Dominican Republic Vacations

The Dominican Republic is located on eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. It was Christopher Columbus who was the first European that "discovered" the island and laid claim for the Spanish in 1492. The capital, Santa Domenico, is located along the southern coast and has a historic center that dates back to when the Spanish first arrived. It is considered the "Colonial City" and has numerous landmarks, buildings and squares that date back to the 1500s. The main language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. In addition to the unique history of the island, it is also known for its beautiful beaches. The main beach areas are Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, and La Romana. Stretching across the island is a mountain range that includes the Pico Duarte peak, a mountain that rises to 10,000 feet.

Dominican Republic Vacation Rentals and Boutique Hotels

Dominican Republic Vacations: Things to see while on vacation in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic, a nation that shares its island home with Haiti has long been a vacationers dream spot. This island is truly enormous and has a diverse geography that allows the Dominican Republic to be known as one of the top islands for those who love adventure and tracking. If you are looking for a truly unique getaway down to the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic could be the very place you have been looking to go. In this article, we are going to take an adventure down to this island paradise, and explore its geography, culture and most importantly the places you have to see when you head down for a week or more. With a strong expat community and some of the friendliest locals in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is truly a gem in the Caribbean.

Dominican Republic Geography

The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and takes up the Eastern two-thirds of the island. It is about 49,000 square kilometres of area, which puts it about twice the size of New Hampshire. The island is part of the West Indies chain, and the island itself is part of the Greater Antilles which includes Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Jamaica. The island is divided by mountain ranges and creates three distinct areas, the Northern Range, the Central Range and the Southern Range.

The Northern Range
Home to the Cordillera Septentrional Mountain range, this area is the major agriculture part of the Dominican Republic. The Ciboa Valley has been an agricultural area ever since people landed on the island, and the Samana Peninsula is home to various coconut plantations, as well as an infamous bay where humpback whales go to breed.

The Central Region
The Cordillera Central dominates the area, is, in fact, a range that runs into the Caribbean Sea. Pico Duarte is part of this range and is the highest point in the Caribbean reaching an elevation of 3175 metres (10414 feet). This area is home to an alpine forest near the summit, while the coastal plain has various limestone terraces and has various sugar cane plantations dotting its valleys and rolling hills.

The Southern Region
Finally, the Southern region lies south of the Valle se San Juan and encompasses Sierra de Neiba. This region is primarily desert but does include the islands largest lake, Lake Enriquallo. This salt water lake lies 150 feet below sea level and is inhabited by a variety of animals and birds such as crocodiles, iguanas and even flamingos.

The rest of the best
The island's weather for the most part is tropical, but due to the vastness of the climates on the island, the west and southwestern portions are dry, but the southern and eastern coasts have a wet season in late Spring and early Fall.

Most importantly, the over 1288 km (800 miles) of coastline allows locals and tourists to enjoy the warm water of the Caribbean, and many of the island's beaches have natural white sand.

Dominican Republic Culture

Much like the majority of the Caribbean islands, the island has become infamous for both its European and West African Roots. The Dominican Republic was first discovered by the Spanish, and Christopher Columbus, in fact, started the first colony in 1492. However, the Spanish persisted and imported West African slaves to start working in the various mine and wood camps around the island. Although the Spanish would eventually leave the island for more prosperous colonies such as Cuba and Mexico, the island continues the Spanish way of governing. Today, the island continues to play to both its Spanish and West African roots, which can be seen even to this day. The music, food and arts are both West African and Spanish influenced and are some of the most colorful in the Caribbean. Food wise, the Dominican Republic is famous for its locally grown dishes. The dishes normally contain root vegetables, small quantities of seafood, chicken, beef, pork or goat and generally are not as spicy as their Caribbean neighbours. The official national dish is La Bandera, which is white rice and red beans with Stewed Meat served with fried plantain and a salad. On the coast, seafood dishes are a little more popular with conch and some coconut to sweeten any seafood dish!

Dominican Republic Landmarks

This island is so big, it is hard to pick just a few places, but we have handpicked the top places you need to ensure you see on any Dominican Republic vacation.

Isla Saona
This beautiful island off the coast is truly breathtaking. The tropical island has it all, amazing white sand beaches, coconut and palm trees and tranquil water that is clear enough to see 50 feet down. Enjoy a swim, a relaxing day soaking in the sun and maybe a few drinks or two. Isla Saona is always worth the visit!

Hoya Azul
A truly amazing getaway, Hoya Azul is in Scape Park and is home to unique flora and fauna, as well as a 65-meter high cliff and a hidden lagoon. The lagoon has a depth of 37 metres and makes for a adventurers great day of cliff diving or swimming.

La Aurora Cigar Factory
This premium cigar factory will show you the cigar making process, from seed to packaging. This tour will take less than an hour, and you will have the opportunity to sample and buy some truly amazing cigars from this over a century old factory.

Damajaqua Cascades
This unique adventure takes you down waterfalls. No, we are not joking, you will get the opportunity to slide down numerous waterfalls, and cliff jumps throughout this amazing cavern. Make sure to book ahead, and enjoy a day full of laughs, water and adventure!

Cathedral Primada de America
Located in Santi Domingo, this cathedral is worth a trip. Built as one of the earliest cathedrals in the America;s this truly breathtaking building is an architectural masterpiece. You can see the level of detail in each of the columns, and the roof is something you expect to see in Europe. If you are lucky enough, you might even take in a mass which is every Sunday in this truly holy place.