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Explore the Dominican Republic

Explore The Dominican Republic, a Caribbean country that occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The western one-third of Hispaniola is occupied by the country of Haiti. To the north lies the North Atlantic Ocean, while the Caribbean Sea lies to the south.

As part of the Caribbean the Dominican Republic has the North Atlantic Ocean lying to its north and the Caribbean Sea to its south. It’s situated on the island of Hispaniola and occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island while Haiti occupies the western third.

After attaining independence in 1844 the Dominican Republic endured many years of a largely non-representative rule until Joaquin Balaguer became president in 1966 holding office until 1996. Today regular elections are held and the Dominican Republic now has an impressive and fast growing economy with tourism playing a major role.

For the adventure tourist this Caribbean country offers a diverse countryside comprising tropical rainforests, arid desert expanses, alpine ranges and steamy mangrove swamps. It’s a playground for trekkers, mountain bike enthusiasts and water-sport junkies.

The northern and eastern coasts are dotted with many luxurious resorts however the Dominican Republic has much more to offer than this. There is the wonderful Caribbean music and dance, exotic foods and drink, popular local baseball games, and the remarkable colonial architecture found in the capital Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial. There are also sugar plantations, small quaint villages and wonderful mountain retreats to explore and enjoy in Jarabacoa and Constanza. If you’re looking for a hassle free holiday that’s big on relaxation then the Dominican Republic is the place to be!

Explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage on December 5th, 1492, the island of Quisqueya, named by Columbus as La Hispaniola, became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland.

The island was first inhabited by the Taínos, an Arawakan-speaking people who had arrived around 10,000 BC.

Its climate is tropical maritime with little seasonal temperature variation. There is a seasonal variation in rainfall. The island lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and is subject to severe storms from June to October. It experiences occasional flooding and periodic droughts.

National parks

  • Los Haitises National Park
  • Jaragua National Park
  • Armando Bermudez National Park
  • Parque Nacional del Este
  • Jose Del Carmen Ramirez National Park
  • National Park Isla Cabritos
  • Sierra del Bahoruco National Park
  • Monte Cristi National Park
  • Parque Historico La romana

Best to attractions in the Dominican Republic

  • beach in Punta Cana
  • Santo Domingo – Capital.
  • Punta Cana
  • Higüey
  • San Pedro de Macorís
  • Juan Dolio
  • Puerto Plata
  • La Vega
  • Paraíso
  • Santa Bárbara de Samaná
  • Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Sosúa
  • Río San Juan
  • La Romana
  • Bayahibe
  • Bonao– secluded village
  • Cabarete
  • Dominicus
  • Jarabacoa
  • Las Terrenas
  • Constanza
  • Las Galeras
  • Miches
  • Bahia de las Aguilas
  • Playa Bonita
  • Best secluded Dominican Republic beaches

The main airports are:

  • Samana, also known as “El Catey”, located between the towns of Nagua and Samana on the north coast.
  • Samana, also known as “Aeropuerto Internacional Arroyo Barril” between Sanchez and Samaná
  • “La Isabela” airport in Santo Domingo, mainly for domestic flights but also receives some flights from other Caribbean islands
  • La Romana on the southeast coast
  • Puerto Plata, also known as “Gregorio Luperon” on the north coast
  • Punta Cana International Airport in the east, the busiest in the country
  • Santo Domingo, also known as “Las Americas” on the south coast close to the capital city Santo Domingo
  • Santiago also known as “Cibao International” in Santiago de los Caballeros (the country’s 2nd largest city).
  • Constanza, a domestic airport to all Dominican destinations.
  • Barahona, also known as “Aeropuerto Internacional María Montez” this airport was reopened during the earthquake in Haiti, in order to bring the primary aid to the Haitians.
  • Cabo Rojo, Pedernales, only for domestic use, located near Cabo Rojo port facility.

The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. You will find some Spanish-English bilingual locals, especially in Santo Domingo and tourist areas.

What to see. Best top attractions in the Dominican Republic

 

  • Kayak Limón. Kayak Ecotourism Project.
  • Every weekend in February a lot of Dominican cities are going to celebrate carnival. You’ll have street parades and huge parties on the streets, with a lot of food stalls and alcohol selling stalls. The biggest celebrations are held in Santo Domingo, Santiago, la Vega. Smaller cities are celebrating carnival as well. Don’t go to carnival celebrations in punta cana, as they’re only organized for tourists. Rather go to local celebrations in Santiago or Santo Domingo.

One of the best spots in the Colonial District of Santo Domingo to shop is the several blocks long outdoor mall, El Conde Street. It offers everything from street vendors (it is not recommended to eat off these) to knock-off name brand clothing for extremely inexpensive prices. There are some very pleasant outdoor restaurants that serve as perfect spots to people watch and drink Presidente (their most popular beer).

During the day, there are also several touristy shops where you can buy cheap presents for the family back home including authentic paintings and beautiful jewelry. There is also a very nice cigar shop at the end of the mall across from the cathedral. Clothes, however, are generally very economical and often of good quality. Most prices can be negotiated. US dollars are accepted in most areas.

You can also buy things at local shops. All the major cities have streets packed with different shops, shopping malls or huge shops where you can buy all kind of things for a few pesos.

Food in the Dominican Republic is typical Caribbean fare, with lots of tropical fruits, rice, beans, and seafood. Fruit vendors are also very present. They don’t just sell whole fruits; they also cut and prepare them, so that you can eat them right away.

Try the local drinks

  • Beer: Presidente, Brahma, Bohemia
  • Rum: Brugal, Barcelo, Bermudez, Macorix, Siboney, Punta Cana.
  • Mama Juana: a mixture of bark and herbs left to soak in rum, red wine and honey.

Additionally, other imported drinks are available for purchase—at least in the towns and cities—they might not be as readily available out in the countryside.

Avoid drinking local tap water and only drink bottled water or other beverages. It is important for visitors to stay hydrated in the hot, humid climate.

Sunburn and sun poisoning are a great risk. The sun is very bright here. Use at least SPF30 sunblock. Limit sun exposure.

Dominicans are kind and peaceful people. Attempts at speaking Spanish are a good sign of respect for the local people. Be polite, show respect, and do your best to speak the language and you will be treated with kindness when you explore the Dominican Republic.

Unesco World Heritage List

Official tourism websites of the Dominican Republic

For more information please visit the official government website: 

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