Culture y Demographics Facts about República Dominicana

The Dominican Republic has been a favorite destination for many years, attracting celebrities, sports personalities and travelers. In fact, the country now has the highest number of hotel rooms in the entire Caribbean, with over 65,000, according to the Hotel & Tourism Association.

As well as a range of expensive boutique hotels, an even more personalized service can be found at the many affordable small hotels and eco lodges in beach and mountain areas or to historical heritage centers like Santo Domingo’s Colonial City.

LOCATION/GEOGRAPHY

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second largest in the Caribbean region, with a surface area of 18,533 square miles  (48,442 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.

Climate

The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with average temperatures ranging 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. August is the hottest month.

Population

The population of the Dominican Republic is most than 8,500,000.

Time Zone

Local time is GMT -4. It is an hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time in the United States in the winter. Unlike the United States and Europe, the Dominican Republic does not observe daylight saving time.

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 out of the tourist areas, it is helpful to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.

Capital City

The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World. Greater Santo Domingo has a population of around three million people.

GOVERNMENT

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president, legislators and city government officials. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeño were elected for a four-year term that began on 16 August 2012 and ends on 16 August 2016. The Constitution does not allow for consecutive re-election.

Currency

The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. Major credit cards are accepted at most tourist locations, but it is best to check in advance at small hotels, restaurants and shops. ATMs are located in almost all of the Dominican Republic’s cities, as well as at most resorts. Large supermarkets have ATMs that are open until late.

Music

Musically, the Dominican Republic is known for the creation of the musical style called merengue,  a type of lively, fast-paced rhythm and dance music consisting of a tempo of about 120 to 160 beats per minute  based on musical elements like drums, brass, chorded instruments, and accordion, as well as some elements unique to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, such as the tambora and güira. Its syncopated beats use Latin percussion, brass instruments, bass, and piano or keyboard.

Bachata, a form of music and dance of the Dominican Republic, has become quite popular in recent years. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original name for the genre was amargue (“bitterness”, or “bitter music”, or blues music), until the rather ambiguous term bachata became popular. Bachata grew out of, and is still closely related to, the pan-Latin American romantic style called bolero. Over time, it has been influenced by merengue and by a variety of Latin American guitar styles.

Cuisine

Dominican cuisine is predominantly Spanish, Taíno, and African. The typical cuisine is quite similar to what can be found in other Latin American countries, but many of the names of dishes are different.

One breakfast dish consists of eggs and mangú (mashed, boiled plantain). For heartier versions, mangú is accompanied by deep-fried meat (Dominican salami, typically) and/or cheese. Similarly to Spain, lunch is generally the largest and most important meal of the day. Lunch usually consists of rice, meat (such as chicken, beef, pork, or fish), beans, and a side portion of salad. “La Bandera” (literally “The Flag”) is the most popular lunch dish; it consists of meat and red beans on white rice. Sancocho is a stew often made with seven varieties of meat.

Meals are mostly split into three courses throughout the day like in any other country. You have breakfast which can be served between 8-9am. Then you have lunch, which is usually the heaviest meal course of the day which is usually served at noon sharp. The last meal of the day which is dinner is usually served by 5:30-6PM.

Sports

As they say in the Dominican Republic, baseball is much more than a game.

In March 2013, the Dominican Republic won Major League’s World Baseball Classic with an 8-0 dominating performance. Visitors to the Dominican Republic can experience the passion and the heart that Dominicans put into the game in the annual winter season championship.

Later in the year, Dominican David Ortiz would lead the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series.

This is also the land of Baseball Hall of Famer San Francisco Giants’ Juan Marichal and of the trio of Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz that propelled the Boston Red Sox to win the legendary World Series in 2004. It is the land of Robinson Canó of the New York Yankees and José Reyes of the Toronto Blue Jays, the sluggers who made sure the Dominican Republic clinched the World Baseball Classic.

Foreign Investments

With the largest economy in Central America and the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is known for its positive attitude towards foreign investments. According to the World Bank, the Dominican Republic was ranked as the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recipient in the Caribbean in 2012. In 2012, FDI flows into the Dominican Republic grew 59% on the back of the acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev of Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, the country’s largest brewer, for more than US$1.23 billion. Even without this acquisition, however, FDI in the Dominican Republic would have been up on 2011, driven by increased investments in electricity, manufacturing and mining. Investment was also up in manufacturing in export processing zones, tourism and real estate.

The Dominican Republic has a strong consolidated financial sector and a well-organized business community. This provides newcomers with networks for rapidly inserting themselves into industry and commerce. Geographically located near major markets, the Dominican Republic is at the center of the Americas. As such, it has signed trade agreements that provide privileged market access to and from the United States, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic has the most flights from most countries in the Caribbean and is served by eight international airports. Expressways and roads make it easy to travel to all three coasts of the country, the south, east and north.

Other pluses for doing business in the country include its abundant work force, including both non-skilled and highly skilled staff. There is a young and talented population, including a large number of bilingual workers.

Making matters even better, the country has a 10 million domestic market.

Outside economic reasons, the weather, natural and cultural attractions of the Dominican Republic make it an attractive place to live and raise a family. A leading world tourism destination, the country has more than 65,000 hotel rooms and 26 golf courses at beach, city and mountain destinations. There is excellent shopping with goods from all around the world, sophisticated restaurants and nightlife.

Entry Requirements

A valid passport is required. You may also need a tourist card (US$10 or €10) or a visa.

TOURIST CARD

Citizens of countries who are legally able to enter the European Union, Great Britain, the United States of America or Canada may enter the Dominican Republic by presenting a Tourist Card.

The Tourist Card is valid for a year from the date of purchase and is valid for an up to 30-day visit for one person who will only be able to use it once. The Tourist Card can be acquired at point of sale locations in land, air or sea ports in the country. It is also sold at Dominican embassies and consulate offices overseas and by tour operating companies.

Tourists staying beyond the usual 30-day period need to pay a proportional fee depending on the extension, which can be paid at the Department of Migration or at the migration desk upon departure.

VISAS

The Dominican Republic issues tourist, business, work, student and residency visas. Tourist visas can be issued for one or several entries and can be extended to 60 days.

TOURISM STATISTICS

3,923,693 non-resident foreigners flew to the Dominican Republic in 2012. A further 638,913 non-resident Dominicans also chose to visit in 2012. The Dominican Republic received 26% of the record number of 18 million visitors to the Caribbean region in 2012.

Most air arrivals landed at the Punta Cana airport, 61.3% of all air traffic. Santo Domingo was the second destination of arrivals with 21.1%, followed by Puerto Plata 9%, Santiago 4.2%, La Romana 2.7% and Samaná 1.4%.

Airports

Punta Cana International Airport

is only 15 minutes from the Punta Cana and Cap Cana area, and some 30 minutes from Bávaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto hotel areas. This is the Caribbean airport with the largest diversity of flights from all around the world. Seaside resorts are a 10 to 40-minute drive from the airport. The airport has three terminals, all featuring its characteristic palm frond-thatched roofs.

Las Américas International Airport

Las Americas International Airport (SDQ), also known as the José Francisco Peña Gómez Airport, is 30 minutes from the capital city of Santo Domingo and very close to the tourist areas of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.

La Romana International Airport

La Romana International Airport (LRM), also known as the Casa de Campo International Airport, is just 10 minutes from Casa de Campo Resort on the southeast coast and only 20 minutes from Bayahibe.