Dominican Republic

Driving Directions Dominican Republic

The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC forms the eastern portion of the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies. It covers two-thirds of the island, the small­er portion consisting of Haiti. The climate is semitropical and occasional hurricanes cause great destruction. The west of the country comprises four almost parallel mountain ranges, and between the two most northerly is the fertile Cibao Valley. The southeast is made up of fertile plains.

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Although well endowed with fertile land, only about 30 percent cultivated. Sugar is the main crop and mainstay of the country’s econo­my and grown on plantations in the southeast plains. Other crops grown are rice, coffee, bananas, cocoa beans, and tobacco. Mining of gold, silver, platinum, nickel, and aluminum is carried out, but the main industries are food processing and making consumer goods. Fishing is also carried out but not to any great extent due to the lack of equipment and refrigeration facilities.

The island has fine beaches, and the tourism industry is now very important to its economy.

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The Dominican Republic has a rugged and mountainous terrain with fertile valleys in the central and eastern areas. The Cordillera Central mountain range runs from east to west throughout the center of the country. The expansive valleys that lie to the north and south of this range have rich soils. The Dominican Republic is home to both the highest point and the lowest-elevation lake in the West Indies.

The Dominican Republic borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. On the Atlantic coast, there is an offshore rocky ledge. This platform is highly developed in the Bay of Samaná (Bahía de Samaná) ‘s shallow waters and stretches westward along with the Dominican Republic and Haiti‘s northern coasts. The platform extends seaward from a width of a few hundred meters to more than 48 kilometers (30 miles) and a maximum depth of 61 meters (200 feet). The shelf rises to form tiny islands and jagged coral reefs that lie close to the surface in some spots. These reefs represent hazards to navigation in waters east of Monte Cristi.

Did you know about the Dominican Republic?

The West Indies is the chain of islands that extends from the south coast of Florida to the eastern coastline of Venezuela. The chain forms a northern boundary for the Caribbean Sea. Visited by Christopher Columbus in 1492, they were named by him in the mistaken belief that he had reached the Asian coast on his journey to discover a westward route to India.

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