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“Swell stay”
Review of Swell Surf Camp

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Swell Surf Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Montreal
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Swell stay”
Reviewed 2 September 2013

I stayed at Swell Surf Camp from August 24 – 31, 2013. I signed up for the surf lesson and premium room with AC package. Email communications with Clare were informative and prompt. She was reassuring when I told her I was a female travelling solo. Turns out the week I was there all the other guests were solo travelers. Everyone was friendly, inclusive, polite and civil. If you wanted your own space that was fine too but it was hard as the week on went that you cannot help yourself but be sociable. There was always someone to hang out with at lunch and dinners on the nights they were not being served at the camp. You are guaranteed to connect with fellow guests that you can go shopping with or laze about at the beach and drink caipirinhas with.
The surf lessons were great and fun. James, Joel and Neno really know what they are doing. They noticed everything I did wrong or right whenever I got on and fell from the surfboard. They would tell me what to adjust and next thing you know on my 2nd day I was able to stand up. From that point on I was able to start riding the waves. As I progressed they added more to my knowledge on how to paddle in, how to conserve energy, different ways to pop up and how to turn. For those of you who want to learn this sport make sure you at least hit the gym and do plank exercises, push-ups, cardio and yoga. I did not do any of those except cardio and I was sore in my upper arms, chest and knees after the 2nd day. The only thing that kept me going were the massages from N Day spa with Kit. Haudie can hook you up. There are 2 surf sessions every day, one at 7 AM and then another after breakfast at around 11:30 AM. I was only able to make it to one 2nd session during the week as the first one was tiring enough. Most of us opted to nap on any surface (couch, bean bags, pool lounge chairs, wooden benches and hammocks) after breakfast. Even the resident cat knew when to keep quiet when guests were napping. Make sure you get the photo option. Joel took amazing pics that made me look like I was surfing for years and not just a few days. The pictures were sharp and professional.
The staff at Swell was amazing, wonderful and accommodating. Haudie the manager took care of us like family. She will guide you on how to get around Cabarete and not get ripped off. Esmeralda the chef will make your eggs and omelets any way you like them. The crepes were always perfect. There was always fresh fruit at breakfast, bananas on the stern all day long and fresh coconuts from the grounds cut by Orani or Victor. The dinners were filling and delicious. Cipriana and Anna kept my room pristine and Orani kept the grounds picture perfect. Haudie took me to a local place for lunch for fresh fried fish and grilled langoustines. Orani was nice enough to take me with his motorcycle after his shift to the Waterfront beach in Sosua. It still makes me wonder how they were able to go about their day with guests napping all over the place. I met these people with a handshake when I arrived and left them with a warm sincere hug goodbye and gratitude. If the rumor is true that Swell will open another camp in Costa Rica I will be there.
Getting around Cabarete is easy. You can walk to town but with the heat I opted to take the moto conchos. They’re about 50 pesos from the camp to town. It is nerve wracking to the uninitiated with the driver’s hand on one handle and one with a cell phone without a helmet. Make sure you have the exact change every time as they will claim never to have change when you hand them a bill more than a 50. I took the Wawa (mini buses) with Haudie and they pack you in like sardines. The camp’s location is close to everything specially dozens of restaurants. I ordered food from the German restaurant next door, walked to Gordito’s for fish tacos and nacho bowls.
The only hiccup on this trip was the pickup at the airport. I waited for my pickup for over 30 minutes. Some guy with a placard with my name on it stuck me at one corner outside the airport. There was no car from Swell anywhere to be seen. I started to have doubts whether I made the right decision to go to Swell. It was a little disconcerting for a woman travelling alone to a new place and there was no one there to pick me up after getting out of the airport. I did tell Haudie about the incident, she apologized and I believe she straightened out the driver who was supposed to be waiting for me. Franklin took me to the airport and that went well.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
5 Thank krieg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GoGapSport, Owner at Swell Surf Camp, responded to this review, 5 September 2013
We are delighted to hear about your views on Swell and very happy that you enjoyed your stay so much. I wanted to address specifically your comments re your collection at Puerto Plata: unfortunately, we were let down by this particular driver on that day. His mistake becomes ours inevitably and I'm deeply sorry that you were made to wait. We no longer use him for any collections or drop offs. Thankfully, the rest of your vacation with Swell lived up to our usual standards and we look forward to seeing you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
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English first
Montreal, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2013

I just got back from Swell after staying for one week. Had never surfed before and never traveled alone either. I can't say enough good things about this place!! Had so much fun! I'm in love with surfing now. I recommend getting the photo package - Joel is a professional and I was amazed at how good the photos were.

Room Tip: Didn't have air conditioning the first night and it was hard to sleep. Definitely recommend spen...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank jenmw9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarkston
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2013

Our recent June 2013 visit was a dad(56) and son(16) learn to surf trip. I admit to being very apprehensive up-front on our first day at Swell, being the old guy, and everyone else having greater athletic ability and surf instructors with endless energy and creative body art....But my hesitation was immediately put to rest upon our airport arrival and meeting Franklin, the driver for the trip. The great experience continued with Haudie, our host at Swell along with her entire staff.
The accommodations were great, the food was excellent, and the overall facilities were perfect. Mitchell was an excellent tour guide and driver and provided a great day of snorkeling, eating, and touring the rum factory.
Our surf instructors, Joel, James, and Neno had endless energy and patience and continued to assist me in achieving my goal of learning to surf. They each went well beyond to ensure a safe, fun, and challenging experience. Surfing was a great challenge, but after hanging in for five days, my goal was achieved. Bryan, my son, continued to be challenged to improve his abilities, and we both came home exhausted, but having learned and achieved our goals. Swell is a great and unique concept - the entire staff is what makes it work - everyone is genuinely
dedicated to making sure each guest is cared for, and having a great time. Swell is not just a hotel, it is an Experience that allowed us to meet other guests from around the globe, build relationships that we can now call friends, and most importantly have one of the greatest vacations ever while learning to Surf. We look forward to our next visit next year!

Room Tip: All rooms are great!
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank miscoti1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nashville, Tennessee
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2013

My wife and I stayed at SWELL for eight days in July, 2013. Neither of us had surfed before and SWELL could not have been a better place to learn. For the price, the facilities and staff are excellent. Rooms are modern and cleaned daily. Haudy, manageress, does a great job of making your stay at SWELL very comfortable and Esmeralda made our breakfasts and dinners a delight. Joel, James, and Nino are the stars of SWELL and were excellent instructors. All of the instructors go above and beyond the call of duty to make your surfing experience a memorable one. Here is a typical day at SWELL. Wake up at 6:30 am for a light breakfast of coffee, bananas, and/or cereal (don't eat a lot before surfing or you will see it again). Leave at 7 am for Encuentro Beach, which is roughly a 5-7 min drive from SWELL. You will receive instruction and lessons in the morning and surf from approx. 7:15 am-9 am. Back to SWELL for a fantastic breakfast of omelettes, cereal, fruit, bread, and crepes (anything you want really). A short break until 11 am and then back to the beach for more surfing until 1 pm. You get the afternoon to do whatever you want. We highly recommend Canyoning on one of the days. Also, make sure you get the photo package. Joel does an excellent job of taking pics and it is well worth the money. Overall, this was a fantastic trip and we cannot wait for SWELL to open their new surf camp in Cost Rica.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ajit K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2013

OK, I admit it - As an Australian who had never learned to surf, I never in my wildest dreams entertained the idea that I would have been taught to surf by a couple of Pomms (James and Joel) in the Dominican Republic... but I did, and I had so much fun in the process doing it at Swell Surf Camp.

I booked this trip as a last minute break after wanting to learn to surf for years and seeing the 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor from previous guests. I now get what they've all been raving about. James, Joel and Neno were all phenomenal instructors. After running through the basics on the beach, they are in the water with you giving you advice and feedback throughout your morning sessions. They are funny, caring and attentive and combined with the picture perfect surf conditions, you'll be riding the green waves in no time.

The operation of this place is also super slick, efficient and friendly - allowing you to 'defrost' and get in holiday mode ASAP. From the initial booking process with Clare, to the pick up at the airport by Franklin and your day-to-day overseen by Haudie (and assisted by a cast of several brilliant and friendly staff), you really do feel like you are part of the family. The food is outstanding (Esmeralda and her crew are gem's) and the grounds are safe and very well maintained. The atmosphere maintained at the Camp attracts some awesome people from across the world and this really is the cherry on top of an outstanding setup.

I'm now happy to say that I've joined the throngs of previous guests and can't rave about this place enough. I'll definitely be returning.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank BigTKaleta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quebec
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 July 2013

I visited Swell Surf camp on the first week of june with my sister. We both loved our trip, the place and the people.

The camp was clean, well maintained and managed, the food was great and the staff made you feel as though you'd known them for years !

A special thanks to James, Joel & Neno for making our time there so great. They were great surf instructers, smiley, and always up to have a good time. Also a thank you and a warm hug to Haudie who made us feel like we were home away from home.

We are already planning our next visit !

thanks,

PJ & Amelia

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank pierrejamesg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2013

My husband and I went to Swell to learn to surf for his 35th birthday. From the moment our driver Franklin picked us up, we knew we were in for a treat. We love you Franklin!

Haudy, the general manager, is extremely dedicated to making sure you have everything you need. She even went above and beyond to coordinate group dinners on the off nights. Esmeralda is a master in the kitchen. I'm still salivating over the fried Mero she made one night. James, Joel and Nemo have patient souls. They were determined to make sure I stood up on my first day surfing and taught us new techniques each day depending on our individual surf abilities.

If you want to take a trip where your only worry is waking up to go to surf then Swell is the place to go.

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Chubita23
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

Property: Swell Surf Camp
Address: Calle Las Palmeras, Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Cabarete
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 47 Speciality Lodging in Cabarete
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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