You may have holidayed there, but did you know these 20 awesome facts about the Dominican Republic.
A world of fascination awaits you when you visit the Americas, but these facts about the Dominican Republic will have you gobsmacked.
Get to know the Island
Far from being just another sunny place to don your trunks, the Dom Rep is absolutely dripping with culture and history.
Find out more about this country’s amazing story and the things you can get up to there in our Dominican Republic Travel Guide.
But for now, how about we give you a taste for just how incredible ol’ Hispaniola is?
1. The Dominican Republic is the second largest island in the Caribbean behind Cuba and ahead of Jamaica.
2. At 3,098m it’s home to the largest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte – first scaled by Sir Robert H. Schomburgk in 1851
Food lovers of the world unite
3. Recently recognised as the Capital of Gastronomic Culture in the Caribbean – Check out our Foodies Guide to the Dom Rep to find out more about the country’s incredibly vibrant cuisine
4. Originally known as Hispaniola – French and Spanish forces fought bloody battles for control of the island before a truce was agreed in 1697. The country was subsequently split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic
5. Christopher Columbus first discovered the Dominican Republic, by accident, in 1492 after sailing in search of a new trade route aboard his ship, the famous Santa Maria. In fact, the capital city Santo Domingo is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Santo Domingo’s Cathedral of Santa María la Menor is the oldest cathedral in the Americas. It was built in the 1500’s!
7. The national motto of Dominican Republic is Dios, Patria, Libertad meaning “God, Fatherland, Liberty”
8. This motto forms the background of the colours on the national flag too. With the blue symbolising liberty, the white cross represents salvation, and red is symbolic of the blood shed by the fathers of the country’s independence
9. The flag was designed by Juan Pablo Duarte, who’s birthday is still celebrated as Duarte Day in the country to this day.
10. One more flag fact to round off the top 10 – it’s the only flag in the world to feature an image of the Holy Bible
11. Move over Barbados, the Dom Rep is an excellent rum producer
12. You can’t vote in the Dom Rep general elections if you’re a member of the armed forces or police
13. The Dom Rep boasts one of the friendliest police forces in the world, however it is illegal to kiss a woman in front of the po po.
14. The country’s national bird is the Palmchat and it’s completely unique to the Dominican Republic, making it’s nests in the palms trees there.
15. The Dominican Republic is the only place you’ll find precious materials like Amber and Larimar, two stones which are highly prized in archaeology and jewellery respectively – you can even head to the Museo del Ámbar Dominicano and see a piece of amber with a prehistoric mosquito preserved in it – very Jurassic Park.
16. You can spot humpback whales in the seas around the Dominican Republic, up until March when they migrate north again
17. Thanks to a unique quirk of gravity, in the southern city of Barahona on a particular hill you can place your car in neutral and your vehicle will actually roll uphill!
It don’t come much quirkier than uphill downhills!
18. Arriving late for anything is considered normal in the Dom Rep. There’s usually a 45-minute wait between when a person is scheduled to arrive and when they actually do arrive. Strange, right?
19. Staying with sports, the Dominican Republic produces the second-highest amount of Major League Baseball players in the world, behind the USA – obvs.
20. It’s home to a plethora of incredible golf courses running along the stunning coastline
Find out more
As said, the Dominican Republic is an incredibly interesting spot to visit.
But, if you want to know more about this enthralling country, check out our Dom Rep Travel Guide for where to find all the best bits!