A group of local women show off some merengue moves on the beach during the Holy Week break at Las Terrenas. With 1,300km of coastline, the country has more than 300km of beach, which are all traditionally public, although some hotels do control access.
Dominican Republic – Fact Check

A Caribbean paradise brought up on merengue

Photo by Franck Guiziou

Dominican Republic – Fact Check A Caribbean paradise brought up on merengue

Blasted out on taxi stereos, playing from roadside bars and rising and falling in doppler-effect volume as a party bus goes by, the beat of merengue and bachata, its slower Country-style cousin, has followed me everywhere in the Dominican Republic.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

“We are brought up on music,” says Jorge, a businessmen at the next table, who is as friendly as every other Dominican I meet. “We hear it in our mother’s arms when we are children, and in school we learn by singing together. We are a musical people. When we go out with a woman, we dance merengue with them and you know you have the right one when you click on the dance floor. Merengue is in our blood!”

It is on the dance floor that I get the real flavor of the Dominican Republic. Going from club to club and from bar to bar is to hear and see its story in music. Merengue is still the dance for respectable professionals, him in a pressed shirt and her in a pretty frock. Bachata is a slower, sexier form – bedroom action in the vertical and much loved by courting couples. The younger crowd dance reggaeton, an offspring of Jamaican reggae, with an urban style that borrows attitude from hip hop – tuneful Spanish rap.

The constant soundtrack makes life in this Caribbean tourism paradise seem like one continual party.

I feel like dancing, take me there!

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