The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea. It was the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo, which was also the name the colony was known by. The tourism industry is solely responsible for most of the economy in the Dominican Republic.
The colonial portions of Santo Domingo have been painstakingly restored to maintain the original charm. Santo Domingo was the site of the first hospital, university and cathedral to be built in the new world. Modern day Santo Domingo is a thriving port city filled with casinos, shopping plazas, nightclubs and restaurants.
The Plaza de Santo Domingo lies to the south of the city and is dominated by a statute of Iglesia de Santo Domingo. Because it is slightly off the path, the plaza can be somewhat overlooked by tourists. Over the weekend, hundreds of Quitenos gather here to hear stories, see jugglers, acrobats, and magicians. The Plaza de Santo Domingo is also where the Gallery of Modern Art and the National Theater are located.
Parque Los Tres Ocho de Agua, means “The Three Eyes Of Water” in English. The water here is so translucent because of the sodium and calcium bicarbonate that flow from an underground river called, Brujuelas. This river flows through a series of caves and the movie, “Tarzan”, was filmed at this location. The river is the scene of three lagoons that are on three different levels and each lagoon is surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites and extraordinary tropical foliage.
To the west of Santo Domingo, is the city of San Cristobal. This city is located close to the cost of the Caribbean Sea. There are several locations that are well suited for snorkeling or scuba diving. Najayo Beach, is situated off the coastline and here divers can explore old French Galleons that sank in the 19th century. Palenque Beach, is another popular attraction and here divers can explore the remains of the “Diomedes Imperial”, a French galleon which sank in 1806. Nigua Beach also offers some beautiful diving opportunities, but this town is best know for the Boca de Nigua Mill which was completely restores in the 1970's and is now one of the most complete structures to represent sugar production.
Manati Theme Park, located in Bavaro, is focused on nature, animals and the history of the country. The biggest attraction in the entire park, is the opportunity for visitors to swim with dolphins. Taino Village offers tourists a chance to experience the culture and folklore of past inhabitants. Manati Park continues to develop educational, research and reproduction programs for the indigenous animals, as well as those that are facing possible extinction.
Mount Isabel de Torres Cable Car, lies high above Puerto Plata and has a cable car to take visitors to the summit. Riding up in the cable car guests experience ascending into the clouds and once arriving at the top, can see the entire town below and enjoy a beautiful garden. The town of Playa Dorada, is close to Puerto Plata and offers some all-inclusive resorts with some of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic. Tourists will also enjoy the Amber Museum, which displays some beautiful Victorian architecture on the outside and fascinating amber gemstones inside.
The Dominican Republic is a wonderful place to get lost and explore. The climate is hot and most days the temperatures can reach over 90øF, with a high rate of humidity. With the climate being like one long endless summer, traveling to the Dominican Republic is possible year round.