The Dominican Republic Continues To Amaze
Travelers with Its Beauty and Charm.
From the Capital City of Santo Domingo, the first city of the new world, to the north eastern coast of Samana, with its simple but beautiful surroundings, unspoiled beaches, and the opportunity to interact with humpback whales, all combine to make this Island a must see for all travelers.
Visitor arrivals continue to improve this year with the latest report indicating that there was a 6.55 percent increase over the same period last year, numbering 2.2 million guests
Santo Domingo, modern and cosmopolitan, was the cradle of civilization in the Americas betwe en the 15th and 16th centuries.
Founded by the Admiral Don Bartolome Colon in August 1496, it is the oldest city in the New World.
By 1508 royal edict, King Ferdinand of Spain, named the territory the Island of Santo Domingo. Its aboriginal name, Quisqueya, in the Taino language, meant “mother of all lands” Well before the Iberian presence, the island was inhabited by an indigenous population who called themselves the “Tainos”, a word that in their language means “The Good.”
The Tainos, a part of the broader Arawakan culture, may have originated from the tropical region of South America. Through a series of migrations by canoe, they settled throughout the archipelago of Islands in the Lesser Antilles.
They were physically well built and had a rather tawny complexion and dark eyes. Relatively peaceful, even when were nearly subjugated under the domination of a Chieftan, called a Cacique, historical records do, however, reveal a people who valiantly defended their families, their land and their freedom, when the Conquistadors tried to enslave them. Unfortunately, a population estimated at around 600,000 was practically exterminated in less than thirteen years.
The Dominican Republic has a population of over 8.5 million. Its territory is divided into 32 provinces and the national capital district of Santo Domingo.
The country’s political structure is based on the principles of democracy. Power is exercised among the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The country elects its President, Vice President and Legislators every four years by universal adult suffrage.
Its colonial district, the sanctuary of some three hundred monuments, was declared A World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1990.
Domincian Republic's oldest Cathedral.
From the colonial core, bordered by the Ozama River along the Port Avenue and the beautiful Malecon (seafront) overlooking the waters of the Caribbean Sea, the city extends eastward and westward, and evolves into modern avenues and surroundings that visitors find very relaxing and attractive.
As the oldest city in the New World, Santo Domingo features the first cathedral, first university and first hospital of the Americas. Despite all this history, Santo Domingo is quite modern and very continental.
The first city established in the New World, the Colonial Zone was erected by Columbus’ brother, Bartholomew and his son Diego. Visitors will also find hundreds of preserved buildings dating back to the early1500s. (Photo 1 of first cathedral)
The Renaissance Jaragua Hotel
and Casino in Santo Domingo.
Casino comfort in Dom Rep.
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two thirds of the Island of Hispaniola which it shares with Haiti. It is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and on the south by the Caribbean Sea.
Among the most attractive destination in Santo Domingo is the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel land Casino with 288 guest rooms and 12 suites.
It is ideally located in the premier business district and a short distance from the historic colonial zone.
Samana on the Islands northeastern coast is booming with tourism and the Spanish Hotel Chain Bahia Principe is now operating four luxury hotels complete with heliports. These include Bahia Principe El Portillo and Bahia Principe Samana.
One of the top attractions is whale watching from January through March.
Samana showcases its status as one of the best humpback breeding grounds in the world. Some 5,000 whales make their way to this area each year.
View from the Bahia Pricipe Hotel.
Bahia Portillo pool in Samana
Samana boasts of a mountain range system that includes six to seven million coconut trees that produce some 550 million coconuts annually. It has a population of 65,000 and continues to attract visitors far and wide.
Because of the increasing number of tourists, the authorities have built more than 60,000 units becoming the undisputable leader of the Caribbean area.
The Dominican Republic offers 22 professional golf courses, located less than one hour away from each other and visited by thousands of tourists every year who want to share in the beauty, richness and diversity of the Dominican Republic and experience the diversity of the people.
— Feature by Edwin Ali, Jetsetters Magazine Caribbean and Florida Editor; photos by author, except Ozama.