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Puerto Plata: The Bride of the Atlantic
by Mark Rogers

The Dominican Republic has announced an official relaunch of Puerto Plata as a tourism region, with the marketing moniker, “Bride of the Atlantic”. The plan includes an aggressive ad campaign in the United States, Canada, Spain and France. Puerto Plata is located on the Dominican Republic’s north shore, and came into its own as a center of tourism back in the 80s. “Puerto Plata is not only one of the country’s most complete tourist destinations, it’s one of the Caribbean’s most complete tourist destinations,” said Francisco Javier Garcia, the D.R.’s tourism minister. “After the investments that have been done, the only thing required is correct and adequate promotion.”
Puerto Plata
As an example of good things to come, AMResorts is on record as planning to expand into Puerto Plata.

An Overlooked Treasure
Puerto Plata dates back to 1493, when Columbus reached the bay that would eventually be named Puerto de Puerto Plata. In 1502 the town of Puerto Plata or “Port of Silver’ was born. It did brisk business exporting New World goods back to the Old World. As tourism thrived in the D.R., Puerto Plata lost favor somewhat to Punta Cana, where the beaches were wider and the setting was less urban. Another factor in Punta Cana’s favor was its Caribbean location, while Puerto Plata’s beaches front the more mercurial Atlantic Ocean. One way to position a Puerto Plata vacation is to recommend it to repeat visitors to the D.R. They’ll be more experienced in the ways of the island and perhaps ready to go out and explore on their own.

The majority of the resorts are just outside Puerto Plata in the Playa Dorada complex (15 resorts), and the resorts in Costa Dorada. Most of these are all-inclusive properties running cheaper than those in Punta Cana.

Over the years I’ve stayed at numerous beach resorts just outside Puerto Plata, and enjoyed myself every time. Contributing to the good memories was Puerto Plata’s city delights playing yin to the beach resort’s yang. Puerto Plata is a great walking town, with restored Creole and Victorian era houses. I love a good beach vacation as much as anyone, but after several days by the pool and roaming the buffet I’m ready for a smattering of city life. Puerto Plata gives me a malecon (waterfront promenade), rum shops, street corner food vendors, cafes and real people going about their business.

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata isn’t brimming over with attractions, although there are a few things that will fill an afternoon perfectly. These are Fort San Felipe, dating back to 1564, which makes it the oldest fort in the New World; Isabel de Torres, an observation tower reached by a teleférico (cable car) offering great sea views from the top; and the Museum of Dominican Amber, where amber pieces are on display; amber being a precious material vital to Puerto Plata’s economic history.

If you have clients heading to one of the resorts just outside Puerto Plata, let them know that a charming city awaits only a short cab ride away. If they venture into Puerto Plata, they’ll be able to soak up some local color, shop for handicrafts, amble down sidewalks and try out their Spanish. They’ll also have the irreplaceable feeling of being in another country, on their own for a few hours, as they exchange the tourist hat for that of the traveler.

Dominican Republic Tourism Office