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Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

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Puerto Plata dates back to 1502, and was named after the long silver coastline. Christopher Columbus himself signed the official decree naming the city. At first, Puerto Plata was the last stopping point for ships carrying goods back to the Old World. As time went on, Puerto Plata was overtaken by other ports.

Smugglers and pirates increasingly used the city and things got so bad that the Spanish ordered the destruction of the city. Despite this, Puerto Plata remained a hub for smuggling until the city was devastated by a huge fire in 1863. Recently, Puerto Plata has been reborn as a thriving tourist resort. Nearby Puerto Cana with its abundance of hotels and high rise apartments attracts most of the crowd. Puerto Plata is offers a quieter, and more authentic Dominican Republic experience.

There is plenty to see and do in Puerto Plata. Fort San Felipe, is was built in the cities original heyday. The ruins still stand and you can get an audio tour every day apart from Sunday. The fort offers beautiful views out across the bay.

The best views however, are from the top of Mount Isabel de Torres. At 2,600 feet above sea level, the panoramic views take in the city, oceans and surrounding countryside. You can hike or take a cable car to the summit, where you will also find a pretty botanical garden.

The Dominican Republic has some of the world’s best beaches, and something for every taste. Whether you are looking for a beach with, chairs and nearby bars such as Cofresi Beach, or something quieter and less touristy such as the Maimon area, you can find it. There are nearby beaches for surfing, kitesurfing, sailing, swimming, and snorkeling.

Public transport in the Dominican Republic is ok, but your best bet for getting around is via a taxi. The other option is by a motorcycle taxi. This option is cheaper and faster, but also riskier. Helmets are seldom provided and both the standard of driving and condition of the roads leave a lot to be desired. Taxis are much safer and not too much more expensive. Remember to negotiate and confirm your price with the driver before you get into the taxi.

The Dominican Republic has two season, rainy and dry. The dry season is from April to October and the rainy season from November to March. The best time to visit is during June and September, when you can be sure of the best weather while avoiding the highest prices. Temperatures remain hot all year with the trade winds providing relief from the worst of the humidity.

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