The Dominican Republic, or DR as it is commonly known, is the second largest of the Caribbean nations. Located right in the heart of the Caribbean, DR shares the island of Hispaniola with the small nation of Haiti, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south.
The island is perhaps most famous for its 1,000 miles of idyllic, palm fringed sandy beaches ranging in colour from pure white to golden brown to volcanic black. Inland however, the island boasts a surprisingly diverse and equally spectacular landscape including lush jungle, rapid rivers, dramatic waterfalls and four of the five highest peaks in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, who claimed it for Spain and named it La Española. A few years later, Christopher’s brother Bartholomew Columbus built the New World’s first city Santo Domingo and the European influence is still evident in its architecture and culture. At the heart of the city is one of the New World’s oldest churches as well as many other historic buildings and when wandering the cobblestone streets, it would be easy to forget you are in the Caribbean. However the capital city Santo Domingo teems with urban life; it has a strong business centre, excellent museums and a lively music, restaurant and nightlife scene.
Most visitors to the Dominican Republic stay in large, all-inclusive resorts and you’ll find some of the best deals in the Caribbean here, meaning a slice of paradise comes at a very reasonable rate. Meanwhile for those who like to explore, there is plenty of adventure, activities and culture to keep you occupied.