Dominican Republic – Vacation Packages

By Miss Julie | December 24th, 2006

The Dominican Republic shares the Caribbean’s second largest island, Hispaniola (between Cuba and Puerto Rico), with Haiti. Located on the eastern half of the island, the Dominican Republic, with an area of 19,376 square miles, is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. Its central portion is sculpted by four great mountain ranges with peaks over 10,000 ft. Its coastline varies from rocky cliffs to sandy beaches. Reefs and ancient wrecks surround much of the shoreline.

Santo Domingo, on the south Caribbean coast and eastern bank of the Ozama River, is the main port and capital city. Home to more than one million people, it is the oldest city of the New World and professed burial place of its founder, Christopher Columbus. Built in the early 1500s, the city was the first hub of Spanish culture and commerce in the western hemisphere.

Boca Chica, 31 miles east of Santo Domingo, La Romana, 110 miles east of Santo Domingo and Bayahibe, 125 miles east of Santo Domingo, are the jump-off points for the country’s best Caribbean dive and snorkeling sites, including La Caleta National Park and the Eastern National Park (Parque Nacional del Este), which encompasses the islands of Saona and Catalina. The marine portion of the parks is a sanctuary for manatees, turtles and waves of passing dolphins. Dependably calm seas and miles of virgin reefs prevail.

On the north coast, the main tourist area stretches from Puerto Plata, a large city and deep-water port, to Cabrera, where impressive beaches and coconut groves have lured Europeans for more than 500 years. This area is also a prime whale-watching spot. During winter months (December to March) thousands of humpback whales migrate to an offshore breeding ground. The breeding ground is 50 miles north of the coast, but the herds are spotted en route as they pass the Samana Peninsula, which forms the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic.

For more on Dominican Republic, check out the Dominican Republic Travel Guide on BootsnAll.

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