Tucked away on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic is the secluded yet easily accessible resort destination known as Casa de Campo. It’s a 7,000-acre resort, hotel and residential community in La Romana that’s also home to Marina Casa de Campo, a full-service marina facility with 370 slips that sits on the edge of the Chavón River. With dockage for vessels to 250 feet, Marina Casa de Campo is the epicenter for sport fishing in the region and has quickly become a favorite destination for blue marlin enthusiasts.
Just how good is the fishing? In 2016, the team on Fa-La-Me won the Marina Casa de Campo Cup with 41 blue marlin releases in 18 fishing days. The month-long event, spanning from March 15 to April 15 each year, resulted in 10 teams releasing 157 blue marlin.
Capt. Tim Richardson, who spends the fishing season there chartering Chaser, a 48-foot G&S, says most of the action revolves around fishing the fish-aggregating devices which are deployed by the locals. “We usually run an hour or less, with most of the FADs being anywhere from 16 to 30 miles away,” he says. “We’ll leave about 7 in the morning and get back around 6:30 in the afternoon, so you get a full day on the water.” While he normally fishes a standard spread of dredges, squid chains and 30-pound-test outfits, Richardson will also readily target blues on light tackle or fly for his clients.
And while 90 percent of the fish released are blue marlin, there are also a few whites and sailfish around, along with some jumbo mahimahi. A daytime deep-drop fishery for swordfish is coming online as well.
“It’s a very easy place to fish,” he says. “The resort itself is very safe and has great security. You get around by golf cart, so it’s perfect for the kids. The staff is very polite and English-speaking, and there’s no need to change currency or get a visa coming from the U.S. You can fly in, fish and head back home, or you can stay for a longer visit, fish, play golf, sightsee and hit the beaches. It’s a terrific vacation destination.”
The fishing season generally runs from February through May, with the peak of the season from March through early May. Boats usually average two to four blue marlin releases, although banner days can see teams releasing as many as eight to ten blues in a day.
While the Dominican Republic has a reputation as being a rough-water fishery, Richardson says that it’s usually not too bad, and it’s rare to be blown out completely. He says the run to the FADs is in the trough of the predominant swell direction, or you can run to the east and fish downsea if it’s really sporty.
There are three main airports accessing Casa de Campo. The closest is La Romana International Airport, just 10 minutes from the resort. Punta Cana and Santo Domingo also have international airports and each is less than an hours’ freeway drive. La Romana also has the closest private aviation facility. For those arriving by sea, the staff at Marina Casa de Campo can assist with customs and immigration (all forms can be downloaded in advance from the marina’s comprehensive website).
With hotels and villas plus private condominiums all available, there’s no shortage of lodging options. Richardson includes the option of a condo with his charter operation: It’s hard to find a more convenient set-up, with the boat docked mere feet from the back patio. Wake up, drink coffee and go fishing.
Eating and Drinking
Casa de Campo is home to an incredibly wide range of options for dining. With everything accessible by golf cart, the choices are nearly limitless. Altos de Chavón is a replica of a 16th century Mediterranean village, complete with shops, art galleries, an archaeological museum and several fine-dining restaurants.
Casa de Campo is one the most sought-after golf resorts in the world and features three championship courses, including Pete Dye’s masterpiece, Teeth of the Dog, which is the top-ranked course in the Caribbean. Polo is also popular, as are the sporting clays and guided dove hunts for shotgun enthusiasts.
So whether you’re looking for a safe destination for the next family vacation or just a few days chasing blue marlin in the Caribbean, it’s tough to beat Casa de Campo. It’s one of those rare destinations that is easy to visit, yet hard to leave.