Barahona, Dominican Republic
La Romana International Airport, Dominican
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata International, Dominican Republic
Las Americas, Dominican Republic
San Isidro Air Force Base, Dominican Republic
Santiago, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of
Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean,
east of Haiti
Geographic coordinates: 19 00 N, 70 40 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
total: 48,730 sq km
land: 48,380 sq km
water: 350 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of
total: 275 km
border countries: Haiti 275 km
Coastline: 1,288 km
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 6 nm
Climate: tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature
variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
Terrain: rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys
lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m
Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures: 43%
forests and woodland: 12%
other: 15% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,300 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt
and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding;
Environment - current issues: water shortages; soil eroding
into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation; Hurricane Georges
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification,
Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear
Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note: shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti
(eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic, western one-third
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).
Dominican Republic is an independent country in the West Indies,
a region of the Caribbean Sea.
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola,
the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Only Cuba is
The remainder of the island is occupied by the republic of Haiti.
A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much
of the 20th century was brought to an end in 1996 when free and
open elections ushered in a new government.
Size: Approximately 48,442 square kilometers.
Topography: Mountain ranges divide country into
three regions: northern, central, and southwestern. Seven major
drainage basins, most important that of Yaque del Norte River. Largest
body of water Lago Enriquillo (Lake Enriquillo), in southwest. Highest
mountain peak, Pico Duarte, rises in Cordillera Central (Central
Range) to height of 3,087 meters.
Climate: Primarily tropical, with temperatures
varying according to altitude. Seasons defined more by rainfall
than by temperature. For most of country, rainy season runs roughly
from May through November; dry season, from November through April.
Rainfall not uniform throughout country because of mountain ranges.
Tropical cyclones strike country on average of once every two years
and usually have greatest impact along southern coast.
Data as of December 1989
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola (La
Isla Española), which it shares with Haiti to the west. The 388-kilometer
border between the two was established in a series of treaties,
the most recent of which was the 1936 Protocol of Revision of the
Frontier Treaty (Tratado Fronterizo) of 1929. The country is shaped
in the form of an irregular triangle. The short side of the triangle
is 388 kilometers long, while the two long sides form 1,575 kilometers
of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the
Mona Passage. The total area of the country is approximately 48,442
square kilometers. Although it boasts the highest elevations in
the Antilles, it also has a saltwater lake below sea level (see
Data as of December 1989
The mountains and valleys of the Dominican Republic divide the
country into the northern, the central, and the southwestern regions.
The northern region, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, consists of the
Atlantic coastal plain, the Cordillera Septentrional (or Northern
Mountain Range), the Valle del Cibao (Cibao Valley), and the Samaná
Peninsula. The Atlantic coastal plain is a narrow strip that extends
from the northwestern coast at Monte Cristi to Nagua, northwest
of the Samaná Peninsula. The Cordillera Septentrional is south of,
and runs parallel to, the coastal plain. Its highest peaks rise
to an elevation of over 1,000 meters. The Valle del Cibao lies south
of the Cordillera Septentrional. It extends 240 kilometers from
the northwest coast to the Bahía de Samaná in the east and ranges
in width from 15 to 45 kilometers. To the west of the ridge lies
the Valle de Santiago and to the east is the Valle de la Vega Real.
The Samaná Peninsula is an eastward extension of the northern region,
separated from the Cordillera Septentrional by an area of swampy
lowlands. The peninsula is mountainous; its highest elevations reach
The central region is dominated by the Cordillera Central (Central
Range); it runs eastward from the Haitian border and turns southward
at the Valle de Constanza (or Constanza Valley) to end in the Caribbean
Sea. This southward branch is known as the Sierra de Ocoa. The Cordillera
Central is 2,000 meters high near the Haitian border and reaches
a height of 3,087 meters at Pico Duarte, the highest point in the
country. An eastern branch of the Cordillera Central extends through
the Sierra de Yamasá to the Cordillera Oriental (Eastern Range).
The main peaks of these two mountain groups are not higher than
880 meters. The Cordillera Oriental is also known as the Sierra
Another significant feature of the central region is the Caribbean
coastal plain, which lies south of the foothills of the Sierra de
Yamasá and the Cordillera Oriental. It extends 240 kilometers from
the mouth of the Ocoa River to the extreme eastern end of the island.
The Caribbean coastal plain is 10 to 40 kilometers wide and consists
of a series of limestone terraces that gradually rise to a height
of 100 to 120 meters at the northern edge of the coastal plains
at the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental. Finally, the central
region includes the Valle de San Juan in the western part of the
country; the valley extends 100 kilometers from the Haitian border
to the Bahía de Ocoa.
The southwestern region lies south of the Valle de San Juan. It
encompasses the Sierra de Neiba, which extends 100 kilometers from
the Haitian border to the Yaque del Sur River. The main peaks are
roughly 2,000 meters high, while other peaks range from 1,000 to
1,500 meters. On the eastern side of the Yaque del Sur lies the
Sierra de Martín García, which extends twenty-five kilometers from
the river to the Llanura de Azua (Plain of Azua).
The Hoya de Enriquillo, a structural basin that lies south of the
Sierra de Neiba, is also within the southwestern region. The basin
extends ninety-five kilometers from the Haitian border to the Bahía
de Neiba and twenty kilometers from the Sierra de Neiba to the Sierra
de Baoruco. The Sierra de Baoruco extends seventy kilometers from
the Haitian border to the Caribbean Sea. Its three major peaks surpass
2,000 meters in height. TheProcurrente de Barahona (Cape of Barahona)
extends southward from the Sierra de Baoruco and consists of a series
Data as of December 1989
The Dominican Republic has seven major drainage basins. Five of
these rise in the Cordillera Central and a sixth, in the Sierra
de Yamasá. The seventh drainage system flows into the Lago Enriquillo
(Lake Enriquillo) from the Sierra de Neiba to the north and from
the Sierra de Baoruco to the south. In general, other rivers are
either short or intermittent.
The Yaque del Norte is the most significant river in the country.
Some 296 kilometers long, with a basin area of 7,044 square kilometers,
it rises near Pico Duarte at an altitude of 2,580 meters in the
Cordillera Central. It empties into the Bahía de Monte Cristi on
the northwest coast, where it forms a delta. The Yaque del Sur is
the most important river on the southern coast. It rises at an altitude
of 2,707 meters in the southern slopes of the Cordillera Central.
Its upper course through the mountains constitutes 75 percent of
its total length of some 183 kilometers. The basin area is 4,972
square kilometers. The river forms a delta near its mouth in the
Bahía de Neiba.
The Lago Enriquillo lies in the western part of the Hoya de Enriquillo.
Its drainage basin includes ten minor river systems and covers an
area of more than 3,000 square kilometers. The northern rivers of
the system rise in the Sierra de Neiba and are perennial, while
the southern rivers rise in the Sierra de Baoruco and are intermittent,
flowing only after heavy rainfall. The Lago Enriquillo itself covers
some 265 square kilometers. Its water level varies because of the
high evaporation rate, yet on the average it is forty meters below
sea level. The water in the lake is saline.
Data as of December 1989
The Dominican Republic has primarily a tropical climate, with more
diurnal and local variations in temperature than seasonal ones,
and with seasonal variability in the abundance of rainfall. The
average annual temperature is 25° C, ranging from 18° C
at an altitude of over 1,200 meters to 28° C at an altitude
of 10 meters. Highs of 40° C are common in protected valleys,
as are lows of zero in mountainous areas. In general, August is
the hottest month, and January and February are the coldest ones.
Seasons, however, vary more as a function of rainfall than of temperature.
Along the northern coast, the rainy season lasts from November through
January. In the rest of the country, it runs from May through November;
May is the wettest month. The dry season lasts from November through
April; March is the driest month. The average annual rainfall for
the country as a whole is 150 centimeters. This varies, however,
from region to region, and ranges from 35 centimeters in the Valle
de Neiba to 274 centimeters in the Cordillera Oriental. In general,
the western part of the country, including the interior valleys,
receives the least rain.
Tropical cyclones--such as tropical depressions, tropical storms,
and hurricanes--occur on the average of once every two years in
the Dominican Republic. Over 65 percent of the storms strike the
southern part of the country, especially along the Hoya de Enriquillo.
The season for cyclones lasts from the beginning of June to the
end of November; some cyclones occur in May and December, but most
take place in September and October. Hurricanes usually occur from
August through October. They may produce winds greater than 200
kilometers per hour and rainfall greater than 50 centimeters in
a twenty-four-hour period.
Data as of December 1989