Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic – Vacation Packages

By Miss Julie | December 24th, 2006

The Dominican Republic shares the Caribbean’s second largest island, Hispaniola (between Cuba and Puerto Rico), with Haiti. Located on the eastern half of the island, the Dominican Republic, with an area of 19,376 square miles, is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. Its central portion is sculpted by four great mountain ranges with peaks over 10,000 ft. Its coastline varies from rocky cliffs to sandy beaches. Reefs and ancient wrecks surround much of the shore.

On the north coast, the main tourist area stretches from Puerto Plata, a large city and deep-water port, to Cabrera, where impressive beaches and coconut groves have lured Europeans for more than 500 years. This area is also a prime whale-watching spot. During winter months (December to March) thousands of humpback whales migrate to an offshore breeding ground. The breeding ground is 50 miles north of the coast, but the herds are spotted en route as they pass the Samana Peninsula, which forms the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Plata was founded by Nicolás de Ovando in 1502. A personal decree of Christopher Columbus gave the city its name, because of the shimmering silver color of its coast at sunset. Puerto Plata is cradled between its colonial harbor and a dramatic backdrop and natural reserve, Mt. Isabel de Torres. Still erect from centuries past is the colonial fortress of San Felipe, built in 1541 to defend from possible pirate attack. Many of the turn-of-the-century homes have been lovingly restored, and the charming central park gazebo was recreated from period renderings of the original. The 1970’s brought tourism to the Amber Coast, with a meticulous development program directed by the Central Bank’s Department of Tourism Infrastructure.

For more on Dominican Republic, check out the Dominican Republic Travel Guide on BootsnAll.

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