Hi, Just got back a month ago from Cabarete, loved it so much I am thinking of buying a timeshare there...was looking on this website for reviews....
Here's my review, its long but worth the read.
In late feb/beginning of March I stayed at the Viva Wyndham Tangerine. I have stayed at several all inclusive resorts in the past including Boca Chica DR, Veradero Cuba, and Cancun Mexico. I found the Tangerine to be on par or better than most I have stayed at. Food was decent, very similar to other resorts I have stayed at. The a la Carte restaurants (Mexican and Italian) were both very very good. The staff was awesome, better than any other place I had been. No one expected you to give them a tip to get decent service (unlike Cuba), and they were all smiles and fun. The only problems with the resort were that the beach bathrooms were kinda yucky. It had rained a couple of days/nights when we were there and because the washrooms are located in the basement the floor was frequently flooded. Also the water made the disco which was also located in the basement smell really bad. But the disco was decent if you were stuck at the hotel when it was raining. The 24hour food bar wasnt that great, unless you like cold corn pizza, but hey at 3:00am dont we all like cold corn pizza :)...
The beach bars in Cabarete are the place to be when the weather accomodates. They play good music and there are alot of people there to meet from all over the world. I am 32, single and still love to go out and have a good time so this place was perfect for me. I have found in the past that there was a lack of night life in Cuba, and the clubs were "too young" for me in Mexico. I would say Cabarete has something for everyone of any age. We walked to the beach bars at night safely but there was a group of 4 of us. I had heard that you shouldn't walk the beach at night (especially if you have been drinking, you might get robbed), but we didnt have any trouble). Although we did hear one story of a couple who the week before were clubbed by a couple of Haitians that ran out of the bushes...probably best to be cautious and take a cab, it only costs a couple of dollars.
The restaurants we tried off the resort were great, we loved Jose Osheas, and Onos, and this great little Sangria place off the beach. In fact the food was so good (and easily available) off the resort that I would probably not stay all inclusive in Cabarete again. Some dont like the hassle of having to cook/dine out/pay for drinks, but this town had so much character that I loved being able to experience it.
I wanted to try the kiting very badly but the weather did not cooperate. Most places suggest/insist that you take a 2-3 day (3-4 hours per day) kite course so that they can teach you safety and technique before you hit the waves. The cost was about $200-300 US. It sounds like a lot of money but I would have paid it because I was that interested. Once you see the "pros" out in the ocean you realize that you cannot just go out without instruction. Like I said we had a few days of rain, other days no wind so in the short week I was there I didnt have time to get the classes in. But if you are going for more than a week, you will have time. The staff at Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding were very good about answering questions and trying to find times that were accomodating to teach. I just noticed on their website that they are having a ladies only kitesurfing week in April around Easter. I was thinking about going back but just get away right now.
A frind of mine just returned yesterday (April5) from Cabarete, she was there for a week as well. She said it was overcast every day, and rained a couple of days as well. I think this is unual..I usually travel in mid march every year and usually it is late enough to avoid the rainy season, but keep in mind how weird the weather has been in the Caribbean this year with all the hurricanes etc. Maybe they are experiencing more precipiation than normal.
Anyway hope that helps you all with your travels. If you have any comments on buying a timeshare in Cabarete, I would love your feedback.