Despite being known throughout the world for its white and long beaches and its highly touristic destinations, the Dominican Republic has much more to offer.
In fact, in the center of the island you will find a predominantly mountainous environment; The "Cordillera Central", the most important mountain range in the Caribbean, has the Pico Duarte which, at 3,175 meters in height, represents the highest elevation in the Antilles; In the same chain there are at least four other peaks close to 3,000 meters above sea level. Among the various plateaus, there are wonderful valleys, where green is the predominant color; in Cibao, the most agricultural area of the island, several freshwater courses descend from the mountains, and you will find yourself in an unexpected alpine environment with pine forests, waterfalls and streams.
Another reason to visit the Dominican Republic in the winter months is whale season. From mid-February to mid-March, the whale season begins in the Samaná Bay, in the extreme north-east of the Dominican Republic.
Thousands of cetaceans of black color, whose name in Spanish is ballenas jorobadas (which literally means: whales with the hump, in reality, they have no hump and the funny definition derives from the arched shape of the back when they prepare to dive in depth ) meet from Greenland or Iceland to mate, reproduce and winter. These cetaceans are among the largest marine mammals, measuring on average between 12 and 15 meters and weighing up to 60 tons. The arrival of whales is promoted by the Ministry of Tourism as an eco-sustainable activity and gives visitors one of the most beautiful natural spectacles.
Last but not least reason to visit the Island of Hispaniola, is its capital, Santo Domingo, especially of its colonial zone, the oldest city inhabited in all the "Americas".
The colonial area is a small city immersed in the capital, listed in 1990 as a UNESCO world heritage site. Also called the "city of records" you will find the first cathedral, the Cathedral, the university, the customs and the hospital in the "New World". Following the 11 blocks of historic roads in this walled city that has the oldest permanent settlement in the New World, you will find over 300 monuments including statues, houses, churches and historic buildings dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492, for a true leap into the past.
For those wishing to learn more about the history of this wonderful country, I recommend reading the books "La Festa del Caprone" by Mario Vargas Llosa and "The short fabulous life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz (2008 Pulitzer Prize winner)