The DR is the #1 tourist destination in the Caribbean! Visitors arrive to enjoy fantastic weather when it’s cold back home, play golf any time of the year, hike exciting trails to breathtaking views, tour historic sites, smoke premium cigars made in Dominican factories and stay in world class resorts. What’s not to like?
The Dominican Republic comprises two-thirds the island of Hispaniola which Columbus landed on in 1492 and claimed for Spain. As something of a gateway to the Caribbean, this land in the Greater Antilles was ruled by Spain for centuries, leaving a profound legacy. The 20th C. was politically turbulent until 1978 when the DR became an independent country with a representative democracy. A Spanish dialect known as Dominican Spanish with native words blended in is the primary language.
Life is Full of Zest in the Dominican Republic
The history of the DR has been exciting, if at times difficult and tragic. The 20th Century was challenging, including a few devastating hurricanes. The mood now is that the tough times are over, so let’s celebrate and enjoy the good things in life! The merengue music you’ll hear captures the feeling beautifully. Here’s what else you’ll enjoy in the DR.
- Food in the Dominican Republic: The cuisine is primarily Spanish with additional influences from Africa and the original inhabitants, the Taíno people. Popular foods include fried meat and cheese, eggs, rice, roasted meat (beef, pork, chicken) or fish, beans, salad greens, rice with less use of dairy or vegetables. Fried and baked sweets are popular for dessert.
- Music in the Dominican Republic: Merengue was born in the DR along with the dances that sprang from it. Other genres either birthed or popular here include bachata, palo and salsa. Clubs, lounges and music venues are found throughout the capital of Santo Domingo, Santiago, Ramona and other large towns.
- Sports in the Dominican Republic: If you follow professional baseball in the US, then you know how huge a sport baseball is here. A remarkable number of Dominican players (Ortiz, Pujols, Alou, Cano, Bautista, Ramirez) have risen to become stars.
Things to Do in the Dominican Republic
The top activities in the Dominican Republic include the following:
- Swim and Dive: The brilliant blue waters surrounding the DR provide ideal habitat for fish and other sea life, and a recent diver said, “there are great opportunities for beginners like my nephew and pros like me.” There are many Dominican Republic snorkeling and scuba diving outfitters to equip you and guide your dive.
- See Stogies Rolled & Sample a Few: The Dominican Republic is home to many of the best-known cigar manufacturers in the world. Arturo Fuente, Ashton, CAO, Diamond Crown, Davidoff, Romeo y Julieta, Macanudo, La Flor Dominicana, Montecristo, La Gloria Cubana and many more brands are made here. Factory tours are offered in La Romana, Santiago, Punta Cana and other major cities.
- Stripe Lush Fairways During a Round of Golf: Golfing in the Dominican Republic can be enjoyed any day of the year to fit any budget. Bring your clubs or rent them, pick up a few locally made cigars, and you’re good to go.
- Shop on Any Budget: From malls to fashionable boutiques to side street bodegas, the DR delivers any shopping experience you want. It’s a great way to spend the occasional rainy morning or beat the heat on a warm afternoon.
- Soak Up the Caribbean Sun: Dozens of great beaches are found in several locations such as Punta Cana, the home of Bavaro Beach and Macao Beach, Las Terrenas with Playa Bonita and Samana Province and Playa Rincon, called “stunningly beautiful” in a recent review.
- Sip Locally Distilled Rum or Brewed Beer: Both beverages are favorites here, and there is plenty of variety to sample. Try Presidente Black, Bohemia Light or Cerveza Soberana beers and Mutasalem Gran Reservea or Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum for starters.
- Sail or Motor the Caribbean: Boat tours take you out to where the tranquil sounds of the sea, a few gulls and your group’s laughter are all you’ll hear. Combine a boat tour with fishing or diving for extra fun.
- See Historic Sights: Sightseeing in the Dominican Republic is a good choice for those who enjoy history, architecture and art. The Museum of the Royal House in Santo Domingo is, according to a visitor from France, “an intriguing museum with a fantastic courtyard.”
Those things to do in the Dominican Republic will get you started. Touristy venues like zip lines, adventure parks, zoos and casino gambling are here in abundance too.
Who Should Consider Visiting the Dominican Republic?
If you’re looking for a tropical vacation accompanied by sun and surf, but want the amenities larger destinations offer, then the Dominican Republic makes great sense. The accommodations, transportation and services are top-notch, and you can still get out into the exotic wild to satisfy your craving for nature.
Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism: http://www.godominicanrepublic.com/meetings-incentives-conventions-events/ministry-of-tourism/
History and Government: http://www.infoplease.com/country/dominican-republic.html