. Local businesses flourished and within a few years, there were hotels, restaurants, banks and many new residents that came together to establish some law and order and officially put Cabarete on the map. Interesting fact, the town of Cabarete didn’t have a mayor until 2005! Some of Cabarete’s oldest local families are still in the same neighborhood or barrio after all these years. Despite so much change, the best things have stayed the same.
- The first bank in town was a man named Saul, who sat under a coco tree with a big bag of cash, a gun and a smile. He was happy to give you the best rate in town!
- At a town meeting, some business owners were concerned that storefronts opposite the beach side of the road would be hidden from tourists as traffic increased and large trucks began to park frequently in town. It was decided that parking would only be permitted on the beach side of the street so that businesses would be visible on the other side of the road and people would be encouraged to develop the prime real estate. All in all, it was a productive meeting!
- If you get stuck in a tapón or traffic jam, it’s because the main road was never built wide enough to handle constant two way traffic and someone has likely ignored the rule and parked on the wrong side of the road. The good news – bad parking slows traffic and improves safety as cars can no longer go 50 miles an hour through downtown like it was 1995!
- Did you know that a section of Cabarete Beach is actually called Bozo Beach? Between Bahía de Arena and Ocean Dream is the area where “bozo” windsurfers ended up who got blown down wind.
- Cabarete got its very first stoplight in 2016! We’re still getting the hang of it so always proceed with caution.
- Brugal himself was a regular. The owner of the famous rum company, Don Andres Brugal played Dominoes every Saturday in Cabarete with the old timers for more than 40 years until he was 90 years old.
- The population of Cabarete has exploded from 2,000 to 17,000 in 25 years.
- Cabarete still does not have a full time high school. Students either take night classes or travel to neighboring towns. There was only one school in town that went up to 8th grade until the year 2001.