Cabarete, Dominican Republic is a little island town that is decidedly different than some of the trendy island towns gracing the glossy covers of travel magazines. We haven’t been taken over by brand name resorts, chain restaurants, or fancy indoor shopping malls. Most everyone here is into watersports and living simply, so packing for a vacation to Cabarete should follow suit. We know, we know, it can be tempting to stuff every tropical print Macy’s ever created into your luggage, making it a heaving disaster! Over-packers, have no fear because Villa Taina is here to snap you out of it by telling you what NOT to pack for your trip to Cabarete. This short, yet precise guide was written specifically for the señoritas who need someone to tell them, “LEAVE THAT AT HOME!”
Rule 1: Leave your shiny jewelry in your jewelry box!
This isn’t Las Vegas so you won’t be needing your Rolex, that jingly stack of gold bangles, or those diamond earrings that grandma gave you. To be blunt, there is no good reason to stick out like a sore thumb where the monthly minimum wage is about $170 USD. You won’t impress anyone and at best you will draw extra attention from the various beach vendors looking to make a big sale. If you insist on accessorizing, think twine, beads, and shells. Cabarete artisans Coco Beads Cabarete and O’Sweet Handcrafted Bracelets are good examples of what is considered low key, yet pretty.
Rule 2: Leave your flat iron under your bathroom sink!
For the love of salty hair, don’t bother packing any of your bulky hair appliances. This goes for blow driers, curling irons, and flat irons alike! Surely they will just end up keeping your suitcase company under the bed during your stay in Cabarete anyways. Aside from the inherent humidity that goes along with being so close to the sea, there is the sea itself. 95%* of people will spend 75%* of their time in the water while they are here, so you do the math. In the end, it’s better to just go with the flow by finger combing your hair, with some salt water as styling product, and a brisk moto ride for a hair dryer—a.k.a. Cabarete Blow Out, which is sort of like a Brazilian Blow Out, only better.
*Statistics are only a guestimate and have not been verified by any reputable source.
Rule 3: Leave your heels in your bedroom closet!
If there is one rule of packing for Cabarete that we cannot stress enough, it is to leave your high heels at home! Heels are great for going out in the city, and they probably make your spray-tanned legs look fantastic, but unless you are hoping for a broken ankle, do NOT wear heels while going out in Cabarete! The roads are very uneven, with fragmented cobblestone and potholes, which is an injury waiting to happen if you are teetering around town in your most stunning stilettos. Most of the clubs are on the beach, and there is nothing sexy about a chica struggling through the sand in a pair of 6-inch heels, clutching on to her best friend’s arm for support. We recommend strappy sandals at most, and better yet chancletas (flip flops) that you can easily kick off in case of a random Bachata lesson in the sand.
Rule 4: Leave your face in your makeup case!
You won’t be running into any paparazzi from TMZ here, so you don’t need to look like one of the Kardashian sisters during your vacation in Cabarete. There isn’t a lot of need for goopy foundation, blush and bronzer, or 30 shades of eye shadows. Your sun kissed cheeks and a swipe of waterproof mascara will be just fine. This leaves room for sunscreen and moisturizer, which is way more important than contour brushes and lip liner.
Rule 5: Leave your city shorts at the dry cleaners!
City Shorts (a.k.a Tailored Shorts): the all-encompassing term for shorts that should never be worn at the beach. City shorts are pretty much slacks that got chopped off at the knee. They look absolutely ridiculous in the tropics and signal to everyone that a tourist is among us! When not in a bathing suit, the obvious wardrobe of choice, Cabarete girls aren’t shy when it comes to flaunting their assets in weather appropriate clothing. So, feel free to bust out some colorful short shorts or a strappy summer dress in lieu of granny’s khaki clam diggers. This is the beach after all, so loosen up a little bit!
If you have any suggestions on what not to pack for Cabarete leave them in the comments below. Stay tuned for a future article where we will break down the rules for the dudes.