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Dominican Republic Information 2017-01-08T16:47:53+00:00

 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INFORMATION:

The DR is a destination like no other: unspoiled beaches, clear blue sea, friendly people, democratic government, and secure real estate investment.
This truly is an island paradise with a rich history and prosperous future.  Known for warm and hospitable people, Dominican Republic (or DR) features astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture.

WELCOME!

 Discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, the country overflows with fascinating history, museums and exciting cultural experiences like music, art and festivals, plus uniquely Dominican specialties such as cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, merengue, amber and larimar.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, our lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options. Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.

Quick Information at a Glance:

  • Average year-round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius
  • 1,000 miles of pristine coastline – some of the best beaches in the world
  • Outstanding property administration, management and rental programs
  • Full ownership and registered titles – no bank trusts
  • Outdoor lifestyle with year-round fishing, golf, swimming, diving, sailing, etc.
  • Outstanding properties with the finest finishing, with much cheaper prices than North America or Europe
  • All the amenities of home:  high speed Internet, telephone, satellite, cable, restaurants, shopping, banking, schools
  • Thriving community of expats who live here full time, and part time
  • The Dominican people are warm, friendly, and welcoming
  • Safe country with far lower crime rate than the US, Costa Rica, Belize, or Mexico
  • You do not have to have residency status to purchase property
  • Sound democratic government and banking system (Scotia Bank is the largest bank on the island)
  • Excellent medical facilities and trained physicians
  • Very tax and investor friendly with no restrictions on foreign ownership.
  • Excellent rental occupancies – average 55-80% over the course of the year – your property can earn an income or carry itself with holiday renters and/or long term permanent residents.

Weather

The weather remains tropical year round, with slight variations dividing it into basically two seasons, summer and winter. Being in a tropical zone brings humidity, but by the shoreline the sea breezes tend to make it feel less hot and more comfortable.

Temperatures average 23°C in the early mornings to 32°C at mid-day. There is little difference between winter and summer temperatures with July averaging at 82ºF (28ºC) and January at 76ºF (23ºC).  The months of May and November-December are regarded as the rainy season. The hurricane season** lasts from June through November, with August-September being the peak months.

Cool Season Is from November to April, with what is considered pleasantly warm weather, relatively low humidity and low precipitation. The temperature hovers fairly constantly around 27°C (80°F) during the day and drops to around a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night. November and December are the months to expect rain and it can be heavy, although brief.

Hot season is approximately from May to October. Average temperatures rise to 31°C (87°F) during the daytime and drop to about 22°C (72°F) at night. At the height of summer, expect the temperature to rise above 30°C (90°-100°F) There is high humidity, which means there is more chance of rain from May to August, but usually the 30-minute tropical (sometimes heavy) showers are overnight.

**Hurricanes? The Caribbean hurricane season lasts from June to end November. August and September are the months when most hurricanes have hit and these affect the south and east coast primarily. In the rare instance when a hurricane comes over the island, because the north coast is sheltered by two mountain ranges, it is usually downgraded to a tropical storm, only resuming hurricane strength when it reaches the open seas.

Government & People:

  • Government type: Representative democracy
  • Capital: Santo Domingo
  • Independence: 27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
  • Constitution: 28 November 1966
  • Legal system: Based on Spanish civil codes
  • Chief of state: President Leonel Fernandez note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government

The Dominican government is quite forward thinking and is intent on continued economic relationships with the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world. Tourism naturally makes up a large component of the economy and keeping tourists and foreign investment is a priority for this government, and the country as a whole. This is still the third world and this means many issues for the country including moving the people into the 21st century in terms of education and a global view.

People

Anyone who travels to the Dominican Republic will tell you that its people are among the friendliest in the world. It is a multi-racial country of over 9 million, with most people being a mixture of African and Spanish; however, you can still find descendants of the original inhabitants of the island, the Taino indians.

Two thirds of the population live in cities with the other third living in rural areas. For many people who have moved to the DR from North America or Europe, the people of the DR are both a source of delight and confusion. Anyone who is used to a fast paced way of life may find the island pace to be slow, and the people not in too big a hurry! However, if you ever require assistance or want to make a new friend, the people of the Dominican Republic are warm and receptive to newcomers and will often go out of their way to lend a hand.

Family is considered very important on the island, with extended families providing a large support structure and the basis for everyday life. A third of the population is under fourteen years of age and five percent are over 65 years of age. The government and the services sector employs more than half of the working population, and about a third are employed in agriculture. On the north of the island, many Dominicans work for the tourism industry in one form or another, and many are also employed by “gringos” (not a derogatory identifier!) or foreigners in various capacities.

Most people who live here enjoy a more simple way of life than in Europe or North America. Due to the tropical climate, Dominicans enjoy a very outdoor lifestyle with windows open all year and doors left ajar for neighbours to wander in and visit. Dominican communities are close knit, and homes are close together. It is definitely an “everybody knows everybody” environment.

Poverty is still a fact of life for many people of the DR. Wages are still very low for many people, and higher education an impossibility. While great strides have been taken to alter the flow of poverty, it will take many more years for the poorest of the country to change their way of life. Foreign investment is providing better jobs and helping to boost struggling small areas

Social Activities & Community

Many of our clients wonder about what it’s like to make the DR a part time, or full time residence. Sunshine, warm weather, and the beach are wonderful, but everyone needs a social group and friends in order to make a life and a home.

Even if you are here for a short time, you will find a large community of Canadians, Americans, British, and other nationalities that have have made the DR their residence for all or part of the year.

This is a welcoming community. If you visit any of the subdivisions or developments where we sell properties, you can usually see people gathered on their terraces enjoying a BBQ or drinks in the evenings. Count on being invited over or even to sit around the backyard firepit (those Canadians!).

The Sosua/Cabarete area offers all kinds of social groups for the ladies, golfers, divers, and more. Local, open air pubs are fun hangout places where you can connect with old friends, and make some new ones. Many people participate in charities and events to help out those less fortunate. This is also a fun way to give back and connect with others.

Many local places host events like bingo, flea markets, triva games, tournaments, Christmas events, and more. We even have a theatre group that puts on large plays each year. Sports is enjoyed on all the big screens for hockey, football, soccer, etc. There is always something going on.

The community here is thriving and continues to grow each year. Come for a visit and see how quickly it feels like home.

Activities and Things to do in the DR

Activities here are limited only by your imagination. With warm weather all year, most activites are based on being outside. For divers, snorkellers, golfers, hikers, boaters, or sun worshippers, this the place to be. Here are some specifics for you:

On the North Coast:

The north coast offers an incredible variety of sports and adventure opportunities – mountain biking, diving, windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing, canyoning, golfing, and fishing – to name a few.

  • Visit Ocean World and swim with dolphins, hit the beach, see sharks and other marine life
  • Visit Monkey Jungle for zip lining adventure. All proceeds to charity.
  • Take a monster truck safari or jeep excursion
  • Float along one of the lovely rivers or cascade over waterfalls or go white water rafting
  • Go deep sea fishing or spend the day on a catarmaran finding all the best beaches
  • For baseball fans, the DR is a mecca of talented players with great games.
  • Visit the ancient Spanish fort or Amber Museum in Puerto Plata
  • Check out the museum devoted to the original settlers of Sosua, Jewish immigrants
  • Try your luck at one of many local casinos

Here are some other great things to do:

• Encounter a more dangerous type of wildlife on Cabritos Island,a national park in the centre ofLake Enriquillo. It is the greatest preserve of the wild American crocodile and has large populations of flamingos and two species of iguana.

• Wander in awe along the miles of beautiful unspoilt beaches of the Atlantic coast. They are picture-postcard perfect. The most popular is Sosúawindsurfing and diving are particularly good here.

• Dive an astonishing variety of sites around the island. Reefs, wrecks, caverns and abundant marine life make the island a Mecca for novices and experienced divers alike. Great spots include Cabrera(freshwater cave with an underground lake) and La Caleta National Underwater Park.

• Come over all romantic on the Samaná Peninsula, located on the northern portion of the island.Samaná, with its transparent blue waters, miles of unspoilt beaches, and dozens of caves, is a lovers’ paradise.

• Go offshore fishing for marlin, sailfish, dorado, bonito and other game fish. Hotels can organise charter boats for visitors. River fishing in flat-bottomed boats with guides can be arranged at Boca de Yuma and on the north coast. 

• Get wet in the islands rapids. White-water rafting is available on the Río Yaque del Norte in Jarabacoa. Tubing (floating down the rapids in individual oversized rubber rings) can also be experienced on a few rivers.

• Cascading involves climbing up to the top of a waterfall and abseiling down the cascade; the best places to do this are Cascada del LimónCascada Ojo de Agua, El Salto de Baiguate and El Salto de Jimenoa.

• Conquer the highest mountain in the Caribbean. Hiking and climbing enthusiasts can ascend Pico Duarte (3,098m/10,160ft) either on foot or by riding a mule.

• Tee off on some of the world’s best golf courses. For more information, contact the Federation of Dominican Golf (FEDOGOLF) (website: www.golfdominicano.com)

Towns & Cities

luperonLUPERÓN
A port town of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, is located in a large bay, approximately 50 km west of Puerto Plata. It is predominantly known for its marina, Puerto Blanca Marina, located on the outskirts of town and is considered to be the safest harbor in the Dominican Republic. The earliest foreign residents were predominantly Belgian and Swiss and there is a small development of good quality housing in the area of El Castillo, with its beautiful, tranquil beaches. This is a developing area where land is still very affordable.

COFRESI
Located on a beautiful bay approximately 10 km west of Puerto Plata, is a resort community consisting of higher-end hotels, such as Sun Village, and exclusive private villas with picturesque ocean and mountain views, mainly situated in the hills of Altos de Cofresi. One of the area’s major attractions is the Ocean World Marine & Water Park with its much loved dolphin encounter. There is scope for further investment in this desirable area. Schooling is in Puerto Plata.

COSTAMBAR
This is a self-contained, gated project with a beautiful beach and calm waters. Many residents from around the world have made their home here. The area boasts a 9 hole golf course and club house, international bars and restaurants, a more than adequate supermarket, internet cafes and low maintenance fees. Villas, condos and small hotels/bed and breakfast properties mix together appealingly to give this area an established feel. Property prices are still at a good level and are expected to rise if anticipated changes to the port in Puerto Plata occur. Schooling is also in Puerto Plata.

puertoplataPUERTO PLATA
A somewhat faded glory to Puerto Plata with Victorian gingerbread-like mansions from the late 1800’s, located in the older part of the city and its many parks and cafes offering Dominican specialties. Many visit the city to see the historic fort, Fuerte de San Felipe. There is a 2 km boardwalk, or Malecón, lined with typical Dominican restaurants, where you can take a walk and enjoy views of the port and the Atlantic Ocean. Above the town sits Mount Isabel de Torres, accessible by a cable car which affords spectacular views of the city and coastline and the surrounding botanical gardens

SANTIAGO
Not located on the coast, but inland about an hour, this is the second largest city in the DR hosting a population that is rapidly approaching the 1 million mark. Santiago is a major commercial centre and can find lively night life, great shopping centres, numerous cultural activities and much more…So please don’t leave Santiago, la Ciudad Corazón (The Heart City) of the Dominican Republic, without visiting the many ancient monuments, churches and other cultural icons it has to offer

cab-restaurntsCABARETE
Cabarete is a small Caribbean town nestled some 12 kilometers from Sosúa. The town, with its beachside bars, restaurants and hotels, appeals to all ages but comes to life in the evening as one of the ‘hottest’ destinations in the Caribbean. It can also boast some of the finest soft white sand beaches on the north coast and is as friendly and welcoming as it can be. This is home to the kite and wind surfers, but offers scuba diving, quad and mountain biking or just sun worshipping on one of the best beaches on the north shore. Cabarete is ideal for those looking for a beachside investment that will rent with ease. There is even a local hairdresser, who will cut and style your hair while you sit under the shade of a palm tree on the beach. At night, the place becomes alive with the sounds of merengue and bachata playing from the many restaurants and bars along the beach. Local Dominicans sit alongside the road playing dominos oblivious to the busy traffic threading through the center of town.

sosuaSOSUA
The small town of Sosúa is located around 15 kilometers east of Puerto Plata. Over the last few years, it has developed into one of the most popular coastal resorts in the Dominican Republic. Situated between the main coastal road (Puerto Plata to Samana) and the Atlantic Ocean. It has several excellent sandy beaches, including Playa de Sosúa, Playa Chiquita and La Playita. This small town is situated around a large bay and consists of two quarters: El Batey and Los Charamicos, which are linked together by Playa Sosúa.

The area to the east of the beach, El Batey, focuses entirely on tourism and includes an attractive commercial centre with a large number of shops, restaurants, bars and terraces etc.

The nightlife is fun and exciting, especially for such a relatively small town. The beach, Playa de Sosúa, has good water-sports facilities and consists of an unbroken line of small shops selling souvenirs, snacks, drinks etc.

A centre of commerce, Sosúa has ease of living for most Expats looking for a centre with shops, banks, supermarkets, pharmacies and day-to-day necessities. For families, some of the best schools are available close by.

The town was founded by Jewish immigrants. These groups were victims of persecution in Europe during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. Former Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, offered Dominican visas for Jews escaping the trouble in Europe. Though theories vary on why Trujillo offered the visas, some refugees did take him up on his offer and founded Sosúa; in the northern part of the DR.

Watch this great Sosua and Cabarete Video

Gri-Gri-LagoonRIO SAN JUAN
This is an up and coming fishing and farming town about 100 km east of Puerto Plata. There are a few hotels and beautiful beaches in this area, as well as the Gri Gri Lagoon, where you can take a boat tour to see the unusual rock formations and magnificent mangrove trees. The Playa Grande/Cabrera area, about 120 km east of Puerto Plata, has a spectacular white powder sand beach lined by tall palm trees and surrounded by rugged cliffs. Big waves make it a popular spot for water sports but the undertow can be strong. There are many beautiful villas in the area. The Robert Trent Jones-designed Playa Grande Golf Course is located here, with 10 holes of the golf course being along the cliffs, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This is arguably one of the most impressive courses in the Caribbean and certainly a must for all golfers.

playa-grande-golfPLAYA GRANDE AND CABRERA
The area offers a superb return on investment, possibly the best in the Caribbean. Playa Grande beach and some of the smaller, more secluded beaches in the area are idyllic. Cabrera really must be seen to be appreciated and is especially popular with those who like a quieter pace of life and a natural environment. The town of Cabrera itself is a delight, being exceptionally well maintained. The considerable European
influence and investment in this area makes a noticeable difference to the quality of services and infrastructure and the whole area has a clean, fresh feel.

LAS TERRENAS
Located approximately 245 km east of Puerto Plata, must be accessed by one of two mountain roads. Upon arrival in Las Terrenas, you’ll be awed with the calmness of the area and the beautiful white sand beach lined with tall palms and pastel-colored wooden fishing boats. The next thing you may notice is its Mediterranean-influenced atmosphere. There are plenty of cafés and oceanfront restaurants where people can be found sipping wine over long, leisurely lunches, or having a mid-day break over a café latte. Shops there offer a variety of arts and crafts, many of them unique handmade items that can be difficult to find elsewhere in the Dominican Republic.

samanaSAMANA
Samana is a destination for nature lovers and adventurers. Green, green mountains, long beaches, solitude, lively little towns in between, turquoise waters. Samana is also a romantic destination, and several of its small hotels are perfect for honeymooners. It is also a good choice for experienced scuba divers. The place to stay if whale-watching is high on your agenda. It is the place to sit on a porch or in the shade of a palm tree, sipping something cool and discovering the rare feeling of being happy just being alive.

The exuberance of the area and the variety of natural attractions make it the preferred choice of those seeking an active vacation. Horseback riding, swimming, snorkeling, diving, sailing – all the activities that come with beautiful nature, – Samana is truly for explorers. Samana has a distinct, European flavor – The French were first, but now many Italians and Spaniards have opened up businesses to cater to tourists in the area

punta canaPUNTA CANA & BAVARO
The Punta Cana destination is made up of the areas (going from south to north) of Cap Cana (Juanillo), Punta Cana, Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto. Today, the East Coast beach strip is one of the best choices for those seeking the perfect beach and R&R (rest and relaxation) vacation. Punta Cana is that perfect place for a honeymoon – first or second.

Sophisticated hotels, miles of silky-fine white sand, deserted beaches with coconut palms. Unless you rent a car or purchase an excursion, don’t expect much sightseeing or outstanding shopping opportunities nearby. This area is made up almost completely of large all-inclusive resorts populated mostly by couples or families. Some resorts in the area cater to sports-minded people, others are couples only, but most resorts focus on family entertainment.

LA ROMANA
This tourist area, comprised of La Romana, Casa de Campo, Dominicus and Bayahibe, is an excellent choice for R & R vacations, honeymoons, family holidays, family reunions, teenagers, active travelers, scuba divers and golfers. If friends have raved to you about the Saona Island excursion, La Romana is the nearest point from which to embark on a trip to the islands of Saona and Catali.

JUAN DOLIO
Juan Dolio and its neighbor beach town Guayacanes are for those who seek a couples or family restful vacation but like being able to take many excursions. If you are staying in Juan Dolio, you are equidistant from the culture, shopping, dining and nightlife of Santo Domingo, great beaches, scuba diving and other attractions in La Romana, and just half an hour away from busy Boca Chica. This destination is perfect for those looking for a quiet escape with the comforts of home.

SANTA DOMINGO
As the capital of the country, Santo Domingo is the most bustling and diverse city in the Caribbean with a population of over three million inhabitants within the city and the Province of Santo Domingo and sprawls out over 250 square kilometers. It is the oldest city in the New World, where the settlement of all the Americas began.

No other city in the Caribbean has a greater variety of restaurants and night life. There are so many restaurants in this city that it is practically impossible even for those who live here to have visited them all. And it’s a city that never sleeps. A great place to meet people! See the first cathedral, the first hospital. Wander down cobble stone streets among the Spanish colonial architecture and imagine how things were back in the 1600s.

Santo Domingo has great shopping. Major chains from all around the world have opened branches here and more will be opening soon.

HISTORY OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

It is believed that the first inhabitants of the island Hispaniola were the Taino Indians with an estimated population of 300,000 or more in 1492. The Taino Indians named the island Quisqueya, which is still used by the Dominican people today. December 5th 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola for Spain, with an area of 29,457 square miles (76,294 sq. km), to later be occupied by two different nations the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The western one-third of the island belonging to Haiti consist of approximately 10,641 square miles (27,700 sq. km), and is very mountainous, while the eastern two-thirds of the island belonging to the Dominican Republic consist of approximately 18,816 square miles (48,734 sq. km), a north to south boundary with Haiti being 195 miles (315 km) long and a distances east to west of 235 miles (380 km) at its widest point, the Dominican Republic also includes several offshore islands.

tainomapsm-300x237When Christopher Columbus arrived the Tainos Indians received him and the Spanish settlers with open-arms and showed no hostility; however, they were abused by the Spaniards who used them as their slaves to mine gold and perform hard labor. They tried to resist the Spaniards to no avail. Within 100 years their population was totally annihilated.

In 1697, the island of Hispaniola was divided in two under the Treaty of Ryswick which was signed by France and Spain. This treaty was ratified by the Treaty of Aranjuez on June 3, 1777, and the Treaty of Basila on July 22, 1795, leaving the western one-third of the island (Haiti) under French rule and the eastern two-thirds of the island (Dominican Republic) under Spanish rule. On January 1, 1804, the French citizens, which occupied the western one-third of the island, became an independent nation creating the Republic of Haiti. Then 18 years later in 1822 Haiti took control of the entire island of Hispaniola for approximately 22 years.

In 1844 the Spanish people who lived in the eastern two-thirds of the island rebelled against the Haitians and proclaimed their independence, calling the new nation the Dominican Republic. The declaration of independence for the Dominican Republic was written by Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez and Ramon Matias Mella on February 27, 1844. For a brief period from 1861 to 1863, the country was annexed by the Spanish government with former President Pedro Santana leading the country under Spanish rule, but a popular revolt developed between 1863 and 1864, with military and United States intervention, a second Independence was regained in February 1865, in the War of Restoration.

 

In 1905 the United States established partial control of the Dominican economy to protect American and European creditors. In 1916 with increasing debts and internal disorders the United States Marines began occupation of the Dominican Republic until 1924 when the occupation ended. At this time the Dominican Republic had an army fully established with the commander, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, whom only a short time before had been a telegraph clerk in the army, became president in 1930 thus establishing a dictatorship, which history recorded as the longest and most ruthless times in the Dominican. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina shared power with his appointed lieutenants, Hector Trujillo (brother), from 1947 thru 1960 and then Dr. Joaquin Balaguer, from 1960 till 1962.

Trujillo regime brought economic stability to the country but did not allow its people any political freedom, he also changed the name of the capital city from Santo Domingo to Trujilo City. Then on May 30, 1961, leaders of the military assassinated Trujillo in Trujilo City, with President Dr. Joaquin Balaguer assuming control of the armed forces. To demonstrate support of President Balaguer, the United States President John F. Kennedy positioned U.S. warships and planes off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

December 1962, the first free election in nearly 40 years was held with Juan Bosch Gavilo, being elected president and inaugurated on February 27, 1963. Then on September 25, 1963, Juan Bosch Gavilo, was removed from power by a military coup led by Colonel Elias Wessin. The leaders of the country then appointed a three-man civilian junta, which the United States refused to recognize until the new regime promised to hold new elections by 1965.

April 24, 1965 a group within the army rebelled against the government with the purpose of restoring Juan Bosch Gavilo to president, causing Santo Domingo to become a battleground of civil war. On April 28, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson, of the United States, sent the U.S. Marines into Santo Domingo to stop the fighting and protect U.S. interest. May 1965, a cease-fire was established. In June 1965, the United States marines were withdrawn, but more than 12,500 other U.S. troops remained. in August 1965, a provisional government was established with Hector Garcia-Godoy , the former foreign minister under Juan Bosch Gavilo appointed president. New elections were held in June 1966,with Dr. Joaquin Balaguer, being elected president. Under his administration, stability and order was restored to the country. He was re-elected again 1970-1974 and 1974-1978.

Since then, the Dominican Republic has enjoyed a democratic, elected government.