There are two sides to the Dominican Republic, just like there are two sides of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola on which the Republic is situated.
The Dominican Republic shares the island with neighbouring Haiti. Inside the confines of the many resort hotels along the beautiful coastline, tourists languish in luxury, sipping cocktails under the palm trees and bathing in beautiful blue lagoons.
The other face of the Dominican Republic can be found along the country roads, among the sugar cane, coffee and cocoa bean fields, where people labour in the sun and men play dominoes outside tumble-down shacks.
For the local people (there are 8.5 million people on this well-populated part of Hispaniola island) tourism is an important source of income, and the thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the resorts and explore the Spanish Colonial legacy in this country 'where America began' are welcome.
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