Santo Domingo, the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic, covers an area of approximately 1,401 square kilometers and currently has a population of 2,193,046. Santo Domingo was the first settlement established in the New World and is considered the cradle of evangelization in the Americas. Having served as the set for internationally renowned, big budget films such as The Godfather II, Havana andLaFiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat), among others, consolidated Santo Domingo’s relationship with the Seventh Art.
In addition to being the country’s second largest city, Santiago is the most important city in the province of the same name. Its rum and liquor have acquired international fame, contributing to the economic development of the city while its land is mainly used for crops and agriculture. Santiago, an area of 2,389 kilometers, is well-known for its industrial free zones and deeply rooted cultural traditions, which are expressed in the province’s rich and diverse folklore and art. Santiago is also known for being home to one of the country’s most popular baseball teams – the Las Aguilas Cibaeñas.
Baní, the capital of Peravia province, is one of the new additions to the roster of venues for the DR Environmental Film Festival. The city, with nearly 62,000 residents who live on its 743.79 square kilometers, is only about an hour’s drive west of Santo Domingo along the Southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Baní is a tightly-knit agricultural community known for its production of bananas, coffee and mangoes, which are celebrated every June at Baní’s annual mango festival, attracting visitors from all over the country.
Situated in the heart of the Dominican Republic, San Francisco de Macorís is the fourth-largest city in the country with a population of 245,397 and an area of 727 square kilometers. It is the capital of Duarte province, located in the northern region of Cibao, which is known for its rich, black soil and fertile farmlands. San Francisco de Macorís represents the agroindustry in the Dominican Republic, as it is one of the largest producers of various products from cacao and coffee to fruit and rice. The city is also home to one of the largest universities in the DR, the Nordestana Catholic University (UCNE).
Puerto Plata, the largest city on the northern seaboard, covers an area of 509 square kilometers and has a population of 286,558. Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada beaches make tourism one of the staples of its economy, but agribusiness is also important to the city. The port around which Puerto Plata was built is one of the most active in the Caribbean and has a major impact on both the provincial and national economy.
San Juan de la Maguana, is the main municipality of San Juan province, on the western side of the country. With a population of 241,100 on 876.21 square kilometers of land, San Juan is renowned for its fertile soil and moderate climate, suitable for cultivation of cereals and legumes such as beans and rice which are the main ingredients in the Dominican diet. In the DREFF’s three year history, this is the first time the Festival will take place in San Juan, a city distinguished by its colonial history.
Concepción de La Vega is the capital of La Vega province, located in the center of the Dominican Republic. This city is famous for attracting thousands of international tourists, as well as local visitors, to the fabulous celebration of one of the most important national cultural events in the country – the Dominican Carnival. The Carnival features the best and most attractive colored masks as well as musical performances by renowned artists.
A narrow peninsula in the northeastern corner of the Dominican Republic, Samaná is one of the least developed and most serene areas of the country. Its white sand beaches, many of them remote and secluded, rank with some of the D.R.’s finest. The province of Samaná, with a population of over 140,000 and covering over 853 square kilometers, is in known for its agriculture, fishing and for being one of the country’s most popular tourism destinations. Places such as the Bay of Samaná, are of great importance as they play host to the largest concentration of North Atlantic humpback whales each year between the months of January and March.
Bavaro is a section of the municipal district of Verón, dependent on Higüey in Altagracia province of the Dominican Republic. Originally designed as a bedroom community for workers at the Punta Cana resort, it has become a center for tourist services as a result of hotel expansion to the north of Punta Cana, around Bavaro Beach, making it an important Dominican tourist area. It was here that the XII Latin American Summit was held on November 15-16, 2002, and brought together the heads of state and governments from 21 Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries.
Bonao is the capital of Monseñor Nouel province in the Dominican Republic, located in the center of the country, northwest of Santo Domingo, the capital of the country. Its name comes from the Taino cacique who reigned over this land before the Spanish arrived on the island of Santo Domingo. One of the richest towns in the Dominican Republic, Bonao’s wealth comes from gold and nickel mining, which is a major source of employment for its people. Bonao is known for its fertile agriculture, and the Monsignor Nouel province enjoys an enviable climate where the influence of the trade winds brings moderate rainfall.
Azua, one of the 31 provinces that makes up the Dominican Republic, is located in the southwestern region of the country. Azua province covers an area of 2,682 square kilometers. It is one of the country’s largest provinces in terms of territory, comprising 5.6% of the country’s surface area.
The southern part of the province is in Llanura or Llano de Azua (also known as the “Azua Plain”), a coastal plain surrounded by mountains that act as barriers to the winds carrying coastal waters, thus making the lower parts of Azua arid. It was one of the five provinces created by the first Dominican constitution in November 1844. Azua’s territory spanned the municipalities that were in dispute with Haiti: Hincha, Las Caobas, San Miguel de la Atalaya, and San Rafael de la Angostura.
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