The DR is one of the Caribbean’s most geographically diverse countries, with stunning mountain scenery, desert scrublands, evocative colonial architecture and beaches galore.
Occupying the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic is the second largest country, after Cuba, in the West Indies. This mountainous land includes Pico Duarte—the highest point in the Caribbean. Colonized in 1493 by Spaniards, it offered the first chartered university, hospital, cathedral, and monastery in the Americas. Santo Domingo, founded in 1496, is the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere. The nation became independent in 1844, but endured political instability and repressive governments. Today it is a democracy, economically dependent on agriculture and tourism.
Hundreds of miles of coastline define the Dominican Republic (DR) – some of it white-sand beaches shaded by rows of palm trees, other parts lined dramatically with rocky cliffs, wind-swept dunes or serene mangrove lagoons. Whether it’s fishing villages where the shoreline is used for mooring boats or indulgent tourist playgrounds with aquamarine waters, the sea is the common denominator. Some of the bays and coves where pirates once roamed are the temporary home of thousands of migrating humpback whales, and part of an extensive network of parks and preserves safeguarding the country’s natural patrimony.