Situated amid the vast Caribbean Sea, the Dominican Republic is a country of vibrant and diverse traditions. Neighboring locations from the Dominican Republic include Haiti, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.
However, this place is the second largest Caribbean country after Cuba. There is a plethora of factors that make the Dominican Republic exciting. So, here is a list of ten fun Dominican Republic facts.
First American Settlement in Europe
One of the interesting fun facts on Dominican Republic history is about the European invasion. The Dominican Republic was the first place to host Europeans as they decided to settle in America.
Previously known as the island of Hispaniola, this place is a history chapter taught in American schools. Christopher Columbus first visited the Dominican Republic around 1493.
His interest in this diverse land of beautiful landscapes invited large European colonies to settle in America. Moreover, the European encounter with the Dominican Republic’s indigenous tribes hugely impacted the cultural, social, and economic factors.
However, the island of Hispaniola was deeply influenced by the Spanish culture. European food, music, and art began to shape the cultural structure of the island of Hispaniola.
Within a short span, the indigenous people of the Dominican Republic began to accept the change. Today what people about this country is a blend of European and Caribbean cultures.
Tallest Mountain in the Caribbean
Pico Duarte being the tallest mountain in the Caribbean is one of the most important facts about Dominican Republic travel destinations.
The mountain is located in the Dominican Republic and it receives a large number of visitors annually. Besides being the highest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte is also one of the highest mountain ranges.
It stands at a towering height of more than 10,000 feet above sea level. The Cordillera Central Mountain range is the home to the Pico Duarte Peak which falls under the central Dominican Republic.
You can visit Pico Duarte through the protected area of the Armando Bermúdez National Park. Hike to the top is for an adventure activity and get a certification from the National Park authorities.
Locals residing near the Pico Duarte are very noble and they serve as a reliable guide. Moreover, they will take you on unseen hiking trails to help you reach the top.
Passion for Baseball
There is a huge love affair between the Dominican Republic and Baseball. This relationship dates back to the late 19th century when the sport was introduced to the island.
Initially, the game was played as a casual sport between Cuban immigrants and American sugar plantation workers. With time, baseball gained popularity among the residents and it spread through the Dominican Republic.
This country is home to some of the most prominent players of Major League Baseball. Such a huge contribution to the sport earned the nickname of “The Dominican Pipeline” to the MLB.
One of the most exciting things to know about the Dominican Republic is the electrifying atmosphere in the baseball arena. Baseball enthusiasts from around the globe visit this place to witness the legendary baseball events.
Moreover, Baseball has significantly contributed to the country’s economy. A successful baseball career in the Dominican Republic is a financial security for players and their families.
The Oldest Cathedral in the Americas
Located in the heart of the Dominican Republic capital, the Catedral Primada de América is the oldest cathedral in the Americas.
The Spanish began its construction in 1512, and took 28 years to complete, making it the first cathedral in the Americas. Moreover, this cathedral is also known as the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor.
Catedral Primada de América is an example of the majestic Spanish architecture built in the 1500s. On visiting this monument, you will witness a blend of architectural styles ranging from Gothic to Plateresque elements.
Stunning vaulted ceilings, ornate altars, and beautiful glass windows make this place a haven for tourists and pilgrims.
Within the property, there is a historical museum that displays the cathedral’s past. Moreover, you can learn more about the city of Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic facts.
You can also explore a rich collection of artifacts, art, and the island’s history. Catedral Primada de América was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
Leading Amber Producer
Dominican Republic being a leading amber producer is one of the exciting things to know about Dominican Republic.
Amber production in this country has a rich history since time immemorial. On this date, it stands as one of the leading Amber producers.
However, Amber mining in the Dominican Republic demands huge manpower. Mines and quarries are located in remote forests and miners work all day long to make their ends meet.
Amber extraction is usually executed by hand where miners use picks and shovels. Miners have to dig through all layers of soil and rock till they get their desired product.
Amber mining requires both skill and patience, as the raw material is fragile and easily damaged. However, the Dominican Republic government boasted several museums dedicated to this rare gemstone.
You can visit the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata which displays a rare collection of amber specimens. Such an effort educates visitors about its geological and historical value.
Delicious Caribbean Cuisine
When you are searching for Dominican Republic facts, don’t miss the food. Cuisines in this country is a blend of Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern flavor. There is a plethora of exotic and delicious dishes you can savor when visiting the Dominican Republic.
If you want a healthy breakfast, the Mangu dish is highly recommended. It is a popular Dominican breakfast dish made from different vegetables.
To prepare the dish you have to boil, mash, and mix the vegetables with butter. Eating Mangu for breakfast is a healthy way to start your day.
However, if you like a soupy meal, go for Sancocho: the country’s national dish. It is a combination of a variety of meat such as chicken, beef, and pork. It is also one of the funny facts about Dominican Republic food as it has vegetables on top.
After having a hearty dinner, everyone wants a mouthful of dessert. Influenced by Spanish desserts, locrio is a popular rice dish cooked with a variety of ingredients.
Often featuring chicken or seafood as the main protein with vegetables, Dominican locrio is worth tasting.
Music and Dance
As music and dance are integral cultural components, many know the Dominican Republic in that way. Just like the country’s food, music and dance are also a blend of African, Spanish, and other influences.
Dominican music and dance are both deeply traditional but are also constantly evolving. One of the unique facts on Dominican Republic people is that everyone knows how to dance.
Among all dance forms, Merengue is probably the most iconic and well-known Dominican genre. You must be fast-paced, infectious beat-driven to perform Merengue.
Another immensely popular Dominican music and dance form is Bachata. This genre is known for its romantic sad lyrics that display love and emotional heartbreak.
Instruments used to create Bachata music consist of guitar, bongo drums, and maracas. Sometimes, musicians in the Dominican Republic create a marvelous combination of Merengue and Bachata. So, pick up some best selfie poses with those lively dancers.
As the Dominican Republic is one of the vibrant Caribbean countries, it is a land of colorful festivals. If you witness the carnival, participate in the Diablos Cojuelos Festival.
The name translates as “Limping Devils” and the festival is known for its unique characters. People are dressed as devils who wear colorful costumes that feature fancy masks with red horns.
This festival is inspired by the Caribbean heritage and there is enough music and dance to enjoy. Moreover, you can participate in the Merengue Festival that is held in July in Santo Domingo: the capital city.
People in this festival celebrate whole-heartedly and perform the country’s national dance: Merengue. The largest nationalist festival in the Dominican Republic is celebrated on February 27th.
On this day, Dominicans celebrate their Independence from Haiti with large parades and celebrations. You’ll see the Dominican flag waving in the independent sky in every part of the country. Moreover, there are many Dominican Republic interesting facts on festivals.
The Rare Gemstone
The Dominican Republic is probably the only place where you shall find naturally occurring Larimar. The name comes from a combination of two words: “Larissa,” and “Mar.”
Larissa was the name of the daughter of the man who discovered the gem, and “mar,” is the Spanish word for sea. The gem is a greenish-blue stone that resembles the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
However, Larimar is quite rare and only found in the southwestern regions of the Dominican Republic. Locals believe that this gemstone can induce metaphysical and healing qualities.
Many astrologers prescribe it for having a calm and relaxing mind. Larimar is one of the interesting Dominican Republic facts that contributed significantly to the country.
The Dominican Republic is a country that is rich in almost all factors. It is the most powerful economy in all of Caribbean nations and has a vibrant culture.
From gemstones to the tallest mountain in the Caribbean, this place has it all. However, the list of exciting things to know about Dominican Republic is never short.
When it comes to traveling to the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is on top of the list. If you are staying far from this land and planning to travel, consider some long-distance travel ideas and book your tickets.