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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC


OVERVIEW

A stay at one of our luxury Dominican Republic villas affords you a holiday in one of the most culturally fascinating countries in the Caribbean. People in the Dominican Republic are reputed to be among the friendliest in the islands, but that isn't the only appeal of this exotic region - the country is infused with a vibrant Latin flavor. From the white-sand beaches to the expansive mountains, visitors will find a plethora of offerings. Enjoying gourmet cuisine, world-class shopping, and championship golf are just a few ways to spend a wonderful day. Whether searching for relaxation or exhilaration or a little of both, the Dominican Republic, offers visitors a diverse, exciting experience and much, much more. Natural resources, a rich history (Santo Domingo is the oldest colonial city in America) and the perfect location, make the Dominican Republic a Caribbean haven. It is a place apart, where the happy and friendly candidness of the Dominican blends easily with visitors and emigrants from the world over to create a rich international atmosphere. It boasts the oldest Cathedral, University, Hospital, Hotel and many more buildings dating back to the 1500's. Columbus chose this island to settled in. His son was later governor of the island. This was the seat of the Viceroy (representative of the Spanish king in the colonies) making the island a must-visit before continuing on to the rest of the Americas. Many people arrived, fell in love with the island and settled here. Thus, the Dominican Republic boasts a true cultural melting pot, giving birth to its multi-cultural fusion cuisine which includes Spanish, French, Italian, German and Middle Eastern influences among others. 

 

Find Your Desire 

The Dominican Republic has varied terrain and an array of micro-climates, thus offering something for everyone. The island is the second largest in the Caribbean with 76,480 square kilometers (29,529 square miles). The Dominican Republic's side occupies 48,308 square kilometers (18,651.823 square miles) of the island. The highest point in the Caribbean—Pico Duarte, elevation 10,417 feet— is here. So is the lowest: Lago Enriquillo which lies 144 feet below sea level. Both are surrounded by lush tropical forests dripping with wild orchids and bromeliads and alive with flocks of parrots and flamingos, dramatic dunes landscaped with cactus, thundering mountain waterfalls and quiet seaside lagoons — All framed by some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Whether you're up for a stroll along a deserted beach, a hike to the Taíno caves in Parque del Este or an expedition into the heart of urban Santo Domingo—the oldest colonial city in America—there are plenty of places worth hiking to. Off the east coast of the Dominican Republic the Mona Passage is one of the most prolific habitats for billfish. Comfortable Marinas and experienced captains will take you into the blue to experience the thrill of blue and white marlin. Be kind, release them afterwards. There are also many shallow estuaries and river mouths rife with tarpon and snook. With three peaks over 10,000 feet, the Cordillera Central is often called the Dominican Alps. Repelling and rafting in the Río Yaque del Norte, a mild whitewater river, offers many thrills. A real challenging thrill is the climb to Pico Duarte. Guided tours that spend a night or two at shelters along the trail make the trip a little easier, yet, each year, less than 1,000 people make it all the way to the top. Beach, beach, and more beaches. The coastline is fringed with some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean. Hammocks, beach bars and miles of palm tree shaded beaches beckon. The Bay at Samaná and the nearby Silver Banks offshore offer some of the most dependable and thrilling animal encounters in the region. An estimated 3,000 humpback whales linger here from January to March during their annual migration between the North Atlantic and the Caribbean. The north coast of the island is host to surfers, windsurfers and kite boarders alike. Cabarete is one of the top destinations for windsurfing and kiteboarding. Portillo in the north coast of Samaná is also a favorite kiteboarding and windsurfing destination. Classes are available for those wishing to try. More than four million tourists visit the island every year and most return to the land where time passes at a slower pace than the rest of the world. This is due to the fact that for Dominicans, there is always time for fishing, playing baseball and golf, dancing Merengue, delighting in an exquisite local or international culinary masterpiece, and smoking a fine cigar, a great product of the Dominican Republic. This is a place to rest, relax and be happy. 

 

Golf 

With dozens of world-class designer golf courses surrounded by magnificent unspoiled nature, breathtaking coastlines and lush green fairways, the Dominican Republic is the new "in" destination for golf. Nine of the country's golf courses are included in Golfweek Magazine's 2010 list of the top 50 courses in the Caribbean and Latin America. Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, plus sports champions and golf enthusiasts from around the world come to enjoy 28 golf courses designed by golf legends such as Pete Dye, P.B. Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Nick Faldo, Nick Price and Greg Norman. Visitors to the Dominican Republic don't have to worry about bringing golf clubs or their level of experience. Each course offers golf clubs for rent at reasonable prices and golf lessons from recognized professionals. Whatever your handicap is, the golf courses of the Dominican Republic promise you a unique and challenging experience.

 

THE BASICS 

Electricity 

Electrical current is 110 volts, 60 Hz. American-style two-pin flat blade plugs are standard. 

Language

Spanish is the official language, but English is spoken in the main tourist centres. 

Tipping

Hotels and restaurants generally include a 10% service charge as well as tax, but additional tips should be given for good service as often the charge does not go to the staff that provided the service. Waiters usually receive 10% extra for good service. For other services including taxi drivers, tipping is discretionary depending on the service provided. 

Business

Santo Domingo is the centre of business in the Dominican Republic. Good working relationships are vital and trust is an integral part of doing business in the Dominican Republic; knowing the right people is half the battle won. Appearances are considered important and therefore dressing smartly is advised. Meetings are initially rather formal and a polite greeting accompanied by a handshake is common; expect small talk. Business cards are usually exchanged on introduction. Punctuality is important. Although English is widely spoken and understood, it is still useful to have all business material printed in English and Spanish. It is important to be polite and courteous at all times. Business hours are usually 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm Monday to Friday. 

Communications 

The international access code for the Dominican Republic is +1, in common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by 809, 829 or 849. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom); the outgoing code is not required for calling North America. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most major international operators. 

Duty Free
Travellers to the Dominican Republic over 16 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 1 box cigars; 1 bottle of alcohol, unopened and maximum of 2 litres; and up to 2 bottles of perfume for personal use. All animal products are prohibited. 

 

TRAVEL HEALTH

Good medical facilities exist in all tourist areas. Medical care is limited in remote areas. Medical expenses can be very high. It is normal for clinics to require patients to sign an undertaking to pay agreement and to take a credit card impression as guarantee of payment before providing medical care. Any incidents of sickness or injury requiring hospitalization should be reported to the Embassy of your country in Santo Domingo. 

 

CLIMATE 

The Dominican Republic has a moderate, relatively mild tropical climate, although it lies well within the tropical zone. Conditions are ameliorated in many areas by elevation and by the northeast trade winds, which blow steadily from the Atlantic all year long. The annual mean temperature is 77 °F (25 °C); regional mean temperatures range from 69 °F (21 °C) in the heart of the Cordillera Central to as high as 82 °F (28 °C) on the coastal plains. Temperatures rarely rise above 90 °F (32 °C), and freezing temperatures are unknown.