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Dominican Republic
Sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the Dominican Republic is one of the most famous vacation destinations in the Caribbean on the Samana Peninsula, you can enjoy some great whale watching. The Dominican Republic is also home to the highest mountain in the Caribbean Pico Duarte, which stands over 10,400 feet high.

Covering a total land area of 48, 717 sq km, the Dominican Republic offers tourists who visit here a plethora of activities to enjoy. From white water rafting to hiking and biking.

Breakfast typically calls for a serving of "Mangu," a mix of plantains, cheese and bacon, which can be found at most hotel and resort restaurants. Mangu has been dubbed the "mashed potatoes" of the Dominican Republic and is a must-try for all visitors. Locals are also known to prepare the dish for evening meals.

A foundation of the native diet, "La Bandera Dominicana," or the Dominican flag meal, is eaten by nearly everyone at lunch time. The most important meal of the day, La Bandera consists of rice, beans, meat, vegetables and fried plantains to ensure energy throughout the afternoon and evening.

Another popular dish is "Sancocho," a Spanish-style stew usually served with rice. Ingredients include various roots, green plantains, avocado and typically chicken or beef, although it sometimes includes a combination of seven meats (Sancocho prieto). Goat meat, a staple in many Dominican homes, may also be used in this recipe. It offers a unique addition to the character of any dish as these animals graze on wild oregano.

"Locrio," or Dominican rice, varies with its preparer. An adaptation of the Spanish paella, locrio is made with achiote (a colored dye produced from the seeds of the achiote plant), since saffron spice is unavailable.

Near Samana, coconut trees decorate the landscape and provide a delectable milk sauce for fish, known as "Pescado con Coco." Throughout the south central coast, "bulgur", or whole wheat, is a main ingredient in "Quipes" (ground beef wrapped in wheat) or "Tipili" (bulgur salad).

Other favorite Dominican dishes include:
"chicharrones de pollo" (diced chunks of deep fried chicken)
"yucca cassava" (type of bread)
"monfogo" (plantain based dish)
"ropo vieja" (seasoned and fried shredded beef served with rice and a side salad)
"pastelitos" (meat-or -cheese filled pastry turnovers).

A proper Dominican meal is not complete without dessert. In a land abundant with sugar cane, most desserts are exceptionally sweet. Cakes, puddings, caramel-dipped fruits and creams are common.
Additional specialties found at hotels and resorts include:
"arroz con leche" (rice pudding)
"mango cake"
"dulce de leche" (milk cream flavored with coconut or fruit)
"dulce de coco" (thick, sweet coconut paste)
"helados bon" (ice cream shops with tropical sherberts, macadamia, coconut and rum flavored ice creams)
"bizcochos" (cakes with white cream topping)
"frio frios" (shaved ice with fruit syrups)
"aqua de coco" (sliced coconuts mixed with sugar cane juice and native fruits of the island such as mangoes, pineapples, oranges, bananas and plantains)



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