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The port city of Puerto Plata is the capital of the province of Puerto Plata and the center of commerce for the region. Nestled between the colonial harbor and the spectacular beauty of the Mount Isabel de Torres nature reserve, Puerto Plata is characterized by quaint Spanish Colonial and Victorian architecture and narrow streets bustling with people. Its wide oceanfront boulevard, El Malecon, hosts gorgeous views as it stretches toward the historic Fort of San Felipe at its end.
Home to a largely Catholic population, Puerto Plata has a number of beautiful churches, most notably the Cathedral of San Felipe with its twin towers and Art Deco-influenced façade.
Integral to the daily life of Dominicans is music, and here Merengue music reigns supreme. With its mix of Afro-Caribbean beats and Latin rhythms, Merengue is at once music, folklore and dance, and is a dominant form of expression across the nation. Every year Puerto Plata hosts an exuberant Merengue festival along Malecon, during which celebrated Merengue artists perform on a large stage while vendors set up booths offering homemade dishes, artefacts and clothing. Typically this festival has taken place during the beginning of October, but dates can vary from year to year, so travelers planning to attend should confirm the schedule.
Puerto Plata also hosts an annual Cultural Festival, usually in June, showcasing traditional African dances, folk music, salsa and of course Merengue performances.
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