Hispaniola (La Espaniola) or the modern day Dominican Republic was first discovered by Columbus in 1492 who set it up as his base for further exploration of the region. This beautiful island is shared between Dominican Republic and Haiti (ex-French colony). The most striking aspect of Dominican Republic is its stunning golden sand beaches along the vast 1,400 km. (870-mile) coastline.
The visitors absolutely adore the northern Atlantic side of this tiny island country. Most tourist attractions, hotels, resorts, etc. are situated here between the 64 km. (40 mile) zone between Puerta Plata and Cabarete. The south of Dominican Republic has Santo Domingo as the major highlight, which features the first monuments of American continent – first Chapel, first Cathedral, first Hospital, and first University.
Central Dominican Republic comprises of three main mountain ranges that run parallel to each other in east-west direction. The highest mountain range is Cordillera Central, which also features Pico Duarte (the highest mountain in the Caribbean, 3,098m or 10,000ft).
The architecture of Dominican Republic resembles that of the western countries with several colonial buildings in the capital city of Santo Dominigo. The country is also inhabited by descendents of African slaves brought by the Spanish, and they have enriched Dominican Republic with their own unique architecture and music. Merengue – local song and dance – reflects the blending of both the Western and African heritages in the country. It is played in various festivals organized across the country that attract several national and international music artists.