The Caribbean Defined
|Kiteboarding in Cabarate, Dominican Republic|
Water. Tradewinds. Storms. And thousands of miles of coast facing every direction. No further explanation needed.
Consistent east-to-west trade winds, which kick into high gear from January to March, bend Aruba's Divi Divi trees ever closer to the ground and fill the horizon with windsurfers and kite boarders. The epicenter for both sports is Fisherman's Huts, a strip of exposed beach just north of Palm Beach on the island's west side. Rentals and lessons abound, as does an inviting expanse of warm, gentle water.
Want wind AND waves? Barbados has surfable waves virtually year round. The island's east coast is the most consistent, enjoying 350 surfing days a year. Top spots include the Soup Bowl (the island's most renowned surf spot); Freights Bay, a beginner-friendly wave on the South Coast; and Parlors, which breaks cleanly up to 20 feet (!). Wind junkies flock to Silver Sands, a south coast beach in front of an eponymous resort. Conditions here often suit all ability levels, with a long stretch of fairly flat water running out to a wave-pumping reef.
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
There is no mistaking the pulse on the mile-long crescent of beach fronting Cabarete. Even when the wind is down, the windsurfing and kite boarding outfitters lining the beach are gearing uprigging sails, inflating kites, and tweaking boardsin anticipation of the reliable afternoon thermals. The wind comes from the east, meaning ideal side-shore/onshore sailing conditions on the north-facing beach. The water gets deep quick, so this isn't ideal for beginners, but with around 290 sailable days a year and water temps near 79 degrees year round, it's blissful for intermediate to advanced riders. Security note: Beware of pickpockets at night at the beachfront bars. They are active and extremely skilled!
British Virgin Islands (surfing and windsports, numerous spots), Puerto Rico (west coast for surfing, north side for wind), Bonaire (best beginner-friendly wind sport conditions).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication