Luperón was awesome!!! We were there for 3 days with some buddy boats. The first day we slept some because we had done an overnight passage, then we went through Immigration, which includes customs and immigration and agriculture for animals and food. After that we checked out the town. The second day we hiked up a mountain and then slid down a series of 27 waterfalls!!! The third day we did Internet stuff and I got to get in touch with a couple of people! It was nice to know what was going on back home! Luperón was so cool!
The Dominican Republic, DR, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second largest in the Caribbean, after Cuba. The DR is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the Caribbean Sea. It has close to 1,000 miles of coastline! The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with average temperatures ranging from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C), thereby enabling an economy dependent upon tourism.
The DR was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Their capital, Santa Domingo, is the oldest city in the New World. Santa Domino is currently home to nearly one-third of the country’s 9 million residents, as well as the oldest cathedral and fortress in the New World.
The DR has a colorful history. The Taíno Indians peacefully inhabited the island when Columbus’ ‘discovered’ it. Within 50 years, most of the Taínos had died of starvation, forced overwork, and the introduction of diseases from Europe. Spain turned over the western third of Hispaniola to France in the last 1600’s, leading to years of back and forth and continued hostilities between France, Spain and the world’s first black republic, Haiti. The Dominican Republic finally won their independence in 1844.
Like the United States, the DR is a representative democracy. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president, legislators and city government officials. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeño were elected for a four-year term that began on 16 August 2012 and ends on 16 August 2016. Unlike the United States, their Constitution does not allow for consecutive re-election.
The major regions of the DR are: the North Coast; the Southeast Coast, including Santa Domingo; the Samaná Peninsula; Santiago and the fertile Cibao Valley; and the mountainous West.
The Dominican flag, the plain flag without the emblem in the center (below left), is flown by private citizens both on land and at sea.
According to a presidential decree of 1913, the government adds the national coat of arms (above right) in the center of the cross, when flying the flag.
The national coat of arms is a red, white, and blue shield draped by a flag, a bible, and a cross. On the left side of the coat of arms is an olive branch, while the right side is taken up by a palm branch. Above the shield is a blue banner bearing the words “Dios, Pitria, Libertad,” meaning “God, Fatherland, Liberty.” There is also a red ribbon bearing the words “Republica Dominicana,” meaning “Dominican Republic.”
With Indian, African and Caucasian roots, the DR’s culture and language is definitely Hispanic. Their official language is Spanish. Their currency is the Dominican Peso (DR$). Currently the exchange rate is about 44 pesos to US$1. The DR observes Atlantic Standard Tome all year around, which means that they do not observe Daylight Savings Time (one hour later than Eastern Standard Time, EST, from October to April, and the same as Eastern Daylight Savings Time from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.