25 Interesting and Fun Facts About Dominican Republic [Explained]

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There are many countries in the Caribbean but none is as beautiful as the Dominican Republic. It is situated on Hispaniola Island, which it shares with Haiti. There are many fascinating facts about the Dominican Republic that you should know to better understand this increasingly popular travel destination.

Common Facts About Dominican Republic

Famously known as the “Nature Island Of The Caribbean,” this Caribbean nation has an approximate population of 10.7 million people. It boasts some of the most incredible natural landscapes and biodiversity in the world.

Want to know an impressive fact about the Dominican Republic? While it might not be the most well-known travel destination worldwide, it is the most visited country in the Caribbean in 2022. This is followed by Cuba and Jamaica.

In any fairness, it is not hard to see wide. The Caribbean island is famous for its beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, terrain, and rich culture. There are several amazing facts about Dominican Republic that easily captures the heart of visitors.

Historical Facts Of Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Is Over 1000 Years

Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Taino people inhabited the Hispaniola island. Their major activities were farming, and hunting, while some were gatherers. With the arrival of Europeans and the emergence of smallpox, the Taino people diminished. The main factor for the population decline was death, although some of them fled.

The European arrived on the island in 1492. Christopher Columbus was the first Spanish to set foot in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. They started a sugar cane plantation on the island.

The French arrived in the area just a little down the line in the 17th century. They started a tobacco plantation on the island, creating more industries.

The Dominican Republic became independent in 1865.

Dominican Republic Was Santo Domingo

An interesting fact of Dominican Republic is that the island has experienced a series of name changes throughout history. It has gone from West Hispaniola to Santo Domingo and now the Dominican Republic.

The most popular of the names was Santo Domingo. That name is now adopted as the capital of the Dominican Republic. In 1844, it gained independence from Haiti and held on to the name Santo Domingo until the 20th century.

After gaining independence from Haiti, it underwent Spanish occupation from 1861 to 1865. It went to war before it gained a second independence in 1865, after which it established its first constitution. The country also experienced occupation by the US from 1916 to 1924.

Dual Chain Of Colonization

Like Haiti, Dominican Republic had two different colonial masters. First, it was the Spanish after Christopher Columbus landed in the area in 1492. But later, in 1795, the Spanish ceded the area to France.

Here’s one funny fact about Dominican Republic’s Independence. In 1808, they joined forces with Haiti and drove the French out. However, when they succeeded, Haiti took over. It was only in 1844 that the Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti.

Execution Of Illegal Immigrants

Rafael Trujillo, a Dominican Republic Dictator in 1937, ordered the execution of illegal Haitian immigrants in the country.

This was a brutal execution that claimed the lives of at least 25,000 Haitians in just one week. On the 30 of May 1961, Trujillo was assassinated.

Cathedral of Santa María la Menor

One of the most impressive historical Dominican Republic facts is that it houses the first cathedral in the “New World.” The construction took almost 50 years to complete from 1504 to 1550.

The building features a beautiful Gothic architecture. In fact, this is one of the very few real Gothic architectural feats outside Europe.

That said, the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor is an architectural landmark in Latin America. This beautiful building is laced at the front with a golden-tinted coral limestone façade. It also houses a treasury with numerous valuables; truly a beauty to behold.

Useful Facts About Dominican Republic For Tourists

Punta Cana

This is one of the busiest places in the Dominican Republic for good measure, and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. You certainly want to take advantage of this resort paradise if you ever visit this country.

The soft golden beach sand can be deceiving as it almost looks synthetic. The area is known for its crystal-clear waters and its 32km stretch beach.

There are lots of activities you can engage in while in Punta Cana. Hiking, golfing, and surfing are just a few of them. One cool fact about Dominican Republic’s resort town is that it has over 24,000 hotel rooms. The serenity is unrivaled.

Whale Watching

One of the exciting facts about Dominican Republic is its strategic location for whale watching. Humpback whales travel to the Bay of Samana from the North Atlantic in February and March for mating. This is a good time to visit the Dominican Republic if you want to catch a glimpse of the humpback whales.

Pico Duarte And Lake Enriquillo

How about this for a surprising and fun fact about Dominican Republic? You can find both the highest and lowest point in the Caribbean here.

Pico Duarte is the highest point in the Caribbean, standing at 3098 meters above sea level. In the same vein, Dominican Republic also hosts Lake Enriquillo, the lowest point in the Caribbean. Lake Enriquillo sits 46 meters below sea level.

27 Waterfalls Of Damajagua

As one of the wonderful tourist attractions in the Dominican Republic, the waterfalls of Damajagua are an impressive sight to behold.

Located in Puerto Plata, this is a place to picnic with your family to enjoy the water and ecological beauty. There are 27 waterfalls in total, and it will require exceptional stamina to go through all 27 in one day.

The escalation of the waterfalls has created a natural slide. You can slide from the top down into the river. The area is safe and protected by the Dominican government. If you are looking for some outdoor fun when visiting the country, this is definitely one place to check out.

Faro a Colon

Also known as the Columbus Lighthouse, this is an iconic monument in the capital of Dominican Republic. The total cost of constructing this structure was a whopping $USD70 million.

The plan was created in the 1930s, but the construction only began in 1982. It was ultimately completed in 1992, just in time to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first voyaging arrival of Columbus to the continent.

Cultural Facts Of Dominican Republic

La Bandera, The National Dish

Here’s one interesting fact about Dominican Republic food – The national dish La Bandera shares the name with the national flag. Linking the national flag and dish together shows how highly regarded La Bandera is.

A typical meal in the Dominican Republic mostly consists of rice, beans, vegetables, plantains, and meat. The La Bandera is no different. It only has a beautiful tweak.

La Bandera is traditionally taken during lunch. And it tries to replicate the beauty of its namesake, the flag. The beans represent the red, the rice represents the white, and other fruits, meat, and veggies represent the blue. More than its appearance, it is quite a delicacy.

Joint Family

An important cultural fact about the Dominican Republic to know is that people hold their family in high regard. Isn’t it interesting? Many people love to keep the family tight and as small as possible. It is no surprise to see a family of 3 to 4 generations living under the same roof.

Festivals And Celebrations

Like many other Latin American countries, Dominican Republic loves to have fun and celebrate its culture. It seems there’s always some festival going on in the country throughout the year.

Fiestas Patronales is a festival where saints are honored, and these festivals are common in Hispanic countries. There is always a saint to honor.

In June, Dominicans celebrate the festival to honor Saint John the Baptist. At this festival, you get to experience the Dominican culture as it features in its songs, dance, and costume.

One interesting fact about Dominican Republic culture is the celebration of their African heritage. Interestingly, many other Latin American countries, including Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela, also have celebrations of African culture.

Baseball, The National Sport

Dominicans love baseball and they grow into the sport since young. Just a little under 1 million kids in Dominican Republic play baseball. And at least 100 Dominicans play in the professional baseball leagues in the United States.

In the Dominican Republic, watching local baseball is the same as watching a professional game. You can feel the passion and how immersed they are in the game. Some of the world’s greatest baseball players, like David Ortiz and Juan Marichal, are Dominican.

Agriculture In Dominican Republic

The agriculture industry in the Dominican Republic is a thriving one. Because of their fertile land, they can engage in different kinds of farming.

Some of their main export include sugar, coffee, bananas, mango, tobacco, and cocoa. The Dominican Republic also has one of the best rum and cigars in the world.

Ethnicity And Religion

The official language in the Dominican Republic is Spanish. The ethnic groups include mixed (73.9%), white (17.8%), black (7.8%), and others (3.2%).

Christianity is the dominant religion in the Dominican Republic. 66.7% are Christians. (44.3% Roman Catholic, 21.3% protestant, and 1.1% other Christian). 29.6% have no religion, 0.7% other religions, and 2.0% did not specify their religion.

Geographical Facts About Dominican Republic

Large Dominican Republic

Many think Dominican Republic is a small country. Well, that’s far from true. It is actually the second largest country in the Caribbean, just after Cuba. This might not be an obvious fact of Dominican Republic as it is located off the coast along with Haiti.

The country has a land area of 48,670 square km. it stretches 390km from east to west and 265km from North to South. That means it is twice the size of New Jersey, and also almost the same size as Slovakia.

Here’s an interesting fact about Dominican Republic’s size. Flying from the UK to Puna Cana takes 8 hours while flying from Texas, US to Punta Cana takes 2 hours. Driving within the country from Punta Cana to the North coast takes at least 5 to 6 hours.

Second Largest Caribbean Island

That said, one cool Dominican Republic fact is that it is located on the second largest island in the Caribbean Hispaniola. The country shares the island with Haiti. However, Dominican Republic takes about two-thirds of the island.

Mountain And Valley

The geography of Dominican Republic consists of many majestic mountains and is often considered a mountainous country. One interesting fact about the Dominican Republic is that, despite the mountains, the valleys are very fertile and good for agriculture.

Simple Facts About Dominican Republic For Kids

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the Capital of the Dominican Republic. It has a claim to be the capital of the new world and is situated centrally on the southern coastline. The city prides itself in having the first cathedral, university, and hospital in the new world.

Features The Holy Bible

Here’s a quick and interesting fact about Dominican Republic that you may not have noticed. It is the only country in the world to feature the Holy Bible on its national flag.

The National Currency Of Dominican Peso

The Dominican peso is the national currency of the Dominican Republic, with the code of DOP, or referred to as RD$.

The history of the Dominican peso dates back to 1844 when it was first used as a form of currency in the country. Back then, it replaced the Haitian gourde after independence from Haiti. Dominican Republic also used to have another currency called the Franco that was active for just a short period from 1891 to 1897.

While many other Caribbean countries such as Aruba and Barbados have their currencies pegged to the USD, this is not the case for DOP. The Dominican Pesos has been a free-floating fiat since 1963.

Other Interesting Facts About Dominican Republic

Not Everyone Gets To Vote In Dominican Republic

The constitution of Dominican Republic denies the armed forces and police the right to vote. Only civilians and those who meet certain criteria can vote.

Best Economy In Central America

Dominican Republic is considered an upper-middle-income developing country. Due to various industries in the country, including mining and Agriculture, Dominican Republic has a stable economy.

In fact, Dominican Republic boasts the biggest economy in Central America and the Caribbean combined. And it ranks 9th in Latin America economically.

Amber And Larimar

These two precious and semi-precious stones are unique to Dominican Republic. The amber stone is featured in the popular movie Jurassic Park. One specific amber in the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata features a Mosquito preserved in it.

Larimar is another popular gem used in many handmade jewelry pieces from Dominican Republic. It comes in different colors, from white, green, blue, and light blue. These can be good souvenirs for memory’s sake.

Great Place To Film Movies

Because of the eco-community and the biodiversity in Dominican Republic, it makes a good setting for shooting movies. Many blockbuster movies have been filmed in this country. Some of the most notable ones include Jurassic Park, Rambo II, The Lost City, and Fast & Furious 3,4, 5 & 7, among others.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Dominican Republic

From the beautiful mountains and valleys to its unique gems, it’s easy to see why this Island is the top travel destination in the Caribbean. Despite the many interesting facts about Dominican Republic, these are just the tip of the iceberg of this amazing place full of culture and history.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or just want to soak up some sun on one of the stunning beaches, make sure you plan your trip soon so that you can experience all it has to offer! This Caribbean paradise certainly promises an unforgettable adventure and you are bound to discover more fascinating facts about Dominican Republic.


PIN THESE FUN FACTS ABOUT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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