The second largest nation in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, with Haiti occupying the western portion. To the west are Jamaica and Cuba; Puerto Rico is east beyond the 112-kilometer Mona Passage; and the southern tip of Florida is about 1,000 kilometers away.
Situated in the heart of the region between North and South America, the country is bathed by the Caribbean Sea on the south coast and the Atlantic Ocean to the north. With a land area of 48,442 square kilometers, it is larger than the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, all the Virgin Islands and the entire French West Indies put together. The Dominican Republic is slightly larger than the Netherlands, and approximately the size of the US state of Maryland.
The Dominican Republic is a land of contrasts with towering mountains and rocky cliffs, rain forests, fertile valleys, cacti-studded deserts, 1,600 kilometers of coastline and about 300 kilometers of prime soft sand beaches. The country is crossed by four rugged mountain ranges bisecting northwest to southeast. The largest is the Cordillera Central with Pico Duarte, the tallest point in the Caribbean, rising over 3,175 meters. Three large fertile valleys rest between the ranges, one of which holds Lake Enriquillo in the southwest, the lowest point in the Caribbean falling 40 meters below sea level.
Itís the only salt water lake in the world inhabited by crocodiles.