The Dominican Republic is an amazing country, famous for its ancient cities and picturesque nature, endless beaches, gentle sea and amazing cuisine. The state has a rich history and interesting culture, and Indian traditions are closely intertwined with European ones. Rest here will seem like a real fairy tale, which is impossible to forget.
Where is the Dominican Republic located?
The state is located in the eastern part of the island of Haiti. The area of the Dominican Republic is 48730 sq. km, in the south it is washed by the Caribbean Sea, which attracts tourists so much, and in the north by the Atlantic Ocean. The country belongs to the archipelago of the Greater Antilles.
The capital of the Dominican Republic is the city of Santo Domingo, which is considered the largest. Geographically, the country includes several islands, the largest of which are Saona, Catalina, Cayo Levantado and Beata.
Climate of the Dominican Republic
The country has a maritime trade wind climate, with an average air temperature of +26 ° C and a humidity of about 80%. Answering the question about when the season for a beach holiday is in the Dominican Republic, it should be said that it is better to come here for the New Year or from December to April. At this time, there is no sweltering heat and hurricanes, typical for the summer months, when tropical cyclones pass near the coast.
This usually happens from July to September: strong winds cause a storm in the sea, there are showers and pressure drops occur. In general, the rainy season in the Dominican Republic lasts from May to October, but precipitation may not fall every day. August is considered the hottest month, at this time the air temperature is +31 °C, and the water warms up to +29 °C. In January, the mercury column can drop to +22 °C on the coast, and up to +5 °C in the mountains.
In the Dominican Republic, there is the highest point in the West Indies, which is called Peak Duarte and reaches 3087 m above sea level. The country is dominated by a mountainous relief, composed of crystalline rocks. Between the ridges are fertile valleys where most of the locals live. The main rivers of the state also flow here, for example, Yuna, Camu and Yaque del Norte, and there is also a large lake Enriquillo, where crocodiles live.
Form of government
The Dominican Republic is a unitary country headed by the president. He is endowed with extensive powers and is the supreme commander in chief. Legislative power here belongs to the National Congress, which includes the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. «Servants of the people» are elected by popular vote for a term of 6 years. The national flag of the Dominican Republic was adopted in 1863. In the middle is the coat of arms of the country, and the canvas itself is painted in 3 colors, which mean:
- red — independence and blood;
- white — salvation and faith;
- blue — freedom.
The emblem of the Dominican Republic was adopted in 1844, but acquired its modern look after 52 years. It is a shield decorated with religious symbols (the Bible and a cross) that are framed by national flags and spears. They symbolize freedom from colonial slavery and commemorate the victories of indigenous people over invaders. The emblem is surrounded by palm and laurel branches, linked in blue and red colors and representing peace and glory.
Where is the best place to relax in the Dominican Republic?
Tourists come to the country to get acquainted with the local culture, as well as relax on the white sandy beaches. The best resorts in the Dominican Republic are:
These are popular places, on the territory of which there are many bars, restaurants, hotels and entertainment centers. Young people from all over the world come here.
If you are dreaming of a quieter and more relaxing holiday on one of the country’s beaches, then pay attention to Dominican cities such as Sosua and Las Galeras, Saona Island and Samana Province. There are heavenly places for diving and surfing, and small cozy coves will be an ideal place for snorkeling.
Population and religion
Currently, 10,993,469 people live in the Dominican Republic, this figure is constantly increasing due to immigrants and a high birth rate. More than 90% of the population can read and write. According to the ethnic composition, the indigenous people are divided into mulattoes (73%), whites (16%) and dark-skinned (11%). The latter, as a rule, come to the country from Haiti, are discriminated against and often cause social tension.
Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic and is spoken by most of the population. Also, many of them speak English and Creole. Approximately 95% of the indigenous people profess Catholicism, some people are Jews and Protestants, and the rest are fans of local animistic cults.
Sights of the Dominican Republic
Before choosing where to go on vacation, travelers are wondering where is better, in Cuba or in the Dominican Republic, what can be seen here and what excursions to go on. In general, the main attraction of the country is its nature. Tropical jungles, palm groves and mangrove forests grow here. The fauna is represented by a variety of birds, reptiles and insects. The coastal waters are home to exotic fish, shellfish and mammals such as manatees and dolphins.
Many tourists come here to organize a wedding, and in the Dominican Republic you will be offered to do water activities: diving, surfing or fishing. There are modern schools in which you will be taught, and then taken to the most interesting places, while giving you the necessary equipment. In the vicinity of the country there are coral reefs and sunken ships.
Tourism in the Dominican Republic is developing strongly, here you can be taken to the whales or to the City of Artists, an entertainment center or to the impenetrable jungle. The most interesting sights in the country are:
- Osama Fortress — the oldest fort in Latin America, built in a typical medieval style;
- 27 waterfalls are an ideal place for outdoor activities in the Dominican Republic, where you can take fascinating photos;
- Armando Bermudez is a national park, on the territory of which there are rivers and gorges, valleys and lawns where tropical plants grow and outlandish birds live;
- Natural Eyes — an eco-park famous for giant flowers of various colors;
- Los Aitises — a reserve where you can see caves with rock paintings, cotton and mangrove forests;
- Manati Park — an entertainment complex that has a zoo, a dolphinarium and a picturesque garden;
- The Cathedral of Santo Domingo is the oldest temple in America, protected by the World Organization of UNESCO.
Dominican Republic Hotels
All hotels in the country have a star rating, which corresponds to the number of services provided. Most hotels operate on an all-inclusive basis, providing 3 meals a day, and drinks and snacks can be taken throughout the day. The proximity of the sea has a great influence on establishments.
The best hotels in the Dominican Republic are rated at 5 *, where guests can use spas, massage rooms, wellness centers and infinity pools. If you want to stay in an expensive hotel, then choose Sanctuary Cap Cana, Mauad Hotel Boutique or Catalonia Royal Bavaro.
Those who are planning a budget vacation should pay attention to two- and three-star hotels. On their territories there are sunbathing terraces and swimming pools, luggage storage and equipment rentals. The most popular hotels among travelers are The Hummingbird Cabarete, La Punta Apartamentos and La Dolce Vita Residence.
Cuisine and restaurants
Food in the Dominican Republic is unusual and delicious. The local cuisine is based on a mixture of African, European and local recipes. Beans, bananas, seafood and vegetables are very popular here. If you want to try national dishes, then choose the most original and at the same time delicious:
- puerco en puya — fried pork;
- asopao — thick soup;
- bandera — cold cuts.
Of the drinks in the Dominican Republic, rum (Bermudez, Barcelo or Brugal) and beer (Quisqueia, Bohemia and Senise) are popular. There are a large number of cafes and restaurants in the country; dinner in them will cost you about $30. Among catering establishments, Las Palmas (in Bayahibe), Blu Pool Bar (in Santo Domingo), Boca Marina (in Boca Chica) received high ratings from tourists.
What can be brought from the Dominican Republic?
For those tourists who love shopping, the Dominican Republic has various boutiques that sell quality items at affordable prices, and souvenir shops. Here you can buy coffee, rum and cigars, as well as ceramics, wood and leather products made by local craftsmen.
Shops are open from 09:00 to 19:30 on weekdays, large supermarkets can be open from 08:00 to 22:00, on Sunday they close at 14:00. Private shops, as a rule, sell goods «to the last customer.» Bargaining in the Dominican Republic is necessary everywhere, except for supermarkets, sometimes you can bring down the price by 50%.
It is best to exchange money at special points and banks that are open from 08:30 to 18:00, as well as at a hotel and airport, but the exchange rate here is unfavorable. The official currency in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP), which is divided into 100 centavos.
The main dangers of the Dominican Republic include the insidious sun, tap water, some marine life, predators and snakes. To protect yourself from all this, you must follow basic rules, for example, do not go into the jungle on your own, use products with a high SPF level, and drink only from bottles.
Medicine in the country is paid, so take care of insurance in advance. Theft and fraud are common in the Dominican Republic. Here you need to carefully monitor things, fasten 2-wheeled vehicles, and it is better to keep money in safes.
It is most convenient to move around the country on comfortable buses, which belong to transport companies such as Metro Bus and Caribe Tours. There are also less comfortable «guaguas», but they are often crowded, and you have to ride on the steps. You can move around the city on carro publicos and moto-concho motorcycles.
If you do not want to depend on public transport and want to explore all corners of the Dominican Republic, then rent a car. At the same time, you should be prepared for the fact that local residents do not follow the rules of the road. In order to rent a car, you will need a driver’s license, insurance and a passport.
Do I need a visa for the Dominican Republic?
If you plan to stay in the country for no more than 30 days, then you will not need a visa. At the Dominican airport, you will need to pay $10 for a tourist card. Here you can import:
- 1 liter of strong alcoholic drinks;
- 500 g coffee;
- 25 cigars or 200 cigarettes.
Weapons, drugs, pornographic materials, products of garden, agricultural and animal origin will not pass at customs. There are restrictions on the import of medicines and large amounts of foreign currency. It is forbidden to export milk, meat, some types of orchids and things of historical value from the country.
The largest mobile operators are Claro and Orange, and you can buy SIM cards at official points of sale. For this you will need a passport. It is also convenient to call home from automatic machines and through applications on phones, Internet connection is very well developed here. Wi-Fi is available in all hotels in the country.
How to get to the Dominican Republic?
There are several international airports on the territory of the state. You can get here from Russia and Ukraine only with transfers in Paris, Madrid or Istanbul. During the season, direct flights can be operated from Moscow.