The island of Hispaniola, on which the Dominican Republic is located, was once discovered by Christopher Columbus. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of this land. Modern tourists are no less surprised and delighted with Hispaniola and the Dominican Republic. In this country, tourists will meet amazing nature, clean rivers, ancient Spanish churches, luxurious beaches with soft white sand, coral reefs and blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Geography of the Dominican Republic
The State of the Dominican Republic is located in the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola (it is the second largest island in the group of the Greater Antilles), which is located in the Caribbean Sea. This country also includes several other small islands (for example, the islands of Saona and Beata). To the west, the Dominican Republic borders on Haiti. Just 83 km from the island of Hispaniola is Cuba. The total area of the country is 48,730 sq. km.
Most of the Dominican Republic is occupied by mountains, between which there are small valleys. Coastal regions are occupied by narrow valleys. The highest peak is Mount Duarte, whose height reaches 3,098 meters.
From August to October, hurricanes can sometimes sweep over the island of Hispaniola, which are sometimes destructive.
According to simplyyellowpages.com, Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic. More than 2.2 million people now live in this city. Santo Domingo was founded by the Spanish in 1496.
Official language of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has one official language – Spanish.
About 70% of the population identify themselves as Catholics and about 18% as Protestants.
According to diseaseslearning.com, the Dominican Republic is a presidential republic, headed by the President (he is elected by popular vote for 4 years).
The bicameral parliament is called the National Assembly, it consists of the Senate (32 senators) and the Chamber of Deputies (178 deputies).
The main political parties are the Dominican Liberation Party and the Revolutionary Party.
Administratively, the country is divided into 31 provinces and the national district of Santo Domingo.
Climate and weather
The climate is tropical, the average annual air temperature is + 25C (temperatures are higher on the coast). In Santa Domingo, in January, the average air temperature is +25C, and in July – +28C. The hottest month is August, while the coldest months are January and February.
Along the northern coast, the rainy season lasts from November to January. In the rest of the country, the rainy season falls on May-November. Most of the precipitation falls in May.
Tropical cyclones (storms and hurricanes) occur on average twice a year. Most often they are in the south of the country. The cyclone season lasts from early June to late November (sometimes cyclones occur in May and December). Hurricanes, when the wind force reaches 200 km/h, are usually observed from August to October.
The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is from March to May.
Sea of the Dominican Republic
The island of Hispaniola, on which the state of the Dominican Republic is located, is surrounded on all sides by the Caribbean Sea. The average sea temperature near the coast is + 26-28C.
Rivers and lakes
The Yaque del Norte and Yuna rivers flow through the territory of the Dominican Republic. In the south-west of the country is the salt lake Enriquillo, which, oddly enough, is inhabited by crocodiles.
The culture of the Dominican Republic was formed under the influence of the cultural traditions of the West Indies, Africa and Spain. Each local village has its own holidays dedicated to one saint or another.
But the most popular local festival is Carnival, which takes place in Santo Domingo every February. Santo Domingo also hosts several other very popular holidays, among which are the Merengue Festival, Fiesto Patria and Foundation Day.
All Dominican festivals are distinguished by their scope, music, dance, grandiose street processions and various theatrical performances.
The cuisine of the Dominican Republic is a mixture of African, Spanish and Indian culinary traditions. The local cuisine is spicy, but not as hot as on the neighboring islands of Jamaica and Trinidad. The main foods are rice, beans (red beans), meat (chicken, pork, goat), as well as fish and seafood. Important ingredients for cooking Dominican dishes are garlic, tomatoes and green peppers.
Tourists are advised to try dishes called “Dominican Flag” (made with red beans, served with fried chicken with spicy sauce), “Chivo picante” (goat stew, served with rice), “Sancocho” (stew with vegetables and avocado ).
Fish dishes are served with spicy tomato sauce “la criolla”, with garlic sauce, or with coconut milk sauce. Shrimps, crabs and lobsters are served in all local restaurants, but we recommend trying them in small restaurants on the beaches.
Please note that Dominican dishes use coconut oil while Europeans need to get used to it.
Traditional non-alcoholic drinks – coffee (especially cafe cito), freshly squeezed juices.
The traditional alcoholic drink is rum (the main brands are Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudez). Don’t forget also the local “aphrodisiac” called “Mama Juana” (made from rum and wine with honey, herbs, bark and leaves).
Sights of the Dominican Republic
Most of the Dominican attractions are located in the ancient Santo Domingo, which was founded in 1496. These are Alcázar de Colón Palace, Parque de los Tres Ojos caves, Ozama Fortress, Columbus Lighthouse, Cathedral, Chinatown, St. Francis Monastery, National Palace, Casas Reales Museum, as well as other monuments of history and architecture.
The unique Del Este National Park, located in the southeast of the country, on the island of Saona, is very popular with tourists. Dense mangroves, exotic animals and birds, as well as mysterious caves await tourists in this park.
Tourists are also advised to visit the Armando Bermudez Nature Reserve (it is located in the center of the country), the Banco de la Plata Marine Reserve, the Gaitises National Park, and the Los Haitis National Park.
Cities and resorts
The largest cities are Santiago de los Trainta Caballeros, La Romana, Azua de Compostela, San Cristobal and Santo Domingo.
The Dominican Republic is famous for its beach resorts, among which the following should be highlighted: Punta Cana, Boca Chica, La Romana, Puerto Plata and Juan Dolio. All Dominican resorts have excellent conditions for scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, etc.
The most popular Dominican resort among foreigners is Punta Cana. There is not only excellent soft white sand and clear water, but also a well-developed recreation infrastructure (shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs).
The most popular souvenirs from the Dominican Republic are Dominican cigars, rum and coffee. Tourists in this country also often buy various folk art products, ceramics, clothes, decorative and aromatic candles, clay dolls in traditional clothes, jewelry, as well as the “healing” balm “Mama Juana” (it is made from rum and wine with the addition of honey, herbs, bark).
Some shops in Santo Domingo are open on Sundays from 09:00 to 18:00.
Ukrainians can apply for a tourist visa in the Dominican Republic at the airport upon arrival.
Currency of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican peso is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. Its international designation is DOP. One peso = 100 centavos. Most hotels, restaurants and large stores accept credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa). Traveler’s checks are accepted by a limited number of banks.
You can import foreign currency without restrictions, it must be declared (you can take out no more than it was declared upon entry). It is impossible to export and import local currency.
It is forbidden to import all products of animal origin, drugs, as well as agricultural and livestock products.
Antiques and art can be taken out, having previously received the appropriate permission from the local authorities.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
The interests of the Dominican Republic in Ukraine are represented by the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in
. mail: [email protected]
The interests of Ukraine in the Dominican Republic are represented by the Embassy of Ukraine in Cuba:
Postcode: 11300, Havana, 5th Avenue, 4405 T:
(8 10 537) 204-25-86
mail: [email protected]
114 – All emergencies
Behind Kyiv for 6 hours. Those. if, for example, in Kyiv it is 13:00, then in Santo Domingo it is only 07:00.
In hotels and restaurants, a 10% service charge is automatically added to the bill. If the service was especially good, you can give an extra tip.
Before traveling to this country, doctors advise to make several preventive vaccinations (against typhoid, malaria, hepatitis A and rabies).
The crime rate in this country is high, so foreigners there are advised to stay within the tourist areas, not to show money and not to wear jewelry when visiting public places.
The hurricane season usually lasts from June to November, so if you happen to be on the island of Hispaniola at this time of the year, keep an eye on the weather forecast.