As one of countries starting with D, the Dominican Republic is found in the eastern part of the Caribbean on the island of Hispaniola which it shares with Haiti. The capital of the country is the city of Santa Domingo which is also the capital of the country. The history of the Dominican Republic begins in 1844, but the history of the island begins long before our era. The first inhabitants of the island were the Cinoney Indians, later the Taíno Indians also settled on the island. The island was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, who gave it the name La Isla de Espanola which would later evolve into Hispaniola. Due to the diseases that the Europeans brought with them, all the original inhabitants of the island became extinct, so that the Spaniards were obliged to bring slaves to the islands to work on the plantations. In the centuries that followed, the city of Santa Domingo grew into one of the most important trading posts in this part of the Caribbean. Meanwhile, the French tried to gain control of Hispaniola through the western part of the island. However, a slave revolt at the end of the eighteenth century caused this part of the island to secede and the country of Haiti was created. The eastern part of the island remained in Spanish hands until 1844, but after several revolts and wars, it finally became independent. The first years of independence were accompanied by a lot of violence, the threat of annexation and a renewed connection with Spain, but in the end they managed to stand on their own two feet.
Today, the Dominican Republic is a popular holiday destination. The resorts in Punta Cana in particular are a popular holiday destination. Unfortunately, many places outside of these resorts are not completely safe as a tourist. There are quite a lot of robberies committed against tourists and there is quite a lot of corruption in the country. Fortunately, you will hardly notice this at the hotel resort and on the organized group tours on the island.
The best-known sights of the Dominican Republic usually have a natural origin. The exceptions to this is of course the capital Santa Domingo, which can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The main attractions in this city are Faro a Colón, La Fortaleza Ozama, the Palace of Diego Colombus, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo and the Puerta del Conde. Other places worth visiting in the Dominican Republic include Las Galeras, La Romana, and the historic downtown area of Puerto Plata.
One of the most beautiful natural sights in the country is the Damajaqua Cascades. These beautiful waterfalls, 27 in total, can be found near Puerto Plata. If you are going to visit the waterfalls, always do so under the supervision of a guide. One of the most beautiful national parks in the country is Parque Nacional del Este. A great diversity of flora and fauna can be found in this park. There are, among other things, manatees, dolphins and sea turtles in the park. One of the best excursions you can do from the Dominican Republic is whale watching. This can be done in winter and spring.
The most popular place on the island for tourists is Punta Cana. The tourists who come to this part of the island are mainly there to enjoy a sun, sea and beach holiday. This part of The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful beaches covered with palm trees. Other sights that you should not miss are Hoyo Azul, lago Enriquillo, Basilica de Nuestra Senora, The Cibao Valley, the caves of Cueva de las Maravillas and the Parc La Isabella.
There is only one inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in The Dominican Republic. This is the colonial city of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Within the old colonial center of Santa Domingo are several beautiful structures that are worth visiting. Think of the Palace of Diego Columbus, the La Fortaleza Ozama and the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. This cathedral was built in the early sixteenth century, making it the oldest in the “New World”.
The vast majority of the Dominican Republic has a tropical Savannah climate, only the northeastern part of the country has a tropical rainforest climate. The average rainfall in this part of the country is higher than in the rest of the Dominican Republic. The average daytime temperature is around thirty degrees Celsius throughout the year. Of course, this does not apply to the higher parts of the country. The average daytime temperature here is considerably lower. At the highest point in the country Pico Duarte you even have a chance of frost. This is the only place in the Caribbean where it can freeze.
The rainy season in the Dominican Republic runs from mid-April to mid-November. During these months you have a high chance of prolonged precipitation and tropical storms and hurricanes. The northwestern part of the island is generally a lot wetter than the other parts. Due to the large amount of precipitation that falls during the year in the Dominican Republic, there is high humidity throughout the year. The solar power in the Dominican Republic is quite high, so it is wise to always use a sunscreen with a high factor when you go out in the sun.
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola that it shares with Haiti. In addition to the large island, there are three smaller islands that belong to the Dominican Republic. These are; Saona, Isla Catalina and Isla Beata. The Dominican Republic borders the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the south, Haiti to the west and the island of Puerto Rico to the east. The stretch of sea between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico is known as the Mona Passage. More than ten million people live in the Dominican Republic, of which about a third live in the capital Santa Domingo. Other larger towns in the country are Santiago de los Caballeros, La Romana, Los Alcarrizos, San Cristóbal and Bonao.
The landscape of the Dominican Republic is dominated by the five ridges that run across the island. These five are Cordillera Septentrional, the Cordillera Central, the Cordillera Oriental, the Sierra Neiba and the Sierra de Bahoruco. The largest and most important massif is the Cordillera Central, in this part you will find the highest mountains in the country. The highest is the Pico Duarte with 3175 meters. The valleys between these mountain ridges consist of fertile soil where quite a few rivers and lakes can be found. The largest lake on the island is Lake Enriquillo. This immense salt lake was created by the silting up of a headland. The country’s largest and most important river is the 300-kilometer-long Rio Yague del Norte.
The travel advice for Brazil has been on “be vigilant” for some time now. This is mainly due to the crime, corruption and violence that occurs in the country. As a tourist you are safe at the holiday parks. Outside the parks, the robberies on tourists are still increasing and tourists are therefore advised not to go outside the parks alone. So be vigilant when visiting the more remote tourist sites and on the roads between the major cities. You should also be extra vigilant when traveling to and from the airport in the dark. The chance of being mugged is greater than at other times of the day. There is a lively drug smuggling in the Dominican Republic, as a tourist you can be asked to smuggle drugs for quite a bit of money. Don’t go into this.
Tropical storms and hurricanes can strike the Dominican Republic from June through October. If you are in the country during this period, keep a close eye on the news and be well informed about the current situation.
All travelers to the Dominican Republic must be in possession of a valid passport that is still valid for at least six months on the date of departure from the country and contain at least 1 blank visa page. You do not need a visa to visit the Dominican Republic, but you do need to be in possession of a tourist card. This card is normally provided by the tour company. However, if you want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, you must apply for a visa at the embassy of the Dominican Republic in the Netherlands. This applies to all travelers, including children under the age of twelve.
In addition, it is wise to take a digital copy of your passport with you in case something happens to your passport.
|Capital city||holy sunday|
|Phone (country code)||1809|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||Spanish and in the border area with Haiti, Haitian Creole|
|Time difference summer||In the Dominican Republic it is 6 hours earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||In the Dominican Republic it is 5 hours earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||nee|