Puerto Plata, is the ninth-largest city in the Dominican Republic, and capital of the province of Puerto Plata. The city serves as one of the most important trading ports in the country.
Puerto Plata is famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located east of San Felipe de Puerto Plata. There are a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city. The only aerial tramway in the Caribbean is located in Puerto Plata, in which visitors can ride up to the Pico Isabel de Torres, a 793 meter high mountain within the city.
The fortification Fortaleza San Felipe, which was built in the 16th century and served as a prison under Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship, lies close to the port of Puerta Plata. The amber museum, is also a well-known attraction in this city. La Isabela, a settlement built by Christopher Columbus, is located near Puerto Plata. In April 1563, the Spanish settlement became notorious when the English slave trader, Sir John Hawkins, brought 400 people he had abducted from Sierra Leone. Hawkins traded his victims with the Spanish for pearls, hides and sugars, some gold. This was the start of British involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in which 20 million people were forced into slavery.
The city sits on land that rises abruptly from the sea making it almost completely visible from the port. It is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south and southwest by the hill Isabel de Torres.
The small bay around which the city was built provides a natural harbor. Puerto Plata is the largest city on the northern seaboard. Its subdivisions include: El Cupey, Maimón, Los Mameyes, Sabana Grande, El Toro, Tubagua, Yásica Abajo and San Marcos. The mountain, Isabel de Torres, is situated some 5 km to the southwest of the city of San Felipe. Geographically it forms part of the Cordillera Septentrional, reaching a maximum height of 800 m above sea level. It is possible to drive to the top of the mountain by following the highway Don José Ginebra. The highway, upon leaving the city, continues west passing the populated areas of San Marcos, Piedra Candela and El Cruce arriving at a paved section that continues southeast and then leads directly to the top. The area surrounding Loma Isabel de Torres has been declared a National Monument with an area that covers approximately 20 km2. At the summit, there is a tropical botanical garden covering about 7 acres (28,000 m2), featuring 600 varieties of tropical plants.
Puerto Plata has a tropical climate, more specifically a tropical monsoon climate, with hot, somewhat wet summers and warm, very wet winters (Köppen climate classification Am), due to its tropical location and the cold fronts that reach the region during the « winter » which typically brings the area humid, wetter weather.
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