Highlights from This Year’s Dominican Republic Golf Travel Exchange
The DR Golf Travel Exchange 2019 was held from September 15-19 at Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Worldwide Golf Adventures was pleased to be invited to this exclusive gathering of golf travel operators and tourism professionals from around the world to explore what the Dominican Republic has to offer for golf travelers. Here are some of our highlights from the trip.
Winning the Day at Hard Rock Golf Club
The first day of the golf tournament was Tuesday, September 17 at the Hard Rock Golf Club in Cana Bay. WGA founder Ravi Coutinho played against about 40 other men in the A fligh at this enjoyable and scenic resort course for individuals of all skill levels. We also learned that guests who stay at the resort get a daily round of golf included in their stay, which makes the Hard Rock Golf Club a good choice for a week on the island. At the end of the first day, we were all proud to learn Ravi was first on the leaderboard!
Playing Beautiful Punta Espada Golf Course
The second round of the tournament was played at beautiful Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana. The players were treated to one of the most spectacular seaside golf courses in the world, with stunning views of the Caribbean from almost every hole. Most of the players agreed that playing so close to the sea was the highlight of the trip for them. Ravi had high expectations for the course going in, and playing there exceeded every one of them. To quote him: “It practically felt like you were playing in the sea rather than next to it!” And Ravi didn’t disappoint us, either — he won second place in the two-day tournament and brought home a trophy!
Day Trip to Ojos Indígenas Ecological Park
Part of the trip included excursions to different places around the island, including a half-day trip to Ojos Indígenas Ecological Park. Just half an hour from the Secrets resort, this 1,500-acre private reserve includes a series of natural freshwater lagoons formed from an underground river that runs through the island’s natural porous layer of volcanic rock below the surface. A quick hike through dense forest leads visitors on a loop to the largest of the lagoons, many of which are available for a refreshing dip. Compared to the beach, the water is cold and the scenery is shady, which was a very different feeling from the sunny resort stay.
Dinner at TRS Cap Cana
After a site tour of the all-inclusive boutique hotel TRS Cap Cana, the group was treated to a dinner at the resort’s beach club restaurant, Helios. While the hotel itself was a treat for the eyes with completely modern architecture and water features, the food at Helios took the evening a step further. Every course was perfectly prepared and better than the last — high praise from a group that had been spoiled by delicious food everywhere they went all week! Some of the members of our group even ordered a second round of the entree pasta dish for their dessert course. The meal was finished with a rousing round of Mamajuana, the Dominican Republic’s national cordial made from honey, wine, rum, and a secret blend of local spices.
Staying at Secrets Resort and Spa
The group toured several beautiful resorts and hotels during the week, but were happy to come home every evening to the Secrets Resort and Spa. The natural beauty of the white sandy beach, palm trees, and sunshine were the icing on a cake of excellent service, great food and drink, and upscale accommodations. The group joked that more networking took place at the swim up bar in the pool than at any other point during the conference.
Dancing and Fun at Coco Bongo Club
Most everyone in the group was completely exhausted after a long week of golf, hotel inspections, and meeting new people with great travel ideas. But the organizers had one last trip for everyone to take: a late-night excursion to the Coco Bongo Show & Disco in downtown Punta Cana on Thursday night. The awards dinner didn’t finish until well after 10pm, and a 20-minute bus ride sounded exhausting for most attendees. But everyone who went was delightfully surprised, and even stayed until 2am. This imposing building decorated by pop characters from the 1990s may look silly or outdated, but inside, the music, dancing, and show were all entertaining in a way that is simply impossible to describe. You just have to go and see it yourself!
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Dominican Republic and are excited to have some new ideas for our clients in the coming months. Thank you to the team at DRGolf Travel Exchange 2019 and all of the sponsors for showing us a wonderful time and solidifying our view that the DR is truly the Caribbean’s best golf destination!