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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2002 8:43 pm 
Cabarete trip summary 22 Mar/02

Where to stay: There’s four options. The cheapest is sharing a room at a house that one of the school instructors, Jordy, has within a short walk to Kite Beach (K-B) It’s reported to be about $10. night. I did not see it personally, but a large number of the better kiters, that were spending more than a few weeks, stay at Jordy’s house. (email me for phone #) There’s another kite bunkhouse somewhere also, father away.

The K-B Hotel is right in the center of it. I decided not to stay there. It is a converted condo/apartment building, cut into rooms, with a center courtyard with no beach lockers for gear. It’s reasonable, provides a breakfast, is popular, a little run down from the outside but probably a great place to stay for a group of young guys. (I did not see the rooms but looked around the building.)

I stayed at the Hotel Playa del Oro - right next door to the K-B Hotel. They are the only two hotels directly in the center of K-B. It’s a few dollars more, no free breakfast, very clean with nice grounds, pool, great food (big pasta for lunch is about $3), bar on beach, gear lockers for $10.wk on beach. Probably the place to stay if your are alone or with a non-kiting wife.

...in both the above, it’s a long walk to town. If all you need is food/water/beer - then either the above is fine. If you need to Party! or use an internet cafe every night, then they are too far away. Stay at the Caracol Hotel near town. It’s both a half block from the beach and road (the road is real noisy!) Very nice, reasonable, pool, kitchen, beautiful grounds..even a gas grill if you bought some fresh fish. I stayed there two nights but found everything I needed was up at K-B and moved.






Transport: It’s about $20. to get from the airport to Cabarete, but outbound was half that - in a van with air-conditioning! - because I shared with another couple and the people at the Playa del Oro called a van driver they knew. (it pays to know somebody.)

I hated to do it - but rode the Motoconcho’s about five times because of the long walk to town. You ride on the back of a 100cc motorcycle and the trip to K-B from town was 20pesos, a little over $1.US. Many trips are only 10p, and the locals pay 5, but you are very rich compared to them. Make sure to avoid a “Dominican Tattooâ€


{ SHARE_ON_FACEBOOK } { SHARE_ON_TWITTER } { SHARE_ON_ORKUT } { SHARE_ON_DIGG } { SHARE_ON_MYSPACE } { SHARE_ON_DELICIOUS }
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2002 11:03 am 
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Hi Jim,

nice report!
Thanks for it!
Seems like you had a great time in the sun.
Reading it made me forget the f***** cold weather here, but now I'm back to freezing....

Keep us informed about your latest developments.

Greetings
Toby


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2002 4:51 pm 
Ya...Toby...I liked it so much that I mentioned to my wife that it might be a good place to retire. 1.5hrs. from Maimi, democratic, reasonable land, etc.

....only one real strange thing: very few birds. I hear they're only in the mountains because if they get too close to people - they become dinner.

Marjie, my wife, has citizenship also from Panama, and it has a better infrastructure the US provided the past 50 years, and now drug money and offshore banking (same eh?) are making large investments.

It's not as convienent to the US. Costa Rica is THE PLACE, but you must go native and stay, or just buy a condo with a guard to keep out squatters.

Most of you may not be old enough to need to consider of those things...

Did I tell you I had a SECOND Roket. (never just one....) Now that I've seen the first one work - I have an idea for a third one that is cheaper and anyone can copy. #1 was sorta OK - Tito, the one-legged kiter got upwind on it! I'll keep you posted.

Cheers all!


Jim


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2002 5:21 pm 
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oh my god!
How old are you, Jim? :wink:

I think Puerto Rico might be a nice place, am I right Royce?

Toby


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2002 5:46 pm 
Hi Jim,

I'm with the school Kitexcite. If you are still here, why don't you come by and introduce yourself and we'll show you the rooms, etc. at Kite Beach Hotel and try to help with any other questions you might have? I'm sorry if we were busy when you stopped by but on top of normal business, we have had a lot of walk in rentals and students, in addition to the kiteboarding.de staff, testers and manufacturers. We have been a bit understaffed as one of our instructors is in Europe for 3 months and our manager went out of town for a few days. Also, FYI, John, our manager, is British:-)

I have just a few comments re: your post......

RE: storage at Kite Beach hotel, there is FREE storage for hotel guests. People store there gear underneath the stairs on the ground floor, or on their balconies and patios on the 2/3 floors. It seems to work for everybody and there has never been any theft. We have never had a complaint. However, when low season kicks in (after Easter) both Kitexcite and the hotel will be building storage lockers for guests who are staying at other places but want to keep their gear at kite beach. Kite Beach Hotel also has a pool and area to rinse off yourself and gear. Plus a grassy area to fold up kites, fix bladders, etc.

RE: gear, we also recommend that people bring their own gear either because they're familiar with it or need to dial it in. But, I think it is a little misleading to say that you may be shortchanged when someone is using the "good kites". Kitexcite rents Booster and Rhino kites, all of which are turned around every 4-8 weeks. Numbers are limited so when we're out, we're out but most people make reservations ahead of time so that they're guaranteed to have equipment upon their arrival. We are also the test center for Brunotti boards so people can try a variety of different types of boards from big to small (mostly all twintips) which I think is great. Many people start on the bigger boards and work their way down to the smallest size. They usually find something that works for them so that when they go home, they have a better idea of what board is best for their home conditions, skill level and riding style. I know Cabarete Kite Park (which is the old Wipika school) will soon or is currently renting Takoons and boards. Vela has Cabrinha and I'm not sure what the other schools have......

RE: lodging, Caracol is a great hotel (studios to 2 bedroom apts, laundry facilities, internet access, quiet/off the street location, 24 hour reception), the Villas in front of Caracol are also a great deal ($100 per night for nice 3 bed/3 bath villa plus private pool for instance), as well as Nanny's Estates (next to Caracol). These are the best places for people to stay who want to be close to Kite Beach and away from the scene in Cabarete. Guests of these hotels are also using seeking something nicer than KB Hotel/Olas de Oro, longer term accommodations with kitchen facilities, have large group of people, families, etc. . Also, experienced kitesurfers can launch right in front of these hotels which has a nice reef break similar to Kite Beach for wave riding. Cabarete offers a variety of lodging options from budget to luxury, between Kite Beach and Cabarete Bay. Also, the ProCab (off the main street) area has lodging options from camping to bungalows.

RE: motoconcho taxis, you are being ripped off. Don't give these guys 20 pesos! Just give them 5 each way during the day, and 10 each way during the night. If they complain, just give them their money and walk away. There are plenty of others to take their place. Re: Dominican tatoos burns, I can verify this! I am now sporting a huge burn on my calf which will keep me out of the water for 1 week. They hurt and can be very painful so yes, be careful when taking this mode of transportation! Also, go for the guys in the blue jackets as they are usually more reliable, careful than the others "freelancers".

RE: Schools, I'm glad that you had a good experience with Jordy's school. He runs a very good operation and has nice, knowledgable instructors as well. However I think you will find that the majority of schools, including the Wipika school (which is Cabarete Kite Park) and Vela run good operations too, but each has small differences in terms of location, instruction style, equipment, languages spoken, etc. Most are very helpful and friendly as far as helping guests tune equipment, etc. or they wouldn't be in business for very long!

RE: food, perhaps you had a bad experience. However, I think it's a stretch to say that Olas de Oro is the only safe place to eat a salad! I eat at Kite Beach Hotel almost daily and have never been sick. I also greatly enjoy the salads at Lux, GriGri, Hexencastle, Tropicoco, along with a variety of other restaurants in Cabarete including "the ghetto," and again, have never been ill.

The Dominican Republic is a third world country and you must take precautions here you like would in any other undeveloped area of the world. I went paragliding in Ecuador for one month and have traveled extensively through China and had to take similar precautions re: food, water, safety, health, etc. You just have to use common sense. But I would say for consistent conditions and inexpensive lodging and food, Cabarete is a choice location to learn, tune up skills, meet other kitesurfers from all over the world, and vacation.

Marina
KITEXCITE
http://www.kitexcite.com


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 2:40 pm 
Marina: You are correct. I only saw - what I saw. My error of omission, an unintended major mistake, was in the gear. I did see the Boosters being used by, what looked like beginners. Sorry, I forgot.

Also, it looked like a Warrior being used by another school. (I killed my order for one when I got back) Most North riders looked pretty proficient. If you you were already well trained - an nice three day weekend would be to drop in and rent a North/Brunotti setup. Cheap flights, cheap rooms, good gear - such a life!

The group I was with didn't have such nice big kites (other than personal). Maybe if they did, it would also be a 'rental' rather than part of the lesson plan.

I was fortunate to try a number of boards (going to sell mine) as Esgar let me try a few others. There's a lot of sharing.

I could have taken my gear to my room but found it really nice to leave it locked at the edge of the sand. They also rent to people who stay in town. Besides the lockerp; there's showers and a toilet. (none for walk-ups) It's a great idea I'm sure K-B Hotel will adopt. ...besides being another source of logical income.

I'll re-state: I would have stayed at the K-B Hotel if I was with a group of guys. The Playa del Oro was very good - not perfect. I didn't appreciate the lecture by the owner about not having any hookers in my room. I always love it when people say; "Not that you would." If you don't think I would - then don't say it. I won't start fires in the hallways either....

Marina, I'd prefer giving some poor bloke another 50 cents rather than spending $100 night for a room. The really nice unit I had at the Caracol was $39. (usually $60.) with a stove, fridge, etc. It's a very nice place.

I didn't mean to imply the only place that properly washes greens was the Playa del Oro. It's just that; I know they do. I would expect the same from major resturants in town, but not take the chance on the side of the road. I gather I missed some choice eats by not eating in town.

Marina, I gather you have been there often. This was my first trip. I posted these comments because I didn't seem to find the same sort of information before I left. I saw all the ads on the Cabarete sites but didn't find out how far away from the action most of the hotels are 'till I got there. Just because it says "Kite Beach" doesn't mean it near the actual center of activity. I wish someome has said in advance: "There are only two hotels directly on the stretch of beach were everybody kites." In fact, it would get your friends more business and make life easier for us first-timers.

Anybody know if K-B got closed for the Easter holiday? The rumor was, before I left, was that it would stay open but Cabarete bay would be closed to all water sports.

Cheers.

Jim


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 2:47 pm 
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Hi Jim,
why would they close the whole bay?
Are they expecting so many people at the beach?

Toby


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 3:26 pm 
RE: Kitesurfing/water sports over Easter aka Semana Santa. There is a ban on all water sports for the entire island over this weekend. This is because this is one of the biggest holidays for the dominicans and they all flock to the beaches. The ban probably happened because of a few irresponsible people with motorized craft or perhaps because there are so many people in the water, it is dangerous to have any other activity happening. Cabarete has received a special permit allowing water sports for 8 of the last nine years. Last year it was banned because A)new government b) nobody asked. There are several versions as to why:-) This year a permit was issued allowing kitesurfing at Kite Beach. NOt sure what is happening in Cabarete Bay.

RE: distance between Kite Beach and Cabarete... all the information is posted on our website and when people contact us, we let them know of the distance as well as disadvantages/advantages of both. However, most people still prefer to stay at Kite Beach because of the convenience. FYI, Jr. Suites are nicer for couples to stay in at Kite Beach Hotel. They consist of bedroom with a/c, bathrm, large living room and private balcony. These rms are located on 2 or 3rd floor of the hotel.

Good sources for general information are Cabareteairforce.com, cabaretekiteboarding.com and activecabarete.com.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2002 12:57 am 
Toby: One small comment on Puerto Rico. My flight from Baltimore was first to San Juan. The airport is about 3min. by taxi to the beach.

Coming in for a landing I saw two kites working what I'd call 'Hotel Bay' and it was beautiful! Sunshine, pretty water, reefs and tall hotels. The same two kites were out an hour later when my connector flight flew over the bay headed to Puerto Plata. (make sure you ask for a left hand seat so you can see the coasts of P.R. and D.R - killer!)

I'd make sure there was a point-bay-point combination with friendy reefs like Kite Beach before I personally made reservations in P.R. I understand you pro's don't worry about such things...

The post above is a good one. Those are good sites to get information from. I only wished I knew the right questions to ask and the scale of the geography before I went.

Now, after some time in the water under the kite, I have a better idea of what - at my level - I'd need..and some of the questions to ask.

I'm headed down to Hatteras in a few weeks...I'll know more there too! Like anything - it's a learning curve.

Jim


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2002 8:48 am 
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IMO Puerto Rico will be a "secret spot".
I think it has more winds than Cabarete.
Royce should keep us informed about the development and kite tourism at PR. It will raise soon.

Toby


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