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Quick Facts
CapitalSanto Domingo
Governmentrepresentative democracy
CurrencyDominican peso (DOP)
Areatotal: 48,730 sq km
land: 48,380 sq km
water: 350 sq km
Population8,721,594 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageSpanish
ReligionRoman Catholic 95%

The Dominican Republic is a Central American country that occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Haiti. To the north lies the North Atlantic Ocean, while the Caribbean Sea lies to the south.

Note 
Should not be confused with the Caribbean island country of Dominica.

Regions

Administrative divisions 
29 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Baoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, Elias Pina, El Seibo, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, Sanchez Ramirez, San Cristobal, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Valverde

Cities

  • Santo Domingo - Capital. Sleep: Pension Ginette, El Conde 505 (near Puerta del Conde) (809) 623 9740, 400 $Do for 2 people.
  • Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Barahona
  • La Romana
  • Manzanillo
  • Puerto Plata
  • San Pedro de Macoris

Other destinations

  • Bonao-- secluded village
  • Jarabacoa
  • Constanza
  • Miches

Understand

Climate

Tropical maritime with little seasonal temperature variation There is a seasonal variation in rainfall. The island lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and is subject to severe storms from June to October. It experiences occasional flooding and periodic droughts.

Terrain

Rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed.

Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m

History

Explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844.

A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of its subsequent history was brought to an end in 1966 when Joaquin Balaguer became president. He maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. The Dominican economy has had one of the fastest growth rates in the hemisphere.

Get in

By plane

Beware of the departure tax, it depends on the duration of your stay, read the doll coupon given to you at the arriving. Taxi from Airport to Santo Domingo (Ciudad Colonial): it is about 25/30$ (maximum), but if you have time to discuss the prices, you can get it for 12-13$ (maybe less). At the airport, you can change your $ and � in Dominican Pesos. But beware! You can not exchange back local money to $ and �, so do it before.

By train

By car

By bus

By boat

Get around

Talk

Languages 
Spanish

Buy

One of the best spots in the Colonial District of Santo Domingo to shop is the several blocks long outdoor mall. It offers everything from street vendors (it is definitely NOT recommended to eat off these) to knock-off name brand clothing for extremely inexpensive prices. There are some very pleasant outdoor restaurants that serve as perfect spots to people watch and drink Presidente (their most popular beer). During the day, there are also several touristy shops where you can buy cheap presents for the family back home including authentic paintings and beautiful jewelry. There is also a very nice cigar shop at the end of the mall across from the cathedral.

3at

Drink

President Beer Barcelo Anejo Rum Brugal Rum

Sleep