When we think of the beach, we think of the obvious: sandy shores, crystal clear waters, and an oasis to escape to when the tough needs to get going. And although the above statement couldn’t be truer, there’s a whole lot more to that little Caribbean destination you’re busy making plans to visit. So this week, we’re taking a deep dive to learn more about the history & culture of our favorite islands. Let’s start with the Dominican Republic. Here are 11 things you may not know about the DR:
1. The Dominican Republic takes up 18,705 square miles and also has 30,000 square miles in surrounding islands. It’s home to almost 8.5 million people.
2. The Dominican Republic is on the island Hispaniola, which splits the DR & Haiti. Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean, next to Cuba.
3. The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo; and it’s the oldest permanent settlement in the Western hemisphere. Christopher Columbus’s brother, Bartholomew Columbus, settled in the city in 1496. His intention was to use the island as a place to launch attacks on America, and Santo Domingo served as the headquarters for Spanish power in the Western hemisphere.
4. The oldest cathedral in the Americas can be found here. Catedral de Santa Maria La Menor was built in 1514 and celebrated it’s 500th anniversary this year.
5. The island is home to a long list of signature dishes. Two of the most popular are La Bandera, which is made with meat, rice, and red beans; and Mangú, which are boiled, green plantains mashed and topped with sautéed red onions.
6. Baseball is the country’s national sport and quite a few famous MLB baseball players come from the Dominican Republic.
7. The official beer of the Dominican Republic is Presidente.
8. One of the most common island spirits is called Mamajuana. It’s a combination of rum, red wine, tree bark, spices and herbs.
9. The Dominican Republic is the only place in the world where you can find the blue, semi-precious stone, larimar. It closely resembles turquoise.
10. Next to the beautiful beaches, lush tropics, and vibrant culture, the Dominican Republic is home to 20+ golf courses that boast beautiful views and great courses. Golfers travel from all over the world to play a round here.
And there you have it. As you can see, there's plenty to learn and discover in the Dominican Republic. Oh, and make sure to take advantage of our best Dominican Republic deals here.