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Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic a lovely island in the Caribbean. Haiti is bordered to the west, together they are the island called Hispaniola.


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Dominican Republic Information

Some of the popular tourist areas
Punta Cana - Bavaro
This area of the Dominican Republic has become a popular holiday destination for people from all over the world. There are dozens of beautiful large, mostly all-inclusive hotels, spread over more than 30 miles (50 km) of beautiful white sand beaches, some of the most beautiful in the world. Palm trees dot the landscape, and it is truly a beautiful area of the Dominican Republic. There are many new resorts here that include spas, casinos, an amazing selection of dining options, on-site weddings, kids' clubs and large freeform pools.

The North Coast of the Dominican Republic is nicknamed the Amber Coast, because of its rich deposits of semi-precious amber. It is also the coast where Columbus landed on his first voyage of discovery. It is comprised of an assortment of thriving beach towns, resorts and communities, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and a chain of majestic coastal mountains - some of the most beautiful scenery in the Caribbean.

The South Coast, or Caribbean Coast, has miles of beautiful coastline and beaches, and is also where Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is located. Santo Domingo is known as the “birthplace of the Americas”, for it was the first European city of the Western Hemisphere. Today, with a population of over 2 million, it is the largest and most populated city in the Dominican Republic. Its colonial heritage is preserved in the Colonial Zone where you can see the first cathedral, first monastery, first hospital, first university, and first court of law, all dating back to the 16th century.


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Dominican Republic Communications

Telephone system: domestic: relatively efficient system based on islandwide microwave radio relay network international - coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 120, FM 56, shortwave 4 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 25 (1997)
Internet country code: .do
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 24 (2000)

Dominican Republic Driving, Safety and Road Conditions

Driving in the Dominican Republic is on the right side of the road. Speed limits vary from 28 mph in the city to 48 mph on rural roads, but they are generally not enforced. Traffic laws are similar to those in the United States, but undisciplined driving is common, due to a lack of adequate traffic controls.

A local traffic custom is that the larger the vehicle, the greater the right of way, regardless of the traffic laws. Driving is aggressive and erratic, and drivers often do not yield the right of way even when road signs or signals indicate they should. Defensive driving is advised at all times. Travel at night on inter-city highways and in rural areas should be avoided, due to vehicles being driven at excessive speeds, often with malfunctioning headlights or taillights. Turning right on red lights is permitted, but it should be done with caution.

Motorcycles and motor scooters are common in the Dominican Republic and are often driven erratically. While helmets for motorcyclists are required by law, the law is not enforced.

Seat belts are required by law, but that law is also not generally enforced. There are no child car seat laws. Penalties for those driving under the influence and those involved in accidents resulting in injury or death can be severe.

There are a variety of options for inter-city travel in addition to travel by car. Inter-city travel by tourists is safest on one of the more reputable tourist bus companies. Local buses known as "guaguas" and taxis also offer transportation but are not generally as safe.

Dominican Republic Economy

After a decade of little to no growth in the 1980's, the Dominican Republic's economy boomed in the 1990's, expanding at an average rate of 7.7% per year from 1996 to 2000. Although the country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee and tobacco, in recent years tourism (the leading foreign exchange earner), telecommunications, and free-trade-zone manufacturing have become the most important sectors, although agriculture is still a major part of the economy. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoy nearly 40% of national income.

Population below poverty line: 25%
Labor force: 2.3 million - 2.6 million
Labor force - by occupation: services and government 58.7%, industry 24.3%, agriculture 17% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate: 14.5% (2002)
Industries: tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs
Exports: $5.3 billion (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities: ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods
Exports - partners: US 85%, Canada 1.6%, UK 1.6% (2002)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Imports - partners: US 51.5%, Venezuela 9.6%, Mexico 5.1%, Spain 4% (2002)

Dominican Republic Entry and Exit Requirements

For Canadian citizens, a valid passport, or a birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship, along with photo identification, are required for both entry and exit. U.S. citizens must have a valid passport for travel to the Dominican Republic. This also extends to Canadians or other nationalities that will be flying to the Dominican Republic via the United States. All tourists must purchase a visa/tourist card at a cost of $10.00 U.S. to enter the Dominican Republic. Canadian travellers are provided with this visa/tourist card before leaving Canada. Visitors who do not obtain a visa/tourist card prior to entry must purchase one at the airport when they arrive in the Dominican Republic.

See Sample of Tourist Card/Visa

There is a departure tax of $20.00 U.S. per person. Canadian or other foreign currencies are not accepted for the departure tax.

When children travel to the Dominican Republic with only one parent, or with non-parents, they do not require any special letter of authorization, as long as they leave the DR with the same people they arrived with. (Note that it had previously been indicated that minors traveling with only one parent or non-parents had to have a letter of authorization legalized by the Dominican Consulate. This in fact pertains only to Dominican minors under 18, not to foreign travelers.) I would suggest it is probably a good idea to get something in writing signed by the parent(s) just in case there are any questions.

Children should have their own passport when traveling alone or with non-parents. Birth certificates are only acceptable when traveling with one or both parents and a child is under 13. Children over 13 need a student card along with the birth certificate as photo ID, or a passport. (U.S. citizens or other nationalities flying from the United States will require a passport)

Note: If a minor child is not leaving the Dominican Republic with the same people they arrived with, the parents or legal guardians must provide to the new companion, a letter of consent, legalized at the nearest Dominican Republic Consulate to the parents' residence.

If any further clarification is needed, please contact your nearest Dominican Consulate. You should also verify to see if there are any other requirements of the airline in order to board from your country of origin.

Dominican Republic Basic Facts

Country name: conventional long form: Dominican Republic - local long form: Republica Dominicana
Language: Spanish
Electricity: 110 volt (same as North America)
Legal Drinking and Gambling Age: 18
Location: Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti.
Currency: Dominican Peso
Area: 48,730 sq km - slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire, USA
Borders: 275km with Haiti
Coastline: 1,288 km
Terrain: rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m    highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m
Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures: 43%
forests and woodland: 12%
other: 15% (1993 est.)
Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver

Dominican Republic Government

Government type: representative democracy
Capital: Santo Domingo
Administrative divisions: 29 provinces and 1 district
Independence: 27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 February (1844)
Constitution: 28 November 1966
Legal system: based on French civil codes
Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age
note: members of the armed forces and police cannot vote

Executive branch:
Chief of state: President Leonel Fernandez note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (149 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are elected by a Council made up of members of the legislative and executive branches with the president presiding)

Political parties: Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]; Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD; Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC, and several others

Dominican Republic Military

Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police
Military manpower - military age:18 years of age
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $180 million (FY98)

Dominican Republic National Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day
January 6 - Three Kings Day - celebrated on Monday, January 5
January 21 - Our Lady of Altagracia Day
January 26 - Duarte's Birthday
Febuary 27 - Independence Day
April 10 - Good Friday
April 12 - Easter Sunday
Monday, April 6 through April 10 - school is out for Easter long weekend - a major holiday for Dominicans - watersports and other restrictions in place during this period, usually from Wednesday through Easter Sunday.
May 1 - Labour Day - celebrated Monday, May 4
May 31 - Mother's Day
June 1 - Corpus Christi Day
July 26 - Father's Day
August 16 - Restoration Day
September 24 - Our Lady of Mercedes Day
November 6 - Constitution Day - celebrated Monday, November 9
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 31 - New Year's Eve

Dominican Republic Population Statistics

Population: 9.365 million (2007)
Ethnic groups: white 16%, black 11%, mixed 73%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population:
84.6% male: 84.8% female: 84.7% (2003 est.)

Dominican Republic Transportation

Railways: total: 1,503 km
Highways: total: 12,600 km paved: 6,224 km unpaved: 6,376 km (1999)
Waterways: none
Pipelines: crude oil 96 km; petroleum products 8 km
Ports and harbors: Barahona, La Romana, Manzanillo, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, Santo Domingo
Major Airports
Santo Domingo - Las Américas International Airport
La Romana - La Romana International
Puerto Plata - Puerto Plata International
Punta Cana - Punta Cana International
Barahona - MarĂ­a Montez International Airport

Dominican Republic Weather & Water Temperature

Average Water Temperature:   Summer - 83o     Winter -  78o

Generally, the temperatures are hot during the day. Many of the days are a mixture of sun and clouds, the clouds being a welcome relief from the hot sun. In the evening you may need a light sweater. The chart below shows you the average temperatures for each month. January is the coldest month, and August is the hottest month. There is no real rainy season in the DR, it can rain at any time during the year. Much of the time the rain occurs overnight or as a brief afternoon shower.

Dominican Republic weather

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