Happy Independence Day, Dominican Republic
Last year, I made my dream come true. I went to the Dominican Republic to meet my Dominican family AND fell in love with the people and the places.
To celebrate, I am sharing some of the images I took on my trip.
How Cuba and the Dominican Republic are similar.
Tourism is the Dominican Republic’s largest industry
The Dominican Republic is the most visited country in the Caribbean with over 6.1 million visitors each year and captures over 21% of the total Caribbean Tourism market.
Dominicans love to celebrate with a drink and a favourite of the locals is called Mama Juana or Mamjuana. It is made by combining rum, red wine, honey and herbs. Mama Juana tastes a bit like port wine, but the best bit is that it’s rumoured to be an aphrodisiac and also has medicinal value. They say it helps the flu, digestion, your kidneys and your liver!
Famous explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the island whilst working for the Spanish Crown in 1492. He named it La Isla Espanola and later called it by the Latin name of Hispaniola. It eventually became known as the Dominican Republic in 1821 after General Santo Domingo.
The Republica Dominicana flag as it’s known locally comprises of four rectangles (two red and two blue) that are divided by a white cross.
It’s the only flag in the world that has a picture of the holy bible in the middle of it.
An interesting fact about the Dominican Republic is the country’s passion for baseball. It was first introduced to the country in the 1880’s, and since then the game has become somewhat of a national obsession!
Culture and history lovers will be interested in the fact that the country is home to the first monastery, first cathedral, and the first fortress to be built in the Americans.
The importance of these architectural landmarks is seen by the fact that Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone has been named one of the World Heritage sites called Ciudad Colonial.
The area which bisects the city is the centre of the oldest European settlement. It’s extremely interesting, extremely beautiful and is surrounded by a stone wall.
The primary religion of the Dominican Republic is Catholic with 48% of the population. 21% if the population are Protestants and 28% Atheist or Agnostic.
The Dominican Republic has phenomenal food because of the varied ethnicity of the country. The countries food is a wonderful cornucopia of Spanish, African and Middle Eastern Cuisine. There are influences from many countries such as Lebanon, Cuba, Puerto, Mexico and Latin America. For example, one of the most popular dishes is called Quipe which originates from Kibbeh in Lebanon.
The currency used is the Dominican Peso, but US dollars are widely used. One US dollar is roughly 50 Dominican Pesos. (58.00 when I went there)
The Dominican Republic has near-perfect weather with over 300 days of sunshine.
The country is rarely affected by Hurricanes, and the last serious one to make landfall was 20 years ago and called Hurricane George in 1998. The average temperature year-round is 25 degrees Centigrade or 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
In fact, the weather is so fabulous; it is often described as the endless summer.
For the people who associate the Dominican Republic as a beach destination, one of the most surprising things you’ll find is the amount of interesting and beautiful historical buildings. Some must-see visits for culture lovers are the Catedral Primada de América and Fortaleza Ozama, the New World’s oldest colonial structure.
The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. There are many dialects of Spanish, but the most common one derives from Andalucia with some words borrowed from the Arawak Indians. Spanish is used and spoken by 90% of the population.
The Dominican People are all about family and have really strong family ethics.
They have a wonderful belief in the importance of extended family so much so that the oldest man in the household holds the greatest authority and the oldest married woman commands the household. The Dominican people are above all very loyal.
Dominican Republic time is not the same as real-time! The Dominican people are notoriously late! If you are punctual, expect to wait a while!!
As you can see, lots of similarities with Cuba ha