Puerto Plata occupies an area tucked in between the mountains and the deep blue sea along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. Christopher Columbus landed on its shores in 1493, declaring it beautiful and naming it Puerto Plata, the Silver Port, to mark its shimmering waters.
Today, it's best known as a lively resort area and a popular stopping-off point for cruise-ship passengers. Travellers are taking cheap flights to Puerto Plata in ever greater numbers, lured by the promise of sun, beautiful beaches and, frankly, economically priced all-inclusive packages.
Puerto Plata certainly has its charms. There are two parks downtown - Parque Luperon and Parque Central. Where Parque Luperon is a quiet and shady green space, Parque Central is the gathering place for locals, surrounded as it is by the City Hall and Palace of Justice. An absolute must is a seven-minute cable car ride to the top of Mount Isabel, 780 metres high. From the summit, there are panoramic views of the north coast as well as a luscious botanical gardens, restaurant to revive spirits flagging from sightseeing and a statue of Christ with outstretched welcoming arms, reminiscent of the one in Rio de Janeiro.
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