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“Best surf vacation ever!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Swell Surf Camp

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Swell Surf Camp
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Calle Las Palmeras, Cabarete, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Montreal
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Best surf vacation ever!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2012

It has been a month since I came back from my vacation. I still think about it and feel excited about the days I spent in cabarete.

First, the surf camp. It is really clean and well maintained. The room is super clean and comfortable. I would say it is better than the 5start all inclusive I stayed in Puerto Plata. Everything looks like brand new. The owners and the people work in the surf camp are really nice people. They will remember everybody and really take care about you. You will feel like being part of this big family.

The food at the surf camp is really good. You can always have fresh bananas and coffee before the first surf session. After you come back in the morning, you can have fresh squeezed orange juice (I miss that so much), fruit salad, yogurt, pancake, omelet... I only had two dinners there. The pasta was pretty good and I love the Dominican food night. Yummy.

Cabarete is a small and nice town. You can find everything you need in walking distance. There are a lot of bars and restaurants on the beach. I usually have a high standard about the food. But the food is just amazing here. It is also really cheap. Ask the people in the surf camp, they will point you to a few good ones.

Now, about surfing. I am a totally beginner. I have stayed at different surfing spot and surf camps. But this one is the best one. I did not learn much about surfing from the other places. Most of them just pushed me and that's pretty much it. But here I really learnt how to do it by myself. I mean when I am in the water, I know what I am doing, not just waiting for someone to push me. Luciano is the instructor here. He is really helpful and will tell you what you did wrong. I feel I really get improved by following his instructions. No matter if you are really good at surfing or a beginner just like me, you can always have fun there. Also Encuentro beach is never flat. When the waves are too big to paddle outside, a lot of people will just surf the white water or watch the other surfers. At the beginning, I was worried I will be too hungry, the water would be too cold... etc. for the first surf session. But actually, the surfing sessions were just perfect.

Overall, this surfing vacation is the best one i have ever had. I would like to thank Clare & Jim & Martha & everybody in the camp for giving me such a great experience. I highly recommend Swell Surf Camp!!! I am thinking about going back every day!!!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Any
English first
Dusseldorf, Germany
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2012

Yes, it is kind of expensive for a surf camp, but once you're there, you will realize it's worth every penny. All facilities are in superb condition, the staff is very nice and helpful and in 2 weeks of staying here I never found myself lacking anything. More importantly though, the people make this place: There is a large communal area, and it is used a LOT. In fact, I was barely in my room at all, except to sleep (though the rooms are very nice). This is unusual for me as I typically like to keep to myself a bit more, but all the people at Swell were just extremely cool and easy going and nice to be around.

I typically like to include some suggestions how to improve the place, even if I write a positive review, but in this case, honestly, I can't think of a single thing.

Oh yea, if you do come, Gordito's Fresh Mex (aka "The Taco Place") is just down the road. Definite recommendation, they serve excellent food for very little money.

Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2012

Hands down - one of the best vacations I've ever been on! If you are going to the Dominican Republic this is by far the best place to stay.

First and foremost, everyone is super nice, down to earth, willing to give you genuine advice on excursions, and not trying to rip you off. In fact, staying here will ensure you don't get ripped off since Swell can help you set up anything from 27 Waterfalls excursion (must do!), horsebackriding, dinners, etc... and hook you up with a reputable and fair taxi. I had other friends stay elsewhere in the Dominican and they were charged much more that I was for the same stuff - Swell has connections!

Second, you can take full advantage of the warm water with the surf lessons every morning and still have the rest of the day to do whatever. It is an ideal place to learn how to surf and the instructors are really patient. Plus, you get rewared with a huge, delicious breakfast when you return to camp!

Third, I loved the set-up of Swell. There is lots of open-air living space (living room with ping pong and pool, hammocks, even a big wooden table that everyone eats at together). It was fun to get to know the others staying at Swell as well (we organized a big game of cards and charades!). I think max capacity at Swell is somewhere around 27 so it is a relatively small group of people that you can get to know and hang out with if you want to. I would totally feel comfortable traveling here on my own since I know I would meet some great people at Swell.

Lastly, I was really impressed with the safety at Swell. They provide unlimited filtered water, have the highest food/sanitary standards, and always have someone that works there at the camp (at night there is even a night guard in addition to the locked gated). I felt really safe there:) Overall, I would definately return to Swell and would encourage others to go as well - it really is a wonderful, unique place with great people.

Room Tip: Dorm rooms are a little cheaper and sleep four (all separate beds, but 2 are up in a loft) but if yo...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Ontario, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2012

After reading all the glowing reviews before we arrived I thought it may be a stretch that this place was that great but I confirm it's awesome . . . from the wonderful staff to the two dollar beers, you just won't find another place like this. We had a large group of eleven Canadians that visited Swell March 10th-18th, every person had a blast and I want to thank the entire Swell team for making this a fantastic vacation.
The Mayor

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

Swell is an amazing surf camp!
The owners and employees are super friendly and accommodating and committed to ensuring each of their guests have an enjoyable stay! The grounds are immaculate! The food is delicious! I can't say enough good things about Swell.
The surfing is awesome too! If you are a novice, intermediate or advance the experienced instructors are always game to improve your ride.
Bonus - while taking a break in the line-up or on the beach you can watch the instructors ride a perfect set!
I would recommend Swell to all!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2012

On the recommendation of a friend, a group of girls and I descended on Swell for a week. Our goals were to learn how to surf, explore the DR, get some good R&R, but be somewhat active. Surfing: The instructors are phenomenal. Top notch surfers. By the end of the week we were all getting up on our surf boards and catching our own waves. The Food: Amazing! The breakfast is always delicious but especially delicious after surfing for several hours. All the dinners were fantastic and having only 4 gives you a chance to explore other eating options. Martha helped organize several Dominican dinners for anyone who was interested at the camp. The Staff: Nice, friendly, super responsive, and extremely helpful. Clare, Jim, and Martha give you a plethora of options depending on what you are interested in doing and will help you organize it. Our group, along with some other guests, did the 27 waterfalls excursion, thai yoga massages (in our rooms!), a wicked spin class led by Clare, yoga by the pool, and horseback riding. The Lodging: Clean and simple. Sheets and towels are changed everyday in your room. The pool is great to lounge around, enjoy some peaceful reading and napping in the hammocks and EZ lounges, and definitely have some ping pong, fooseball, and pool tournaments. Overall this was definitely a vacation that falls in my top 5 and I have promised my husband I will bring him to Swell!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012 via mobile

Truly the best value for your money. Fantastic/unique location... Great staff... Very helpful and the owners are very sweet and gracious. First time surfing and we loved every minute of our trip... Also, we highly recommend the spin class as well.. FUN

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Swell Surf Camp

Address: Calle Las Palmeras, Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Cabarete
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Cabarete
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Swell is a brand new purpose built hotel for surfers in the center of Cabarete. All rooms have en-suites with AC optional. Swimming pool with LED and fibre optic lighting and a large communal area with pool table, fussball and ping ping table as well as a video library and other games.We cater for active people that want quality accommodation in a social setting. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Swell Surf Camp Hotel Cabarete

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