The Dominican Republic, which attracts almost five million visitors every year, is the top touristic destination in the Caribbean. The sovereign state is the tenth largest economy in Latin America due to its expanding agriculture, mining and tourism industries. Crystal clear waters, upmarket golf courses and hotels, lively celebrations and a very convenient annual average temperature of 77°F are some of the reasons why holiday makers from all over the world decide to stop by the beautiful island. Take a look at these eight little known facts about the Dominican Republic!
Number Eight: Dominicans Love Baseball
Despite being a Hispanic nation, soccer is not the most widely practiced sport among Dominicans—baseball is. It was their neighboring country, Cuba, during the Ten Years War, which first introduced the sport into the island. Nowadays, there are around 30 Major League Baseball clubs in the country.
Number Seven: First Cathedral in the Americas
The Cathedral of Santa María la Menor was erected in honor of the of the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, as Santo Domingo was the first Catholic episcopacy and the oldest European settlement in the Americas. The Roman/Gothic building is over 500 years old—older than Oxford’s Cathedral!
Number Six: They Always Clap When the Plane Lands
We know some people do it but, in the Dominican Republic, clapping when the plane lands is almost mandatory. It doesn’t matter where they are headed or where they come from; Dominicans will always, consistently clap upon arrival to their destination!
Number Five: Dominicans Don’t Smoke
It’s very unusual to catch a Dominican smoking a cigarette. The average smoker here inhales 234 cigars a year—very far from the 2,996 cigars the Greeks smoke on average. However, the Dominican Republic is a prime location for tobacco cultivation, and it’s one of the world’s main exporters of cigars.
Number Four: Armed Forces in the Dominican Republic Can’t Vote
The constitution declares that all citizens over the age of 18 are allowed to vote, with one exception: Armed Forces and the National Police. There are other countries where military soldiers have no voting rights either, such as Colombia and Indonesia.
Number Three: The Jurassic Park Connection
The amber stone with a mosquito inside shown on Jurassic Park is actually one of the pieces on display at Puerto Plata’s Amber Museum (if you are wondering; no, it doesn’t hold any dinosaur DNA!) The logo for the movie was also heavily inspired by that of the museum, which looks almost exactly the same.
Number Two: The Bread Basket of the Caribbean
The country was nicknamed “The Bread Basket of the Caribbean” because it grows and farms pretty much everything that is ever served for breakfast, lunch and dinner anywhere in the Caribbean: coffee, sugar, cocoa, corn, dairy products, eggs, rice, beans, potatoes, bananas, cattle, beef… you name it. They have it all.
Number One: It Appeared on ‘The Godfather’
Some of the scenes in The Godfather: Part II take place in Havana, where Michael travels to discuss some business deals. However, since shooting in Cuba was not a possibility in 1974, the film crew decided to take the action to Santo Domingo instead. At that time, less than 10 movies had been filmed on the island. Thanks for reading!