| Dominican Republic|
| Damajaqua Cascades, Museo del Ambar, Fortaleza San Felipe, Port of Puerto Plata|
San Felipe de Puerto Plata, Puerto de Plata, often referred to as simply Puerto Plata, is the capital of the Dominican province of Puerto Plata, and is the eight largest city in the country. Puerto Plata serves as one of the most important trading ports of the Dominican Republic.
The city is famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located east of San Felipe de Puerto Plata. There are a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city. The only aerial tramway in the Caribbean is located in Puerto Plata. With it, one can ride up to Pico Isabel de Torres, a 793 meter high mountain within the city.
The fortification Fortaleza San Felipe, which was built in the 16th century and served as a prison under Rafael Trujillos dictatorship, lies close to the port of Puerta Plata. The amber museum, is also a well-known attraction in this city. La Isabela, a settlement built by Christopher Columbus, is located near Puerto Plata. In April 1563, the Spanish settlement became notorious when the English slave trader, Sir John Hawkins, brought 400 people he had abducted from Sierra Leone. Hawkins traded his victims with the Spanish for pearls, hides and sugars, some gold. This was the start of British involvement in the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, in which 20 million people were forced into slavery.
The city sits on land that rises abruptly from the sea making it almost completely visible from the port. It is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south and southwest by the hill Isabel de Torres.
The small bay around which the city was built provides a natural harbor. Puerto Plata is the largest city on the northern seaboard. Its subdivisions include: El Cupey, Maimon, Los Mameyes, Sabana Grande, El Toro, Tubagua, Yasica Abajo and San Marcos. The mountain, Isabel de Torres, is situated some 5 km to the southwest of the city of San Felipe. Geographically it forms part of the Cordillera Septentrional, reaching a maximum height of 800 m above sea level. It is possible to drive to the top of the mountain by following the highway Don Jose Ginebra. The highway, upon leaving the city, continues west passing the populated areas of San Marcos, Piedra Candela and El Cruce arriving at a paved section that continues southeast and then leads directly to the top. The area surrounding Loma Isabel de Torres has been declared a National Monument with an area that covers approximately 20 km2. At the summit, there is a tropical botanical garden covering about 7 acres (28,000 m2), featuring 600 varieties of tropical plants.
The Municipality of San Felipe de Puerto Plata is prominent in agrobusiness and tourism, making it a major contributor to the economic growth of the entire country. Other forms of income and economic development that serve to support some segments of the population include port management, sea vessel production, fishing, and textiles. The port has a significant impact in the national and provincial economy.
Since the founding of La Isabela, the first village in the New World, January 2, 1494, Puerto Plata is a town of firsts in the Americas.
Historians are not clear on the exact year of Puerto Platas founding. Emilio Rodriguez Demorizi, Americo Lugo, Jose Bordonada, and Samuel Hazard give the year 1502 as recorded by Nicolas of Ovando. Dr. Llenas affirmed that it was 1503. Dr. Joaquin Marino Inchaustegui, in his Dominican history records, 1504. Dr. Manuel Arturo Roca Batlle indicates that the city was founded in 1505. The historians, Alonso Rodriguez Demorizi (brother of Emilio) and Jacinto Gimbernard, express that it was in the year 1496 and Padre Espanol said that it was in 1506.
The aforementioned Nicolas of Ovando records a port existing in the northern coast of the island near 1502.
Around 1555, Puerto Platas importance as a port town was lost and it became one of the places of the Antilles where pirates frequented.
Christopher Columbus, in his first trip, called the mountain Monte de Plata, observing that since the top is frequently foggy it had a silver like appearance hence comes the name of the port.
The city was designed by the brothers Christopher and Bartolome Columbus, in the 1496 and based on the year 1502 by Frey Nicolas de Ovando.
In its first phase as a Spanish Colony the town was considered the main commercial and maritime port of the island. In 1605 it was depopulated and destroyed by order of Fernando III, to hinder the advance of English piracy.
The Battle of Puerto Plata Harbor, U.S. Marines landed on the island and attacked a French ship and Fortaleza de San Felipe. After capturing the French privateer Sandwich and spiking the guns of Fortaleza San Felipe, US forces retired victorious. This was during the Quasi War, an undeclared conflict between France the United States from 1798 to 1800.
A hundred years later the town was repopulated with farmers originating from the Canaries. From 1822 to 1844 the city was under Haitian control. From 1844 on begins the period of the republic in which the city began to recover its maritime and commercial boom.
The city grew under the influence of European immigrants, who left a cultural and social footprint that remains unique from other cities on the island.
In 1863, during the War of the Restoration, the city was razed completely. Beginning in 1865, the current Puerto Plata began to be built. This explains the Victorian style of much of its current architecture. By the end of the 18th century, Puerto Plata had become important for its cultural, social, maritime, and economic development.
The reports on the celebration of the carnival in the Puerto Plata date from the end of the 19th century, and the festivity was enriched at the beginning of the 20th century by the arrival of Cuban immigrants.
The central personage is the devil cojuelo, that in Puerto Plata he becomes Taimascaro, that produces deities Tainas in its masks, with a beautiful suit where elements of the Spanish culture they are symbolized and the African essences, in multicolored tapes in its arms, and all that is complemented with the conches of the Atlantic ocean, as natural elements of identity of the town Puertoplateno.
These festivities are celebrated during the months of February and March, in the avenue of the Jetty and the streets of the city. The people are entertained by the parades of disguises, the music, the popular dances and the different demonstrations of the arts and the culture represented in the carnival that reflects our cultural identity. Each year the organizers of the carnival choose the King Momo, who represents the person of the city that has fought for maintaining its traditions. The city of Puerto Plata is characterized by its dominant Victorian style architecture, combined with various other architectural styles, giving a varied character to the process of urban development. Inside this variety is the old style related to the colonial epoch, of which remains as an example the Fortress San Felipe. Another it is the traditional style, originated when the city was founded by immigrant canarios, and of the one that the balconies are inherited, and as an example I live is the bridge of the Guinea, of the year 1879. Then developed the Victorian model, because of the French, Italian, German, English immigrations and other European countries, which began after the War Restorer and had its height to ends of the 19th century and starts of the XX. This style was utilized in dwellings and in buildings destined to social activities. This type of construction gives an own image to the province.
Finally Puerto Plata developed a modern architecture, because of the American occupation (1916 and 1924) and continuing under Trujillo, based on cement block construction. With the current tourist boom a new environmentally based architecture has developed.
The city is famous for tourist centers such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located to the east of San Felipe of Puerto Plata. There are a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city.
The Riu chain of resorts: Bachata - Riu Merengue & Riu Mambo resorts (All Inclusive) are located nearby on the beach in Maimon Bay some 45 minutes from the airport, and 9 km from Puerto Plata.
Puerto Plata is served for the international airport of Gregorio Luperon, situated around 15 kilometers to the east of the city, near the town La Union.
Museo del Ambar: The business Costa, Inc. A cultural company of family administration, directed by Aldo Costa, founded the Museo del Ambar Dominicano in the 1982 in the Villa Bentz, (more elegant Hotel of Puerto Plata of the year 1918, built by the famous Spanish architect Marin Gallart and Cantu). This museum is considered the first Museum of the Amber of the Dominican Republic and at the same time, a great historic monument of the city.
La Zona Colonial (Casas Victorianas): From the 1857, it is initiated in Puerto Plata. The Victorian style originating from England, call thus, in honor of the Queen Victoria, manager of that epoch. This it extended to almost everyone and was considered it more modern.