Republic. Gained independence in 1865, after successive attempts.
Head of state:
President Danilo Medina since 2012.
110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style two-pin plugs are in use.
The Dominican Republic is the Caribbean's most geographically diverse country, showcasing everything from tropical rainforests and alpine ranges to mangrove swamps and desert expanses. These natural gifts offer superb adventure travel and eco-tourism options, catering for mountain-bikers, trekkers, watersport fanatics among other outdoor enthusiasts.
A heady blend of Caribbean rhythms, American influences and European ancestry, today's Dominican Republic is as much defined by its booming music and a passion for all things baseball as by its time-faded colonial heritage. But while many overseas visitors are drawn by the all-inclusive resorts peppering the north and east coasts, to consider the Dominican Republic as just another palm-fringed beach bolthole is to sell it short.
Capital Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial is rich in remarkable architecture, and makes the most natural starting point for cultural visitors, particularly those who like their music loud: throughout the country, fast-step merengue and guitar-based bachata blare from storefronts and taxis.