Dominican Republic – Country Information

The Dominican Republic is a country in the Caribbean. It shares the island of Hispaniola with the Republic of Haiti.






History of the Republic

The Dominican Republic was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, and it was soon named La Hispaniola ("The Spanish Island"). Described by Columbus as a beautiful paradise, with high forested mountains and large river valleys. It was the New World's first capital, the site of its first Catholic Cathedral, University and Hospital.
After the colonization process, interventions, revolutions, independence from Haiti(27th February of 1844) and a thirty years dictatorship ending on the 60s, the Dominican Republic is a democratically governed state in the form of a presidential democracy.



Geography of the island

The Dominican Republic is the second-largest island and is located in the
heart of the Caribbean, with a surface area of 48,198 square kilometers
is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the
Caribbean Sea and in the west to Haiti.

Dominican Republic is a paradise with plenty to explore, as the country is made up of over 30,000 square miles of lush tropical islands and 1000 miles of beautiful turquoise water beaches with white sands.
Surrounded by the Saona, Beata, Catalina and Alto Velo islands, the country spans 178 miles from north to south and 242 miles from east to west.

In the center of the country is the Cordillera Central with the highest peak in the Caribbean (Pico Duarte) with lush vegetation, rivers and waterfalls.
It has great plains for the cultivation of sugar cane, coffee, tobacco, bananas...
In the south is the largest salt lake in the Caribbean, 44 meters below sea level, or live crocodiles, iguanas...

Weather / temperatures

The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate year-round. Its average annual temperatures range from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C).
Hurricane season is from July to October. There’s not any raining season and the weather is generally hot.

Dominican Economy

Since the 1960s the Dominican Republic's economy has shifted significantly from reliance on sugar and other agricultural commodities to an emphasis on tourism, mining, and manufacturing.
The tourism plays an increasing since the early 90s, is strongly encouraged by the government through "facilities" made to foreign investors.

After a severe financial crisis in 2003 and 2004, the country has regained a good growth, GDP grew 4.6% in 2013 (source Central Bank).

The currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP / RD$), the U.S. dollar and the euro are accepted in tourist areas however it is advisable to pay in local currency.

Demography

Capital: Santo Domingo (three million inhabitants) Nationality: Noun and adjective--Dominican(s) Population of the country (2009): 9.65 million.
Annual growth rate (2007): 1.5%.
Ethnic groups: Mixed 73%, European 16%, African origin 11%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%, all religions are tolerated.
Language: Spanish. However, you'll be surprised how many hotel and tourist destination employees speak English, French, German and Italian
Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--70%. Literacy--84.7%.
Country Subdivisions: 31 provinces and the capital Santo Domingo.

Culture

There's no place quite like the Dominican Republic because its history is the result of an unlikely mixture of influences of European, African, and native Taínos cultures together, its natural resources, tropical hot weather all over the year and the hospitality, friendly and warm-hearted people of the island.

The most famous beer is Presidente and the national drink is rum. The country has a rich art heritage like the one present at the Museum of Modern Art in Santo Domingo.

The national sport is baseball, which is played with passion in fact many Dominicans has become prominent major league players.

The Dominican typical and national Dominican music is Merengue; also Bachata, Reggaton and Dembow are part of the music genders.

Much of the Dominican culture can be experienced through its inspiring museums, food, and music. However, to truly understand the depth of the Dominican People, you must experience carnival. This annual celebration of independence spans the entire country, with each city putting on their own unique version of the festival.

General facts

International airports: Santo Domingo (SDQ) the capital (International de las Americas), 30km (18 miles) east of the city (travel time - 30 minutes). Taxi services are available to Santo Domingo. Airport facilities include outgoing duty-free shop with perfumes, designer fashions, cigarettes, cameras and spirits; post office; bank/bureau de change (24 hours); restaurants and bars (some are open 24 hours) and car hire. Also other international airports with the same facilities mentioned above in the main tourist cities as: Punta Cana, Samaná, Puerto Plata, Santiago and La Romana.

Time Zone: Local time is Caribbean Eastern Time (GMT -0400).

Currency: The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. You can find the exchange rate online in any currency covertor for free. Also Major credit cards and travelers' checks are accepted at many of the country's tourist locations; ATMs are located in almost all of the Dominican Republic's cities, as well as at most resorts.

Electricity: 110 volts with plugs for U.S. standards (adapters available in department stores).

Telephone: Full IDD available. Country code: 1 809. Outgoing international code: 011.


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