The Dominican Republic is primarily known for its beaches at Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, but it should be a country known for its kind people and the diversity of experiences that it can offer to any traveler. The city of Santo Domingo holds some of the oldest colonial relics, while the caves and kaarst regions of the country have protected the art of the native Taino people. Humpback whales breed off of Samana, and sea turtles gather on the varied shores of the country. From the dry scrub of Monte Cristi, to the tropical and temperate forests of the Caribbean’s highest mountain, Pico Duarte- nature in the Dominican Republic is an endless array of new places to explore and vistas to take in. History, culture, food, and nature all abound in this beautiful country that deserves to be known for more than its beaches and resorts.
Date of Independence: 1924 (from Haiti)
Official Languages: Spanish
Population: 10.8 million (2017)
Capital: Santo Domingo (Five Great Things to Do in Santo Domingo)
Currency: DR Peso
The Caribbean is just as vibrant in the variety of its cultures as anywhere else in the world, and the Dominican Republic has its own unique traditions, arts, and way of life. The Dominican people are known for their positive outlook on life, and in my experience, they are hospitable and kind. They have maintained their own culinary culture (which any visitor should be sure to experience), but delicious dishes from around the world are available here as well. Dominican’s speak their own kind of Spanish, fast and efficient, but languages from all around the world can be heard here, particularly where tourists gather. The Dominican Republic is home to some of the most beautiful Taino artifacts in the world, and the blood of native people still lives and thrives in the Dominican people. Spanish colonialism has left an undeniable mark on this country, however, as have the struggles for control of this island among the Dominican people, the US, and Haiti.
Food: 21 Dominican Dishes and Drinks from Odyssey
Dos and Don’t for Visitors to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic boasts 14 national parks, although not all of them have the protection that they need. Even so, these protected areas showcase a variety of landscapes that no one would imagine from a cruise advertisement for the country. Of course, people looking for a beach holiday will not be disappointed by a visit to the Dominican Republic, but hikers, and outdoor explorers will find this place to be a wonderland as well. There are otherworldly kaarst formations in Los Haitises National Park, coastal deserts in Monte Cristi, tropical forests throughout the interior, and even temperate forests on Pico Duarte. There are also some spectacular cave systems on the island, which showcase subterranean wildlife as well as ancient Taino paintings.
Plan Your Trip
Just about any type of traveler can enjoy a trip to the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo is rich with colonial era historic buildings and relics, and the country is home to many artistic and symbolic paintings of the Taino people. Outdoor adventurers will be delighted by the many hiking, horseback riding, and swimming opportunities that are sprinkled across the eastern half of Hispanola among its many different ecosystems. Beach-goers and foodies will also enjoy the many beach towns of the Dominican Republic, where locals and foreigners alike have made a living serving tourists with calm coastal places to relax and indulge in delicious cuisines. All you need to do is plan your trip!
Where We Have Been
See our Pinterest Board for more information around the web about travel to the Dominican Republic.
From the Government of Canada
From the US State Department