Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata

The gold coloured beaches of Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic rank among the country’s best. Puerto Plata’s beaches stretch along the Atlantic Ocean. There’s also plenty of sightseeing to be found.

The city of Puerto Plata (Spanish for “silver port”) at the foot of a mountain. Ride the cable car up to the Isabel de Torres National Park to see gorgeous mountain views. Birdwatchers will want to keep an eye out for Hispaniolan parrots and red-tailed hawks.

Puerto Plata is an ideal home base for trips. Visit Sosua to the bustling town of Sosua, filled with colourful beachfront markets and shops or a little more east the town of Cabarete, popular for windsurfing enthusiasts who flock to the windswept beaches.
The perfect destination to relax on the beach with a good book or to eat plenty of tasty local seafood, but if you’re willing to explore a little, you may be pleasantly surprised by all the unique attractions this region has to offer (relaxing, culture, history, adventure).

The temperature in Puerto Plata averages about 25 C, year-round. In the summer months from May to October you can expect hot and humid days. Protect yourself with a hat and sunblock.

November to January are the most rainiest months. Storms usually come in short bursts, followed by sunshine. From November to April the evenings are noticeably cooler, so it’s wise to pack a long-sleeved top or light jacket.

The daily life is a more relaxed pace than you might be used to. So just relax, go with the flow and adapt to the island’s relaxed attitude.
The hotter the weather, the slower things move along.

Baseball is by far the most popular sport in Puerto Plata. Dominican boys dream of making it to the big leagues in North America and many have achieved this goal. The Dominican Republic is a developing nation, so baseball is often seen as a gateway to a better life.

Tourism is one of the key industries in Puerto Plata province, with dozens of resorts and hotels along the coast.

Dominicans are friendly and always willing to help visitors. Go anywhere the locals gather – the cathedral, the boulevard or the Playa Doroda Market – and you’ll see them enjoying the evening while sharing laughs.

Spanish is the official language here, but many young people learn English in school. The majority of Dominicans are a mix of European and African ancestry, though there are also descendants of the indigenous Taino people.

Be sure to try the local staple of beans and rice with mashed plantains. Lovers of tropical fruits will also be in heaven with banana, mango, papaya, pineapple and passion fruit found in abundance here.
The Dominican kitchen is not spicy.

Rum is very popular in the Dominican. Two of the most popular brands are Brugal and Barceló.
If you’re looking for something lighter, beat the heat with a bottle of Presidente beer. Adventurous drinkers can try some mamajuana – a concoction of rum, tree bark, herbs, honey and red wine. Dominicans consider this drink a health tonic.

The official currency is the Dominican Peso. Most hotels, shops and restaurants accept major credit cards. US, Canadian and Euro’s can be exchanged for the peso at both banks and exchange booths. Most hotels also offer currency exchange services, check the difference in rates.

If you need to withdraw funds, you’ll find bank machines at many resorts and popular shopping areas. The local ATMs only dispense funds in pesos.

Puerto Plata has something for everyone who loves the outdoors whether you look for the beach, the water or the mountains.

The entire shore of Puerto Plata is a large strip of beach along the Atlantic Ocean. The city is the largest port in the region and is the centre of the local economy.

The waters in and around Puerto Plata are crystal clear with coral reefs, a paradise for diving and snorkelling.

The Dominican Republic has the most mountains in the Caribbean and is home to the region’s highest mountain at 3,098 metres high, called Pico Duarte. At the southwest corner of Puerto Plata is Isabel de Torres National Park at 800 metres above sea level.

In the Dominican Republic the electricity is 110 volts and can fit most (two-pronged) North American plugs. If you are bringing an electrical appliance, it is recommended to bring a converter and/or adaptor.

The Dominican Republic was explored by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492. He named the island “La Española” and his son, Diego, was its first viceroy. The capital, Santo Domingo, founded in 1496, is the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

Columbus promptly claimed the island for the Spanish Crown, naming it “La Isla Española” (the Spanish Island), later latinized to “Hispaniola”.
Back in 1838, when founding father Juan Pablo Duarte named the projected country which would be named after independence, he used the name “Republica Dominicana” a derivative of “Santo Domingo”.

The flag of the Dominican Republic was designed by founding father Juan Pablo Duarte and adopted in 1844. It is centered with a white cross that extends to the edges and divides the flag into four rectangles. The color blue is for liberty, red for the blood of the heroes and white for salvation. A small coat of arms rests at the center of the flag.

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy, where the President functions as both the head of the government and the head for the multi-party system.

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