Brimming with cultural diversity and breathtaking scenery, the Dominican Republic is an excellent destination for a vacation. The beaches here are among some of the cleanest and safest anywhere in the Caribbean Sea, and there is plenty to see and do away from the oceanfront areas as well.
The Dominican Republic is found on the island of Hispaniola, which is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It lies directly east of Haiti, which comprises the western portion of this island. It is roughly 1,000 miles from Miami, Florida and takes around two hours to reach from this U.S. city by flight. It is approximately 237 miles from Puerto Rico, being separated from this territory by a channel known as the Mona Passage.
In all, the Dominican Republic comprises approximately 2/3 of Hispaniola Island, with a total land mass of around 30,034 square miles of territory. This total land mass includes several islands which are off the shore and considered Dominican Republic territories. There are also several ocean banks, which are actually underwater hills, located some 60 to 120 miles off the shore of the Dominican Republic. This country lies between 17 and 20 degrees north latitude and 68 and 72 degrees west longitude.
The Dominican Republic has a tropical climate, with the average year-round temperature being around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It is somewhat cooler in areas of higher elevation and more humid in low-lying areas. Among the mountains of the Dominican Republic, temperatures normally average around 64 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average temperature in low-lying areas is around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The northern region sees a great deal of rainfall during the winter months, while the southern area receives most of its rain during the summer. Cyclones and hurricanes are also likely between August and October.
Dominican Republic Beaches
The beaches of the Dominican Republic are popular because of their golden tree lined sandy areas coupled with shallow emerald green waters that are crystal clear. Perhaps the most popular one here is Las Minitas, which is found on the southeast coast. There is but one resort here, and only guests of that resort are permitted to enjoy this stretch of oceanfront property. The resort offers activities such as water sports, fine dining and shopping. Bayahibe Beach has warm waters that are ideal for snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving. Isla Sanoa lies along a protected nature preserve, and is an excellent area to find starfish in the shallow waters next to the shoreline.
As the capital city of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo is alive with historic and cultural attractions to enjoy. It is home to the first cathedral and hospital of the New World. It also contains a historic district full of 1600s architecture, which can only be accessed by traveling down a cobblestone street. Away from the historic district, a more modern area has plenty of other interesting attractions and entertainment venues. Park of Three Eyes of Water is a group of interconnected caves with numerous sparkling rock formations to gaze upon, and the National Botanical Garden contains lots of flora and fauna that are native to this country as well.
Santo Domingo Beaches
Santo Domingo also has a number of pristine beaches that include sparkling turquoise waters. Perhaps one of the best-known beaches is Boca Chica, as it is the closest to the capital city. The extensive coral reefs here make it an ideal spot for snorkeling or scuba diving. The suburb of Juan Dolio has beaches on the east and west side of town. Old Town is somewhat more quiet and peaceful, while Villas del Mar is a thriving tourist destination with numerous boat charters and attractions. Playa Caribe is an excellent spot for surfing, and is also home to all-day beach parties that include performers from the area’s thriving music scene or DJs playing the latest hits.
Punta Cana is a luxurious resort that even contains its own international airport. The resort is situated along three miles of unspoiled beach area on the country’s eastern shore. It features accommodations ranging from traditional hotel rooms to vacation homes that contain five bedrooms and private swimming pools. Punta Cana is also home to two championship golf courses, numerous tennis courts, a spa, horseback riding stables and an aquatic center that offers scuba diving, fishing and boating excursions.
The town of Samana is located in the northeastern region of the country. It is flanked by a short mountain range and is primarily a fishing village. It is also a port for numerous cruise ships, many of which dock here during the fall and winter months. This could be primarily due to the fact that Samana is an ideal spot to take in the annual whale migration. Hundreds of these mammals come here from January through March each year in order to give birth. It is also home to a seaside walking promenade along what has been named “one of the most beautiful bays in the world” by the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World.
This town along the northern coast offers plenty of opportunities to take in water sports and beach-side entertainment via a series of loudspeakers installed along the beach. A number of resorts are located in Puerto Plata, offering guests amenities such as tennis courts, spas and diving lessons. One of the biggest attractions here is Mount Isabel, which can be accessed by riding a cable car up the side of a mountain. From the top, guests can view spectacular botanical gardens and a statue of Christ. Other attractions in this town include the Church of San Felipe, the General Gregorio Luperon Monument and Independence Park.
The Dominican Republic is only a short distance away from many U.S. cities, making it an easy destination to get to. Upon arrival, the friendly atmosphere and welcoming attractions will make guests feel as though they are on top of the world in this tropical island paradise.