The Dominican Republic is a nation located in the Caribbean region on the island of Hispaniola. Part of the Greater Antilles archipelago. Its western third is the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are occupied by two countries, Saint Martin being the other.
The Dominican Republic is the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas; its capital Santo Domingo was also the first colonial capital in the Americas.
For most of its independent history, the nation experienced political turmoil and unrest, suffering through many non-representative and tyrannical governments. Since the death of military dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina in 1961, the Dominican Republic has moved toward a liberal economic model which has made it the largest economy in the region and a representative democracy.
The country is a tropical, maritime nation. Wet season is from May to November, and periodic hurricanes between June and November. Most rain falls in the northern and eastern regions. The average rainfall is 1346 mm, with extremes of 2500 mm in the northeast and 500 mm in the west. The main annual temperature ranges from 21 °C in the mountainous regions to 25 °C on the plains and the coast. The average temperature in Santo Domingo in January is 25 °C and 30 °C in July. Nonetheless, the highest mountaintops are covered in pine forests and have temperatures that can go several degrees below freezing during winter nights.
Year-round sports, effervescent nightlife, distinctive souvenir shopping, magnificent national parks, and world class gambling make for a jam-packed vacation to do list. But when you see the spectacular beaches, you might just want to pull up a chair and relax.
Outdoor activities like golf, snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and boating are a thrilling way to experience the natural beauty of land and sea. With over two-dozen national parks, other quieter options for communion with nature like hiking and bird watching are also available. Indoor activities offer you the chance to strike it rich, dance the night away, or shop for curious mementos like carnival masks.
The Dominican Republic has five major highways, which take travelers to every important town in the country. The three major highways are Autopista Duarte, Autopista del Este, and Autopista del Sur, which go to the north, east, and western side of the country. A new 106 kilometer toll road that connects Santo Domingo with the country’s northeastern peninsula is now operating. Travelers can now arrive in the beautiful Samana Peninsula in less than 2 hours. Most of routes interconnecting small towns in the country, are unpaved and are getting improved.
There are two transportation services in the Dominican Republic, one controlled by the government through the Oficina Técnica de Transito Terrestre (O.T.T.T.) and the Oficina Metropolitana de Servicios de Autobuses (OMSA), and the other controlled by private business, among them, Federación Nacional de Transporte La Nueva Opción (FENATRANO) and the Confederacion Nacional de Transporte (CONATRA).
The government transportation system covers large routes in metropolitan areas, such as Santo Domingo and Santiago, for very inexpensive prices. It should be noted that most OMSA buses are currently in very poor condition, and OMSA has been criticized for its incapability to fully meet the people’s needs.
FENATRANO and CONATRA offer their services with voladoras (vans) or conchos (cars), which have routes in most parts of the cities. These cars have roofs painted in yellow or green in order to identify them. The cars have scheduled days to work, depending on the color of the roof, and have been described as unsafe.