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Images courtesy of Eden Roc at Cap Cana.

Sun, sand and warm weather are great ingredients to melt away the winter blues, but a little extra-curricular activity tossed into a Caribbean vacation is always good for the soul.

The Dominican Republic (DR) has become a very popular getaway for Canadians who want to escape the wrath of winter and bone-chilling temperatures. The all-inclusive resorts, partnered with a number of airlines, make a March exit from the province a very affordable adventure. Toss in a day on the golf course or some relaxing time at a resort spa and memories of snow drifts quickly melt away.

For those seeking more luxury and elegance, there are resorts such as the five-star Eden Roc at Cap Cana boutique hotel and the adults-only Secrets Resort and Spa within the confines of Cap Cana, Punta Cana.

Cap Cana is a massive, luxury, gated, multi-use, resort destination featuring hotels, marina, golf, spa, beaches, private homes, rental accommodation, condos, etc. The privately developed property encompasses over 35,000 acres and is only a short drive from the Punta Cana International Airport.

A master piece by Jack Nicklaus

One of the stars of the Cap Cana destination is the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, Punta Espada, rated the top course in the Caribbean and Mexico by Golfweek Magazine. Eight holes at Punta Espada, a semi-private club, are laid out along the ocean where the surf pounds against the jagged coral coastline and from several of the other holes you can view the warm Caribbean as it breaks over distant shoals.

It’s an incredible setting for a magnificent golf course that is challenging, fun and impeccably maintained. But be assured this Par 72 layout will test your best game. It’s a course that certainly requires positional play to avoid long, waste bunkers and water and with the variety of tees, you can choose your distance. From the tips it is 7,396 yards and from the very front it plays 5,052 yards. In between, the gold’s play at 6,883 yards and the blue tees at 6,314 yards.

The course opened in 2006 and in its relatively brief history has played host to the PGA’s Champions Tour on three occasions plus hosts David Ortiz’s (Big Papi of Boston Red Sox fame and native Dominican) annual celebrity golf tournament.

This course is filled with highlights—its close proximity to the ocean; the stately palm trees that overlook fairways; large waste bunkers that become collection areas for stray golf balls; coral limestone outcroppings bordering some fairways; an island green surrounded by sand; the Par 3, 13th hole that brings the ocean into play and peaceful panoramic views interrupted by towering ocean spray. There is much more but a personal visit brings it all into perspective.


And for those wanting to include more fitness and some relaxation, both the Eden Roc and Secrets hotels cater to fitness and wellness-minded with well-appointed spas such as the Solaya Spa at Eden Roc and Spa by Pevonia at Secrets. In addition to the spa with its variety of treatments at Eden Roc, there is also a modern fitness centre and a menu offering organic meals.

These two resorts are on the upscale side of Dominican hospitality, but in the Punta Cana region there is a variety of excellent accommodation to suit a variety of budgets.

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