Playa Encuentro, 6km west of Cabarete on the C-5, is a haven of surf schools that run out of small wooden huts variously serving as offices, storerooms, repair workshops and/or snack bars. Lessons are generally around US$45 for a two-hour class, US$100–120 for a five-day camp but check whether board rental is included, and ask around for who has the best instructors and rates. Surfboard rental costs US$20–30/day, or US$110–150/week. The more established schools are:
Buena Onda t 829/877-0768, w www.cabaretebuenaonda.com. Fairly new outfit providing lessons and rental that also organizes excursions to Playa Grande and Playa Preciosa. Transport to and from the beach is an extra US$5.
Cabarete Surf Camp t 571-0733, w www.cabaretesurfcamp.com. The camp offers some of the cheapest rates and provides showers at the beach, transport to and from town (included in lesson prices) and offers weekly surf trips to other beaches. Their accommodation is at Ali’s Surf Camp by the lagoon.
Take Off t 963-7873, w www.321takeoff.com. Longstanding surf school that runs lessons for all standards. Also organizes the Master of the Ocean Triathlon every February (a competition involving surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding).