About Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is an Island shared by Haiti in the Carrribean. It was first discovered by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the Island, which in 1804 became Haiti. After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821. It has the second largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region and is mainly dominated by services and partly by sugar production. The Dominican Republic has become the Caribbean's largest tourist destination; the country's year-round golf courses are among the top attractions. It has the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte, and the the Caribbean's largest lake and lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo. The country has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) and a great wealth of biological diversity.
Dominican Republic Map
Location: Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the Island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
Area: total: 48,730 sq km
land: 48,380 sq km
water: 350 sq km
Coastline: 1,288 km
Climate: Tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
Natural hazards: Lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
Population: 9,507,133 (July 2008 est.)
Ethnic groups:

Mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%


Judicial System: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the National Judicial Council comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an additional non-governing party congressional representative)
Government type: Democratic republic
Capital: name: Santo Domingo
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Economy - overview: The Dominican Republic has enjoyed strong GDP growth since 2005, mainly contributed by an increase in nickel prices. Although the country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Although the economy is growing at a respectable rate, high unemployment and underemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income.
GDP by sector: agriculture: 11.7%
industry: 23.8%
services: 64.4% (2007 est.)
Industries: Tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco
Electricity: 110 V, 60 Hz, A, Type J may exist in some hotels
Currency (code):

Dominican peso (DOP)

Credit Cards: Most hotels, restaurants and businesses accept major credit cards.
Sales Tax: There is a 16% sales tax (ITBIS) businesses charge for the sale of their products and/or services. Some hotels and restaurants can also add a 10% service charge.
Telephone system: The phone system in the Dominican Republic operates similar to that in the United States or Canada. American Mobil of Mexico (Claro Codetel) is the largest company. Competitors are Orange (France Telecom), Tricom and Viva. There are several Internet providers, such as OneMax, Wind, among others. Upon arrival to the country, it is a good practice to purchase a calling card from one of the two leading companies, Codetel and Tricom.