Dominican Republic

<b>Distance from Baltimore:</b> 1,498 miles, about a three-hour flight<br>
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<b>Why it's hot:</b> Not only is the country diverse geographically, with beaches and mountains, but it's also a collection of various ethnicities. For history buffs, Santo Domingo offers a rich colonial history. Venture to Punta Cana, above, for all-inclusive resorts and miles of sandy beaches. Eco-tourism options are also plentiful. In Samana from December to February, you can watch the incredible spectacle of humpback whale migration. The Punta Cana Ecological Park showcases flora and fauna unique to the area.<br>
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<b>Don't miss:</b> Baseball is to the Dominican Republic what soccer is to Brazil, so don't miss the chance to see future Major League players. The country's pro ball season runs October through January. Diamonds crisscross the island, so there's a good chance you can catch a game.<br>
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<b>Information:</b> Visit <a href="http://www.godominicanrepublic.com">http://www.godominicanrepublic.com</a>.

( Handout Photo, Baltimore Sun / March 8, 2005 )

Distance from Baltimore: 1,498 miles, about a three-hour flight

Why it's hot: Not only is the country diverse geographically, with beaches and mountains, but it's also a collection of various ethnicities. For history buffs, Santo Domingo offers a rich colonial history. Venture to Punta Cana, above, for all-inclusive resorts and miles of sandy beaches. Eco-tourism options are also plentiful. In Samana from December to February, you can watch the incredible spectacle of humpback whale migration. The Punta Cana Ecological Park showcases flora and fauna unique to the area.

Don't miss: Baseball is to the Dominican Republic what soccer is to Brazil, so don't miss the chance to see future Major League players. The country's pro ball season runs October through January. Diamonds crisscross the island, so there's a good chance you can catch a game.

Information: Visit http://www.godominicanrepublic.com.

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