Dominican Republic: Kitesurfing in Las Terrenas: spot – El Portillo
Dominican Republic is a well known kitesurfing destination. Many years ago it has been named a ‘kitesurfing mecca’ but later on other countries gained much more popularity. After many months that we have spent here and checking new kite spots that has been discovered we can assure you that Dominican Republic really is one of the best kitesurfing destinations in the world and for sure you have to put it on your list of ‘must visit kite spots’ as the conditions and the nature are here nothing but amazing.
Dominican Republic: Kitesurfing in Las Terrenas: spot – El Portillo
Overall Spot Rating (1-10): 8.6!
Chapter One: THE LOCATION.
- GENERAL LOCATION: Las Terrenas is located on the Samana Peninsula, one of the most beautiful parts of the country. There are many options to get there. The closest international airport in El Catay (AZS) is less than 30min from the city but at the time of writing this article, connections were very limited. We recommend flying to Santo Domingo (SDQ), it is the largest airport in the country and the closest and most convenient way to get to Las Terrenas. The cheapest option is to take the Asotrapus bus – the station is about 15-20 minutes from the airport (take a taxi). The journey to LT takes 2.5 hours and costs around 500 dominican pesos ($ 9). Bear in mind that the last bus leaves at 6pm. Other option than the bus is a private taxi for about 180usd. Next airport that we recommend is in Puerto Plata (POP). Trip from Puerto Plata to LT takes about 3,5h and with private taxi costs about 150usd. There’s only one bus that goes from Puerto Plata to Las Terrenas (quite inconveniant). The last option is the Punta Cana airport. It is a large tourist hub and there are few operators who have very cheap flights to Punta Cana (PUC). The disadvantage is that the journey from PC to LT takes 4.5 hours and you will pay at least 200usd by private taxi. It can be done by bus, but quite complicated (first you have to go from PC to Santo Domingo, and then from SD to LT). If you are traveling alone, you can search for a shared taxi on this website: COVOITURAGE
- EXACT LOCATION: El Portillo Lagoon is located in the eastern part of the city. To get there, first take Calle 27 de Febrero. This road runs past the beach and the views are amazing. You will feel the Caribbean atmosphere immediately! The parking space is very close to the lagoon. The entrance is on the opposite side to the new construction project: BLUE. You park, go to the beach and… WOOW! how beautiful this place is! The spot is on the right side – just go 250m upwind. If you don’t have a car or motorbike, you can get here by taxi or motoconcho (moto taxi). The guys who drive motoconchos are very experienced and can take 2 people with the equipment!
Chapter Two: THE WIND.
- WIND EXPOSURE RATING (1-10): 10 – this place is crazy! We have never been to a location with so many windy days. Last year (Sep21 – Sep22) there were 293 windy days. If you’d like to verify our words, check out this page with the WIND STATISTICS that come from the on-site weather stations.
- WIND SEASON: The main season starts in mid-December and lasts until mid-September. During these 9 months you have wind almost every day. There are on average 2-3 days without wind per month. October and November are the weakest months but there is still a lot of wind.
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- WIND DIRECTION: in this aspect, not much changes – the wind always blows from EAST (or NEE). It’s a clear side shore direction as shown on the map above.
- WIND QUALITY RATING (1-10): 9.0 – for most of the year the wind blows like a hair dryer. More gusty conditions occur in the winter (December-April).
- KITE SIZES: this spot is almost a ONE size kite. The wind is rather lightwind. The average is between 12 and 18 knots. If your weight is around 75 kg, take 12m. If you have enough luggage space, carry 10m for stronger days with up to 22/23 knots.
- FORECAST RELIABILITY: Don’t look at the forecasts – it doesn’t work here. What is important is the wind direction and cloud cover. All details are explained HERE.
Chapter Three: THE WATER.
- FREESTYLE RATING (1-10): 8 – even though the lagoon is deep, the water in it is fairly flat, especially at low tide. This is because of the reef that surrounds the lagoon. If you really want to focus on the unhooked tricks, avoid the peak season (December-April) when there are a lot of students in the water and you will have trouble getting a free landing spot.
- WAVES RATING (1-10): n/a – this is not a wave spot.
- HYDROFOIL RATING (1-10): 9 – El Portillo is a great hydrofoil spot. There’s almost always enough wind for hydrofoil. The average wind speed is perfect for foiling (12-18 knots). Deep water starts about 20m from the shore. In the lagoon you have flat water and outside sometimes are some not breaking waves that you can surf on foil. The only problem is the reefs, especially when the sun is low and all the water is so bright you can see it. Also look for the turtles. They are cute and the foil could do a lot of harm to them.
- WATER DEPTH: the water in the lagoon is deep. Only for the first 20-30 meters you will reach the bottom. It certainly makes the spot much safer for jumping and foiling.
- TIDES: small – differences between low and high tide aren’t significant. What is important is that at the low tide the water is much flatter.
Chapter Four: OTHERS
- WETSUITS: Las Terrenas is a city where the summer lasts 12 months a year, you won’t need a wetsuit here. Only people who truly hate the cold may need some rushguard for the ‘coldest’ days of Dec-Feb.
- DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES: The lagoon is quite small and surrounded by a reef. There are also few small spots with some stones and/or reef. Ask the locals for the directions. The upside is that there are no hostile creatures in the water that can harm you.
- KITE COURSES SUITABILITY RATING (1-10): 10 – if you want to learn kitesurfing or hydrofoiling – this place is the best. There are several important reasons, the two main ones being: – wind coverage, and – wind quality.
- KITE SCHOOLS: there are approximately 6 kite schools in Las Terrenas. Neither of them have any solid infrastructure as it is forbidden to build anything on the beach. We reccommend KITE MECCA as it just has 5 star reviews on Google, uses walkie talkie connection and has the crew that speaks English fluently.
- WIFI ACCESSIBILITY: very poor – the only way to access internet on the beach is to use your Sim card data.
- PICTURESQUE: Dude, it’s paradise!
- SURF VIBE RATING: 5.5 – it’s low but it’s rising! Las Terrenas is a famous center for a wealthy, retired Europeans. 5 years ago a 40 y.o. person was seen as a youngster here! Hopefully more and more young people are coming.I f you want to dance we recommend the ETNO Bar – great location, drinks and dj’s playing hits on weekends. If you look for some latino dances then very close to Etno is Babylon. For some really local vibes, look for Disco El Pueblo 🙂 located next to the gas station.
- ACCOMMODATION: although Las Terrenas is full of hotels, exclusive villas, apartments and every type of accommodation you can dream of – close to El Portillo’s kite spot there is not much to choose from. That’s why most kitesurfers stay in the Punta Poppy area.
- COSTS OF LIVING: prices in DR have soared over the past few years DR is not a cheap destination anymore and Las Terrenas is one of the most expensive locations. Accommodation prices start from about 80-100 USD per night for a double room. A meal in a restaurant (drinks not included) starts at 10USD. Beer at the grocery store costs 3USD. You’ll pay 7-8USD for a mojito in the clubhouse.
- NO WIND ACTIVITIES: the Samana Peninsula is full of natural gems. Basically, it is a place where you can visit amazing beaches, wander in tropical jungle, get wet under a waterfall. One of the biggest attractions is whale watching. Every year, from January to March, giant humpback whales come to give birth to Samana Bay. It is a must do experience.