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Dominican Republic Attractions and Things to See

The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola, that is part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, and opposite the country of Haiti, that occupies the western third of the island, and thus one of the two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. In population and area, the Dominican Republic is the second biggest Caribbean nation, after Cuba, with 18,704 square miles of land mass and an estimated 10 million people living there. It would be inhabited by the Tainos during the 7th century, and reached by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, which would become Santo Domingo, the nation's capital and Spain's first capital in the New World. The city of Santo Domingo, many of the new world's first stand, that include the first university, castle and cathedral, with these last two in the Ciudad Colonial area that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The country would continue to be under Spanish rule for three centuries, with Haitian and French interludes, but become independent in 1821, and then quickly taken over by Haiti. Winning the Dominican War of Independence in 1844, the citizens would endure internal strife, and then a short return to Spanish rule, for the ensuing 72 years. Then, in 1912, the United States would occupy it until 1924, with it would enjoy a six year period of prosperity and calm during Horacio Vasquez Lajara, that would then be followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina until 1961. The US would lead an intervention after the civil war of 1965, that would be followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquin Balaguer, from 1966 to 1978, and since that period has continued to head towards representative democracy, with Leonel Fernandez leading it since 1996.

It has become the Caribbean's biggest tourist destination, with the nation's year-round golf courses attracting many visitors, along with its excellent landscape that includes the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte, and Lake Enriquillo, the Caribbean's' biggest lake and lowest elevation. It contains a magnificent biodiversity, with music and sports very important to the people; and merangue the national dance and song, and baseball the national sport.

The culture and people of this great land is similar to its neighbors, that is a mix of cultures of the Spanish colonists, Taino natives and African slaves, that has become prominent in their religion, music, family structure and food. The typical cuisine is much like other Latin American countries, although the names of the dishes are different, with breakfast consisting of eggs and mangu, which is mashed boiled plantains, a particular dish that the country shares with Puerto Rico and Cuba. For the healthier styles, mangu is accompanied by deep fried meat, like Dominican salami and/or cheese. Lunch is the main meal of the day, and the most important that consists of rice, meat, beans and a side salad; with La Bandera or the flag is the favorite dish for lunch that had red bean and white rice, meat and a side salad. Sancocho is a stew made with seven varieties of meat.

As tourism grows, and more structures built, it is starting to fuel their economic growth, and its ecotourism is growing as well.  The country has many interesting and exciting attractions that include ecotours, sea excursions, horseback riding, massage therapy, scuba diving, waterfalls, kiteboarding, cigar factory, tours of magnificent sights and places, beaches, golf courses and nature tours. There are many things to do and keep you and your family busy for weeks, with great nightclubs and cafes for your evening hours that will send you to bed completely relaxed and exhausted.