The Dominican Republic is a sovereign state occupying the eastern five-eighths of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western three-eighths of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population the Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,445 square kilometres (18,705 sq mi) and 10.08 million people, of which approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.
The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean. The year-round golf courses are among the top attractions on the island. A geographically diverse nation, the Dominican Republic is home to the region’s tallest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, as well as the Caribbean’s largest lake and lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo. The island has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) and great climatic and biological diversity. The country is also the site of the first cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress built in all of the Americas, located in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, an area declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and music, and baseball as the favorite sport.