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13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic | CosmosMariners.com

Picture a white sand beach, palm trees gently swaying the wind, and crystal blue water stretching as far as the eye can see. For many people, this view is synonymous with the Dominican Republic, one of the most well-known and most-visited islands in the world. The island certainly draws in millions of visitors a year because of its tropical climate and beauty, but the country also has deep cultural ties and an incredible (if difficult) history for a well-rounded vacation experience.

Before you jet off to your next vacation in the Dominican Republic, learn these 13 fun facts!


1) The Dominican Republic has the largest economy in the Caribbean, largely in part of its tourism and agricultural industries.

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic | CosmosMariners.com
The Basilica Santa Maria de la Encarnacion: the first cathedral in the Americas
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
2) After Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1492, the first permanent European settlement in the Americas was established here. The first cathedral, first castle, first monastery, and first fortress in both North and South America were all built here. The area in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone is now protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.


13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic | CosmosMariners.com
Sailing around Hispanola on our 2015 cruise
3) The Dominican Republic shares an island (Hispanola) with Haiti; one of two Caribbean islands where 2 countries share one island (the other is Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin). Furthermore, it's the only country in the world where one island is held by two sovereign nations (unlike St. Martin/ St. Maarten which are territories held by other nations).

4) Get inspired! Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic.

5) Taino people have occupied DR since the 7th century.


6) The country returned to colonial status for a short time after gaining independence, and is the only place in the Western hemisphere to do so. (The Dominican Republic permanently became its own nation in 1865.)

7) It is the 2nd largest Caribbean nation after Cuba.

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic | CosmosMariners.com
"Dino DNA--it's in your blood!"
{photo via flickr | creative commons}

8) A huge piece of amber with the mosquito trapped inside (which was replicated and made famous by the movie Jurassic Park) can be found in the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata. No word yet if it contains any dino DNA.

9) It beats out the Cayman Islands, Aruba, Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands as the most visited destination in the Caribbean

10) It was known as "Santo Domingo" until the early 20th century.

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic | CosmosMariners.com
Don't eat it just yet!
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
11) Get that sweet tooth ready: the Dominican Republic is one of the top 10 producers of cocoa in the world and annually harvests more than 47,000 tons.

12) The word "Dominican" never appears in the DR national anthem; instead the people are referred to as Quisqueyans, a Taino word. Many Taino words have been integrated into the everyday Spanish vocabulary

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Dominican Republic | CosmosMariners.com
Head out on the dance floor for the merengue!
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
13) Did you pack your dancing shoes? The fast, spirited merengue originates from the Dominican Republic.

Whether you've been to the Dominican Republic once or it's your favorite spot for an annual vacation holiday, there's always something new to discover.


Have you been to the Dominican Republic? What was your favorite part?
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