Facts & FiguresOfficial name: República Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
Location: Eastern part of the island Hispaniola, Greater Antilles, Caribbean
Area: 48.320 km²
Capital: Santo Domingo
Population: 10 million
Religious and Ethnic groups: 65% Catholics, 18% Protestants, 12% Atheists, 5% Others
Language: Spanish (official language)
Geography: Largely mountainous, only the eastern part of the island is relatively flat, consisting of valleys in the north. Highest point: Pico Duarte (3098m)
Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (UTC - 04:00)
Political and Economic: Presidential Democracy, GDP: 67 billion USD (2015)
Currency: Dominican peso (current exchange rate can be found online)
Arrival and departureVisa:
On site: The road network around the tourist centres is well developed. Yet, you can still often find damages on the main roads, which are prone to flooding. Also, due to the country's usual aggressive driving style and non-compliance with the traffic rules, particularly prudent and defensive behaviour is required. Night driving in the countryside is not recommended because of road damage that could damage your vehicle and also due to the threat of robberies.
Climate and best time to travelThe north coast of the island has a tropical climate with high humidity, while the south is much drier. The Dominican Republic is within the scope of tropical cyclones.
Winter average temperature: 19 ° C / 29 ° C (lows around 19 ° C in January)
Summer average temperature: 22 ° C / 31 ° C (maximum temperatures around 31.5 ° C in August)
Water temperature: Maximum 28 ° C from July to October
With all-year high temperatures, there is no specific bathing season. However, the most popular travel time is from December to April, as in these months perfect weather conditions are almost guaranteed. Caution: The hurricane season is from June to November in the Caribbean, however, tropical cyclones rarely occure in the Dominican Republic.
The most beautiful holiday regionsSamana Peninsula - Paradise palm beaches with traditional Caribbean flair
Santo Domingo - Travel through time in the oldest city of the New World
La Cordillera Central - Majestic massif around the Pico Duarte
Cabarete - Kite-boarding capital of the Caribbean
Public holidays and celebrationsNew Year (January 1), Epiphany (January 6), Nuestra Señora de Altagracia (January 21), Feast of Juan Pablo Duarte (January), Independence Day (February 27), Good Friday (varies), Easter Sunday (March / April), Easter Monday (March / April), Labour Day (May 1), Corpus Christi (May / June), Restoration Day (August 16), Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes (September 24), Constitution Day (November), Christmas (25/26 December)
DOs and DON'Ts
• Have patience. Generally, life in the Dominican Republic is more relaxed and laid back, which is why Europeans often must be patient when things are slower than they are used to.
• Drink a "Presidente" on the beach. It is very typical to drink a large beer (Presidente) at a plastic table on a beach bar overlooking the ocean.
• Haggle. In markets, haggling is quite common, even if a price is given - often worth the attempt.
• Don't photograph the military and military installations. This is because there are certain protection laws about the preservation of military secrets.
• Don't wear inappropriate clothes. The Dominicans attach great importance to their appearance. Those who are not on the beach should pay close attention to appropriate, not too casual clothes.
• Don't bathe nude. Not wearing a bathing suit is frowned upon by the locals. Although going topless is tolerated at some all-inclusive hotels, more and more resorts are explicitly banning it.
Holiday tipsCan you drink the tap water? The Dominican Republic water should not be used as drinking water. Instead drink bottled water or boil the tap water thoroughly for a very long time.
Do I need an adapter? Yes, a travel adapter is needed, sometimes a voltage converter. There are only type A and B outlets that are not compatible with European plugs.
What about medical care? At least in Santo Domingo, the medical care supply is at the European standards in the private sector, but the public sector is largely in deficit.
Top tips and discoveries
Coconut trees line the fine sandy beach that merges into the turquoise-blue ocean in the middle of the surge – known as the Costa de Coco, one of the most popular stretches of coastline in the Dominican Republic. On the easternmost tip of the country, the most luxurious holiday paradise of Punta Cana can be found, right where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet. Here, the tropical sunshine brings the fascinating underwater world to light: parrotfish, clownfish and barracuda swarms swim through colourful shimmering coral formations. However, divers are not the only ones who come here. Punta Cana is also a paradise for surfers and sun worshipers.
On the wildly romantic north coast, not far from the town of Río San Juan, the Laguna Gri-Gri nestles in huge rocks, thus clearing the dense mangrove forests that surround it. The small natural jewel consists of a turquoise-blue freshwater pond, which is filled by an underground river. Here it reaches the surface, and then flows through a canal into the open sea. It can be explored by boat, where you travel past unique rock formations and grottos and through the rich wildlife. A stop is worthwhile in the “cave of the swallows”.
Ruinas de la Isabela
In 1492, Christopher Columbus found his first settlement in the New World: La Isabela, in honour of the then ruling Queen Isabela La Católica. Today, what is left to be seen are only the foundations of the buildings, but the excavation site and the museum with exhibitions on the Conquista are well worth a visit. Both are located on the site of the former settlement, which has since become the Parque Nacional Arqueológico-Histórico La Isabela.
(Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, SpaDreams cannot be held responsible for any outdated, incorrect or incomplete information.)