Are you wondering what are the differences between Dominica and the Dominican Republic? Well, the goal of this article is to provide a detailed explanation to this burning question.
As Caribbean nationals, we know that persons in the wider world are often confused as to whether these two islands are the same.
Nevertheless, Dominica and Dominican Republic are two separate countries. In this article we will explore these differences under various categories such as size, languages, activities, nightlife, landscape and beaches.
As a general rule, Dominica is an English Speaking island located in the Eastern Caribbean region that is ideal for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. Alternatively, Dominican Republic is a Spanish Speaking Island in the Caribbean that is known for having the tallest waterfall and peak in the region.
So let’s dive into further details.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- Which Country Is Bigger
The Dominican Republic has the larger landmass of the two countries being 18,704 square miles.
It shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and is the second largest country in the Caribbean region. The capital city is called Santo Domingo.
Alternatively, Dominica is only 290 square miles and is located between the French Caribbean Islands of Guadeloupe to the North and Martinique to the South. The capital city is called Roseau.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- How Does The Landscape Differ?
Both islands are extremely green, lush and mountainous in terms of look and feel.
Pico Duarte is the highest peak in the entire Caribbean region in Dominican Republic and the 16th highest point of elevation compared to other islands worldwide. It stands at an elevation of 10,125 feet.
Most notably, Dominican Republic is also home to the tallest waterfall in the Caribbean Salto de Jalda.
It is a breath taking 400 foot drop and is situated about two hours’ drive from Punta Cana.
Contrastingly, Morne Diablotins which stands at 4,747 feet is the tallest on the Nature Island of Dominica and the second highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles.
It sits as part of the Morne Diablotins National Park which covers 8,242 acres. Dominica is the home to 365 rivers being one for every day of the year.
Layou River is the longest on the island and is excellent for bathing, kayaking and tubing.
Middleham Falls which drop to an impressive 200 feet is the tallest waterfall in the entire Eastern Caribbean is located in UNESCO World Heritage site Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- Which Destination Gets More Tourists
Dominican Republic is a major tourism destination in the Caribbean and receives significantly more visitors than Dominica.
According to tourism analytics in 2022, Dominican Republic welcomed 7,163,394 visitors while Dominica received 234,262 persons.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- What Are The Official Languages
The official language of both destinations is dissimilar.
English is the language spoken day to day by Dominicans. Nonetheless, creole which is spoken by locals is a form of French inspired patois.
Contrastingly, as a former colony of Spain, Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- Which Country Is Safer
Dominica is the safer of the two countries. However, visitors should exercise due care and caution as with every other nation. Dark and secluded places should be avoided at especially at nights.
Alternatively, as per data seen on the website Statistica.com, the Dominican Republic had the fourteen highest number of homicide within Latin America and the Caribbean for 2022.
According to Statistica.com, there were approximately 11.9 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Costa Rica was number thirteen on this list while Jamaica was number one on the list with 52.9 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- What Are The Official Currencies
The official currencies of these two countries differ. The currency used for financial transactions in Dominica is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.
The currency is pegged to the US (United States) dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.
This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts.
Contrastingly, the official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso.
Its symbol is $ with RD$ being used to prevent confusion with other currencies.
The Dominican Peso is issued and managed by the Central Bank of Dominican Republic and is available in bank notes and coins.
Bank notes are available in 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 bills. Alternatively, coins are available in 1, 5, 10 and 25 peso.
Nonetheless, the US dollar is widely accepted for financial transactions in both destinations. Change is usually given in local currencies.
Due to its proximity to the French Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, Euros are also accepted by several businesses in Dominica.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- Is It Easy To Visit Other Destinations
Dominica has better opportunities for island hopping to other Caribbean islands. There is a high speed ferry service called L’ Express Des Isles which provides transportation service to the French Caribbean island of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Furthermore, there are also connections via L’ Express Des Isles to St Lucia. At times when there are key cultural festivities in Antigua transportation service is provided from Guadeloupe to Antigua.
Alternatively, the ability to access other countries from Dominican Republic is limited.
There is a ferry service to Puerto Rico which is restricted to select days each week from San Juan to Santo Domingo.
Moreover, from Santo Domingo, one can cross the overland border to Haiti.
It takes about 7 hours via bus to Port Au Prince which is the capital city of Haiti. This time may increase due to the volume of persons at the border.
At the time of publication, the cost of the bus was approximately USD$80.00
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic– Which Country Has Better Beaches
If beaches are your priority, the Dominican Republic is the better destination to visit for beautiful white sand beaches.
The country is home to many white sand beaches and the stunning Bavaro beach which is one of the longest in the Caribbean which measures 30 miles.
Situated in the popular Eastern region of Punta Cana, Bavaro Beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and other water sporting activities.
Some of the key spots to explore include Juanillo Beach, El Corecito Beach and Uvero Alto Beach.
For individuals who enjoy remote and unspoiled beaches,playa Bahia de las aguilas is the perfect site to visit.
Known as the best beach in Dominican Republic, playa Bahia de las aguilas is a gorgeous stretch of white sand with turquoise waters measuring five miles.
Contrastingly, due to the volcanic nature of the island, Dominica does not have long stretches of white sand beaches.
Nevertheless, there are awesome spots that you can still enjoy. Situated in the West Coast, Mero beach is loved for its calm and turquoise waters.
Mero Beach is near to hotels and restaurants and hence it is perfect for a beach day getaway.
If you are seeking a unique location, Champagne Beach is the ideal spot to visit. This special seaside receives its name from the multiple bubbles originating from the volcanic actions located beneath the sea floor.
It’s identified as among the rare places in the world where volcanic movements happen at sea.
Champagne Beach is located only 7 km away from Roseau Cruise port.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- Which Country Has Better Nightlife
Dominican Republic has more superior nightlife of the two destinations. The nightlife scene in Dominican Republic consists mainly of restaurants, bars, casinos, discos and nightclubs.
As a Spanish speaking nation, the music genres primarily are reggaeton, electro and latino music.
Salsa dancing is extremely popular as well on the island.
Some of the popular places for nightlife in Dominican Republic are Onno’s Zona Colonial and La Bodega Bar.
Upscale restaurants tend to enforce a dress code for attendees. Therefore, if you are planning on having dinner, pack something a bit more formal.
Alternatively, entertainment in Dominica consists of socializing at restaurants, bars, cinemas and nightclubs.
Emerald movies cinemas have both films of both adults and children. Banana Leaf restaurants in Picard, Portsmouth is one of the best restaurants on the island. They serve items such as goat and lambi waters.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- Which Has The Greater Risk of Hurricanes
Dominican Republic is the destination with greater risk of natural disasters due to hurricanes as it is located in the centre of the hurricane belt.
Hurricane Beryl made landfall on the island causing much damage to buildings and infrastructure in 2018.
In the year 2020, hurricane Isaias and Laura affected the Dominican Republic again causing damage to property in the country.
Hurricane Fiona affected the Dominican Republic in 2022.
Alternatively, Dominica is within the hurricane belt but its location further South which makes it less likely for a hurricane to make landfall when compared to the Dominican Republic.
The island experienced the devastating impacts of hurricane Maria in 2017. As a result of this category 5 storm, over 90% of the buildings and infrastructure on the island was destroyed.
Nevertheless as a result of its experiences, the island is poised to become the world’s first hurricane proof country.
In addition, there is an agency now established on the island called CREAD tasked with spearheading this initiative.
Dominica Vs Dominican Republic- What Are The Unique Things To Do
Top Things To Do In Dominica
Go Whale and Dolphin Watching- excursions are available via boat where you can see pilot whales, sperm whales and humpback whales.
Guides are knowledgeable and can provide detailed explanation of the various species.
Enjoy A Canyon Experience- rappel and jump into some of the natural features of the island.
These include natural pools and waterfalls. Tour companies often provide safety gear for your convenience.
Take A Safari Jeep Tour- enjoy the breathtaking views of the island and visit various sulphur springs as well as view beautiful scenic locations such as Titou Gorge.
Hike To Middleham Falls-trek to the largest waterfall in the Eastern Caribbean situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site called Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
Middleham Falls is approximately 200 feet and magnificent to behold. The hike to this location is moderately difficult.
Top Things To Do In Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata Cable Car, Dominican Republic- riding the teleferico is a must visit attraction in the Dominican Republic.
The ride gives you a chance to explore and enjoy the lush and tropical scene from above.
Charcos de Damajagua, Dominican Republic-these are 27 small waterfalls located in the Puerto Plata region.
Access to the 27 waterfalls at Charcos de Damajagua is via hiking though a tropical rainforest. This attraction may be challenging for small children.
There is a restaurant on site so you can grab a meal after your swim in one of the many waterfalls.
The 3 Eyes National Park, Dominican Republic- is a limestone cave with three lakes called “Los Tres Ojos” in Spanish.
It contains three lakes and is one of the most popular attractions in the Dominican Republic.
The three lakes are called Lago de Azufre, La Nevera and El Lago de las Damas.
Isla Saona, Dominican Republic- located off the Southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic is a 42 square mile island that is truly paradise.
Isla Saona is preserved as part of the Cotubanama National Park and is an area where turtles nest.
Access to the island is via speedboat or catamaran. The island is a favorite spot for visitors for its majestic white sand beaches with turquoise waters.
Mano Juan is the only region of the island that is inhabited.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Dominica A Country?
Dominica is an independent country since 1978 governed by its own elected Prime Minister and President. It is located between the French Caribbean islands of Martinique to the South and Guadeloupe to the North. It is fondly known as the nature island of the Caribbean due to its stunning scenery.
Is Dominica Different From The Dominican Republic?
Dominica and the Dominican Republic are two different countries. Dominica is an English Speaking Island situated in the Eastern Caribbean. Alternatively, Dominican Republic is a Spanish Speaking nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Both have different currencies, food and culture.
Why Does Dominica And Dominican Republic Have Similar Names?
Dominica and Dominican Republic having similar names is purely by accident. Dominica got its name from the Latin phrase ‘Dies Dominica’. It was sighted by Christopher Columbus on a Sunday. Dominican Republic got its name from its capital city Santo Domingo which was named after Saint Dominic.
Final Thoughts: Dominica Vs Dominican Republic
On a whole, Dominica and the Dominican Republic are two different countries. Dominica is ideal for persons who enjoy hiking, nature and whale watching. Alternatively, Dominican Republic is perfect for persons who enjoy white sand beaches with turquoise waters and a bustling nightlife atmosphere.
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What Is The Best Currency For Dominican Republic