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Review of Swell Surf Camp

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Swell Surf Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 17, 2012

Fantastic staff, delicious food, spotlessly clean and modern accomodations and a wonderful assortment of fellow guests, extremely relaxing or as social as you want it to be, wish I could have spent a month enjoying all that Swell had to offer, book it, you will be glad you did!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Marion C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 - 131 of 241 reviews

Reviewed December 14, 2012

Their formula is simple and beautiful: find ideal surf in an accessible location, and then combine it with a cream of the crop staff, comfortable accommodations, and great food, and you'll attract cool people who will have the vacation of their life. The highlights included a chef who prepared meals reminiscent of my Italian Grandmother, organized twice daily trips to great waves, mind-bowing fish tacos 3 minutes away, and a clientele that included everyone from a retired General to a surfer who was on a 6 month surfing sabbatical to over a dozen locations. If you enjoy active vacations, you'll love this, and you'll leave with a true appreciation for how the owners of swell have cracked the code for the perfect surf vacation.

Room Tip: Upgraded accommodations were worth it.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank RoccoDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2012

My husband and I stayed a 4 day weekend at Swell. We wished we could have stayed longer. Unfortunately it rained a lot when we were there but that's not the hotel's fault and we had a great time anyway. The common areas are really social and it's a very welcoming vibe. We had fun talking to new people. It would be a great place to travel if you're alone as you'll meet lots of people to hang out with. We were both beginner surfers and we had a fantastic time learning. Jay is a wonderful teacher. He's very professional and he knows what he's doing. The manager Haudy was wonderful and went out of her way to help me out when I had a minor medical problem.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jennifer C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2012

I wanted to learn to surf over Thanksgiving this year and went to Swell following a recommendation from a friend (and previous Trip Advisor reviews). My week at Swell was absolutely amazing!! I can't say enough good things - I wanted to learn to surf, relax, do yoga and meet other fun people...and I got to do just that.

All the staff are all incredibly helpful and friendly. Lourdes is an amazing cook - as good as any breakfast you can find out in a restaurant. Surf instructors Ash and Jay really know their stuff, but still know how to teach to total beginners. They had me up and surfing on day one, and still loving it after two-a-days for a whole week. Houdy runs the show and keeps things organized and running smoothly...plus she has great restaurant recommendations for when you're ready to head down to the beach.

Only thing I'd have changed is to have packed less...it's a pretty laid back place, so I didn't need nearly as many clothes, and one pair of flip flops is plenty!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank LalaLaura12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2012

I booked this vacation last minute. I have never travelled alone so this was a big deal for me.
From my first email, Clare who was SO responsive (and helpful) to my questions - totally took care of everything and gave so much information up front - she made it soooo easy (and fun). She took away any anxiety I most certainly had travelling alone. When I booked, I was hoping for a premium room but there was only dorm room space available . I'm glad I didn't let this hold me back. I enjoy my personal space, but the dorm style room was great - and all the roommates I had over my week at SWELL were awesome and FUN.
When I was walking out of the airport - the sweetest face (Michel) was there to pick me up. What a GREAT guy! (he is one of the drivers that takes you to the beach or wherever else you go during your stay). The pride he takes in his job is second to none, and he does it well. I started calling him "Mama" becuase he was so diligent about not having sand in his METICULOUSLY CLEAN taxi van. Michel, Franklin and Bernardo (the drivers) always had a hug, a hand shake and a friendly awesome greeting. They were always happy to talk.

Walking in the door of SWELL - Haudy was at the door to welcome me "home". I felt instantly at ease....as if I walked into the door of a dear friends house. Have an issue with anything? Want to book a day trip or other activity? Haudy will hook you up. Haudy is super thoughtful, super caring, and super awesome.
ALL THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!! Lourdes rocked the breakfasts and the dinners. From the Omelettes and crepes in the morning to whatever she made for dinner - everything was so delicious. MUCHAS GRACIAS LOURDES!!!!
The camp is well appointed - with the plounge area (bean bag chairs are great for naps as are the hammocks!), The big table - a central area for social time, meals, talking, (and drinking). Don't have a book? There is a little shared library under the tv.

SURF STAFF : Amazing people!!! Jay is great a building confidence and getting you out in the surf WITH SUCCESS. I honestly showed up expecting to be in the backyard on a short board by the end of the week (read - in dire need of a dose of reality) and Jay was so very patient and supportive. He set up you up for success - which - for a first timer to any sport - is VITAL. I was fortunate enough to be in Ash's first week as an instructor at the camp. Even if you are a seasoned surfer (which I am not) Ash is an astute diagnositcian and his suggestions (when put to use by said surfer) produced results. Lucas is awesome when you're out in the water. I LOVED asking him "is this the wave?" repeatedly becuase of how he would answer. He'd usually say a very short "no"...but his eyes would light up when it was THE wave. The first couple of days, he'd help you into them with a shove (or he'd drag you thru the surf when you got tired becuase you're not in the shape you thought you were in). I LOVE these guys. If you've never tried the sport or even if you're super seasoned, these guys will make sure you're out there having the best time and rocking the waves. I went from never having surfed before (altho I wakeboard, barefoot, waterski) to jumping on "party waves" together with some of the girls from SWELL and laughing while surfing the wave the whole way in.
I was a little worried about having to go into Cabarete for meals but between Gorditos (ohmygod i am not a fish person but the fish tacos I will dream about forever) and walking to the beach restaurant area with my new friends - good food was never far away. (or good drinks for that matter).

I took two side trips that Haudy arranged. One was the Kayak River Adventures Canyoning experience. I think I am an experienced hiker and OMG this was a physically challenging day. It was a LOT of fun and Helmut and his helpers are just so capable. BE PREPARED to jump 30ft into a canyon. I wasn't, but I did it. Keep your arms in. I didn't, and I have some fantastic bruises on my forearms (or trophies as I'm calling them). When Helmut suggests the donkey - TAKE IT. Best $10 you will spend. EVER.
The second trip was La Boca. It was a fun time and great to see some of the countryside.

Overall - I had the trip of a lifetime. The hospitality, the property, the services, the people were just incredible and second to NONE. I made lifelong friends on this trip and was SOOOO sad to leave. I will go back...bring friends...make new ones......and if SWELL ever opens in another country.....I'll go there too. I cannot speak highly enough of SWELL SURF CAMP.

Room Tip: I wanted a single room by myself - but the dorm rooms were just fine and I roomed with some awesome...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Kiwi T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

After one of my friends strongly reccomended for me to go to swell surf camp, I started planning the trip... A few weeks later I had 11 people in my group booked and ready for an awesome surf trip! And we were not dissappointed. Swell exceeded our expectations all around. They have a great staff that is there for you, and an amazing facility that will keep you occupied all day when your not out surfing. We originally planned to stay 7 days but due to Huricane sandy, we ended up getting stuck in DR for another 5 days after our flights got canceled, twice! Swell, without hesitation made it clear to us, that we were more than welcome to stay there. They made room for us, and honestly, our extra 5 days were just as good as the original 7. They treated everyone that stayed at swell with the upmost respect, and made every effort to accomodate your every need. The night life, is a whole other story. A short walk from the camp, is the main beach where the bars and restaurants are all lined up... feet in the sand as you eat dinner, or just relax on a couch with a drink in your hand. Truly an amazing experience that I can t wait to get back to. Oh yea... and the surfing?! Was amazing! Ive surfed Long island for a few years now, and surfing in cabarete was a treat. Amazing waves, with picture perfect weather made for a great experience. Most of my friends were beginners, and they all had a blast! The surfing staff was quite knowledgable and began teaching everyone from scratch. If you already know how to surf, no need for lessons. Just grab a board from the beach hut, and paddle out. Im proud to be part of the Swell Surf family, and cant wait to get back there!!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Tom M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Really felt like home away from home but with all the vacation pleasures! The staff were superb, the food was excellent, and the rooms and amenities were nice. Top this with the daily surfing excursions and additional great adventures available such as canyoning with Kayak River Adventures and you have a dynamic, fun, and special vacation experience.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank Ij_nyc
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 #2 of 51 Specialty Lodging in Cabarete
Price Range: $40 - $100 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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