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25 Interesting Facts About the Dominican Republic (Updated for 2023)

25 Interesting Facts About the Dominican Republic (Updated for 2023)

Are you thinking of traveling to the Dominican Republic and want to learn more about this exotic country? The Dominican Republic is a diverse and unique place that has much more than miles of sandy beaches.

25 Fun Facts About the Dominican Republic

From delicious cuisine to magnificent merengue music, these facts and stories will take you on an unforgettable journey to this Caribbean paradise. Let’s explore the Dominican Republic together and find out what makes it so special.

1. The Dominican Republic Changed Its Name Several Times

A direction pointer that says Santo Domingo 9,537 km.

irisff/Shutterstock

Throughout its history, the Dominican Republic had different names. The most popular one was Santo Domingo which is actually its capital now.

It held its name in the period from 1844 to the early 20th century. Also, when the Dominican Republic was under the Haitian occupation in the 19th century, it was called West Hispaniola.

2. Baseball Is the Official Sport of the Dominican Republic

Can you believe that people in the Dominican Republic are obsessed with baseball? They love this sport so much they start playing it as little kids.

Baseball, or pelota, was introduced to the people of the Dominican Republic by immigrants and tourists from Cuba in the 19th century.

It is more than just a sport for the Dominicans – it is a point of pride. So if you want to connect with locals in the Dominican Republic, bring up the topic of baseball.

3. The Merengue Was Invented in the Dominican Republic

If you have ever tried Zumba, you are familiar with merengue. This is a type of music and dance that originated in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

It started rising to popularity in the 19th century during the Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo. The good news is that even if you are not a dancer, this lively dance is easy to pick up by complete beginners.

4. Christopher Columbus Discovered the Dominican Republic First

We all learned in school that Columbus was the first to find America. But did you know that before discovering the New World, he landed in the Dominican Republic first?

On December 5, 1492, Columbus and his crew arrived to the island known as La Isla Espanola or “The Spanish Land”. That was what we know now as the Dominican Republic.

5. There Are Mountains in the Dominican Republic

A country area where a few houses can be seen and tall mountains in background.

Jeanette Dietl/Shutterstock

When you think of the Dominican Republic, you probably imagine an exotic paradise with pristine sandy beaches, lush palm trees, and crystal-clear water. However, surprisingly, the Dominican Republic also has mountains.

Even though they are not impressive in height, they protect the island country from hurricanes and reduce the chance of damage. The highest mount in the Dominican Republic and the highest point in the Caribbean is Pico Duarte.

6. It Is the Most Popular Tourist Destination in the Caribbean

In general, the Caribbean is a vibrant, diverse, and dynamic region that constantly attracts millions of tourists every year. But one country stands out in the crowd, and it is the Dominican Republic.

This Caribbean gem is known for its biodiversity, hospitality, stunning beaches, and recreational activities for everyone. That is why this island paradise remains the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean.

7. Santo Domingo Is the Oldest City Founded by Europeans in the New World

Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, and it is the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Make sure to visit this open-air museum with the cultural and architectural colonial past where the Old and New World meet.

8. The Dominican Flag Has an Interesting History

If you look carefully at the flag of the Dominican Republic, you will see interesting details that tell the history of the country. For example, you may notice a bible at its center.

Why the bible? The Dominican Republic is a religious Catholic country, and the bible on the flag is the symbol of the country’s deep-rooted values and faiths.

9. The Dominican Republic Is an Exporter of Some Essential Products

A banana that has a label from Dominican Republic.

MOTALA, SWEDEN- 7 DECEMBER 2021: Organic bananas from Dominican republic. Photo Jeppe Gustafsson/Jeppe Gustafsson/Shutterstock

You may know about the Dominican Republic as the place for a lovely summer vacation. However, this island country also plays a significant role in the world economy.

Sugar, tobacco, bananas, cigars and coffee – all these products are exported from the Dominican Republic to other countries. They represent the spirit of the Dominicans and also contribute to the country’s economy.

10. The National Bird of the Dominican Republic Is the Palmchat

As mentioned above, biodiversity is what makes the Dominican Republic so special and different from other countries in the Caribbean. The palmchat is like the emblem of this biodiversity and one of the symbols of this exotic country.

The interesting fact is that this bird cannot be found anywhere else in the world. So, if you spot this rare bird while in the Dominican Republic, consider it a sign of good luck.

11. You Can See the Oldest Cathedral in the Americas in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has a rich history, and old buildings relfect this. In the heart of the Dominican capital Santo Domingo you can see the cathedral of the 16th century – Santa Maria la Menor.

It is a unique architectural marvel combining two different styles – Gothic and Baroque. Make sure to visit iconic building to learn more about the history of the Carribbean region.

12. The Local Cuisine Is the Unique Blend

The Dominican Republic’s culinary experience is a true Caribbean gem. The blend of African, Spanish, and Taino influences offer an unforgettable gastronomical journey. One of the most popular traditional dishes that you should try is La Bandera – the mix of meat, rice, and beans.

13. The Coastline in the Dominican Republic Is 800 Miles Long

Aerial view of a beautiful coastal area with blue waters.

Nick N A/Shutterstock

It is not a secret that the Dominican Republic is famous for its magnificent beaches. This is actually the main attraction and the primary reason why people travel to this exotic paradise!

Imagine, the coastline in the Dominican Republic is 800-miles long, so it will take you months to visit and explore all the beaches.

14. The Dominican Republic Had Been Under the Rule of a Dictator for Over 30 Years

There was an unfortunate time in the country’s history, when it was ruled by the iron-fisted dictator Rafael Trujillo. It might not be the funest fact about this country, but it is an important chapter in the Dominican Republic’s history.

The period from 1930 to 1961 in the country was characterized by human rights abuse, absolute power, and censorship. The good news is that after Trujillo was gone, the Dominican Republic entered the new era of democracy, freedom, and progress.

15. The Dominican Republic Is Among the Top Gold Producers

It can be referred to as the golden country. Do you have an idea why? This is because it is on the list of the top 10 gold producers in the world.

There are many minerals extracted in this island country, but gold is the most important in terms of value and volume. There is the Pueblo Viejo mine that produces almost 50% of gold in the entire country.

16. The Dominican Republic Is the Perfect Place for Whale Watching

Do you love whales? Then, you should know this surprising fact: due to the migration of the Humpback Whales, the Dominican Republic remains one the best places for whale-watching.

You may wonder when is the best time to see whales? It is the period between January and March when these beautiful creatures leave the Atlantic waters and migrate to the warmer waters surrounding the Dominican Republic.

17. The Godfather II Was Shot in the Dominican Republic

A wall with the text of movie The Godfather with a yellow vintage car.

THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS – APRIL 21, 2019: The historic Desoto Taxi from the Movie: The Godfather, inside of the famous Louwman Museum/Friemann/Shutterstock

Are you a filmaholic? If you are, one cinematographic fact will surprise you! The Godfather II has several scenes that were filmed in the Dominican Republic!

Those scenes that were shown in the movie as Cuba were actually shot in Santo Domingo. In general, the El Ebajador Hotel located in the Dominican Republic’s capital is a very popular filming location.

18. The Family Values in the Dominican Republic Are Also Surprising!

Well, they are actually surprising for the western world, while for the Dominicans their values are traditional and absolutely normal. Most people in the Dominican Republic follow the concept of joint families.

What does it mean, you may wonder? It is a concept according to which several generations of one family live together in one house.

19. There Are Several Races Living in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is also a unique country in terms of population. It consists of several races: over 70% of the Dominican population are of mixed European and African descent, 17% of locals are African, and the remaining 10% are indigenous people.

20. The Dominican Republic Is Easily Accessible

Since this tropical country is so popular among tourists, there are multiple airports on the island, and you can fly directly to the Dominican Republic from 26 countries and 90 airports in Europe and North America.

21. The Babymaker Is The Traditional Drink in the Dominican Republic

Bottles of a beverage that has a label Mamajuana.

NEW YORK – MARCH 9, 2023: Unique Mamajuana Spicy, a Dominican Specialty Spirit, presented at the Jakob K. Javits Convention Center during the Vinexpo America Drinks America 2023 in New York./Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

The actual name of this traditional Dominican drink is mamajuana, but people call it “the babymaker” due to its aphrodisiac properties. It has a dark red color and contains red wine, rum, herbs, and honey.

It is also believed that this alcoholic beverage has other health benefits: it increases energy levels, improves blood circulation, and provides congestion relief.

22. The Symbol of the Diversity in the Dominican Republic Is a Doll

As mentioned above, there are several races living in the Dominican Republic, so the country is known for its diversity. Because of this, the typical appearance of a Dominican person varies drastically.

The symbol of this diversity is a faceless doll named Muñecas Limé doll. So, if you want to bring a nice and memorable souvenir from this tropical paradise, this doll is definitely is a great idea.

23. The Dominican Republic Is the Place of Eternal Summer

This country is where the summer never ends. The Dominican Republic welcomes guests all yearlong. The temperature on the island almost never changes, and it is about 80F year round. So, if you want a real summer vacation, this Caribbean destination is a perfect choice.

24. It Is a Top Destination for Golfers

Do you like playing golf? Do you want to combine this fun activity with your summer vacation? The Dominical Republic is a perfect place for that, as the island is famous for its golf courses. There are dozens of them near beaches, which makes this island country a premier destination for golf players.

25. The Dominican Republic Is the Wedding and Honeymoon Paradise

A couple walking on a white sand shore where a small boat can be seen in the waters.

Irina Montero/Shutterstock

It is one of those countries that people choose for having a wedding or spending their honeymoon. This makes the Dominican Republic the most romantic place in the Caribbean region.

Frequently Asked Quetions

Below you will find the most frequently asked questions about the travel to the Dominican Republic:

How can you get to the Dominican Republic?

Getting to the Dominican Republic is quite easy, and there are several options. One of them is flying, as there are 8 international airports on the island. If you are looking for an alternative way to travel, you can take a cruise, boat, or yacht.

When is the hurricane season in the Dominican Republic?

There is the Atlantic hurricane season that begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th. However, most hurricanes occur in September.

Is the Dominican Republic safe?

The Dominican Republic remains one of the safest countries in the entire Caribbean region, so you have nothing to worry about.

Book Your Trip to the Dominican Republic Today!

As you can see, the Dominican Republic has so much to see and to experience! So what are you waiting for? Do not hesitate and book your trip to this exotic paradise to have the best tropical vacation in your life!