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The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean paradise imbued with rum and rhythm, and full of sun, music, beaches, and parks. The capital, Santo Domingo, has an identity far removed from the rest of the country. It is crowded and intense, with diverse old and new neighbourhoods connected by cobblestone streets. Despite being the hub for business, politics, administration, and much else, it still manages to preserve the Caribbean atmosphere of ease, thereby making it the best of both worlds.
Away from the country's many beaches, Jarabacoa's foothill location provides an excellent resting point before hiking up to Pico Duarte or visiting one of the many national parks. Despite the bulk of tourists heading this way, the Peninsula of Samaná is still worth a trip. It takes on the air of Europe when thousands of western tourists and holidaying locals arrive in the summertime. Whale watching is the major draw, as well as the nightlife in Terrenas. Cool off at the end the day with a beer, or follow the locals and sip some Mamajuana — a local brew made from leaves, tree bark, gin, rum, and anything else the maker fancies! Local dishes are a blend of Caribbean and Spanish food resulting in specialities like mangú and codfish stew.
For such a small nation, there are a surprising number of international airports to pick from. The main airport is at Santo Domingo (SDQ), but there are others at Punta Cana (PUJ), Puerto Plata (POP), Santiago (STI), Samaná (AZS) and near La Romana (LRM). Airlines flying to The Dominican Republic include Air Canada, Continental, American, Delta, US, Jet Blue, and Lufthansa. An entry charge for a Tourist Card is applicable as well as a departure tax. This is not usually included in airfares so remember to save some money to get to your flight home.
For most of the year, the temperature stays between 28°C and 31°C. The rainy season is from May to October and on the northern coast can continue into December, while the hurricane season runs from August to September. December to February, July to August, and the Easter holidays are all peak tourist periods, so avoid these if you want to stick to a budget. Visit in March or April to get the best of the weather and prices, but make sure it's before or after the Easter rush.