Spotlight on Dominican Republic
The white-sand beaches, impressive mountain ranges veined with spectacular rivers and waterfalls, and saltwater lakes teeming with exotic wildlife are part of the Dominican Republic's appeal. Whether looking to party, relax or explore, the Dominican Republic has a lot to offer. Steer a small boat through endless mangrove forests in search of gentle manatees. Spy on lovesick humpback whales in the Bahía de Samaná. Get back to civilization and prepare to party. The locals throw festivals, parties and carnivals. Folks in the Americas' first European city, Santo Domingo, don't just spend their time admiring the fine colonial architecture gracing their home. This town has not one, but two complete Carnivals, complete with parades, elaborate floats, live music, and dancing in the streets. Pre-Lent Carnivals are celebrated in Santiago, Cabral, Monte Cristi and La Vega as well. Check out the country's two major merengue festivals, the annual Latin Music Festival and the national surfing and windsurfing championships.
Punta Cana – The unspoiled scenery of Punta Cana will leave you breathless. Forty miles of pearl-white sand beaches and luxurious beach resort hotels line the eastern coast of this island. Deep sea fishing is king on these shores. Punta Cana has put a priority on its ecological efforts. Vacationers can hike trails and view some of the native and rare species of animals and vegetation while the island's mineral springs offer a cool and refreshing refuge.
Puerto Plata - At the northernmost point of the country, Puerto Plata is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and the Atlantic Ocean. The entire shore is known as the Amber Coast, named for rich deposits of the lustrous stone. Surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Plata offers a great vacation in the Caribbean! The town bustles with shops, restaurants and patio cafes. It's a nice blend of cultures and architecture for an ideal Caribbean vacation.
Catalina Island / Casa de Campo - Located on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, Catalina Island is a tropical palm-fringed island paradise. Visit Casa de Campo, a posh resort of country club caliber. Approximately 45 minutes by ferry from Catalina, Casa de Campo offers wonderful beaches, golf, tennis, horseback riding, hiking and many other activities. If you'd rather stay on Catalina Island, you won't be left with nothing to do. Enjoy the pristine beaches, a beach barbeque, go swimming, snorkeling or partake in other water sports.
Santo Domingo, or Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of Spanish colonial rule in the New World. It lies within the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional (D.N.; "National District"), itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province. Famous landmarks in Santo Domingo include the Calle El Conde, the Puerta de la Misericordia, the Catedral Santa María La Menor (Catedral Primada de América), and the Alcázar de Colón, all of which are located within the Zona Colonial district of the city. This part was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.