Know Before You Go | Dominican Republic | RTX Traveler Issue 14

5 things to know before you pack your bags and head to the island:

Cover Punta Cana (19)

  1. It’s on the island of Hispaniola, and it shares the island with Haiti.

    The Dominican Republic is the oldest country of the Americas, and Christopher Columbus made landfall there first on his voyage in 1492. Many Dominicans you’ll meet may have immigrated from Haiti for a better life.

  2. Baseball is the national sport.

    Albert Pujols, Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez, Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Juan Marichal, and Pedro Martinez are all from the island.

  3. It’s the second largest Caribbean nation by area and population, behind Cuba.

    The country is located in the Greater Antilles archipelago, has a population of 10 million, and is almost 19,000 square miles in size.

  4. You’ll be offered Mama Juana.

    Mama Juana is a very popular Dominican alcoholic drink made by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. Bartenders and shops love to offer it to tourists with a smile, touting its aphrodisiac properties.

  5. Get to know Larimar.

    The rare blue variety of the mineral pectolite is found only in the Dominican Republic and is very popular in tourist shops. Locals craft jewelry out of the gem, which mostly comes from the southwestern region of the island. Don’t forget to always negotiate a good deal when shopping on the island!

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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