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Merengue is the name of the national dance in The Dominican Republic, and Bachata is the national music. Many visitors must enjoy these and other cultural aspects of the island because a holiday in the Dominican Republic (or Quisqueya as the locals call it) is the most popular destination for travel in the Caribbean. The main attractions are the availability of year-round golf, beaches, and other sporting activities. Guests also like to admire the highest mountain, which is called Pico Duarte. In contrast, they also enjoy exploring the lowest elevation, which is Lake Enriquillo, the largest lake in the Caribbean. The average daily temperature is nearly perfect at 78.8 °Fahrenheit.
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola, and it shares the western third of the island with the nation of Haiti. The section that belongs to the Dominican Republic has 18,704 square miles, and it has a population of nearly 10 million residents. The economy is dominated with sugar production, services, agriculture and tourism. The country’s capital is Santo Domingo, located on the southern coast, and this culturally-rich city welcomes many of these visitors each year.
Santo Domingo has several historical museums, and most of them are scattered in the Zona Colonial district. One is the Museum of Alcázar, which is housed in a beautiful and authentically-restored palace. Another is the Museum of the Casas Reales, and this one displays the history of the colonial period, including an assortment of ancient weapons. There is also the Naval Museum of the Atarazanas, which is located in the former naval yards. Other museums of interest are the Museum of the Dominican Man, the National Museum of History and Geography, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Modern Art.
For those who are interested in architecture, visitors have many choices. One of the city’s historical buildings is the Cathedral Santa María La Menor, and it is a good example of the early Spanish influence. Another interesting building is the Alcázar de Colón, a castle that was once the home of Don Diego Colón, a son of Christopher Columbus. Also of interest is the Monastery de San Francisco, the Museum de las Casas Reales, the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo, the Fortaleza Ozama and others.
Also in Santo Domingo is an area known as Malecón, which means seawall. This is the core of the commercial and touristic area, which has most of the major hotels. Trujillo-era monuments are featured, including a landmark obelisk. Santo Domingo is a UNESCO world heritage site because it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement on the American side of the Atlantic. The city is a good example of old world charm, but it also has the sassy nature of a Latin influence. In addition and of major importance is the fact that nightlife and shopping easily competes with any major metropolis, anywhere. Tourists also enjoy and appreciate the magnificent beaches. There is even a salsa club that is nicely hidden on the inside of an underground cave!