The Dominican Republic - Almost a Tropical Paradise
The Dominican Republic is not quite a tropical paradise - but we'd say that in a lot of ways it comes pretty close. Predictions are that the DR (as it is often referred to) will go from strength to strength over the next few years as visitors find out just what a wonderful wealth of exciting activities and landscapes it has to offer. Often called the Caribbean's 'best kept secret', this soubriquet will become less appropriate as visitors increasingly recognize that nowhere else amongst neighbouring holiday island hot-spots can beat the DR for value!
From - whale watching to bird watching; exhilarating sea fishing (for 'big game' like marlin) to gentler pastimes such as world-class snorkelling; terrific terrain for hiking and cycling; adrenalin pumping sea-sports like windsurfing and kiteboarding to just as much excitement inland, from whitewater rafting, canyoning, caving, jungle trekking, mountain climbing...and so on!!!! The DR offers all this and so much more.
But let's not forget what many people visit the DR for - the sun, sea and sand! With well over 300 soft, white, typically tropical beaches (many virtually deserted much of the time) the DR is probably the best place in the Caribbean for these too. Amongst them you will also find Cayo Levantado, the original setting for the 'taste of paradise' beach, familiar to many as the home of a certain well known 'coconut' filled chocolate bar!
Preparing To Travel
The world has changed a lot in the past century. Thanks to the invention of airplanes and high-speed trains, today's world is wide open to travel. In a day's time, we .....
Along with wonderful tropical forests, waterfalls, mountains (Pico Duarte is the highest in the Caribbean, and that's the pinnacle of the largest of five mountain ranges in the DR) and even desert areas, the DR has something for every taste. It also has superb Parques Nacionales and many unspoilt, and untouched areas. In fact the DR is a pretty big place so is by no means as over developed and as touristy as the majority of its Caribbean competitors (except maybe in one or two 'well known' resort areas).
The Island of Quisqueya (on which both the Dominican Republic and Haiti now reside) was home to the remarkable Tainos before it was 'discovered' in 1492, by Christopher Columbus, and renamed Hispaniola. It is therefore not short of historically and culturally fascinating attractions. For example, the capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest City in the New-World, and a visit to the 'old town'- the Zona Colonial - is a must on that day away from soaking up the sun that almost inevitably shines no matter what time of year you take your vacation.
Whilst in the capital, there is also few better places for the sports enthusiast to take in a superb game of baseball, or 'beisbol' as the Dominican call their 'national game'. A game about which they are fanatical almost to a man (and woman). In fact several of the major Dominican cities host fine quality teams that frequently feature those local star players who have also made it big in the American Major League game.
It is certain that the more that those visiting the Dominican Republic can be encouraged to escape from their 'all-inclusive' compounds and take the independent traveler route in order to discover the real DR, the more that both the tourists' and their wonderfully welcoming and friendly Dominicans hosts will be happy! Like Columbus himself, they might find it 'the most beautiful land' they have ever seen...and decide to stay!