The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island
of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, with Haiti occupying the
Situated in the heart of the region, between North and South America,
the country is bathed by the Caribbean Sea on the south coast and
the Atlantic Ocean to the north. With a land area of 48,442 square
kilometers, it is larger than the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico,
all the Virgin Islands and the entire French West Indies put together.
The Dominican Republic is approximately the size of the state of
Maryland. To the west are Jamaica and Cuba; Puerto Rico is east
beyond the 112 kilometer Mona Passage; and the southern tip of Florida
is about 1,000 kilometers away. The Dominican Republic shares a
land frontier of 275 kms with Haiti.
A land of contrasts with towering mountains and rocky cliffs, rain
forests, fertile valleys, cacti-studded desert regions, 1,600 kilometers
of coastline and around 300 kilometers of prime soft sand beaches.
The country is crossed by four rugged mountain ranges bisecting
northwest to southeast. The largest is the Cordillera Central with
Pico Duarte, the tallest point in the Caribbean, rising over 3,175
Three large fertile valleys rest between the ranges, one of which
holds Lake Enriquillo in the southwest, the lowest point in the
Caribbean falling 40 meters below sea level and the only salt water
lake in the world inhabited by crocodiles.
The Dominican Republic enjoys a year round privileged tropical maritime
climate. Its 17° 36, - 19° 58, latitude places the Dominican Republic
at the border of the tropical zone. Sea breezes refresh the insular
territory, evening out temperatures to average 23°C in the early
mornings to 32°C at noon time year round.
The lowest temperatures occur in the mountain areas near Constanza,
where temperatures have dropped to 0°C, and record highs have been
registered at the frontier with Haiti, 39°C in the summer.
May through November are regarded as the rainy season. The hurricane
season lasts from June through November, with August-September being
the peak months. The last major hurricanes to hit the Dominican
Republic were Georges (September 1998) and David (August 1979).