The Dominican Republic, with an area of 48,482 square kilometres, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with its neighbour Haiti to the west. Cuba is the only larger country within the Caribbean and the greater Antilles region. Hispaniola is strategically located directly in the heart of the region. (When Christopher Columbus saw the island on his first voyage in 1492, he couldn't stop raving about its natural beauty, insisting that ""There is no more beautiful island in the world."") The Windward Passage separates western Hispaniola from Cuba. To the east of the D.R., across the Mona Passage, lies Puerto Rico only 54 miles away.
The landscape is forested and mountainous, with valleys, plains and plateaux. The soil is fertile with excellent beaches on the north, southeast and east coasts, rising up to the mountains. Its people are friendly and hospitable by nature; if you return their courtesy, they'll do their best to ensure that your vacation is memorable. The D.R. also happens to be one of the least expensive Caribbean destinations.
The country has several areas with all the attractions and amenities necessary for the perfect island vacation. Santo Domingo is the oldest continuously inhabited city in this half of the globe, and many visitors find it difficult to tear themselves away from its historic district, the Colonial Zone. There are many beach resort areas, perhaps Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, or La Romana, on the southeast coast; Punta Cana, on the island's eastern tip; Samaná, in the northeast; the Amber Coast or Puerto Plata, to the northwest; or Barahona, in the southwest.
Ancient sunken galleons and coral reefs divert divers and snorkelers. And everywhere there's the breathtaking scenery, the land ever turning and twisting and towering into mountains before tumbling into the sea."
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