The Dominican Republic is one of the countries in Central America. It shares the La Hispaniola, an island in the Greater Antilles archipelago, with Haiti, and takes up the eastern two-thirds. It covers an area of 48,442 sq km (or 18,704 sq mi) and has a population of 10 million people, which makes it the second-largest country in the Caribbean, after Cuba.
It is similar in size to the Netherlands in Europe, the state of Mississippi in the U.S.A., and Nova Scotia in Canada. The coastline of the Dominican Republic is 1,288 kilometers long (or 800 miles). Its topography is predominantly mountainous. The Dominican Republic fascinates every visitor with its marvelous nature, its beautiful long white-sand beaches, the attractive and rich with sea life coral reefs, all the wonderful picturesque landscapes, the crystal clear rivers, and the very hospitable people with their charming culture. The weather is warm throughout the whole year, so tourists are welcome at any time.
Especially during the last several years, this country has gone through a period of considerable development and has also become the most popular holiday destination among the Caribbean countries. It boasts a natural beauty unlike any other, with endless white-sand and palm-fringed beaches and modern fully equipped resorts. It offers an unforgettable escape from the mundane everyday life, with a lot of sun, smiling people and comfortable accommodation.
The capital of the Dominican Republic is the historic city of Santo Domingo, also known as Santo-Domingo –De-Guzman. It is one of the oldest and biggest cities in the Antilles. It was built upon the place of the city Isabel, founded by the first European conquistadors after it was destroyed by a hurricane. It is also the first Spanish city on the island. When it comes to tourist destinations, it surely has a lot to offer—ruins and old monuments, beautiful churches, magnificent colonial palaces, lovely typically local little streets, traditional houses, and even its notorious area.
It is good to find enough time to dedicate to the viewing of the House of Columbus, the Alcazar de Colon. It is a very interesting attraction, as it was the house of Diego Columbus (or Colon), the son of Admiral Christopher Columbus, and the viceroy of the island. It is a two-storeyed house built of stone. It towers over the port and has the richest collection of furniture and other objects from Spain of the 15th and 16th centuries. The St. Mary Cathedral, the first Catholic cathedral in America, is conveniently located not far from the House of Columbus and is a highly recommended site to visit.
The hundreds of kilometers of pearl white or golden honey beaches with warm turquoise seas offer a vast variety of possible activities—diving, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, and any other water sport you can imagine. Even though the sun, the sea, and the beaches are this country’s main attraction, they are certainly not the only ones.
The mountains offer others, but equally exciting activities—climbing, rafting on the rivers, mountain biking, parasailing, ziplining, or even hiking in the jungle. You can go alone or with a guide. You can even go exploring in the desert land, forests, wonderful hidden lagoons, mysterious valleys, enchanting caves, majestic mountains, refreshing waterfalls. There is also the opportunity of renting a vehicle and exploring the country that way. Another good idea is renting a boat to the Isla Saona to look around this wonderful island.
Visitors who prefer relaxing and sunbathing choose Punta Cana or Bavaro on the east coast. The more adventurous travelers, though, go for the north coast; the communities like Sosua and the surf paradises Cabarete, Puerto Plata, and Luperon. The Samana Peninsula in the northeast is particularly worthy of a lengthy visit. The south is less frequented, but Bayahibe is a very attractive place. It is located in the National Park Del Este on the Caribbean Sea coast. It is a departure point for excursions to the beautiful islands of Saona, Catalina, and Catalina.
A very large and vital part of Dominican culture is music. It is mostly based on the meringue and bachata styles, which are national dances. Of the sports, baseball is the most popular among the people, so popular that the Dominican Republic has produced the most players in the American Major League Baseball of any country outside the United States.