The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but there are different variants of Spanish throughout the country. Dominican Spanish is the most common dialect, which is a subset of Caribbean Spanish based on Canarian and Andalusian dialects of Southern Spain. It also borrows some words from Arawak and African languages. Haitian Creole is also spoken as a first language by over 160,000 people and is based on French with influence from Spanish and West African Languages. Haitian Creole has not been given official recognition and is often considered as a foreign language. The form of English that is used is Samana English, which is similar to Creole English that is based on West African languages and English.
Common Phrases in the Dominican Republic:
- Que lo que A very versatile saying that can mean "what’s up" "okay" or "what’s going on"
- Vaina A word used to describe something in a negative way (i.e. calling something ugly)
- Colmado A small corner store or convenience store in which you can buy a quick snack
- Concho A car or motorcycle (majority of local transportation through the streets in the Dominican Republic is by motorcycle)
- Yala A common word used in an informal setting with friends that can mean "okay" or "alright"
- Nítido "Great" or "cool"
- Lengua larga Literally translates to “long tongue,” but is used when referring to a talkative person or sometimes to an outright liar
- Dame dato Literally translates to “give me a piece of information” and is used when someone is asking for more information about something
- Pana "pal", "buddy", or "bro"
- Mai and Pai A way to affectionately refer to your mother and father
Cabarete Kite Beach
Cabarete is very well known for its surfing, kiteboarding, or windsurfing. The waves and wind on these beaches are perfect for tourists to learn how to do these activities. Cabarete also has many restaurants right on the beach and many stores for tourist shopping.
From December through March, thousands of humpback whales enter Samaná Bay to mate and give birth, which makes it perfect for tourists to see whales in the wild. Although the city of Samaná does not hold much else for tourists, there are many companies that will offer day trips here from various destinations.
La Playa Grande
Located about 75 miles northeast of Puerto Plata, this one mile long beach is known for its white sands and bright blue waters. There are rows of local seafood shacks that serve fresh lunch plates while Dominican music echoes. This is the picture perfect spot for a relaxing day at the beach.
A waterfall that takes you on an adventure through thick forest on horseback, by foot, or on a canoe through El Limón River. There are many native plants that grow in these forests, such as the royal palm tree and pineapple tree. There are also many native wildlife species, including the Dominican Republic’s national bird, the Hispaniolan Woodpecker and the Broad-billed Tody. The falls drop 130 feet from the top of Sierra de Semaná. The freshwater emerald pool at the bottom is a perfect spot to cool off from your hike to the falls.
- Santo Domingo, the capital of the country, is the oldest European settlement in the Americas.
- The Dominican flag has three colors: red, white, and blue. The white of the cross in the center represents salvation, the red rectangles represent the blood of the heroes who fought for their independence, and the blue rectangles stand for liberty.
- The Dominican Republic has two unique endemic stones that are only found in the DR. The first one was created millions of years ago due to the warm climate in the DR and the extinct prehistoric tree, the Hymeneae Protera. It is translucent brown in color and is considered the finest amber worldwide because of its high concentrations of fossils. The second one is the Larimar, which is bright blue in color.
- Baseball is the most popular sport in the country, and the Dominican Republic is home to over 100 Major League Baseball (MLB) players including David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, and Hanley Ramirez. Various MLB flags can be seen on the streets of the country.
- Merengue, the fast-paced, rhythmic music and dance originated here.
- The DR is home to the first Catholic cathedral, university, hospital, and capital city in the Americas.
- There is a “car-horn language” that is used on the streets of the DR. One short beep means “I’m here” or “get a move on!” Two short beeps mean “I’m passing you,” and two long beeps is a more urgent way of saying “hurry up!”
- There is a wide variety of phenomenal food because of the varied ethnicity of the country. It is a combination of Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern cuisine.
- The currency used is the Dominican Peso, but US dollars are also widely used. One US dollar is roughly 50 Dominican Pesos.
- The Dominican Republic is the second most visited country out of the United States.