Puerto Plata

Although it has been sleeping for decades, this was a dynamic city in its heyday. You can get a feeling for this past in the magnificent Victorian gazebo in the central Parque Independencia. Painted a crisp white, the park looks postcard pretty, with gleaming statuary. On the Malecón, which had had a multimillion-dollar refurbishment, the Fortaleza de San Felipe protected the city from many a pirate attack and was later used as a political prison. Nearby, a new amphitheater is in the planning stages. The nearby lighthouse has been restored. Much is happening in Puerto Plata and its original hotel zone, Playa Dorada. New nonstop flights are contributing to the area's revival.

The Office of Cultural Patrimony is working with private business owners and investors on a long-term plan to beautify the city, which has hundreds of classic wooden gingerbread buildings. Mansions, including Casa Olivores and the Tapounet family home, are being restored; at the same time new resorts are under development both on and off Playa Dorada's beautiful beachfront.

At Puerto Plata’s Port, the new 30-acre, Amber Cove Cruise Center enjoyed its inaugural season in 2016 as the first cruise ships docked here since the 1980s. The $65-million project, which includes restaurants, bars, retail shops, and an elaborate pool complex with waterslides, will welcome several ships a week.

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