The Dominican Republic was called by Columbus, upon his discovery there, the most beautiful place that human eyes have ever seen.’ Of course he could have been a bit prejudiced in that he or his crew had not seen land for many days. Today the land that is known as the Dominican Republic and it covers two thirds of the Hispaniola islands and shares its glorious beauty with Haiti.
The spirit of Santo Domingo is no doubt found in its music, food, and national pastimes. It is mostly known for its professional winter baseball, handcrafted cigars, and annual music festivals. This land that is as beautiful as it is rich is never stodgy or boring, but rather, artful and colorful.
Historically the Dominican Republic was called Quisduya by the Taino Indians who occupied the land. Numbering around 600,000 the Taino Indians were peaceful and hospitable. However this was not enough to save the Indians from slavery and eventually extermination. Today all that is left of the tribe is artifacts as well as historical structures that are scattered throughout the city. As a tourist it is easy to become engrossed in the historical legends that accompany some of the oldest museums in the known world.
This island is also known for its unique collection of natural rocks and gems that can only be found here. Near Barahona, a turquoise blue pectolite stone known as larimar has been cultivated from the volcanic rock that once formed the island. This along with the countries most popular gem known as amber make the geological imprints and the jewelry seem to come alive.
Take a walk through the streets of Santo Domingo and one will notice the handmade posters that hang from telephone poles. These posters will promote an upcoming meringue or bachata night that is happening at a near by venue. The country has to be heard in order to be experienced and after sunset watch as the city comes alive in waves of pulsating beats and rhythms.
Merengue is the country’s national dance and favorite past time. These three person groups are comprised of a melodeon, a guira, and a tambora. The tempo of the Merengue is characterized by its aggressive beat inclination for the hearer to dance by shaking their hips in rapid fluid like motions. Originally the lyrics for the different types of Merengue songs were based on intense sexual encounters, as one can imagine.
If all of the above sounds like just too much work then take heart because the Dominican Republic’s beaches are widely celebrated as some of the world’s best. One look and is will become obvious why as more than 1000 miles of sugar colored sand gently laps around bare feet by warm waters that are so blue they have to be seen to be believed.
Take a load off as you float in the salty Caribbean waters and let your spirit take you into a more tranquil and peaceful world.
In short, whatever you are looking for in a vacation is to be found at the Dominican Repulic where a colorful tapestry of Spanish, French, Haitian, and African influences come together on a beautiful canvas of color. This destination is like no other and will have you on overdrive as you breathe in the dazzling landscapes, exotic cuisine, and variety of arts and entertainment options.