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Dominican Republic Information - Page 1
Geography
The Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean. It occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola; Haiti occupies the western part of the island. Cuba and Jamaica are to the west of the Dominican Republic; Puerto Rico is to the east.

Santo Domingo is the capital city. Other important cities are Santiago, San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, Puerto Plata, Barahona, La Vega, San Francisco and Higuey.

The terrain consists of highlands and mountains with fertile valleys. The Yaque del Norte is the longest river.

The climate is tropical maritime. The rainy season is between May and November.

Environment
The Dominican Republic National Parks Office is responsible for the National Parks and over fifty other protected areas.

Parks cover a variety of vegetation zones. Armando Bermudez National Park and Jose del Carmen Ramirez National Park are in the Cordillera Central mountain range and include areas of pine forest. Los Haitises National Park, on the coast of Samana Bay, is a coastal region with mangrove swamps.

Other National Parks include Montecristi National Park (coast and subtropical forest), the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park (forested highland), Jaragua National Park (dry forest) and the Isla Cabritos National Park in Lake Enriquillo (wildlife).

Crocodiles, iguanas and other reptiles live in the Dominican Republic. Birds, such as flamingoes, frigatebirds, herons and ducks are common. Humpback whales migrate to the region annually.

Architecture
The Colonial city of Santo Domingo was built by the Spanish at the end of the fifteenth century. The city was set out on a grid pattern which became a model for other Spanish towns in the Americas.

The Spanish built the first cathedral and university in the New World in Santo Domingo.

Santo Domingo became a World Heritage site in 1990.

Population
The population of the Dominican Repubic was estimated at 9,956,648 in 2011.

Languages
Spanish is the official language in the Dominican Republic.

Religion
Ninety-five percent of the people in the Republic are Roman Catholic.

Food
Everyday food eaten in the Dominican Republic is rice and beans, fried plantain and cassava bread.

Sancochos, a national dish, is a stew containing a number of different meats and vegetables. Chicken, goat, pork and beef are used in recipes. Fish is also part of the diet.

Vegetables include dasheen, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Breadfruit is also grown.

Sweet puddings are made with rice and caramel custard. Bananas, mangoes, pineapples and oranges are plentiful.

Coffee is grown in the Dominican Republic. Coconut juice and other juices are available. Dominican beer (Presidente) and rum are produced locally.

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