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Santiago Airport Mini Guide
Where Is It?
The Dominican Republic is actually around three quarters of an island - the other part being the Republic of Haiti, together they make up the island of Hispaniola. It is situated in the Caribbean between Cuba and Puerto Rico
with Santiago being it's second largest city. The airport is the country's second and mainly handles inter island flights around the Caribbean, although Delta, American Airlines and Jet Blue offer regular flights to and from New York
, Boston and Miami.
Facilities at Cibao International Airport
Although small, this airport is a thoroughly modern one, only having been constructed between 2000 and 2002 when direct flights began to the United States. At present it cannot accommodate Boeing 747 aircraft on it's runway which prevents it handling direct flights from the UK and Europe, but plans are underway for expansion in the near future, despite this, it is expected to handle around 950,000 passengers during 2011.
There are currently two terminals, one international and the other domestic. On arrival your photograph is taken and you will be offered it for around $10 when you leave the country – a nice welcome gesture or a money making exercise? You choose, if it's a good photo then it's probably worth buying, if not, then no harm done.
Tourist Card and Departure Tax
You will need to buy a tourist card when arriving, again, at a cost of $10. After passing through passport control you need to show it then retain half for the outward journey – don't lose it or you'll have to pay again before you leave! You also need to pay a compulsory departure tax when leaving the country of $20 – don't forget to check if these are included in the cost of your holiday, if not make sure you have enough money on you to pay them.
The Area Around Santiago
The city of Santiago is reputed to have been established by Christopher Columbus in 1495, it was named after Santiago de Compostela in Galicia by the first settlers after their homeland. Today it is a cultural city with several historic places of interest including the Restoration's Heroes' Monument, St James Cathedral and the Tobacco Museum dedicated to the tobacco plantations planted by early settlers. There is also a lively nightlife in the area, not to mention that Caribbean sun – be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen!