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Where to Surf in the Dominican Republic (Surf Guide)

The Dominican Republic is a nation in the Caribbean that shares an island with Haiti. The south shores of the country overlook Caribbean Sea, while the views on the north shores overlook the Atlantic Ocean.

Swells from these two bodies of water provide for a variety of breaks all along the coasts, making the island a great spot for surfers of any level. 

Dominican Republic Surf Guide

Waves in the Dominican Republic

Waves in the Dominican Republic start to fire in mid-November and begin to dwindle in size and power come the end of March.

Most swells during this time period create light, steep, hollow waves that are perfect for barrels as well as lots of carving and airs on shortboards. 

Surf Culture in the Dominican Republic

From 1930-1961, the Dominican Republic was ruled by a dictator by the name of Rafael Trujillo. “El Jefe” or “The Boss” as his followers called him pretty much just sat back his whole reign and watched the country quickly crumble into pieces.

For these thirty+ years there were constant massacres, extreme rules, and no real order that aimed to protect or give back to the native peoples.

Because of this chaos, Trujillo was assassinated in ’61, but his death didn’t actually do any good for the state of the nation itself.

For four years the disarray continued to worsen until eventually the DR broke out into a civil war in 1965.

Violence engulfed Santo Domingo so much so that the country required American intervention to help restore peace. 

U.S. Marines arrived on the shores of the DR on April 28, 1965, less than a week after war first broke out.

The violence lasted four months until September of that same year, when Hector Garcia-Godo was elected Provisional President.

Garcia-Godo is now credited with bringing a sense of peace and political stability back to the nation. American troops are remembered for their critical role in the end of the civil war, and for their cultural influence – we’ll give you one guess who introduced the DR to surfing! 

Marines that served overseas in this war brought their boards from home, seeing an opportunity to explore new waves.

What they didn’t know though is that locals on the island would quickly take after them, and the sport would become an ever-growing lifestyle for the Dominicans.

Locals are typically super warm, welcoming, and family oriented. Like most places, if you respect them and their land, they’ll respect you.

Gear Needed to Surf in the Dominican Republic

Water temperatures in the DR rarely stoop below 80°F, so when it comes to gear, we recommend as little clothing as you’re comfortable surfing in — only boardshorts!

What board to pack will depend on the time of year and spot you visit, but if you miss the mark there are loads of places to rent for next to nothing. 

Best Waves in Dominican Republic

La Preciosa

La Preciosa is on the north central coast of the Dominican Republic and is a notorious surf spot for both locals and visitors.

Waves here form on the outer reefs and with strong swells can get some really good size and speed.

The break is super cuttable when active and perfect for working on carves.

La Preciosa’s beach itself is incredibly scenic with Gatorade blue water that crashes onto soft white sand. 


Cabarete is an hour west of La Preciosa and is actually better known for their windsurfing conditions come summer.

In the wintertime though Cabarete floods with surfers from near and far who know that this is the place to be.

The break here offers a smooth, lengthy right which forms from offshore winds that blow up from the south.

The right here is typically a neat, friendly wedge that can be fun when it’s small and invigorating when it peaks. 

Coco Pipe

Coco Pipe, also sometimes just referred to as ‘Coco’, is along the Amber Coast on the north shores of the Dominican Republic.

This wave’s entry is from Encuentro Beach, a super popular spot on the island that’s more catered towards relaxing.

The break here is a corker, and with good Northeastern winds it provides a sick A-frame with sharp lefts and long rights.

The only thing to be mindful of here is the reef bottom… it’s inhabited by urchins so be sure to watch your step and pancake it when you fall!

What To Do in the Dominican Republic When the Waves Are Flat

The DR isn’t just home to great waves – there’s beautiful, lush scenery everywhere, really neat flora and fauna, and so many places to try local cuisine.

If you arrive and the forecast has steered you wrong, or you’re ready to take little break from the water, don’t stress, there’s plenty to do that will make your trip worthwhile.

Explore Santo Domingo, do a boat tour of Saona Island, view Puerto Plata from their famous aerial tramway, check out Los Haitises National Park, and so much more!

The Bottom Line: Surfing in the Dominican Republic

As an island nation that’s bordered by two different oceans, there’s no doubt that there will be a spot for surfers of all levels somewhere in the Dominican Republic.

If you’re looking for a place with breathtaking scenery, friendly people, and (most importantly) awesome waves, add this country to your bucket list!


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