Ali’s Surf Camp Review – Dominican Republic

One of the best parts about our Christmas trip to the Dominican Republic was our stay at Ali’s Surf Camp in Cabarete. Not only because the staff is kind and friendly, but because there is something about surf camp that brings out the best in people.

It seems to me that people who choose to spend their vacation at a surf camp tend to be outgoing, friendly, athletic, and down for anything. It could also be the community meals or the fact that everyone has something in common… a love for surfing.

This is my first time experiencing a surf camp where all the guests eat a communal dinner and everybody seems to enjoy each others company. We had a similar experience for one night at Hoa’s Place in Vietnam. Hoa’s place also has a community vibe, the owners are amazing people, and China Beach, which is within walking distance, is one of the best known surfing beaches in Vietnam.

Scott also stayed at an off the beaten path surf camp in Northern Peru a couple of years ago. He absolutely loved it, and I can’t wait to experience that particular place for myself.

Ali’s Surf Camp is also known as Cabarete Hostel and Cabarete Surf Camp. This was a bit confusing when we started researching places to stay before we left for our trip. I’m not sure why they have three different websites and names for the same place. The only thing I can come up with is that maybe these places were different at one time and have now combined.

Ali’s Surf Camp offers three different options for accommodation. They have bungalows with shared bath, bungalows with private bath, and apartments for rent. The bungalows are great if you are looking for budget lodging. Just don’t expect the four seasons. Prices start at $30 US per night.

The surf camp is located at Playa Encuentro, one of the most well-known beaches in the Dominican Republic. I was highly impressed with the helpfulness of the staff at Encuentro Beach. They were always on top of things. I’ve been to a few places where the staff is lazy and won’t go out of their way to get you wax or a leash. The staff at Ali’s Surf Camp went above and beyond and actually insisted on waxing the boards for you.

The surf camp offers either group or one on one lessons. We personally just paid $20 per day (each) for surfboard rentals. I was quite surprised at the quality of their boards and the range of lengths. This price also includes transportation to and from the beach twice a day. This is a good price for a board rental and the fact that it includes transportation is a huge plus. Not only that, you are not stuck with the same board for the constantly changing conditions of the waves in this area.

Photos of Ali’s Surf Camp and Encuentro Beach


Ali’s Surf Camp crew after a day of surfing


Encuentro Beach, Dominican Republic


Cabarete Surf Camp Surfboards


Surfing Encuentro Dominican Republic


Outdoor Restaurant at Ali’s Surf Camp


Drinking Mama Juana at Ali’s Surf Camp

Have you been to a surf camp? Did you enjoy the experience?

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on .