Dominican Republic Up Close
15 Fun Facts about the Dominican Republic
Truck loaded with bananas
The unique fun facts about the Dominican Republic every traveler should know!
Learn something new about the history of Dominican Republic, its cultural traditions, and record breaking feats. So, if you have a passion and curiosity for the inside facts and details, this article will serve you well.
Pool party in Punta Cana
1. There’s always an excuse to party in the Dominican Republic
It’s really not that big of a secret that Dominicans are big drinkers, which means many will use literally any excuse to say “I’ll drink to that,” or “Hoy se Bebe!,” (today we drink). So any holiday, birthdays, children’s birthdays, graduations, sports games, baby showers - you name it - it’s just enough to get us cracking open a bottle and sharing with friends.
Dominican flag Santo Domingo
2. The only flag in the world with the Christian Bible on it
A standout among Dominican Republic facts is that the nation's flag uniquely features an open Bible in the center, reflecting the deep Christian beliefs of its colonizers and invaders. This symbol of faith is accompanied by the motto “Dios, Patria, y Libertad” (God, Nation, and Liberty), underscoring the DR’s spiritual and national identity. The flag's design was contributed to by prominent women María Trinidad Sánchez, María de Jesús Pina, Isabel Sosa, and Concepción Bona.
Polo Magnetico road in Barahona
3. Gravity defying road
Although it is called the Polo Magnetico or Magnetic Pole in Barahona, where cars seemingly go up the road in reverse by themselves, it is a natural optical illusion caused by a landscape anomaly which makes the road appear to be going up when it’s actually going down. Many visitors drive to this location to park their cars, and watch their cars “magically” begin to go uphill in reverse on its own.
Quisqueya Baseball Stadium in Santo Domingo
4. Produces more baseball players than any other Latin American Country
If it's the Plantains, or the rice, chicken, and beans diets - we don’t know - but one thing is for sure as of 2022, the U.S. Major League Baseball organization, or MLB, has signed over 171 active players. Accounting for roughly 10 percent of League players. The country has produced legends like Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, and Albert Pujols among many.
Coconut trees in Nagua
Photo: José Miguel Pérez
5. How’s this for a fun fact about the Dominican Republic: Coconut trees are not originally from the island
That’s right, it was only until the 16th century that the coconut palm was introduced into the island’s agriculture by - you guessed it - Christopher Columbus. At the time the indigenous Tainos had no idea they even existed, but they probably loved drinking fresh coconut milk. Although they originated from the Indo-Pacific, the name “cocos” was given to it by the Spanish, which mean “monkey,” because the shaved coconut looks like the two eyes and nose on a monkey’s face.
Siesta time in Pedernales
6. Comida de la 12pm: The Sacred Dominican Siesta
No, it’s not just your imagination, 70 percent of the population DID just disappear from sight. If you happen to be out-on-the-town around 12pm or 1pm, and suddenly you see everybody in a rush to get somewhere, they’re most likely headed home or to the local diner for lunch. The Dominican siesta is typically from noon till 2pm or 3pm, depending if that lunch is accompanied by a nap. So expect homes, businesses, and government institution doors to be closed during these hours.
Fortaleza Ozama, Santo Domingo
7. Dominican Republic’s starring role in Hollywood films
The DR has been a scenic backdrop for Hollywood's biggest names for decades, attracting directors like Coppola and Spielberg and stars such as Al Pacino, Zoe Saldana, and Vin Diesel. Iconic movies including 'The Godfather,' the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise, and recently 'The Lost City' starring Sandra Bullock have been putting Dominicans on the map in a big way. Thanks to these films, the Dominican charm has been captured and celebrated on the silver screen worldwide.
Dominican kids in Las Terrenas
8. A unique range of ethnicities
Due to the country’s chaotic past of invasions and conquests as the first Caribbean island nation to be colonized, you can easily see that Dominicans come in all colors, figures, and sizes. With a mixture of Taino, African, Spanish, French, Dutch, English, Arab, and Italian, you can only expect to have what is considered one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world.
Colmado in Santo Domingo
9. The Grocery Store with a Twist!
Grocery stores known as colmados in the Dominican Republic often come equipped with all types of fresh produce, meats, seasonings, and sweets to name a few. But what makes Dominican stores special is that you can sit at the counter, order a cold beer or rum, listen to and dance merengue, bachata, and salsa, while talking about the latest news of the day. Or, how about some karaoke? All while you pick up your milk and eggs of course.
Overloaded truck in Santo Domingo
10. Anything-goes transportation
Like any developed nation the Dominican government has transit laws in place to avoid all types of disasters - However - don’t be surprised to see most of those laws thrown out the window in many instances.
Here it's common to see some drivers going beyond the speed limit, cutting people off in traffic, driving on the wrong side of the road, and motorcycles cutting corners on the opposite side of the street. So if you’re planning a roadtrip here you’ll need to pull out your magical bag of patience and never lose your cool.
Hikers on top of Pico Duarte
11. Highest mountain in the Caribbean
Don’t let the spectacular beaches and palm tree landscapes fool you, because within the heart of Hispaniola in the DR, Pico Duarte sits definitely at 10,174 ft in the Cordillera Central Mountain Range, that runs through the provinces of San Cristobal, La Vega, and San Juan - all the way up to Massif du Nord in Haiti. Climbing it is one of the most thrilling activities to do from the nearby mountain town of Jarabacoa.
Thinking about taking the ultimate trip? Learn more about Hiking up Pico Duarte!
Organic Dominican bananas in Pedernales
12. Going organic in a big way
A remarkable fact about the Dominican Republic is it’s status as the worlds largest producer and exporter of 100% organic bananas. So, there's a good chance that the next time you visit your local grocery store or supermarket, the organic bananas you add to your cart have journeyed from the fertile lands of the DR. These bananas are not only packed with potassium but also go great with cereals, pastries, and yes, ice cream. Delicious and nutritious!
See which other Fruits and Veggies in the Dominican Republic are available for your next trip.
Mama Juana for sale at Calle El Conde, Santo Domingo
13. A shot of natural Viagra
Did somebody say “Dominican Viagra”? You heard it right. The nationally acclaimed natural herb elixir Mamajuana has been know to light up the night for both gentlemen and ladies. It's a popular pick-me-up for those looking to add a little spice to their Caribbean getaway. The secret? An empty bottle is prepped with a mix of natural roots, leaves, spices, bark, and for the daring, a splash of marine life like conch fish or octopus. Top it off with aged Dominican Rum and let the magic marinate. A few days later, you've got yourself a bottle of Mamajuana that's ready to impress. The result? Well… you know.
Ojos Indigenas Natural Reserve, Punta Cana
Photo: Reserva Ecológica Ojos Indígenas
14. A star studded Destination
The sunny tropical coasts of the DR have long been a magnet for the world's elite, drawing Hollywood's brightest stars, chart-topping musical artists, and TV celebrities. High-profile visitors and property owners like J-Lo, Mark Wahlberg, Drake, and Spanish legend Julio Iglesias have frequented the Dominican Republic, adding to the island's allure as a luxurious getaway.
They’ve been known to hit-up Rio San Juan, Samana, Casa de Campo, and Punta Cana. In fact, when visiting, Kim Kardashian is known to enjoy the serene waters of Ojos Indigenas Natural Reserve. This celebrity endorsement is just one of the many interesting Dominican Republic facts that continue to captivate and draw visitors from around the globe.
15. The Caribbean’s greatest lake
As if having the highest mountain wasn’t enough, the DR takes the Gold for the Caribbean’s longest and largest lake, Lago Enriquillo, spanning 145 square miles in the southwestern provinces of Independencia, and Bahoruco. Lago Enriquillo also forms part of the truly natural wonder, the unique Transboundary Biosphere reserve crossing the border between Dominican Republic and Haiti. The lake lies within a geographical depression at 151 feet below sea level, allowing Enriquillo to maintain water mass that continues to expand its banks.
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