Reviews & testimonials from clients:
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. Carrie, Milton, Canada / November 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 Aeris, Montreal, CA, 2012
Prefer reviews from tripadvisor?:
What a fantastic vacation. I generally enjoy vacations that combine activity and relaxing, good food and nice people. This one fit the bill. The surf instruction was perfect - I reccomend taking the 5 day course even if you have surfed before, because just those few extra pointers can really change your experience. For me it was the difference between slogging through the waves and getting frustrated and gettting some really good rides and enjoying every moment. In fact, I couldn't get to sleep most nights because I was so excited about surfing in the morning. The food? Awesome. This is coming from a picky eater due to food allergies. Even with a gluten and dairy allergy, I was fine. I ate a ton of seafood, eggs and fruit. If an evening meal at Swell didn't work for me, I picked up dinner across the street to Gordito's fresh mex (often a repeat of lunch) and brought it back to eat with the group. And the bananas? They're not flavored. They are just the real thing!
The accomodations are perfect - simple, clean and cozy. The rooms were comfortable at night in mid March with the windows and fan. I didn't spend much time in my room, but it's nice to have a getaway if you feel so inclined. The pool area and downstairs lounge is great for relaxing after surf time. The staff is fantastic. Besides making it a nice place to stay, there are several people to take you around and help you feel safe while experiencing the town. I feel like I have people, not just a place that I plan to visit again. That's special. The only thing I regret is not staying longer. Go...it's pretty awesome at Swell. Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends Emily,Boston, USA, 2012
We just got back from Swell with my girlfriend. It was amazing! I can see lots of positive review already, so no need for many words from me. The camp itself and surf are great. What makes Swell really outstanding is the people who run the camp. Martha, Jim, Claire and all the others are genuinely friendly and helpful. They will make you feel at home! Dimitry,UK, 2012
This place is amazing. Accomodations and staff were great. Surfing in the morning to get back for a tasty breakfast was the best moment of the day. They are able to advise on what to do during the afternoon or even try out other restaurant at night. Recomendations were always exciding expectations.
Thanks to Luciano, and despite a broken toe, I was able to ride many waves and had a lot of fun.
I was able to relax, surf and meet people from around the world which makes very interesting nights playing poker, ping-pong, pool or even watching movies......Especially with some Brugal not far away!!
Thank you everyone, Looking forward my next trip to Swell !!! Julien,USA, 2012
I had a great time at Swell. All of the staff were welcoming, helpful and encouraging and the food was great. I did the "learn to surf" package and thought a week was good for a taste of surfing. My favorite moment (except catching a wave, of course) was getting back to the camp from surfing for a giant, tasty breakfast. Cabarete is friendly and full of great food and near other things to do and the camp pool and garden are a great place to relax. Other guests were great to hang out with Frank, Germany, 2011
I recently returned from Swell Surf Camp and my first experience of kite-boarding. And what an experience that was!! Everything was perfect from how easy it was to get to (3 hours, direct from JFK), door to door service from Puerta Plata airport to Swell. The hotel itself is a beautiful building, with great rooms that are super-clean and look out onto a peaceful garden and pool and the delicious, home cooked food was an added bonus! The surf instruction with Jake and Luciano was very professional- I was up and riding small waves in just a few days. The beaches are beautiful (picture postcard) with warm waters. The town of Cabarete is a great place to hang out in with numerous top quality restaurants. The staff were really helpful and friendly and Clare and Jim (the owners) the perfect hosts. Can't wait to return.... Rachel, New York, 2011
Our family (ages 52, 47, 17, 16, 12) has just returned from a second 3 weeks' vacation at swell, and there is no doubt this is the perfect place for an active vacation.
Everything was great: the camp, the staff, the food, the guests, the village, the locals and the surfing.
Since it was our second time, it felt like returning to a family in the Caribbean.
Clare and Jim are perfect hosts and all the experience is: "wow"!
As we wrote at the note that we left in the camp: "The first time was the best, the second even better".
Looking forward for the thirdGidi, Yael, Ori, Maya, Jonathan, Israel, 2011
Thanks Swell, hope to see you again next year for more of the same.Joanne,Canada, 2011
Although this placed is called a surf camp it is more of a social hotel, with plenty of socializing areas, nice rooms and opportunities to relax and occupying oneself. The people (trainers, staff and owners) quickly become friends and are always looking to make your stay memorable and fun. It is also a great place to meet interesting new people from all over the world and make new friends. The place is also very well organized and clean. Actually it is the perfect mix of nice accomodation, socializing and sports opportunities all in one package! Gerhard, Austria, 2011
I had a great time at Swell. The staff is great and the people staying at the hotel are really cool too. a great place for single, active, travelers. you will make lots of friends here. really enjoyed the 7am wake up calls to go surf. also enjoyed having nothing to do in the afternoons. it seems like its always someone's last day at swell. but it usually means its someone elses first day. the walk to town is super close but if you prefer the moto guys can give you a lift. nightlife can be hit or miss. lots of bars but not always alot happening. claire and jim really have a nice place here. and nothing beats having a surf camp dog (shout out to Fonzi). I will be back for sure to do kitesurfing. !Will, USA 2011
This was one of the best vacations of my life, Thanks to Swell and its staff
I am definitely coming back again! Great place, amazing people and just pure good time is what you will get in Swell and Cabarate
The Staff is great: Best breakfast thanks to Maria, Great accommodation thanks to Clair and great times with the greatest surf instructor Luciano Gonzales!!! Daniel, New York, USA, 2011
Your review could be here.........
Contact us now to check availability You, ........, sometime soon
Want to read more reviews & testimonials of our place?
Contact us and we can send you another 50 reviews ;-).