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Home > Destinations > Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Sandwich Bay, Dominican RepublicFor many years tourists have flocked to the Dominican Republic primarily for its magnificent white-sand beaches. The Dominican Republic is more - a country of tremendous diversity.

The variety and spectacular beauty of its countryside is certainly one of its greatest assets. But it is not the only one, for people also visit the Dominican Republic to see the many remnants of its rich Colonial past and experience the warmth of its people.

The Dominican Republic shares with Haiti the island of Hispaniola, the second-largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba.

Santo Domingo - the capital - was the first city founded in the Americas. Built in 1502 by Nicolás de Ovando, the colonial governor. Today, it is also the second largest Caribbean city after Havana, with over 2½ million inhabitants and is the country's financial, industrial and commercial centre. Despite the frantic pace of life here, Santo Domingo is a pleasant city, especially in the colonial zone, where colonial-era buildings are concentrated.

History buffs visiting Santo Domingo should not miss the Alcazazar de Colon (a castle built in the early 1500's for Columbus's son, Diego; the Casa del Cordón, the Western Hemisphere's oldest surviving stone house; the Catedral Menor de Santa Maria, the first cathedral in the Americas; and the Columbus lighthouse, a modern structure built to commemorate the Columbus Quincentennial in which houses a sarcophagus which the remains of Columbus are said to lie. Click here for more on Santa Domingo.

The Dominican Republic's Caribbean Coast boasts miles of beautiful coastline. Here discerning travelers will find a variety of tourist resorts. Juan Dolio and Casa de Campo have sprung up in previously uninhabited areas, near beautiful sandy beaches. Luxurious resorts have also been built in the centre of typical Dominican villages, alongside modest Creole cottages, as in Boca Chica and Bayahibe.

Boy Fishing, Dominican RepublicAlong the Atlantic coast, on the north of the island, Puerto Plata and Samana are areas familiar to tourists from around the globe. From Puerto Plata to the Samana Peninsula, a formidable 90 mile shoreline, takes you through one of the best-known regions of the Dominican Republic.

More than anywhere else in the country, the development of tourism has been particularly intense here over the last 20 years, and many of the region's towns and villages have become major resort areas. Following Puerto Plata, Sosúa and Cabarete, development of the superb beaches has now moved further east, to the regions of Río San Juan, Playa Grande and Playa Dorada.

The Dominican Republic's eastern point, known as Punta Cana, is characterized by an almost unbroken succession of sugar-cane fields and orange groves. Most travellers come to this region for its beaches, among the most beautiful in the country, if not the whole Caribbean.

For over a decade now, the once nearly uninhabited northeastern shore of the Dominican Republic, known as the Coconut Coast, has become a major holiday destination. Most developers have followed the same general plan, building grand luxury hotels on large properties, at the edge of breathtaking and completely isolated beaches.

The Dominican Republic is much more than beaches. For hikers and explorers, we recommend visiting one or more of the fascinating National parks.

If you have two days try the scenic climb to Duarte Peak at Bermudez and Ramirez National parks. This is the highest point in the Caribbean. Goat Island, also known as Cabritos Island is a refuge for the American crocodile which lives and breeds here. You may also sight the palm crow, the Antillean mango, the bay-breasted cuckoo and the burrowing owl.

For golfers there is an abundance of fine courses. Some say that the Pete Dye architected Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo near La Romana is one of the greatest in the world. There a more than a dozen more fine golf courses accessible from tourist areas of Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Juan Dolio, and from Santo Domingo.

Watersports aficionados will also find what they're looking for too. Windsurfung (excellent in the Caberete area), snorkeling, parasailing, sailing, scuba diving and deep sea fishing are all readily available.

Dominican Republic Guide
Dominican Republic Guide The Dominican Republic Guide is your comprehensive guide to one of the best kept secrets in the Caribbean. From dining to history, we provide you with the information you need to plan a vacation of a lifetime. Our Trip Planning articles will inform you on everything from the best way to research your vacation, to the best way to get there. Detailed information on individual hotels and resorts on the island, categorizing the hotels by feature or detailed overview, can all be found in the Accommodations section. Our Weather section provides invaluable information on weather patterns and climate data to help you prepare for what mother nature might have in store during your visit to the Dominican Republic.

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