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Review of Swell Surf Camp

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Swell Surf Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 November 2016

You will have gathered from all the other gushing reviews that this is a fantastic place to visit. I found everything written about Swell on their website and in these rave reviews to be accurate... and more. My advice is stop reading and just book, you won't be disappointed.

At the booking stage, Clare is really quick to reply and answer any questions which was so helpful. Once you arrive there is a fantastic team in place, from Haudy's warm welcome and organisation to the super supportive, fun surf and yoga instructors and cooks producing the most delicious, fresh and healthy food (yes, breakfast is legendary!).

The place is gorgeous. It's hard to describe the chilled out vibe but it's my new happy place. Everywhere is super clean (and I'm fussy), from the bedrooms to the pool toilet, it's pristine.

The beds are incredibly comfy with crisp linen. I was in a premium room but the dorms looked lovely too. Rooms are airy, bright and cleaned daily.

So what is the Swell experience? Well, it was my first solo holiday and I highly recommend going on your own. After the first five minutes you forget you arrived alone. The staff and other guests were incredibly friendly and the atmosphere is so laid back.

We were up and in the van heading to the beach at 7am every morning. The first surf session works up a real hunger and breakfast is well worth the wait. Then it's back to the beach for second session. The surf instructors were professional and fun, they really know their stuff and work hard to get you up and riding the waves asap. I felt spoilt to have such individual attention with constant tips and adjustments helping me progress quickly. Thanks Ed, Neno and Paloma for your patience and for the laughs!

Afternoons are free and there's optional evening yoga three times a week. Your body will thank you for doing this and the poolside location is magic. Martín's classes were fantastic. He was dedicated and accommodating to all levels, my new guru!

As an extra trip, I got the chance to go Canyoning. Four of us went together and joined a bigger group. This is quite physical but really exhilarating. Haudy organised everything, we just had to be ready for collection!

Dinner was delicious and for the nights that it's not provided, there are loads of options. Gordito's Fresh Mex is a must - we got take away for our pool party! Dinner on the beach was delish too - try the frozed Banana Daiquiris in Mojito Bar!

The week flew by and I left Swell positively humming from the sun, sea, surf and pure fun. I'm hooked on surfing and genuinely can't wait to go back and do it all again!

Thanks for a fantastic holiday Swell Gang!!!!

Room Tip: All premium rooms are lovely, overlooking the pool. For a cheaper option the dorms are really taste...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank ashiemc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 September 2016 via mobile

We love surfing at Swell. This was our second year in a row visiting. The camp is clean, very safe, and has good amenities. Wifi is strong in the common areas but not in rooms. The camp is ok for families, but more fun when only adults are present. Check surf conditions historical data. We waited three weeks to go in late August and the swells were 3-4 feet. Much better than July. We will likely return again. Just a fun getaway if all you want to do is surf or kite surf!

Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Bluevans-surfs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2016

Clare and Jim have really created a heaven on earth with Swell! Having now also read the reviews preceding ours it is difficult to add anything new. The 200 plus reviews accurately describe Swell, its atmosphere and your future stay there! My sister and I decided to stay in the dorm room-we had the whole place to ourselves the whole week however had there been 2 more people it would not have made our stay less comfortable. The whole camp and rooms look exactly like on the pictures. The place is kept very clean and the food is amazing. There is 24 hour security on site and reliable transportation by the ever-friendly Michele. Ed, Neno and Paloma were the coolest kids in town- enthusiastic and patient surf instructors, and awesome company. Haudy, the manager, was extremely helpful in organizing everything on the spot seamlessly. Molly made us feel like yoga superstars and encouraged us to challenge ourselves further. Overall, the type of people this camp appears to attract as well as the staff guarantees a one-of-a-kind fun social experience. We had never surfed before and found this camp excellent for learning to surf. Definitely planning to return!

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Hannah6285
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2016

My wife and I booked a week's stay at Swell Surf Camp with the goal of improving our ability to surf. We knew nothing about Swell except for what we read on the Website and other internet sites, so we were not sure what exactly to expect. It turned out to be ONE OF THE GREATEST TRIPS WE EVER TOOK!! Every part of the experience was EXCEPTIONAL. The accomodations, the food, the staff, and of course the surf instruction, were all OUTSTANDING! Our surfing skills improved significantly. Ed, Paloma, and Neno are terrific instructors, and Hawdy made sure everything ran smoothly for all the guests. We met great people from all over the world. This is a MUST for anyone who likes to surf. We are already planning to return again this year. Well done Swell staff, well done!

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
6  Thank JROG2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2016

Our visit to Swell Surf Camp was everything we hoped it would be for a pair of beginner surfers. Having never been to the DR before it was nice to book ground transportation, lodging, instruction, and a majority of dining all at once. But don’t think of Swell as an “all inclusive.” It’s much more than just a gated compound that you have to feel unsafe venturing away from as the town is safe to explore. It’s a unique mix of adventure, a relaxing getaway, fantastic dining, and meeting new people. The mix however is really up to you.
The accommodations are clean and meticulously cared for. We loved having the privacy of our room and the open air social setting of the kitchen, “living room” area, and pool. This is not a place to go if you’re not looking to socialize. The breakfast and dinners are better than we expected. Fresh ingredients freshly prepared by excellent cooks are enough to bring us back again. The best mango I’ve ever had.
Haudy takes excellent care of you and is more than just a concierge and manager. She’s engages you daily to make sure things are going well and organizes details (details, timing, etc) for any other excursions beyond surfing. Honestly we just had fun hanging out with her.
Surfing for beginners? I’m sure there are other competent instruction programs but Swell stood out among the others I saw while I was there. Neno, Ed, and Paloma were a lot of fun to learn from with great attitudes and patience with students. Their philosophy about learning to surf and positive coaching styles have a consistency that allows each of them to work with you at any given time without contradicting one another. They also seemed to genuinely get along which shouldn’t be underestimated as a factor in the experience.
We really liked the 2 session format for surfing and the flexibility to skip the 2nd session after breakfast if you chose to. It was nice to work on technique, stop and rejuvenate with breakfast, then go back out for round 2 if you’re up for it. After 4 hours of surfing you were all done by 12:30 which feels like you still have the whole day in front of you to go canyoning (Matt at Kayak River Adventures is a very enthusiastic and just plain fun guide) or a variety of other activities. Or you can just chill at Swell’s pool all day!
We did a few sessions of yoga with Molly who is pretty much the most joyous and energetic yoga instructor I’ve encountered. We really enjoyed yoga at Swell and consider it a must do when we return. I like yoga but typically don’t find myself having as much fun as I did with Molly’s style.
From Swell you can walk to town and you should. Many food options (we kept finding ourselves at Fresh Fresh and Gorditos) and be ready to be solicited for everything from rides to town, jewelry, food, hair braiding, and much more. Most are pretty friendly and aren’t too persistent if you’re polite to them. It’s a beautiful Caribbean town despite some areas where there’s trash laying around and we highly recommend the 2 for 1 mojitos at the mojito bar from 4p-8p.
We’re already starting to plan our return trip. Swell is worth the repeat!

  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
6  Thank pnutcox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Swell Surf Camp

Address: Calle Las Palmeras, Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Cabarete
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 50 Speciality Lodging in Cabarete
Price Range: RM 156 - RM 390 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Swell is a brand new purpose built hotel for surfers in the center of Cabarete. All rooms have en-suites with AC optional. Swimming pool with LED and fibre optic lighting and a large communal area with pool table, fussball and ping ping table as well as a video library and other games.We cater for active people that want quality accommodation in a social setting. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Swell Surf Camp Hotel Cabarete

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