Travel

AIR: The Dominican Republic’s national airline is Air Santo Domingo (EX) (website: www.airsantodomingo.com).

American Airlines offers daily flights from London via Miami. Direct flights from the USA are operated by Continental Airlines (from New Jersey), and American Airlines (from New York). Iberia operates every day to Santo Domingo via Madrid. Other airlines operating flights from Europe are Air France, Condor and Martinair.

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Attractions

SANTO DOMINGO

Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and the first European city in the ‘New World.’ It is a vibrant, exciting, and always interesting Caribbean city. Santo Domingo boasts more colonial sites than you will ever be able to see in just one visit. Do check out the Zona Colonial, ground zero of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the point of disembarkation for settlers, businesspeople and conquistedores, and an administrative center helmed by Christopher Columbus’ son, Diego. The city also boasts the oldest existing cathedral in the Americas, Catedral Primada de América. The nearby Parque Colón not only features a statue of the eponymous admiral, but is also the meeting place for area residents and always buzzes with activity.

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Activities

Dominican Republic is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country, situated just two hours south of Miami, less than four hours from New York and eight hours from most European cities. Known for our warm and hospitable people, Dominican Republic is a destination like no other, featuring astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options. Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, renew in our luxurious and diverse accommodations, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.

Carnivals, fiestas and festivals are held frequently all year round, both in larger cities as well as among the rural communities. As in many Latin American countries, Carnival is a traditional event. Merengue is the national music and the Merengue Festival draws large numbers of nationals as well as international musicians and spectators.

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Sports

Baseball: This is not only the national sport, but also a national obsession, and even the smallest communities have floodlit stadia. The center of the country’s baseball is the industrial seaport of San Pedro de Macoris. Many Dominican players go on to play in the US major leagues. Juan Marichal, whose pitching exploits for the San Francisco Giants landed him a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame, is now the country’s Director of Sports. The professional winter season runs from October to January. Visitors should ask local people or look in the local paper for schedules and the nearest game.

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Social Profile

Food: Native Dominican cooking combines Spanish influences with local produce. Beef is expensive (Dominicans raise fine cattle, but most is exported) and local favorites are chicken, pork and goat meat. There is plenty of fresh fish and seafood, island-grown tomatoes, banana, lettuce, papaya, mangoes and passion fruit and all citrus fruits are delicious. Local dishes include la bandera (meaning ‘the flag’, comprising white rice, red beans, stewed meat, salad and fried plantains), chicharrones (crisp pork rind), chicharrones de pollo (small pieces of fried chicken), casava (fried yucca), moro de habichuelas (rice and beans), sopa criolla dominicana (native soup of meat and vegetables), pastelón (baked vegetable cake) and sancocho (stew with anything up to 18 ingredients).

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Passports & Visas

Passport Required
Visa Required
Return Ticket Required
British
Yes
3
Yes
Australian
Yes
3
Yes
Canadian
1
3
Yes
USA
1
3
Yes
Other EU
2
3
Yes
Japanese
Yes
4
Yes

PASSPORTS: Passports valid for 6 months after date of departure required by all except:

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History & Government

Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola (which he called La Espaniola) in 1492 and established it as his main base for the further exploration of the region. In 1697, the western part of the island came under French control, with the east remaining under Spanish control. In 1795, the city of Santo Domingo – the oldest city in the Americas, founded by Columbus’ brother, in 1496 – was ceded to the French, followed by the rest of the island of Hispaniola later the same year. The battle of Palohincado, in 1808, in which Dominican General Ramirez inflicted an important defeat on the French, heralded the collapse of French rule in the eastern part of the island. The colony reverted to Spanish sovereignty in 1809, and in 1821, the colonial treasurer, José Nunez de Caceres, proclaimed Santo Domingo’s independence. This independence was short-lived – in 1822, the Haitians invaded the colony and occupied it for 22 years, until, on 27 February 1844, the territory of Santo Domingo recovered it’s sovereignty and declared independence once again, this time permanently, as the Dominican Republic.

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Climate

Tropical weather dominates year round in the Dominican Republic with slight variations between summer and winter. The average annual temperature is 77 degrees. Daytime temperatures are fairly constant around 84 degrees during the “cool” season (November – April) and in the summer around 87 degrees. Brief tropical showers occur more often during the season from May to August but usually turn out to be no more than a 30 minute rain.

Rainy season is from June to October. Hurricanes may sometimes occur during this time.

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