The Caribbean’s second-biggest country (behind only Cuba) may also be its most diverse. The Dominican Republic’s beaches are the headliners, but centuries of history, magnificent mountain ranges, vivid riverways and national parks, one-of-a-kind culture, cuisine and local products, all combine to provide a tropical island destination that goes well beyond the sunny coasts.
You can do more than defrost on the island’s famous beaches this winter. On your next trip to the eastern half of the Caribbean’s second-largest island, get off your lounge chair and get involved in the Dominican Republic’s most famous sporting activities.
Golf like the Greats
It’s the most celebrated golfing destination in the Caribbean. Voted “Golf Destination of the Year for Latin America and the Caribbean” in 2019 for the fourth time by the Global Golf Tourism Organization, the Dominican Republic’s courses are legend. Avid golfers can book tee times at lush seaside and inland greens designed by the most acclaimed golf course architects, including Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Nick Price, and Greg Norman. From La Romana to Punta Cana, Juan Dolio, and Puerto Plata, the country boasts 86 sea-facing holes and 39 ocean-side, where the course design and ocean breezes provide challenge as well as the breathtaking views. Golf pros regularly flock to the country for working holidays and tournaments including the Dominican Republic PGA Tour. You can get a taste of that high-flying golf lifestyle at any of the DR’s dozens of top-tier golf courses.
Gone Fishin’ in the Caribbean
Dominican Republic is a fisherman’s paradise. Surrounded on three sides by rich waters, the island’s local fishermen have a long history of bringing home the day’s catch. You can do that, too.
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back fishing getaway or a high-energy, man v fish challenge on the high seas, you can give your fishing tackle a workout in the Dominican Republic. Visit one of the local sports fishing centers or work with an expert guide who can bring you to the shore’s most abundant waters, where you’ll be certain to reel in a brag-worthy catch. Push your Dominican Republic holiday into May, and you can join other anglers for the Torneo de Pesca fishing tournament. The high profile annual event showcases Bayahibe’s best catches and its unique and colorful fishing atmosphere. Further east along the southern coast, the Casa de Campo International Blue Marlin Classic Tournament in La Romana in April brings visitors to one of the country’s hottest spots for the majestic blue marlin. The pleasure you’ll get from this exciting fishing event is enhanced by the stunning surroundings. Casa de Campo was designed by an Italian architect, and mimics the old seaside villages of the Mediterranean. The Casa de Campo Marina is one of the region’s most prestigious, and accommodates up to 350 yachts. You’ll want to do some interesting people watching after you return with your day’s catch.
Dominican Republic’s National Pastime
Baseball may be America’s game, but it has deep roots in Dominican culture and history.
Known lovingly as “pelota” in Dominican Republic, is the country’s undisputed favorite sport, the game you’ll see played in every tiny neighborhood park, and the source of dreams for countless young players. The Dominican Republic punches above its weight in producing international baseball stars. Many of the world’s most legendary players hail from the country, including Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martínez, David Ortiz, Robinson Canó, José Reyes, Juan Marichal and Bartolo Colón, among many others. There aren’t many opportunities for visitors to the country to play, but lots to enjoy baseball from the stands. Attending a “juego de pelota” is more than just watching a game—it’s also a ticket to a live party, and an opportunity to share with locals a celebration of one of the country’s greatest passions. The Dominican Republic’s baseball season runs from mid-October through late January. Game schedules can be found at the Dominican Baseball League’s official website. Six teams compete at stadiums around the country, and for baseball lovers, the experience is not to be missed. Whether your picture-perfect getaway involves the challenge of an oceanside golf course, a day at the baseball field or an open water adventure in pursuit of your next great catch, Dominican Republic delivers memories that last a lifetime – as well as the opportunity to recharge and refresh pool- and beachside.
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Photos: Dominican Republic Tourism
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