The Dominican Republic is the eastern two thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic. It is located on the southern coast of the country bordering the Caribbean Sea at the mouth of the Ozama River. The city is about a four hour drive to the Dominican Republic's eastern, northern and farthest western border. Santo Domingo features a tropical monsoon climate although the city seldom experiences the oppressive heat and humidity typical to most tropical climates.
Santo Domingo quick location facts:
- Altitude: 60 ft above sea level
- Latitude: 18° 30' N
- Longitude: 69° 59' W
Santo Domingo's population was 3,014,000 in 2007. The Dominican population is about 73% multiracial, 16% white, and 11% black. Around 15% of this population has Taíno, Pre-Colombian, ancestry. About 90% of the contemporary Dominican population has West African ancestry to varying degrees. Although due to rampant racism instituted during the Spanish Empire few will self identify as black.
The Dominican Republic is 68.9% Roman Catholic, 18.2% Evangelical, 10.6% with no religion, and 2.3% other. With the exception of the Trujillo reign in the 1950s, there has been religious freedom throughout record history in the country.
Almost all of the Dominican Republic is Spanish speaking. Many of the schools are bilingual with English as the secondary language. People of Haitian descent will often speak Haitian Creole. There are about 8,000 speakers of Samaná English in the Samaná Peninsula. Samaná English is a language derived from enslaved Africans whom arrived in the 19th century.
Officially, school is free and compulsory from the ages 5 to 14. Many who live in isolated area have limited access to this school system. Most wealthier students attend private schools sponsored by religious organizations.
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern majority of the island of Hispaniola and is a tropical paradise. The diverse geography includes 1,633 miles of coastline, white sand beaches, lush valleys, tropical rain forests and five mountain ranges with the highest mountain reaching over 3,000 meters high. The city of Santo Domingo is on the southern coast of the island, built strategically at the mouth of the Ozama River, on the Caribbean Sea.
The majority of the nation’s GDP comes from services including transportation and tourism. The remainder is composed of industry (sugar refining, pharmaceuticals, cement, light manufacturing, construction) and agriculture (sugarcane, coffee, cocoa, bananas, tobacco, rice, plantains, beef). The nation’s economy has been steadily growing over the last decade. Due to improved telecommunications infrastructure, many national and international businesses have established headquarters in Santo Domingo. There is a large economic disparity within the city. In general, the high income families live within the central polygon of the city and the poor live on the city’s outskirts.
Though the Dominican Republic has a tropical monsoon climate, elevation and trade winds bring the nation’s average annual temperature to 25 °C (77 °F), with temperatures reaching 27°C (80.6 °F) in arid regions and occasionally dropping to freezing in the high mountain winters.
The temperature in the city of Santo Domingo is relatively constant, averaging around 24 °C (75.2 °F) in January and 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July. The monsoon rain season lasts from May to November. The country receives an average of 53.0 inches of rain annually with the highest levels of rainfall recorded in the mountainous northeast and southwestern valleys. The Dominican Republic experiences tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricane season is from June until November, although historically hurricanes have occurred mainly from August to October.
|Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic ||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec||Total|
|Daily Max Temperature (oF/oC)||81/27||84/29||84/29||86/30||86/30||88/31||91/33||93/34||88/31||88/31||88/31||84/29||86.8/30.4|
|Daily Avg Temperature (oF/oC)||75/24||75/24||77/25||79/26||79/26||81/27||81/27||81/27||81/27||81/27||79/26||77/25||78.7/25.9|
|Daily Min Temperature (oF/oC)||61/16||66/19||68/20||70/21||72/22||73/23||75/24||72/22||72/22||72/22||70/21||66/19||69.7/20.9|
|Monthly Rainfall (in/mm)||2.52/64||2.2/56||2.09/53||2.8/71||7.4/188||5.51/140||5.71/145||7.01/178||7.09/180||7.4/188||3.9/99||3.31/84||56.93/1,446|
For phone calls from the US to Dominican Republic dial 1 + areacode (809, 829 or 849) + 7 digit phone number. There is no need to dial the 011 that is usually used for international calls.
Similarly to call the US from Dominican Republic dial as you would in the US: 1 + areacode + 7 digit phone number.
Travel information to Santo Domingo
The most common way to arrive in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from the states is by flying into the large international airport - Las Américas International Airport (SDQ).
How to arrive from the airport
We will pick you up.
Useful Local Information
Phone Numbers for Taxis
For Santo Domingo Este
- High Class Taxi - 809 788 1111
- Excelente Taxi - 809 788 3000
For Santo Domingo Centro
- Apolo Taxi - 809 537 0000
- Aero Taxi - 809 686 1212
- El Conde Taxi - 809 563 6131
- Taxi Express - 809 537 7777
Important Contact Information
Humboldt State University 1 Harpst St. Arcata, CA 95521-8299 Information: (707) 826-3011 HSU Police: (707) 826-3456 (They have our US emergency contact information)
Lonny Grafman HSU Phone: (707) 826-3649 Emergency phone: (707) 737-4273 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiva Mahoney Phone in the Dominican Republic (829) 505-7590 email@example.com
Wilfredo Mena firstname.lastname@example.org (829) 601-6745
UNIBE Universidad Iberoamericana. Ave. Francia No. 129, Gazcue, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom Tel # 809-689-4111 Arq. Extension: 2037
What to Bring
Here is an incomplete list of items to pack or to buy when you get to Santo Domingo (which can be a fun way to get to know more about the area).
- reusable water bottle
- travel umbrella, light
- beach towel
- Work shoes or boots
- Work gloves
- Work clothes
- lightweight raincoat (it can rain a lot in Santo Domingo)
- antibacterial tissues
- cotton socks
- comfortable clothes for heat
- very comfortable walking shoes
- formal summer outfit (for formal occasions)
- hat for the sun
- moneybelt (optional - serves to bring some money and save things for personal use)
- sandals (optional)
- a small flashlight (optional)
- pocket money ($300 USD) [ATM card is safer]
- a small gift for your family (e.g. something from Humboldt)
- a dictionary (English / Spanish etc.)
- pens, pencil, eraser, notebook
- a calculator
- mosquito repellent
- Memory Stick for use with computer.
- A light jacket
- Any small equipment you would like to use/donate (e.g. hammer, multimeter, etc.)
Optional: At Your Own Risk
- Camera (This will help with assignments. Make sure to attend the cultural orientation before taking photos, as photo taking is prohibited in many ares, such as churches.)
- Laptop Computer (This will help a lot with assignments. The school facilities have wifi and many of you may have internet in your home. Alternatively you can use cybercafes.)
- Music player
- Musical Instruments