With more than 5 million tourists per year, the Dominican Republic is a tourist destination for many people from all over the world. Its soft sandy beaches and sun to achieve a perfect tan, is a paradise for those who want to enjoy an unforgettable vacation.
But, do you know the most interesting facts about the Dominican Republic?
Our varied and beautiful country is not just a Caribbean paradise, with dazzling white sand beaches and turquoise waters. In fact, many other treasures lie in its rich history, vibrant culture, natural wonders, and people full of charm and hospitality.
That is why, in this opportunity, we have compiled a list of more than 15 curious and fun facts about the Dominican Republic that you should know, especially if you are planning to travel to the Caribbean country to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.
Knowing the following facts will give you a deeper insight into its culture, history and traditions. And, surely, it will encourage you to quickly pack your bags to discover its many natural treasures and experiences that will make you fall in love. Let’s see!
More than 15 curious and fun facts about the Dominican Republic
Knowing everything about a country like the Dominican Republic in a single article seems like an impossible task. And it really is. However, now you will find essential but valuable information about one of the main tourist spots in the Caribbean so that you don’t miss anything.
Now, discover below more than 15 fun and interesting facts you should know about the Dominican Republic. We hope that many of them will surprise you and encourage you to discover this true paradise on earth. Let’s get to it!
Its inhabitants are very sociable and cheerful
The sociability of Dominicans is widely known, and it is difficult to talk to a traveler who has not been pleased with the treatment received by the locals. However, if it is your first time in the country, it is important to know that they tend to use affectionate adjectives to treat others with kindness.
In addition, the residents are welcoming people with a great sense of humor. For them, family is the most important thing, so it is not uncommon to find up to 3 generations living together in the same house.
With a variety of socioeconomic classes, ethnic groups and geographic backgrounds, it can be difficult to identify a unifying culture. However, a love of celebration, music, dance and baseball, their national pastime par excellence, holds them together as one people.
2. It was the first territory to be colonized in the Americas.
While we have read and heard a lot about Spanish colonization in Latin America, you may not know that Santo Domingo (the capital of the Dominican Republic), is the oldest inhabited city in the Americas and the first seat of Spanish colonization in the then “New World”.
As you probably already know, Christopher Columbus landed on December 5, 1492 on the island populated by the Taino Indians since the 7th century. His voyage was intended to find a new route to India to trade spices, but instead, he ended up discovering one of the most beautiful and visited natural spaces in the world.
3. A tourist destination where world-class sports can be practiced
One of the reasons why the Dominican Republic is so popular as a tourist destination is that it also offers world-class resorts and golf courses.
On its more than 750 miles of coastal beaches, travelers can practice numerous water sports, such as scuba diving and snorkeling on coral reefs, boating, swimming, surfing, and much more.
In addition, its other natural landscapes allow visitors to go hiking, biking, horseback riding, and many other incredible experiences to delight your senses. Not for nothing does the Dominican Republic receive millions of visitors ready to embark on exuberant new adventures.
4. It is also home to the oldest cathedral in the world.
The Dominican Republic also has the oldest cathedral in the world. Did you know that its foundation stone was laid by none other than Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus?
In addition to the famous cathedral, it also houses the first municipal building and the first university built in the Americas. Today, the colonial city of Santo Domingo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Country creator of the musical genre “Merengue” and “bachata”.
If there is one thing that distinguishes Dominicans, it is their dynamic and joyful musical taste like few others. The genre widely known as “merengue”, a favorite of the Latin community, was created in this Caribbean country.
The Dominican Republic is known for creating and developing this style of music, which cannot be missed in its parties, both within and outside its borders, influencing the musical styles of other Latin American countries.
Merengue is characterized for being a style of music that is danced fast and rhythmically. But this is not all. The Dominican Republic is also the creator of another musical genre known worldwide: “Bachata”.
In fact, this genre was largely influenced by the bolero. It is said to have originated in the countryside in the 1960s, but later made a big impact in the city, staying forever and crossing its borders to become internationally very popular.
6. Mind-blowing prehistoric relics that appeared in the movies
Besides being an exporter of very danceable and romantic music, the Dominican Republic is home to an amber stone where we can see a mosquito kept inside. In fact, this famous stone had its appearance in the famous movie Jurassic Park, being an essential part of its story.
Additional curious fact: a part of this movie, and other very famous movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Godfather II, were filmed in the capital, Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.
The amber stone can be seen at the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata. As a curious fact, this amber stone is a fossilized tree resin, created millions of years ago thanks to the warm climate, and the extinct prehistoric leguminous tree, Hymenaea Protera.
These natural conditions, unusual in other parts of the world, make it a very rare relic, so our country is one of the few that owns one of them in the world.
Moreover, it is not the only endemic stone of the Dominican Republic, as it also has the larimar stone. It is a very rare blue-colored stone that changes color from a light to a deep greenish tone. Its color is due to the concentration of the silicate mineral pectolite, with which artisans create beautiful Larimar necklaces.
7. Its flag is the only one that contains an icon of the Bible.
The flag of this Caribbean country was designed by founding father Juan Pablo Duarte. That is why the image of the Bible appears in its composition. This famous religious text appears open with the Gospel of John chapter 8, verse 32, which says: “And the truth shall set you free”.
It is currently the only country in the world to have a Bible on its flag.
8. Producer of foodstuffs traded around the world
Those who love to taste rich cocoa or coffee, and fruits such as bananas, mangoes, and more, then in the Dominican Republic you will find all of them and more. In fact, Dominican rum and cigars are highly sought after by connoisseurs around the world.
It is also a major producer of sugar cane, cotton and other cultivated and processed products that generate a large source of employment for Dominicans.
9. It is the country of origin of the famous fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.
Oscar de la Renta is one of the best known haute couture designers of our century, and he comes from the Dominican Republic. In fact, he was born in the city of Santo Domingo.
Its popularity is such that celebrities of international stature have worn its pieces, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush, Hilary Clinton, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and many others.
10. Taste the famous dish “Bandera Dominicana”.
Yes, just as you read it! The “Bandera Dominicana” is a typical dish of Dominican gastronomy with a very patriotic name. It is made with meat, white rice and beans, which are arranged in a similar way to the Dominican flag on the surface of the dish.
First, the rice is arranged in the shape of a cross, while the meat and beans form four red corners to simulate the flag of the Caribbean country. Some tourist packages include the possibility of learning how to prepare this traditional dish for tourists, which are courses taught by true experts of Dominican cuisine.
11. Its gastronomic variety has brought it international recognition.
The Dominican Republic has recently been distinguished as the Gastronomic Culture Capital of the Caribbean, highlighting the exotic and delicious Caribbean flavors that you can enjoy in their great variety, such as shrimp, fish, rice, beans, fruits and vegetables in unique dishes.
In fact, the traditional food of the Dominican Republic is a clear reflection of its history, heritage and patriotic pride, as we have seen in the previous fun fact. In addition, it is also important to note that its food is also heavily influenced by foods of Spanish, Taino and African origins.
Among them we have some favorite dishes of Dominican cuisine that you can not miss during your stay, such as:
- Habichuelas con dulce: this is a traditional dessert enjoyed during Lent. It consists of red beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, evaporated milk, raisins, sugar and salt. All of them are mixed in a sweet liquid covered with milk cookies or cassava. Delicious!
- Sancocho: traditional stew served at parties and special events. Beef is the main protagonist, but depending on the cook, it can also include goat meat, pork or chicken. Root vegetables are added to this stew, and finally served with avocado and rice.
- To die dreaming: that’s right! This is a popular drink with a very appealing name for visitors. Made with milk, orange juice, cane sugar and crushed ice, it is a refreshing drink to drink under the sun. It can also be prepared with lemon or vanilla juice.
12. A unique tour of 27 water cascades
The 27 waterfalls of Damajagua is one of the most impressive natural tourist attractions in the Dominican Republic. If you are a lover of water slides, rivers, and caves, go on a tour to enjoy nature, this place will enchant you. It is a natural jewel only seen in this Caribbean country.
13. It is the home of whales during the summer
Thousands of tourists and connoisseurs of marine fauna decide to visit the Dominican Republic to observe the giant humpback whales. During the months of February and March, these beautiful animals migrate to Samaná Bay, in the northwest of the Caribbean country, for their mating season.
Between 2000 and 3000 giant humpback whales migrate from the North Atlantic to find themselves in the warm waters off the northwest coast, ready to mate and reproduce. These impressive animals choose this warm environment because, in the cold northern waters, their calves do not have enough blubber to survive in.
14. Meet Palmchat, the national bird and not only because it is endemic.
In Spanish, this national bird is known as “cigua palmera”, because it is in the palm trees where it creates its nests to live and harvest its fruits to feed itself. It is only possible to see this beautiful bird on the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic shares the island’s territory with Haiti).
This unique bird makes its home in palm trees in an unusual way, as they build their nests with a pile of wooden sticks, coffee and orange trees, forming an apartment-like complex with internal passages.
It is worth noting that these charming little animals share many personality traits with Dominicans, as they are cheerful, noisy, social and love to sing! They probably love merengue as much as we do.
15. An amazing Faro
It is the famous “Columbus Lighthouse” where his tomb is supposedly located in Santo Domingo. However, the most surprising thing about this lighthouse operated by the navy is that at nightfall it projects beams of light in the shape of a cross so intense that they can be seen in Puerto Rico, that is, some 200 miles away.
It is said that in this lighthouse, next to the Cathedral of Seville in Spain, are the remains of Christopher Columbus. It is possible that his remains have been distributed in both cities. But DNA tests have not been able to solve this mystery.
16. Experience the absence of gravity in Barahona A real mystery!
Finally, did you know that in the Dominican Republic there is a famous downhill dead spot that defies the laws of gravity? It is located at the Magnetic Pole of Barahona, which is essentially a town located in the southwestern part of the country.
If you stop your vehicle in neutral downhill, it will move uphill without any external manipulation or control. This phenomenon is known as a “gravity hill”.
However, it is caused by an optical illusion related to the shape of the road and the landscape. While it is a mystery solved (although many theories continue to circulate), it is amazing to witness this one-of-a-kind event!
As we have seen, the Dominican Republic is more than just beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery! Its lively culture, history and diversity make it a country with a lot to offer to visitors, who will get an experience like few others in one of the most joyful and colorful countries in the world.