Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
A Historic City
Known for its beautiful beaches, scenic landscapes and its many resorts, Puerto Plata is the place where tourism first began in the Dominican Republic back in the 1980’s.
When Columbus arrived on the island of Santo Domingo in 1492, the first thing he built was the Fort of Christmas. Destroyed, he built the first city in America called La Isabela on January 2, 1492.
The city of Puerto Plata was founded in 1502 by Nicolás de Ovando in the place chosen by Columbus. In 1508 he was awarded the coat of arms with a silver mount, on whose upper points an F and a V are engraved, and at the foot of the mountain some white and blue waves.
The San Felipe Fortress is the only witness of the city from the 16th century. This fortress built from 1564 to 1577. The convent of San Pedro Mártir that was standing at the time of the second foundation fell into disrepair at the time of the Haitian occupation.
The church of San Felipe Apóstol, built in 1934, made of reinforced concrete, is built on the same site as the original and subsequent ones, which were successively made of brick, masonry and wood made of galvanized iron.
On October 4, 1863, as a consequence of the War of Restoration against the Annexation to Spain, the city was burnt down, and it was built again in 1865. In this third building, this city flourishes again due to its constant conditions as a port, which communicates all the Cibao region with the outside world.
The opening of the railways helps this communication: Sánchez-La Vega in 1887; Puerto Plata-Santiago in 1890 and Santiago-Moca in 1909 (It must be taken into account that there were still no interior highways and trade had to be done by steamship along the coast).
At that time, merchants from different parts of the world came to populate the city, mainly from Germany, England, Spain and the Antilles.
In 1974 it was chosen for its coastal characteristics as a tourist pole by presidential decree. As part of the Puerto Plata remodeling program for tourism purposes, the infrastructure of the historic center such as the aqueduct was improved, the boardwalk was built, streets and curbs were fixed, the San Felipe Fort was restored, and the funicular railway was built to go up to Isabel de Torres Hill.
A Tourism Mecca
Puerto Plata is the first all-inclusive tourism destination in the island, with two major cruise ship ports, and a third under way. It offers the most complete set of attractions with water sports, eco tours, mountains, rivers, endless kilometers of beaches and the true Dominican culture.
Among the best tours to visit in Puerto Plata we find the Amber Museum, The Luperon Museum, the Historic Center, Umbrella Street, The Saint Phillip Apostle Cathedral, the San Felipe Fortress, the Cable Car, Cayo Arena, Damajagua 27 Falls and Playa Dorada. The full list is comprehensive, visit the Puerto Plata travel guide link above to view all the tours.