Dominican Republic Interesting Facts
- The Hispaniola is the island where the Dominican Republic is located, along with Haiti. It was the first place reached by Christopher Columbus, who originally named it La Española.
- The Dominican Republic is the oldest country of the Americas, the first place reached by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
- Santo Domingo is the first capital city of North and South America and houses the first cathedral the first university and the first hospital!
- The Dominican Republic fought for their independence from Spain, Haiti and the United States!
- The Colonial City of Santo Domingo was declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1990.
- Baseball is the most popular sport in the country. Sammy Sosa, among many famous baseball players, was born in the Dominican Republic.
- The Pan American games of 2003 were hosted in Santo Domingo.
- Some of the best golf courses in the world can be found in the Dominican Republic, like the Punta Espada Golf Course.
- Most golf courses in the Dominican Republic are set along the coast, with breathtaking ocean views.
- Fishing in the Dominican Republic is also a big deal, with several annual tournaments and big-game fish like marlin, barracudas and swordfish available close to the island.
People & Culture
- Oscar de la Renta, one of the best-known fashion designers of the century, is Dominican. He was born in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and one of the most beautiful cities in the Caribbean.
- In 1977, the Miss Universe pageant was hosted in Santo Domingo to promote tourism to the island (and it worked!). For the first time, Miss Dominican Republic (Blanca Aurora Sardiñas) qualified for the semi-finals and Janelle Commissiong, from Trinidad & Tobago, became the first black woman to win the Miss Universe title.
- Juan Luis Guerra, a popular and respected singer in Latin America was born in Santo Domingo.
- The famous amber that appears in the box office hit Jurassik Park (the one with the trapped mosquito that started it all) can be found at the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata.
- Merengue, the rhythmic and popular dance music, originated in the Dominican Republic in the 19th century.
- Sugar, tobacco, cocoa and coffee are four of the Dominican Republic’s main agricultural exports.
- The Dominican Republic is known for producing excellent rum.
- Mamajuana is a special local spirit made with different spices, rum and even wine. People say it works as an aphrodisiac!
Nature & Attractions
- Altos de Chavon is the recreation of a medieval European town, complete with an open-air amphitheater, cobble-stone roads and a charming church.
- Saona Island is part of a government-protected natural reserve, which is why it is one of the most beautiful spots of the country.
- There are hundreds of animal species that inhabit Saona Island. In there you can find several types of turtles, beautiful birds like the monk parakeet, odd reptiles like the rhinoceros iguana, manatees, dolphins and fishing bats.
- Humpback whales come every year from December to March for mating on the Bay of Samana, in the northwestern part of the island.
- The Hispaniola Island has a warm tropical climate and varied elevations. This offers amazing variations in flora and fauna, from beachside coconut trees to elevated coffee plantations in the mountains.
- The Dominican Republic has an average temperature of 78 °F (26 °C), ranging from 73 °F (23 °C) in winter to 82 °F (28 °C) during the summer.
- The Dominican Republic is the second largest country in a Caribbean island (after Cuba).
- Members of the armed forces and the national police are not allowed to vote.
- The official language is Spanish, although English, French and German are widely spoken.
- The main source of income in the Dominican Republic used to come from coffee, sugar and tobacco. Nowadays, it comes from the service sector (aka tourism!).
- A major highway (Autopista del Coral) was recently built to go from Punta Cana to La Romana way faster!
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