Dominican Republic


The Dominican Republic shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti. it consists of rugged highlands and mountains, interspersed with fertile valleys. The highest point is Pico Duarte at 3,098 meters (10,164 feet). Lago Enriquillo is not only the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean, but also the lowest point on any ocean island in the world, at 45 meters (148 feet) below sea level. Environmental issues include water shortages, soil eroding into the sea damaging coral reefs, and deforestation.

The mission of Dominican NGO Grupo Jaragua is to contribute to the sustainable management of the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve, which includes Jaragua National Park. Interntational NGO The Nature Conservancy maintains Parks In Peril, which lists Del Este National Park, Jaragua National Park, and Madre de las Aguas Conservation Area as being under threats of various kinds. The Nature Conservancy is actively involved with the protection of Del Este National Park, Madre de las Aguas Conservation Area, and the Samaná Bay estuary. There is also a local center for the conservation and eco-development of Samaná Bay and its surroundings, CEBSE (Centro para la Conservación y Ecodesarrollo de la Bahía de Samaná y su Entorno). Samaná Bay is important habitat for humpback whales, and Whale Samaná is a company promoting responsible whale watching in the region. The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve is a private protected area owned and operated by the Puntacana Ecological Foundation.

Since 1997, the ecotourism fair “Feria Ecoturistica y de Produccion” organized by Fundación Ciencia y Arte has become a pivotal annual event for the Dominican Republic. Fundación Vainita Ecoturismo is dedicated to the sustainable development of tourism in the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve, including the Enriquillo community ecotourism network, REDEC (Red Enriquillo Ecoturismo Comunitario). The Fundación Federico C. Alvarez commissioned the famous Mexican ecolodge architect Hector Ceballos-Lascurain to design their proposed Samana eco-retreat, the EcoGenesis Hideaway. Rancho Capote and Fun Fun Cave are located in the western part of Hato Mayor province. Three of the more interesting Dominican ecolodge projects are Complejo Ecoturístico Río Blanco, Rancho Ecológico el Campeche, and Tubagua Plantation Eco Village near Puerto Plata.

Dolphin Explorer is a dolphinarium in the resort area of Punta Cana, offering swim with the dolphins programs. Scuba divers may be interested in volunteer opportunities with Reef Check Dominican Republic. Three Dominican agencies Eco Tour Barahona in Paraíso, Explora Ecotour in Santo Domingo, Iguana Mama in Cabarete all offer ecotours. There are at least three Spanish language web portals dedicated to ecotourism in the Dominican Republic, including Ecoguia Dominicana, Ecoportal Dominicano, and

Biosphere Reserves:

National Parks

IUCN Members:


Explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. Ciudad Colonial (aka “Zona Colonial”), the historic central neighborhood of Santo Domingo, as the oldest permanent settlement of the New World was declared a World Heritage site in 1990.

Fundación Taiguey and its Kiskeya Alternativa project by Yacine Khelladi is likely the longest, continuously running community based tourism development effort in the Dominican Republic (and Haiti). Fundación Taiguey is associated with the Dominican rural tourism network, REDOTUR (Red Dominicana de Turismo Rural). The Dominican tourism competitiveness consortium, CDCT (Consorcio Dominicano Competitividad Turística), partnered with USAID in the formation the Dominican Sustainable Tourism Alliance, DSTA (Alianza Dominicana para el Turismo Sostenible). USAID-DSTA was administered by the contractor, Solimar International, which produced the Dominican Treasures network of sustainable tourism destinations and businesses. The Tour de Chocolate is an example of a tourist route that came out of the USAID-DSTA project. (See also the competing El Sendero del Cacao – The Cacao Trail.) Turismo Rural Dominicana is another web portal dedicated to rural tourism in the Dominican Republic.

World Heritage:

ICCROM Members:


  • A Syndemic Analysis of Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Tourism Employees in Sosúa, Dominican Republic by MB Padilla & V Guilamo-Ramos, 2012
  • Examining the policy climate for HIV prevention in the Caribbean tourism sector: a qualitative study of policy makers in the Dominican Republic by MB Padilla, AM Reyes & M Connolly, 2012
  • The Dominican Republic Tourism Cluster by FGRTM Puna, GJP Essl, 2012
  • Diaspora tourism in the Dominican Republic: Capitalizing on circular migration by Y Hume, 2011
  • The tourism industry and its link to poverty alleviation in the Dominican Republic by A Weiner, 2010
  • Tourist attitudes towards marine mammal tourism: an example from the Dominican Republic by M Draheim, I Bonnelly, T Bloom & N Rose, 2010
  • A reason not to support whaling–a tourism impact case study from the Dominican Republic by ECM Parsons & M Draheim, 2009
  • Rainwater Harvesting As A Water Conservation Tool In Coastal Tourism Areas: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic by P Kelly, 2009
  • Almost Paradise: The Cultural Politics of Identity and Tourism in Samana, Dominican Republic by KN Skoczen, 2008
  • Building community through socially responsible tourism: a collaborative success in the Dominican Republic by JA Williams, 2008
  • Producing knowledge, protecting forests: rural encounters with gender, ecotourism, and international aid in the Dominican Republic by L Carruyo, 2008
  • The critical relationship between large resorts and the state in developing sustainable tourism in the Caribbean: the case of the Dominican Republic by AD Buncic, 2008
  • The Limits of ‘Heterosexual AIDS’: Ethnographic Research on Tourism and Male Sexual Labor in the Dominican Republic by MB Padilla, 2008
  • Tourism in the Dominican Republic by B Barrera, P Gjurcilova, S Rabinowitz & H Suemori, 2008
  • Tropical Blues Tourism and Social Exclusion in the Dominican Republic by AL Cabezas, 2008
  • Caribbean pleasure industry: tourism, sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic by M Padilla, 2007
  • Linking the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) with the System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA): a project of the Dominican Republic by O Díaz Mora, 2006
  • A tale of two tourism paradises: Puerto Plata and Punta Cana–the determinants of room price in the Dominican Republic using a hedonic function approach by G Ruta & S Pedroso, 2005
  • Making tourism count for the local economy in Dominican Republic ideas for good practice by C Ashley, H Goodwin & D McNab, 2005
  • Small entrepreneurs and shifting identities: the case of tourism in Puerto Plata (Northern Dominican Republic) by C Roessingh & H Duijnhoven, 2005
  • The tourism penetration index in large islands: The case of the Dominican Republic by A Padilla, JL McElroy, 2005
  • Agriculture, environmental services and agro-tourism in the Dominican Republic by AH Catalino & M Lizardo, 2004
  • What’s love got to do with it?: Transnational desires and sex tourism in the Dominican Republic by D Brennan, 2004
  • Resident Perspectives of Ecotourism as a Tool for Community-based Development: Case Study of Arroyo Surdido, Samaná, Dominican Republic by AD Holmes, 2003
  • Assessing Tourists’ Preferences for Recreational and Environmental Management Programs Central to the Sustainable Development of a Tourism Area in the Dominican Republic by L Mercado & JP Lassoie, 2002
  • Tourism, Sex Work, and Women’s Rights in the Dominican Republic by AL Cabezas, 2002
  • Integrating stakeholders in participatory natural resource management: Ecotourism project of el limon waterfall, Dominican Republic by P Lamelas, 2001
  • Dominican republic looks to sports tourism by R Coniston, 1999
  • Protecting paradise: tourism and AIDS in the Dominican Republic by S Forsythe, J Hasbún & MB De Lister, 1998
  • Tourism Growth Poles Revisited: A Strategy for Regional Economic Development in the Dominican Republic by RA Sambrook, BM Kermath & RN Thomas, 1994
  • The Cultural Ecology of Tourism in the Dominican Republic: Coastal Adaptation Or Degradation? by TG Freitag, 1992
  • Tourism and agriculture on the North coast of the Dominican Republic by AM O’Ferral, 1991

Dominican Republic Data