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Hitting the Beach

La Minitas, Casa de Campo's main beach and site of a series of bars and restaurants all its own, is a small but immaculate beach and lagoon that requires a 10-minute shuttle-bus ride from the resort's central core. Transportation is provided by bus, or you can rent an electric golf cart. A bit farther afield (a 30-min. bus ride, but only a 20-min. boat ride), Playa Bayahibe is a large, palm-fringed sandy crescent on a point jutting out from the shoreline. Finally, Playa Catalina is a fine beach on a deserted island, Isla Catalina, surrounded by turquoise waters; it's just 45 minutes away by motorboat, the only way to reach it. Unfortunately, many other visitors from Casa de Campo have learned of the glories of this latter retreat, so you're not likely to have the sands to yourself.

Sports & Other Outdoor Pursuits

Any of the hotels recommended offer easy and direct access to virtually any land- or water-based sport. Chances are high that if you're staying within any of them, especially any of the all-inclusives such as Casa de Campo or any of the resorts in Bayahibe, you'll arrange your sports through your hotel. But if you're not at one of the all-inclusives and want to get active, your best bet involves contacting Casa de Campo, since it's relatively relaxed about allowing nonresidents onto its premises for use of the beach and sporting equipment.

Call Casa de Campo's guest services staff at tel. 809/523-3333 for more information. Casa del Mar weighs in with a heavy array of outdoor activities ranging from horseback riding to banana boating. Call tel. 809/221-8880 for more details.

Fishing -- You can arrange freshwater river-fishing trips through Casa de Campo. Some of the biggest snook ever recorded have been caught around here. A 3-hour tour costs RD$3,500 per person, and includes tackle, bait, and soft drinks. A 4-hour deep-sea fishing trip costs from RD$24,780 per boat, with 8 hours going for RD$29,260 and up. Of course, you never know where the best fishing is from day to day -- it's a matter of luck. But the conditions are best between January and June, when anglers in waters 1 to 2 miles off the coast catch marlin and wahoo.

Golf -- Golf magazine declared Casa de Campo (tel. 809/523-3333, ext. 3187) "the finest golf resort in the world." The Teeth of the Dog course has been called "a thing of almighty beauty," and it is. The ruggedly natural terrain has 7 holes skirting the ocean. Opened in 1977, the Links is an inland course modeled after some of the seaside courses of Scotland. In the late 1990s, the resort added a third golf course to its repertoire, La Romana Country Club, which tends to be used almost exclusively by residents of the surrounding countryside rather than by guests of Casa de Campo.

The cost for 18 holes of golf is RD$4,725 at the Links and RD$5,950 at Teeth of the Dog or the La Romana Country Club. (Some golf privileges may be included in packages to Casa de Campo.) You can also buy a 3-day membership, which lets you play all courses for RD$14,700 per person (for Casa de Campo guests only). A 6-day membership costs RD$29,400. You can hire caddies for RD$875; electric golf-cart rentals cost RD$875 per person per round. Each course is open daily 7:30am to 5:30pm. Call far in advance to reserve a tee time if you're not staying at the resort.

Horseback Riding -- Riding is not particularly adventurous but consists of a tame and scenic ride that goes along the seashore. Trail rides at Casa de Campo or Casa del Mar cost RD$910 per person for a half-hour, RD$1,785 for 2 hours. The stables shelter 250 horses, although only about 40 of them are available for trail rides. For more information, call Casa del Campo at tel. 809/523-3333, ext. 5249, or Casa del Mar at tel. 809/221-8880.

Snorkeling -- Casa de Campo has one of the most complete watersports facilities in the Dominican Republic. You can charter a boat for snorkeling, through clear waters filled with rainbow-hued fish. The area off the coast of La Romana offers some of the island country's finest snorkeling. The resort maintains eight charter vessels, with a minimum of eight people. Full-day snorkeling trips to Isla Catalina cost RD$1,295 per snorkeler. Rental of fins and masks costs RD$385 per day; guests on all-inclusive plans use gear for free. Snorkeling is also included in the all-inclusive rates at Casa del Mar (tel. 809/221-8880).

Tennis -- Casa de Campo's 13 clay courts are available from 7am to 9pm (they're lit at night). Charges are RD$980 per court per hour during the day or RD$1,225 at night. Lessons are RD$2,415 per hour with a tennis pro, and RD$1,925 with an assistant pro. Call far in advance to reserve a court if you're not staying at the resort. The four courts at Casa del Mar (tel. 809/221-8880) are reserved for the resort's all-inclusive guests.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.