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Puerto Plata is the capital of the province of the same name in the Dominican Republic and a popular seaside resort. Officially the town is called San Felipe de Puerto Plata, because the place originated near the fortress of San Felipe which was built near the port during the Spanish rule. The most popular beaches are Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada.
The city has approximately 150,000 inhabitants.
Puerto Plata is located in the north of the Dominican Republic on the Atlantic Ocean. The most popular tourist beaches lie east of town and when you look south you can see the peak of the Pico Diego de Ocampo (1249 meters).
The port plays an important role in local economy. Not only freight is imported and exported, but cruise ships also moor here on a regular basis. The cruise passengers and the tourists spending a longer holiday in or near Puerto Plata form another important source of income. Fishing, boat building and the textile industry are also important.
Puerto Plata International Airport (officially: Aeropuerto Internacional Gregorio Luperón) is situated about 15 kilometers east of town, near La Union. It's easily reachable by rental car. From the city center you first take the Av Circunvalación Sur which turns into Ruta 5 which leads to the airport. The way to the airport is clearly signposted.
Public city transport in Puerto Plata consists of so-called guaguas: minibuses officially accommodating 9 passengers, but they can 'easily' accommodate over 20 people. And some chickens. In short: fun to give it a try, but somewhat muggy. There are also the caros publicos: regular cars which function as shared taxis (8 people can 'easily' fit in a car: 4 on the front seats and 4 in the back) and motoconchos: motorcycle taxis. There are also official taxis, but drivers often charge ridiculous prices.
Try to acclimatize first and understand the traffic rules (or better: the lack thereof), before exploring the Dominican Republic by rental car. The rule in the Dominican Republic: the largest vehicle has priority. Some drivers consider traffic signs (for example for one-way streets) and traffic lights as a nice decoration, but not as a command. Especially inland, roads can also be in a bad state. In short: drive carefully and expect the unexpected. Finding a parking place isn't a problem, because every free spot is a parking place. Always have someone guard your car!
There's an enormous choice of accommodations in and around Puerto Plata. Most hotels and holiday resorts are located directly on the nearby beaches. If you want to stay at a particular hotel, we advise booking your room well in advance. Other seaside resorts nearby Puerto Plata include Sosua and Cabarete.
For more information about Puerto Plata, we recommend Google and the following sources: