About Dominican Republic

Location/Geography

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second-largest island in the Caribbean, with a surface area of 48,198 square kilometers. Located in the heart of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the Caribbean Sea.

Population

The population of the Dominican Republic is almost 10 million people.

Time Zone

Local time is Caribbean Eastern Time (GMT -0400). In the winter it is an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. The Dominican Republic does not practice daylight savings time, as is customarily done in the United States.

Capital City

The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo which is the oldest city in the new world. It has a population of almost 3 million people.

Government

The Dominican Republic’s political structure is based on democratic principles. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president and legislators.

Language

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. However, you’ll be surprised how many hotel and tourist destination employees speak English, French, German and Italian. If you decide to venture outside of the tourist areas, it is helpful to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.

Currency

The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. You can find out the exchange rate a twww.xe.com/ucc. Major credit cards and travelers’ checks are accepted at many of the country’s tourist locations; ATMs are located in almost all of the Dominican Republic’s cities, as well as at most resorts.

Climate

The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate year-round. Depending on your location, a typical day could have full sun or a combination of sun and clouds. The average annual temperature ranges from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C). The coldest season is between November and April, and the hottest season is between May and October.

The People

The people of the Dominican Republic are surely some of the friendliest people in the Caribbean. This country hosts a multi-racial and multi-cultural society with three quarters of mixed origin and the other quarter of either European or African descent. Two thirds of the population lives in the cities and the other third live in rural areas. A third of the population is under fourteen years of age and five percent are over 65 years of age. The government or the services sector employs more than half of the working population, and about a third are employed in agriculture.

The Dominican Cuisine

Dominican Republic cuisine is predominantly made up of a combination of Spanish, indigenous Taíno, and African influences, the first and last occurring over the last five centuries. Dominican cuisine resembles that of other countries in Latin America, those of the nearby islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba, most of all, though the dish names differ sometimes.

Breakfast can consist of eggs or meat and mangú (mashed plantain). A heartier version uses deep-fried meat, such as Dominican salami. Cheese is another popular accompaniment.

As in Spain, the largest, most important meal of the day is lunch. Its most typical form, nicknamed La Bandera (“The Flag”), consists of rice, red beans, meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), and salad.