Hispaniola is the 22nd largest island in the world. It is located in the Caribbean archipelago, the Greater Antilles. It is the second largest island in the Caribbean and the tenth most populous island in the world.
Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the Americas, founded by Christopher Columbus during his voyages in 1492 and 1493.
Hispaniola, with an area of about 76,840 km², is the second largest island of the West Indies, after Cuba. The island was named after Columbus. Translated, Hispaniola means something like “Little Spain”. The Tainos called the island “Quisqueya”, Mother Earth.
The island of Hispaniola is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. ⅔ of the island belongs to the territory of the Dominican Republic and ⅓ to Haiti. Although both countries are located on one island, the landscape, cultural and social differences are huge.
Geologically, the island of Hispaniola is a part of two branches of the North American Cordillera system. It is about 660 km long, up to 250 km wide and extends in a west-east direction. In the west, the island of Hispaniola is separated from Cuba by the Windward Passage, which is about 90 km wide, and in the east by the Mona Passage, which is up to 110 km wide, from Puerto Rico.
There are five major mountain ranges on the island of Hispaniola. The highest mountains in the Caribbean are in the Dominican Republic. The highest mountain is Pico Duarte with a height of 3,098 meters above sea level. The lowest point in the Caribbean is also on Hispaniola: the Enriquillo salt lake in the southwest of the Dominican Republic.
Hispaniola offers four vegetation zones and five climatic zones. More than 5,000 plant species, many of them endemic, make the island a paradise for nature lovers. The animal world is also convincing, although big game is not to be found except for a few species. But the bird life is all the more species-rich.
The varied climate, the geography, as well as the flora and fauna found in the country should not only be visited, but discovered by yourself.
The island of Hispaniola (La Isla Española) was the first colony in the New World to be settled by Spain.
As such, it served as a logistical base for the conquest. Christopher Columbus saw the island towards the end of his first voyage to the “Indies” in 1492.
The Spanish ruled the island for two centuries, until in 1697 western Hispaniola (now Haiti) came under French control. The east remained under Spanish control. A division that is still valid today with the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
After decades of political instability, on February 27, 1844, the territory of Santo Domingo gained its sovereignty and declared the independence of the Dominican Republic.
What to see and experience
Wild mountain rivers, hidden caves and dreamy waterfalls can be visited on guided tours in the mountains. Hiking through tropical mountain forests, biking on dream beaches and safaris for wildlife and bird watching are just a few recommendations we can give you.