This review is long and long overdue. My brother and I stayed at LG Surf Camp back in May 2013 for one week.
Luciano Gonzalez is awesome. He was very communicative during the planning stages of the trip and answered all my questions to help me make well-informed decisions about the trip. He's definitely one of the most passionate, humble, and nicest people I've ever met. He's a kind human being with lots of heart and is more than happy to share his knowledge of surfing. Not only is he the owner and operator of the camp, but he also doubled as our local guide (a huge plus for people who like their travels with plenty of local flavor). He was very patient and helpful in our surf lessons and was very thorough in pointing out the necessary steps to improve your surfing - we were catching unbroken waves on the outside in no time!
Upon arriving at the airport, we were picked up by the camp's van (Miliciades, the driver and LG's uncle, is very pleasant and available for hire in case you decide to go around or other areas beyond Cabarete. The drive to the camp took about half an hour. We pulled in a gated property and was welcomed right away by LG himself. The penthouse we stayed in was beautiful and spacious. It felt like we were staying at a high-end resort. The place was very modern in its decoration and furnishings. The whole place was clean. My favorite part about it was the "HD" panoramic view of the beach from the balcony where I watched the sun rise every morning for dawn patrol. Another great thing about the place was the rooftop, which offered more unobstructed views of the ocean and beaches. There's also a huge pool downstairs well equipped with sun chairs for your convenience.
The food was delicious - breakfast consisted of real food (not your average "continental" fare": eggs anyway you want them, tropical fruits, made to order crepes/pancakes, juice, coffee, etc. Lunch was on us but dinner was served 4 nights out of the week - dinner consisted of the staples, rice and beans, plantains, salad, chicken creole, and on some nights pork chops, etc. Since I don't eat pork, the two señoras that cook were very accommodating in making sure I had something to eat. I would suggest communicating to LG about any dietary restrictions you may have so they can be prepared prior to your arrival.
Our typical daily schedule consisted of a 6am wake-up call, coffee over the sunrise on the balcony, dawn patrol surf session, back at the penthouse by 10am for hot breakfast, another surf session from 11-1pm, lunch on our own, explore DR or nap, dinner in or a night out in town, sleep, and repeat. My brother and I lucked out because we ended up being the only LG campers most of the week we were there - and that was a huge plus since we got more 1-on-1 coaching time with Luciano during our surf sessions. Also, it was great hanging out with him and hearing about his life in DR and past travels as a competitive surfer.
One thing though that was a minor set back was that at the time, our bathroom's shower door was broken and Luciano wasn't able to get it fixed in time while we were there. It wasn't a big deal to us, but Luciano made it an option for us to move to another room and even offered us complementary SUP or Kite lessons - we opted for the SUP one afternoon and that experience was majestic! SUP'ing down the river was the best was to get acquainted with the quiet countryside of Cabarete; we paddled through lush patches of jungle, farms, and wide open landscapes. Our journey took us to a river mouth where we stopped and had really tasty fresh fried fish and a fresh cold piña colada. After that we paddled back to our point of origin.
Luciano is also very adamant about water safety so he'll be very clear about the ins and outs of how to navigate your way through the water, how to read waves, etc. We surfed Encuentro every day, even on not-so-ideal conditions, but that only got us to progress in our surfing even more. His quiver is well equipped with surf boards of all sizes and shapes. He's got you covered whether you want to slide easy on a longboard/funboard/SUP or rip on a shortboard, fish, or kite board, and everything in between.
I have no doubt in my mind that I will definitely be hitting up Luciano and his surf camp next time I'm in Cabarete DR, and I highly recommend experiencing it for yourself.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a water sports camp owned and ran by professional kiteboarder and surfer, Luciano Gonzalez sponsored by Red Bull and Wainman Kites. The camp is based in Cabarete, a town situated on Dominican Republic’s north "Amber Coast," renowned worldwide as "Caribbean’s Watersports Capitol." We offer accommodation at our spacious brand new 5000ft2 beachfront penthouse condominium, as well as Surf, Kiteboarding, Stand up Paddle, lessons and rental for all ages & levels. Overall, our ocean front camp is one of the best places in the Caribbean for people to practice water sports with a real Pro, relax, and share together a great unique holiday. ... more less