Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic (DR), is the Caribbean`s most cosmopolitan city and also the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. Santo Domingo's colonial area houses over a dozen museums filled with treasures from around the world, and serves as a historical marker where Christopher Columbus first landed in the Americas. Enchanting beaches are only an arms throw away from Santo Domingo, and only a few hours away lie the most famous beaches in the Caribbean where hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists travel each year. Dominican people are generally known for having happy dispositions, and many believe that they derive and create their happiness from merengue and salsa music which is played ubiquitously in every corner of the country.
The Dominican Republic has great geographic diversity, having extensive beaches of white sand, fertile valleys with exuberant vegetation, desert zones with dune formations, and mighty mountain chains. Despite the country's economic woes mainly due to the global economic downturn, the country's political atmosphere remains relatively stable.