COUNTRY FACTS

Dominican Republic

 

dominican-republic-flagQuick Facts

  • Continental region – Country in the Caribbean
  • Currency symbol of Dominican Republic Dominican Peso (DOP)
  • Capital City –Santo Domingo
  • Official languages –Spanish
  • Population – 10.63 million (2018) World Bank
  • Country dialling code  –  (+1 )
  • Official website Dominican Republic
  • Top 3 biggest industries  –Tourism; Sugar Processing; Ferronickel and Gold Mining
  • Google Maps link –Dominican Republic
  • Where is it? –The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It’s known for its beaches, resorts and golfing.

Dominican Republic In Pictures

Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor

Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor

Columbus Tomb at Columbus Lighthouse

Columbus Tomb at Columbus Lighthouse

Gran arena del cibao

Gran arena del cibao

Humpback whale in Samaná Bay

Humpback whale in Samaná Bay

Mangroves in Los Haitises National Park

Mangroves in Los Haitises National Park

National Botanical Garden.

National Botanical Garden.

Ozama Fortress

Ozama Fortress

The National Palace in Santo Domingo

The National Palace in Santo Domingo


Dominican Republic History

  • How did the country get its first name? – The Taíno name for the entire island was either Ayiti or Quisqueya.
  • How did the country get its current name? -The “Dominican” word comes from the Latin Dominicus, meaning Sunday. However, the island has this name by Santo Domingo de Guzmán (Saint Dominic), founder of the Order of the Dominicans.
  • When and by whom the country was first discovered? – The Taíno people first arrived around 650 CE, but are not believed to be the first settlers. In 1492 Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the island, which he names Hispaniola, or “Little Spain”. 
  • Who were the first Inhabitants? – On first arrival to the island, the Europeans were met by the Taíno people. 
  • When it was first recognized as a country? –The Dominican Republic first declared independence 27 February 1844.
  • Who was the first leader of the country? –Pedro Santana 

Five Significant Events

  1. Little Spain 1492: Christopher Columbus visits the island, which he names Hispaniola, or “Little Spain”. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19343656)
  2. Republic is born 1844: Boyer overthrown; Santo Domingo declares its independence and becomes the Dominican Republic. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19343656)
  3. 1916-24: US forces occupy the Dominican Republic following internal disorder. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19343656)
  4. Trujillo dictatorship 1930: General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina establishes personal dictatorship following the overthrow of President Horacio Vazquez. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19343656)
  5. Return to democracy 1966 : Joaquin Balaguer, a Trujillo protege and former leader of the Reformist Party (later to become the centre-right Christian Social Reform Party (PRSC)), is elected president. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19343656)

Five Places to Visit in Dominican Republic

  1. Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial: In this city, where Christopher Columbus first landed in the America’s, you’ll find the hustle and bustle of modern day life being played out against the backdrop of centuries-old buildings. The colonial architecture, much of which today houses museums, restaurants, shops, and quaint hotels, lines the streets and squares, and takes you back to another era in mind-blowing fashion. Much of the activity focuses around Calle El Conde, the main thoroughfare and a popular street for shopping or dining el fresco. Wandering around the various streets, you’ll see crumbling ruins, like those of Monesterio de San Francisco; beautifully preserved buildings, such as the Catedral Primada de América (First Cathedral in the Americas), which is still in use today; and residential areas, offering a glimpse into local life. Even eating pizza in a restored colonial building on a hot night, or lounging in the courtyard of your 450-year-old hotel can feel like a unique experience in this beautiful city. Santo Domingo is definitely a place worth spending some time. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/dominican-republic-dom.htm)
  2. The Resort Destination of Punta Cana:  Where an endless stretch of beautiful white-sand beach meets the emerald waters of the Caribbean is Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic’s premiere resort destination. If you are looking for luxury all-inclusive resorts, a couple’s retreat, or family-friendly accommodation combined with an unending list of water-based activities for entertainment, this is the place to come. Bavaro Beach is Punta Cana’s most impressive stretch of beach, where you can wade into the water or walk for hours along the sand. Resorts line the beach and offer easy access to all the activities. This is not a place to come for a quiet getaway. The ocean is a flurry of activity, with boats, parasailers, and tour boats coming and going. Roped-off areas offer safe places to swim. Inland from the beach are a smattering of restaurants and retail, most of which are very modern, especially by Dominican Republic standards. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/dominican-republic-dom.htm)
  3. Puerto Plata & Playa Dorada: Along the north coast, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, the resort destination of Puerto Plata and the beautiful stretch of beach known as Playa Dorada is one of the Dominican Republic’s biggest tourist draws. This golden-sand beach is lined with luxury resorts, although much less densely packed than what you’ll find in Punta Cana. This area is also much more subdued and has more of a tranquil feel. The beaches are not busy with boats and water sports, although it’s a beautiful area for swimming or snorkeling. You can walk beyond the resorts to undeveloped beaches backed by palm trees and forest. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/dominican-republic-dom.htm)
  4. Cabarate & the Beachside Restaurants: Cabarete is known for its relaxed atmosphere and huge, crescent-shaped beach lined with casual restaurants where visitors can dine right on the sand. Unlike the Dominican Republic’s resort destinations like Punta Cana or Puerto Plata, this town is not full of all-inclusive resorts and packaged-vacation tourists. Instead, Cabarete attracts free spirits, backpackers, retirees, and kiteboarders who come here to spend a few weeks or months, particularly during the winter. If you are staying in nearby Puerto Plata you can day trip to Cabarete to spend a day on the beach, enjoy a meal, or do some shopping. In the early evenings, especially on weekends and Tuesdays, musicians often perform in the local beachfront restaurants and provide entertainment as the sun sets. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/dominican-republic-dom.htm)
  5. Las Galeras: At the farthest tip of the Samaná Peninsula, where the road dead ends at the ocean, looking out over one of the area’s many beautiful beaches, is the small town of Las Galeras. Its remote location will appeal to independent travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience. Palm-lined, white-sand beaches and turquoise water create an idyllic scene. Beaches like Playa Rincon, La Playita, Playa Fronton, and other unnamed stretches of undeveloped beaches in the area are some of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic and offer the polar opposite experience of the major resort destinations on the island. Here, you can hire a boat to take you to a remote beach for a morning or afternoon, or walk from town to several beautiful sandy coves in the surrounding area. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/dominican-republic-dom.htm)

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