One half the island of Hispaniola (shared with Haiti), the Dominican Republic offers some world-class beaches, both on the wide Atlantic north coast and the placid Caribbean sea to the east and south. The exciting Punta Cana area on the DR’s eastern shore is a world-class resort destination with fine hotels, top-notch cuisine, those perfect beaches and one of the finest collections of championship golf of any island in the world. Bustling Santo Domingo, founded by Christopher Columbus, is a Colonial jewel of a city, and the towns and cities of the inner island seem frozen in an age long forgotten.
When Christopher Colon–known to history as Columbus–first arrived in Hispaniola in 1492, few might have expected that this Caribbean island would one day become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. But today’s Dominican Republic attracts visitors ranging from the private jet-setter to the all-inclusive bargain hunter.
They come in search of the tropical beauties of this beautiful island, from the cloud-washed mountains to the fertile agricultural plains to the sun-kissed beaches that ring so much of the Dominican Republic. They come to sample the spicy Dominican cuisine, sip the smooth Dominican rum, savor the aromas of the fine Dominican cigars and dance the nights away under the endless stars to the insistent backbeats of the Dominican merengue.
The Old World meets the New head on in the cobblestoned Colonial streets of Santo Domingo, where businessmen, artists and visitors all combine to make the island’s capital city an attractive melange of endless fascination and ever-changing culture.
The Dominican Republic contains more than a thousand miles of coastline, and about a quarter of it is magnificent, white sandy beach, lapped by the calm and warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Here, modern palaces of pleasure have sprung up, offering sybaritic delights of sun, sand, food and wine, and a full menu of activities and events designed to entertain, educate and eliminate the stress of the modern world.
And all across the island, the Dominican people, warm and welcoming, work hard to make visitors feel part of the island’s daily dance. Kids playing beisbol on pickup lots, fishermen sharing their catch of the day, women selling their handmade goods … the beautiful beat of island life goes on everywhere, ready to be savored and treasured by the island’s many visitors.
The Dominican Republic is a wonderful experience waiting to happen. Come explore this island paradise that so appealed to Columbus, and the millions who’ve followed him on these shores.
The official language, Spanish, is spoken throughout the country, although English is also spoken in most of the tourist areas.
The official currency is the Dominican Republic peso (DOP). The U.S. dollar buys approximately 45.8 DOP. U.S. dollars are accepted in the tourist zones, but the informal exchange rates there may not be the best.
Electricity runs at 110v, 60hz. Appliances from the USA will run normally. Convertors and adaptors are required for those with European plugs. It is recommended that visitors use surge protectors for computers, laptops and other sensitive equipment, as the electrical supply can be varied.
Internet connections and WiFi spots are found throughout the country. Most major hotels provide good accessibility.
Visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe and most other countries do not need a visa to enter the Dominican Republic: a valid passport is required. Upon arrival, visitors will need to fill out a tourist card, which costs US$10, good for 30 days.
Drinking purified bottled water is definitely recommended and is available everywhere in the Dominican Republic. Hotels and restaurants use purified water to clean and cook their food, and purified water is used to make all ice. It is not recommended that you drink tap water.
The DR is in the Atlantic Time Zone and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. From March to November, the DR time is the same as Eastern Savings Time; but is one hour earlier from November to March.
The Dominican Republics high season for tourism runs from late November to late April, which coincides almost perfectly with the chill of winter in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, and includes Christmas, New Year's, Easter, and most school spring breaks. The high season is also the dry season.