An Island with a History
On December 5, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the island that he later named Hispaniola. The indigenous people called it Quisqueya, which, in their language, means “Mother of All Lands.” The Dominican Republic occupies the territory that hosted the first permanent European settlement in America; among other “firsts” in the Americas, it was home to the first university, the first cathedral, and the first royal court.
The Dominican Republic is located centrally in the Caribbean Sea, at the convergence of all the routes of the Americas and the world; this makes it a geographically advantaged location for trade and tourism. Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Greater Antilles, and it is part of Central America and the Caribbean region.
The Dominican Republic is a fertile country, with almost 80 % covered by mountain ranges that run from the Northeast to the Southwest. Pico Duarte (3,175 m) is the highest point in the Antilles. The Cibao valley, one of the most fertile and best watered regions in the country, is located between the Cordillera Central [Central Range] and the Cordillera Septentrional [Northern Range], a range that runs parallel to the north. The country has several watercourses, the Yaque del Norte, [Northern Yaque], Yuna, and Camú in the north; the Yaque del Sur [Southern Yaque], Ozama, and Soco in the south; and a large salt water lake, the Enriquillo, in the southwest. It enjoys a tropical climate, moderated by prevailing east winds. Temperatures of over 23°C are recorded in the plains throughout the year, except during the summer, when temperatures range between 27°C and 35°C. In the mountainous regions, temperatures are cooler, and in some places, cold.
The Dominican Republic receives millions of visitors annually from foreigners and Dominicans residing abroad; it is one of the main tourist destinations in the whole of the Americas. Please click here to download the full guide.