In 1493, Christopher Columbus's landfall on this coast made him so dazzled by the beauty of the sea and the deep blue sky that he decided to name this lovely place Puerto Plata. Its coastline is known as Costa del Ámbar (the Amber Coast) because of the fossil resin of pine trees that existed in the Tertiary and endowed the region with one of the largest deposits of amber in the world, a national treasure that imprisons ancient fossils.
In Puerto Plata, you will find one of the most complete destinations of the Dominican Republic, with white or golden beaches, Victorian houses, a historical area, the mountain of Isabel de Torres with its cable car, adventure tourism, etc… The spectacular stretch of beaches protected by coral reefs, known as Playa Dorada, is home to exclusive Hotel BlueBay Villas Doradas, exceptional adults-only resort located next to an 18-hole golf course.
To start, get on the cable car and go up to the peak of Mount Isabel de Torres, nearly 1,000 feet high. There, at the foot of a giant statue of Christ Redeemer (resembling the Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro), you will see a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Shoppers should visit the Artisan Center, located at the base of the monument, where they will find Dominican handicrafts.
The influence of the nineteenth-century Victorian style, evident in the architecture and design of the downtown, is particularly striking. The white "gingerbread" style of the houses, decorated with bougainvillea of different colors and the gazebo or "roundabout" of harmonious lines and finely crafted wood at Parque Independencia, evoke the most lyric times.
The white towers of the San Felipe church stand out in the city center. Despite being a simple construction, the church has that provincial charm, typical of this region. The Museum of Amber is located near the park. It is a splendid example of Victorian architecture, which contains some of the rarest examples of this gemstone.
Similar to the capital Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata has a Malecon or promenade, more than 6 miles long. At one end, there is the San Felipe Fort, an impressive mass of stone dating back to the sixteenth century. Built as a defense against the attacks of English and French pirates, the fort now houses a museum full of legends and all kinds of objects related to the history of the city. The fort is beautifully illuminated during the night.
The town of Luperon is located in a wide bay on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, about 50 km west of Puerto Plata. It is a small town with a Caribbean flavour, mainly known for its Port Marina Blanca, located on the outskirts of the city. This location offers the perfect supply and shelter place for large sail- and fishing boats. Situated in a stunning bay, which once protected the Admiral Christopher Columbus from the ravages of storms typical of this area, was called by him "Puerto de Gracias and Grace," being the place where he sought refuge to save his fleet. The bay is surrounded by lush green mangroves.
Los Saltos de Damajagua, 10 km from Puerto Plata, is one of the great wonders of this province. Damajagua is a geological fault where in one place the waters form a canyon several kilometers long, with parallel waterfalls 11 meters above the spot. The waterfalls start in the heads of the hill Bajabonico, running about 7 kilometers through the mountains. They have 28 cataracts of different heights. Some of them are up to 13 meters high.
From the Hotel BlueBay Villas Doradas you can take such tours as:
Tour to visit the Samaná Peninsula and National Park Haitises, a maze of caves that are a real masterpiece of nature. From there, a boat will take you to the famous island Cayo Levantado (Bacardi Island), a true paradise.
The Brugal Company, founded over 100 years ago by the Spanish Andres Brugal, is where you can observe and learn about the process of developing the best Dominican rum.
A great eco-adventure through the northern mountains of Cibao in Santiago, the second most important city in the Dominican Republic. Here, you will find the largest cigar factory in the country and a traditional pottery workshop.
Boat Cruise through the mangroves and fruit plantations. Visit the Gri-Gri Lagoon, the Cave of the Swallows and Playa Grande.
Perhaps the best beaches in the Dominican Republic are those located along the superb Amber Coast, a string of pristine beaches that stretch some 125 kilometers along the coast. There is no other place where the spell of this enchanted coast seems as irresistible, as on the shores of Puerto Plata.
Puerto Plata. This is a beautiful beach protected by coral reefs, which offers tourists the whole range of water sports. The waters are clear, warm and always wonderfully quiet.
To the west of Puerto Plata there is Guarapito, a beach in half-moon shape with clear water. Close to Guarapito, there is Cofresi, a beautiful little beach lined with palm trees and a panoramic view of the rest of Puerto Plata. If you seek a more popular place you should head to the town beach, Long Beach. This beach is a favorite one of Puerto Plata. The water, although it is usually quiet, isn't very transparent. There is also the beautiful beach of Maimon.
Sosúa. Sosua Beach is truly spectacular. Its sands and clear waters are the main attraction of the area. From Batey, you can go to smaller and less crowded beaches like the Playita, with public access through a path next to Casa Marina hotel, and Playa Chiquita, a tiny beach located across the hotel and casino bearing the same name. The coastline is full of secluded coves up to Cabarete, a wind- and kite surfing mecca in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic has a predominantly tropical climate where rainfall is abundant, an the average temperature is between 25 and 40°C, with few exceptions in high regions such as Valle Nuevo, where the temperature can drop to 5 ° C below zero in winter.
The rainy season extends from May to November, standing out in May, August and September; due to heavy rains during this period there have been numerous landslides.
Dominican cuisine is predominantly a mixture of Spanish, Taino and African dishes. The cuisine is quite similar to what can be found in other Latin American countries, but many of the names of the dishes are different. A typical breakfast consists of Mangu (mashed boiled green bananas) and eggs, a dish that the Dominican Republic shares with Cuba and Puerto Rico. In other variations, it is served with fried meat (usually with Dominican salami) and / or cheese.
Lunch is the main meal of the day. Lunch usually consists of rice, meat (either chicken, beef, pork or fish), beans, and a portion of salad, commonly called "Dominican flag." The sancocho is a stew of seven varieties of meat. If you want to taste the best steaks, visit the restaurant "El Dorado" in the hotel BlueBay Villas Doradas. Its secret lies in the fine cuts of meat cooked on the grill.
Meals tend to contain more starches and meats over dairy products and vegetables. Many dishes are made with sofrito, a blend of herbs and spices. Along the south-central coast, bulgur or whole wheat is the main ingredient in tipili or quipes (bulgur salad). Other favorite foods are pork, cassava, cassava bread, pastries (empanadas), sweet potato, yam cake in leaves, chimichurris, tostones. In terms of the desserts there is rice pudding, bizcocho dominicano, beans with sweets, custard, el Frío frío, sweet milk and sugar cane. Beverages include Morir Soñando (Die Dreaming), rum, beer, Mamajuana, batida, juices, mabí and chacá.
In Playa Dorada, you will find plenty of bars and clubs like Cheers, Hemingways, Senor Rock Bar & Grill, Coco Bongo Bar & Night Club, where you can have a drink with your partner or friends to the beat of live music or a DJ.
In Puerto Plata, there are some popular places like Mangu Disco, Coppas Disco, Light house Lounge & Disco and the best atmosphere at Cafe Cito jazz.
The famous Dominican Jazz Festival in Puerto Plata, an event that attracts national and international musicians and amateurs, is held in October in Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete.
The Merengue Festival is a traditional event to enjoy the lively music and typical Dominican dance during the month of October at the Malecon in Puerto Plata.
Carnival de Puerto Plata, during the last week of February, is an extremely colorful and folkloric fusion of miscegenation which gave as a result the Dominican people.
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