The Dominican Republic can be found in the Caribbean, an area consisting of the islands and surrounding coastline in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of the North American continent. The region is also known as the West Indies, and when the surrounding countries include such places as the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, you know that you're headed for a prime vacation spot.
The Dominican Republic shares its island in the greater Antilles with Haiti, where it is known as Hispaniola. The weather here is sunny and balmy, being tropical and maritime in nature. With the tradewinds from the Atlantic passing through the area, there's no problem cooling down in the heat.
With nine ecological zones in the country, the Dominican Republic is a great destination if you want to go for eco-tourism. The Caribbean islands are known as biodiversity hotspots because they support exceptionally diverse ecosystems, and Hispaniola by itself contains two species of solenodon (giant shrews), examples of the dozens of highly threatened species of fauna here. Since the country has the highest and lowest points in the Caribbean, there are a lot of different of different environments to try out between Pico Duarte (10,128 feet above sea level) and Lake Enriguillo (144 feet below). Eco-tourism also means experiencing the many adventure-type activities that many tour companies offer here, from horseback riding to kayaking to white-water rafting to windsurfing. The diverse geographical features here also offers you a chance to go canyoning, which is a blend of hiking, swimming, rock climbing, jumping and rapelling. You can then wrap up with a dip in a cool mountain pool!
But most people don't go all the way here to exert themselves. And with the beautiful white-sand beaches that they have here, why should you? Whether it's on the North, Northeast, or East Coast, you'll find the palm trees and fine sand like sugar, where you can laze the days away on a beach chair with a cold cocktail in your hand. Then you can take a dip in the clear, warm waters afterwards while you decide what to have for dinner at that resort you're staying at.
The South Central and South Coast offers an alternative to the more popular destinations up north. Peaceful gray sand dunes, natural waterfalls and stronger waves characterize the South, while South Central offers a bit more local color than the others, with vendors ready with personal tours or delicious local food.
Some beaches are deserted, and some are filled with people and establishments ready for some partying. Some beaches are big, some are small, but all are beautiful. How can you go wrong going to a beach in the Caribbean? And there is so much more to enjoy in the Dominican Republic aside from its natural features. It's a prime destination for golfing enthusiasts for instance, with amazing courses designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo. And you can't help but fall in love with the Hispanic-Caribbean cultural aspect of the country, including its delicious food, Merengue music, and love of baseball!
Plus, with its close proximity to Cuba, a visit to the Dominican Republic won't be complete without sampling some of its cigars, which are at par with the best its nearby neighbor can offer.
Dominican Republic is about 44,440 square kilometers big, being the second biggest nation in the Antilles region with Cuba being the largest. Dominican Republic has three major mountain ranges; these are the Cordillera Septentrional, Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental of the East. Situated between the Septentrional and the Central mountain ranges lies the fertile, scenic and rich valley of Cibao, the valley where the Santiago De Caballeros city is located while the Dominican Republic's capital city of Santo Domingo is situated on the northern part.