The Country

The Dominican Republic is a island in the Greater Antilles Archipelago, occupying more than two thirds of the Hispaniola Island. To north it borders the Atlantic Ocean, to south the Caribbean Sea, to east Puerto Rico, and to west the country of Haiti.

General Data

Dominican Republic has 48,442 km2 of area, with a population of 8,562,541 citizens. Its capital city is Santo Domingo de Guzman with a population of 1,913,540 citizens. (From National Office of Statistics and Technical Secretary of the Presidency - 2005 Census)

Spoken Language

The official language is Spanish, although English is used in a lot of stores, tourist places and resort.


Tropical weather and the average yearly temperatures are 79ºF (26ºC). August is the hottest month of the year and January the coolest.


The official currency is the Peso. Its value in regards to the US dollar fluctuates according the exchange rate that the Central Bank establishes.


110-220V - 60Hz (North American plugs)

Dominican Culture

The people of the Dominican Republic represent a unique mixture of the past and present. Although census figures are probably not accurate, a 2005 census claimed 8.5 million people live on the island, with 1.9 million people living in Santo Domingo. Puerto Plata and its surroundings only comprise approximately 200,000 people in comparison. The Creole culture of the island represents a vibrant, ever-changing flow from interacting cultures and social relations in the past. Dominicans can claim a rich cultural inheritance from many parts of the world. The original inhabitants of the island were Taino Indians, but unfortunately during the colonization they all perished. Hispaniola, the land comprising the Dominican Republic and Haiti, has traded hands between the French and Haitians, the Dutch and English, and has been influenced later by people from the Middle East. You can find a global culture here with a unique Dominican twist. French dance and ballet can be found in the Cibao and Santiago, Victorian and English architecture still can be found in Puerto Plata, and the descendents of Jews who fled Nazi Germany still call Sosua home. You can also trace the descendents of Africans and also fleeing slaves form the Americas to the island. In a nutshell, the Dominican Republic is truly a "global village" in terms of its people and cultural mix. This intermix of cultures is best expressed in the merengue dance and music of the island. A rhythmic mix from African and Caribbean origins, merengue is very much part of life here! At the end of the day, even though we have photos of people and can talk about culture on the web site, there is no real substitute for experiencing it than going for yourself.  The unique attitude within the culture is what our guests continually refer to as why they return year after year. We hope you have the opportunity to visit and experience this essence of the country for yourself.
A smile opens a lot of doors on the island. The Puerto Plata area has had a lot of experience welcoming Canadians, the British, and most recently Americans; therefore, English is generally understood and spoken in the tourist areas. For those who venture into less traveled areas, remember to smile and friendliness generally paves the way!

Medieval Caribbean Map
Over a thousand years ago, the Arawak Indians inhabited the island (later called Tainos by the Spanish)

1492 Christopher Columbus landed on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic and founded La Isabela, a community of 39 sailors (2 hours from Puerto Plata)

1493 On January 11, Columbus reaches the bay of modern-day Puerto Plata

1502 Puerto Plata becomes a town under the direction of Columbus when Nicolas de Ovando establishes a base here. Puerto Plata became a staging point for galleons heading back to Spain until the early 1600s when pirates became a problem. For 300 years since 1492, Puerto Plata as the only good port basically became an export center of bananas and fruit to America and Europe.

1820-1920 With an influx of Cubans, the sugar and farming industries took hold and expanded.

1961 Dictator Trujillo is assassinated

1970s Balguer's government invests in tourism and creates resort area infrastructure of Playa Dorada. The past 30 years has seen major growth of tourism from Canada, Europe, and the United States.