Beach walker © Vishal Patel
Puerto Plata, the capital of the Dominican Republic's province of the same name, sits on the country's north coast and is the gateway to the numerous holiday towns and resorts found adjacent to the shore. The coastline itself is blessed with beautiful stretches of pristine beach, lush green valleys, and is backed by the majestic Mount Isabel de Torres.
Columbus described the spot as 'the fairest land under heaven' when he arrived there in 1492, and the thousands of visitors that arrive every day today tend to agree with him. The city sports a romantic air of days gone by, enhanced by its Victorian architecture with its filigree lace wood and ironwork and 'gingerbread' motifs that characterise most of the historic homesteads and public buildings. The town has a buzzing atmosphere, with many restaurants and clubs pumping the sultry beats of merengue and salsa into the tropical night air.