The Dominican Republic shares with Haiti the island of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba. Once the adopted land of the Tainos (Arawaks) and the Caribs, this island was "discovered" by Christopher Columbus and became the first European colony in the New World in 1492.
Known above all for the splendor of its white-sand beaches, the Dominican Republic is a country of tremendous diversity. From the tropical rain forest to the desert-like expanse of the southwest, from farming fields as far as the eye can see to the highest summit of the Caribbean Pico Duarte, from the endless fields of sugar cane to verdant banana groves. The variety and spectacular beauty of its countryside is one of its greatest riches. But it is not the only one. The marvelous Underwater World is starting to make a name for itself, and the newly discovered, still unspoiled Underwater Cave systems are going to put the Dominican Republic on the World map of cave diving.