Kite soaring high during a sunset on kite beach.

Oceanside Livin’

There is something to be said about life next to the ocean. You don’t even have to be doing water activities or be explicitly dependent upon it in some way for it to have a profound effect. At the Extreme Hotel, everything you do is next to the ocean. You eat next to the ocean, sleep next to the ocean, trapeze next to the ocean, work out next to the ocean, read next to the ocean, talk on the phone next to the ocean. I could keep going – and those aren’t even the activities that you actually do in the ocean (i.e. kiteboard, surf, scuba, snorkel, stand up paddleboard, swim).

Kite soaring high during a sunset on kite beach.

Kite Beach.

 

A lot of the time when I am doing something next to the ocean, I am highly aware of it. It is hard to ignore a beauty so strong, the scent of salt in the air and the feeling of the ocean breeze on your skin. However, even after just being here for over a week as an intern, it is easy to slip into routine and forget that the ordinary was once extraordinary not so long ago. That being said, the amazing thing about living next to the ocean is that it constantly provides perspective – whether or not the rhythm of its crashing waves has become background noise. Something so great, so loud and so vibrant as the ocean is constantly telling you that you are merely a single, tiny human in a much greater universe.

#1Samana view

Don’t worry, it is not insulting. If anything, it’s humbling and inspiring. The ocean makes me feel small and unimportant. And once I feel small and unimportant, I start to take things less seriously. I think that I can try anything, do anything (maybe learn to kitesurf!) because in the end, I am just one small creature in this massive world.

Cabarete – A Runner’s Dream

Running in Cabarete is magical. The trick is to wake up before the heat sets in – which is not that early, only 6:15 or so. I don’t think there exists a more ideal temperature to run in. Warm enough that you don’t have to start with a long sleeve on but also hot and humid enough that when you sweat, you feel like you are working. At 6:15, Cabarete is still waking up–motorcycles and cars aren’t yet flying down the road. That wouldn’t matter anyway though because the eXtreme hotel, where I am living on Kite Beach, is located next to a somewhat hidden running path – a runner’s dream!

The path is a dirt road that is located 10-20 meters past the bus station where people wait to go to work west towards Sosua. The path rarely has any traffic–I have only seen a moto a couple of the many times I have run it. As someone coming from the northeast of America, it almost feels cliché how perfectly tropical it is. The path runs parallel to the ocean shore so as you run, the entire time you  see flashes of the picturesque crashing turquoise waves. At this time of day, around 6:30am or so, the sunrise makes silhouettes of the palm trees. Even if you are not a runner, it is worth waking up, just to walk it once.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 8.35.59 PM
You can chose to end the run at Encuentro beach. It is roughly 2.5 miles. A quick turn around and return to eXtreme Hotel makes it a solid 5-mile run. However, if you’re feeling up for it, you can take off your running sneakers and go for a refreshing morning swim or early surf. It is ideal for surfing because the wind speed is typically the lowest it will be all day and the crowds haven’t yet arrived. The ocean is your oyster! After a surf, swim, body surf, SUP, or whatever ocean activity you decide upon, you can wash your feet off at one of the various surf sheds along Encuentro and run back! Alternatively, if your surfing left you too tired to finish, you can always take a motoconcho (motorcycle taxi) back for 100 pesos.

ecotourism dominican republic

Water Sports in Cabarete

The eXtreme Hotel attracts all kinds of visitors who want to enjoy Water Sports in Cabarete

watersports in cabarete

Underwater Creature

The wind and waves are a consistent gift from mother nature, making Cabarete a go-to destination for kiteboarding, surfing, windsurfing, and SUP. Dominican Republic has such a lush and diverse landscape so there are many rivers and lagoons for wake boarding, water skiing, snorkeling, spearfishing, and scuba diving as well.
Scuba diving in sosua, 15 minutes from Cabarete

Scuba diving in sosua, 15 minutes from Cabarete

If any of that sounds appealing to you, than you may want to try your favorites of all the different Water Sports in Cabarete. There is often debate about which of the Water Sports in Cabarete is the best. The top two in question for the best water sport in Cabarete is always between Kiteboarding and Surfing.
Kitesurfing in Cabarete

Kitesurfing in Cabarete

Surfing takes 1 hour to learn, but a lifetime to get good at, while Kiteboarding takes 3 days to learn but 1 week to start doing tricks. In my opinion it depends on your personality type and what makes you say “WOW” If you always looked at surfing and dreamt of carving waves with grace or riding giants all over the world, then maybe that is your thing. If the first time you saw kiteboarding you stayed watching it on the beach all day, perplexed at the speed and intensity of handle passes and flips, then it’s probably your sport.
surfing in encuentro beach in cabarete

surfing in encuentro beach in cabarete

The bottom line is, with so many Water Sports in Cabarete, you can pick your poison and enjoy it every day. 🙂
Blog written by Gigi Taveras

Surf Everyday in Cabarete

Surf Everyday in Cabarete – Cabarete is an amazing place, perfect for people who love to seize the day and play it by ear.

 

First light is usually around 5am, and sometimes you stay out late enough to see it, and if you live here and have “gotten over” the night life, you might wake up early enough to see it. Lately I’ve been running to the surf beach, Encuentro to watch the day get bright around 6 am when the streets are quiet, the water is calm, and the air is wet. The surf schools don’t open until 6:30, but sometimes you’ll see a surfer out on the set finding her Zen. On a normal day, the waves are still small at that time, but I think that’s perfect because it’s like a warm up. As the swell picks up, your body wakes up.

 

In the summer, when Kiteboarding conditions are optimal, the wind is already picking up by 10:30. This is great for Kiters, especially those with bigger kites who don’t need a lot of wind to start flying over water. But for Surfers, wind means choppy waves and messy sets. People still stay in the surf when it gets windy, and it’s still a good time, but just not the same as 6 am clean sets and blue skies.

 

What I really love about Cab is how you can wake up early and see the sunrise whilst surfing, and watch the sunset whilst Kiting. Another fun fact is that when it rains at night, it usually means messy waves in the morning, but when it rains in the afternoon, and Kiters are packing up their gear, surfers are waiting for the rain to stop because it means good waves again.

 

big waves in encuentro

big waves in cabarete happen sometimes

Today was that kind of day. A huge storm cloud rolled in like the plague and sunny Cabarete turned into a menacing rain storm. Afterwards, I didn’t hesitate to go to Encuentro, and as soon as I could see the water from my moto on the road, I saw perfect waves and crystal waters.

 

We were surfing for about an hour before the wind picked up again, but it was definitely a change in scenery. In the morning the sky is glorious and the mountain landscape seems sleepy. But after the rain, the water was as green as the bright trees, and the sky was dark grey with pieces of silver water-filled clouds.

 

Bottom Line: Surf the sunrise, Kite the sunset, rush to the waves after it rains and drink mamajuana at night! You’ve earned it!

An ordinary Cabarete Day

A lot can happen in a single day when you’re living in Cabarete. With so much to be offered in a 20min radius, all you need is a “get up and go” mentality and everything folds out in front of you.

As I write this I’m sitting on the Trapeze lawn at the eXtreme Hotel watching the morning swings of the Circus Art fiends. “Back! Forward! Forward! Back! Up!” is being cued in the background under Tracy the kickboxing Coach’s even louder instructions from inside the gym next door. “Jab! Cross! Slip!” -and it’s only 10:15am. ::sigh:: being at the eXtreme Hotel is always exciting. But anyway I was telling you about my ordinary day:

Kickboxing with Tracy at Rogue Fitness Cabarete is exciting and challenging.

Kickboxing with Tracy at Rogue Fitness Cabarete is exciting and challenging.

So I woke up and wasn’t sure what was up with surf but put my suit on anyway and went down to the surf beach Encuentro. The trip there, whether on bike or moto is always beautiful in the morning because of the long windy roads littered with grazing horses, chickens, and sun beams thru lots of trees leaving cool shadows on the road. When you’re on bicycle it’s even nicer because most of the way down to Encuentro is downhill, although after a surf session the trip back up isn’t something I particularly look forward to. The waves were clean and maybe waist high with occasional head high swells so basically PERFECT but I was more in the mood to drink some coffee and talk shit with the other lazy surfers on the beach. They have all morning to get in and ride some waves but I was wanting to be at Yoga in 20 minutes so I said bye to the usual suspects, hopped on the Gringo Sanky (my friend’s moto) and rode 5 minutes to eXtreme on Kite Beach.

 

Lazy surfers are always good company at Encuentro, Dominican Republic

Lazy surfers are always good company at Encuentro, Dominican Republic

Practicing at The Yoga Loft is always my favorite morning activity, and Yoga with Molly on a Friday is always a challenge. Her TGIF means Thank God I’m FUERTE so I was sweating within 10 mins. I love how Friday Yoga is always the day I do something I didn’t know I could do. An entire practice looking at the ocean in a studio with no walls makes me feel so close to nature as I move through the asanas. Morning Yoga makes me feel accomplished for treating my body to healing, my mind to peace, and my spirit to health. Awwww que cute.

 

From the Yoga Loft you can see Kite Beach as you practice in the open air.

From the Yoga Loft you can see Kite Beach as you practice in the open air.

 

Molly's Ashtanga Yoga is my favorite class in the Dominican Republic

Molly’s Ashtanga Yoga is my favorite class in the Dominican Republic

Walking down from the Yoga Loft I came upon 9 or 10 Aerialists practicing in our half pipe. Sweet Retreats, a group of Circus Artists on an intensive training vacation, was having their morning Silks class which meant toned persons binding themselves up their silks and cascading down in different ways. It’s kind of like watching the Olympics; there’s a mixture of being amazed by what a human body can do and also feeling completely dissatisfied with your own body. Oh well, there’s Abiu from Taino Farm in the kitchen I can get in on some of that.

Circus Artists in an Aerial Silks Clinic with Sweet Retreats

Circus Artists in an Aerial Silks Clinic with Sweet Retreats

 

After watching the circus freaks for a bit I managed to bring the rest of the eXtreme team to slack off a bit and go for a swim in Kite Beach.. We convinced ourselves we were still being productive since I brought my underwater camera and was going to include a section in my blog about our frolicking in the ocean. Then of course we got back to work…

 

Moni and Gen having some underwater Fun in Kite Beach

Moni and Gen having some underwater Fun in Kite Beach

 

Me frolicking in Kite Beach in front of The eXtreme Hotel

Me frolicking in Kite Beach in front of The eXtreme Hotel

Later in the day I was itching to have some kind of ocean activity so since there was no wind I went to Encuentro for an afternoon session. That’s the best thing about Cab, whether you want wind or waves, there’s usually always one or both. The waves were smaller than in the morning but I still had a great time catching them and very easily getting back out to the set. Bryan, one of our Farm woofers who is learning to surf, loved that he could get a lot of ride time with no real wipe outs. The trick to having lots of fun on smaller waves is not being picky, ride them all!

 

Gene, on of our surf instructors with his famous sunglasses-wearing dog Napoleon.

Gene, on of our surf instructors with his famous sunglasses-wearing dog Napoleon.

 

 

Small Swell at Encuentro, Cabarete means easy pop-ups

Small Swell at Encuentro, Cabarete means easy pop-ups

Around dusk, a bunch of Cabarete ladies were getting together for sangria and to cut up old t-shirts into new ones and it was a great turn out! We ate more chips and salsa than was necessary, but At least I got 3 new tops! The highlight of the night for me was at sunset when my friend was coming in with the paddleboard and I ran out and had myself a sunset ride. The sunset on the water reflects shades of pink and orange onto the water to the west, and the clouds to the east, nothing is more beautiful or important when it’s just you in the water basking in the sunset.

 

Always lots of people to meet and bond with in Cabarete

Always lots of people to meet and bond with in Cabarete

The waves outside of extreme are such a fun ride, especially with the Paddle board. When you’re on SUP you don’t really need waves because just being on top of the water by yourself with the clouds and horizon and green clear ocean underneath you is pretty satisfying, but if you see a swell go out and ride a few, totally thrilling and there’s a nice relaxing paddle back to the shore to catch your breath.

 

SUP on Kite Beach, Cabarete

SUP on Kite Beach, Cabarete

Sunset view looking west from Kite Beach, Cabarete

Sunset view looking west from Kite Beach, Cabarete

The best part of this particular Friday was that this was just an ordinary Cabarete Day. The night closed with dinner at Casa Mami’s, and a nice early night to be well rested for Saturday’s surf, Yoga, and Flea market. Cabarete can fill your day with all kinds of life experiences and introspective moments but being a small town it’s filed with lots of socializing too. Adventurous days, lazy days, it’s all good in Cab.

So much fun everyday i makes you wonder how you ever lived anywhere else but Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

So much fun everyday i makes you wonder how you ever lived anywhere else but Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

Surfing With The Sun

I don’t often get to see the sunrise, but when I do I get a chill running down my spine. It’s a special feeling that I liken to taking off in an airplane, or the first day of a new job. Like you are living and breathing ‘beginning’.

So the idea of getting to see a sunrise is pretty cool, but actually getting out there and doing it is another.

For starters if you want to see the beginning rays of the day, then you have to get out of your cozy bed before that day has even begun. While your laying there in a half wake state there are tones of reasons to NOT get up.

Living here at extreme for six months I’ve managed to find a few more reasons to get up with a pop.  For one, our slogan is live by the sun. So once I see those rays coming through my curtains, I know its time to go…. And when the sun starts to set at night I begin concocting my plans for a wholesome dinner shared with friends and an early tuck in time.

This past November I went surfing more times than I did in all of 2011. Or for that matter the entire rest of my life. Surfing is a pretty cool sport. We all know that. But the reason that its cool to me is that there are so many elements that line up to that perfect wave. And getting up early is one of them.

Girl and surfboard

Surfing on Kite Beach

I stood at the shores edge at 6:45 this morning staring at the massive rippling grey soup of swell wondering why there were no other surfers in the water. All the other surfers had a similar stance to me – standing, watching, calculating….. except I didn’t know why I was doing it. So I said to hell with that and went and got my board ready. By the time I got in the water I was about the fourth person out there. 30 minutes later once I’d battled past the break (I’m totally still an amateur) there was probably 20 people waiting for their perfect wave.

Beating the crowds. Now that’s a reason to crawl out of your covers before the sun. When we say live with the sun, maybe we actually mean live ahead of the sun. Maybe set an alarm, or mark on your calendar – “today is the day you tell the sun what to do”. When you have a fierce desire and attachment to a sport/ hobby/ game – whatever it is that drives you – it doesn’t really matter where the sun is, or the wind or the powder… you have to put yourself there and be ready for whatever mother nature will give you. Big, small, gnarly, suave … its all a part of the challenge and the reason to get out and play.