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The Rough Guide to Dominican Republic

Harvey, Sean

Verlag: Rough Guides
ISBN 10: 1858284465 / ISBN 13: 9781858284460
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Titel: The Rough Guide to Dominican Republic

Verlag: Rough Guides


Zustand: Fine


1858284465 Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers BING34705

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Inhaltsangabe: One of the Caribbean's favorite destinations gets the full Rough Guides treament in this brand new guide. From beaches to baseball, mountains to merengue, this spicy country never stops moving to a lively beat. Rough Guides hits all the hotspots with hundreds of recommendations and reviews in Santo Domingo and elsewhere for all budgets, and ensures that you'll meet the people who call this land home.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.: Where to go

As stated, many visitors head directly for beachfront resorts, and there's much there to admire, to be sure. The southeastern part of the country probably has the loveliest all-inclusive resort zones, Bvaro and Punta Cana, both holding more pristine coastline stretching for kilometres on end, broken up just by coconut trees and, of course, hotels. These are slightly outshined, if not in attractiveness then by sheer magnitude, by Playa Dorado along the north coast, the largest all-inclusive complex in the world. Fortunately, Playa Dorado is close by Puerto Plata, an historic city worth examining for its wealth of Victorian architecture and proximity to developed stations like windsurfing capital Cabarete, to the east, and less trammelled villages such as El Portillo, home to the remains of Columbus's first colony, to the west.

More great beaches are scattered about the Saman Peninsula, poking out at the country's extreme northeast. Its primary city, Saman, also serves as a base for checking out the humpback whales that migrate to the Bah'a de Saman in the winter to mate and give birth and for boat tours to the lush mangrove swamps of the Parque Nacional Los Haitises, on the interior of the bay. The sand and surf theme continues in the southwest, mainly straight down the coast from Barahona, where you'll find isolated beaches with not many crowds at all on the pebbly waterfront - and, correspondingly, not many facilities either.

On the southern coast the capital city, Santo Domingo, offers the most fulfilling urban experience, and should obviously be on anyone's itinerary, not least because it has the country's largest airport; in addition, there are the historic forts, churches and homes of the Zona Colonial and, on a more modern note, the nation's top museums, restaurants and nightlife, scattered all about. Santiago, tucked away in the interior Cibao Valley, ranks a distant second, though there are no better areas to learn about the history of tobacco and see the production of cigars - a major Dominican export - firsthand.

If you're seeking a bit more adventure and outdoor life, you needn't look too hard. The Cordillera Central, the island's largest mountain range, should be a high priority: in addition to choosing between several-day treks through the wilderness to the top of Pico Duarte - the tallest peak in the Antilles - you can head to Jarabacoa, a resort town blessed with four waterfalls in its immediate vicinity and featuring all manner of mountain sports, or less developed Constanza, a circular valley short on tourist development but chock full of natural grandeur. Few visitors make it out to the rough Haitian border along the DR's western edge, but there are compelling sights here as well - though the singular experience of slowly trawling along desolate roadway, if some of the track can even be called that, straddling two distinct nations is likely the greatest attraction. Chief among the natural highlights, however, is Lago Enriquillo, a saltwater lake the size of Manhattan, inhabited by hundreds of iguanas, thousands of tropical birds and even American crocodiles.

When to go

There are two distinct tourist high seasons in the Dominican Republic, the summer months of July and August, when travellers from the northern hemisphere have some time off to get away for a couple of weeks, and the winter season from December through late February, when the Dominican climate is at its optimum, having cooled down just a bit from summertime. You'll therefore save a bit of money - and have an easier time booking a hotel room on the spot - if you arrive during the spring or the fall, which is just fine, as the temperature doesn't really vary all that much from season to season. In the Cordillera Central mountains, you can expect temperatures to be about four degrees cooler on average than in the valleys and along the coast - making those spots prime targets for wealthy Dominicans looking to escape the summer heat.

Keep in mind also that the Dominican Republic is right in the centre of the Caribbean hurricane belt, and gets hit with a major one every decade or so; the most recent was 1998's Hurricane Georges, which annihilated much of the year's harvest and wiped some small villages completely off the map. August and September is prime hurricane season, though smaller ones can occur in the months before and after those, so you may want to play it safe and schedule your trip accordingly. If you are on the island when a hurricane is about to strike, your best bet is to head immediately for the closest high-end tourist hotel, which should have a protected shelter for its guests. Definitely do not wander around outside, and don't be fooled by a brief respite of calm - you may well be in the eye of the hurricane, which means the destruction will start up again soon.

Summer is the traditional rainy season in the Dominican Republic, but with weather patterns somewhat disrupted in the past couple of years, you can expect short bursts of rain a few times a week - most of them lasting no more than a couple of minutes, to be quickly followed by sunshine - regardless of the time of year.

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