The Dominican Republic, better known as Santo Domingo, after its capital, is a Caribbean country located, like Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola, discovered by Christopher Columbus. The country packs all the riches of the Caribbean into an area of just 49 000 km². This includes its beaches, of course, with coconut palms and white sand running along the island's coast as far as the eye can see. But there are also varied landscapes, which will allow you to discover the true face of the Dominican Republic, far from its tourist sites. For despite being the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has maintained its fishing villages and protected forests, for those who know where to find them. Finally, drink in the atmosphere of the capital Santo Domingo, the first European city in the New World, served all year round by Air France flights.
Founded in 1498, Santo Domingo is the oldest colony built by European settlers and an unmissable city . Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, the Zonia Colonial contains many buildings erected during the XVIth century, and the oldest monuments in the New World. Among them, we could mention the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Incarnation, begun in 1514, or the Ozama fortress and the Homage tower, the oldest military sites preserved in America. But visiting Santo Domingo, also means enjoying its incomparable latin atmosphere, walking along the seafront (the Malecòn) and joining the Dominican people to enjoy the night-life with the rhythm of the Merengue or the Bachata. Finally, head for the Columbus Lighthouse (Farò a Colòn), Christopher Columbus' mausoleum constructed in 1992. After all that, you can set out to discover the white sandy beaches and the country's natural riches.
There's no shortage of places where you can enjoy the paradisiacal beaches. From Punta Cana to Boca Chica, the entire coastline of the Dominican Republic is one long stretch of white sand lined with coconut palms. If you're looking for luxury hotels, you'll find something to suit you wherever you go in the island. If you're looking for escapades, head for the fishing village of Bayahibe, and its national park filled with wild animals. In the centre of the island, two other superb national parks are linked by the central mountain range which offers opportunities for many activities such as hiking and canyoning. If you visit the Dominican Republic in winter, you will have the privilege of seeing the fabulous spectacle of the humpbacked whale coming to breed in the Samana peninsula.