The Dominican Republic
When Christopher Columbus reached land in 1492 on an island he subsequently named “Hispaniola”, he declared it the most beautiful island he had ever seen. Columbus’s arrival and the colonization of this island in the sun would signify a turning point in history. European civilization had now opened the door to the “new world”. Interaction between the Europeans and the indigenous peoples of Hispaniola, violent at times, would ultimately blend together in the ethnic and cultural mix which would become the vibrant swirl of culture that is waiting here to be discovered by today’s adventure lover as well as the casual curious traveler. What has become of this gateway to the New World? History is the in the furtive and friendly smiles of Dominicans, the boisterous salutations, the warm-hearted vibe, the ethnic mix of the indigenous, the Europeans and the African peoples has produced a most fascinating national character. While there is no “typical” Dominican physiognomy, the population is as exotic as the island itself.
Santiago de los Caballeros
Founded in 1495 during the first wave of European colonization of the New World, Santiago de los Caballeros is the second largest metropolis in the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. This city is referred to as La Ciudad Corazón, (Heart City) because it is located at the heart of the lush and scenic Cibao Valley. Majestic mountain ranges straddle the city to the north and south. Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic, and many of the greatest baseball players today hail from the DR. The fastest way to get acquainted with the natives is to strike up a conversation about baseball. People will surely become quite enthusiastic talking about such a topic.
Often compared to Santo Domingo, the city of Santiago, the second largest metropolis, is comprised of citizens who prefer a less chaotic and more purposeful lifestyle than its counterpart. Santo Domingo is far more congested and sooty, while Santiago maintains the rhythm of a large town, rather than the anonymity of a bustling metropolis such as Santo Domingo. Home to over 750,000 people, the heart of this laid back city proves to be the colonial downtown area where ALPI is located.