Puerto Plata was originally founded by Nicolas De Ovando in 1502, after being the first Spanish settlement in the Americas, where Christopher Columbus landed back in 1492. The city was devastated in 1606 and was not repopulated until 1736 with 40 Spanish families from the Canary islands.

The city of Puerto Plata, with its natural beauty of a much varied landscape of golden sand beaches, forests, mountain and rivers, was once the center of tourism in the Caribbean, during the mid- 1980`s. It remained so until after the neglect of various government administrations, and heavy investment capital heading towards the East of the island.  Around 2010, tourism to the area had dropped dramatically. Many all inclusive hotels closed shop, giving way to other types of tourists – the real estate based ones.

Large communities of vacation homes ( called also Caribbean villas ) were set up along its shorelines, specially in its beach side towns of Cofresi, Sosua, Cabarete and Costambar. This real estate boom opened the doors to retirees from Europe and the Americas, seeing an opportunity to live in constant sunny weather and worry-free island.

tourist in the central park of Puerto Plata

After almost a decade of stagnation, the tourism industry in Puerto Plata survived mainly due to two factors: the ever-present marketing power of places like Lifestyle Resorts in Cofresi, and the surging self-catering market of villa and beach condo rentals.  The latter fueled by a few real estate development companies still in place, it proved that what once was dominated by all-inclusive resorts, could now become a residential real estate area for tourists and investors.

Several resorts followed the trend, and started an aggressive plan to convert resort bedrooms into studio condos for sale with concierge and management services. Playa Dorada was no exception, a community that still holds the largest concentration of beach resorts in Puerto Plata.

collage of Puerto Plata, done in 2016

After years of pressure by various organizations and the creation of support groups also called Clusters, the North region of Puerto Plata started to get more attention from governments such as Danilo Medina ( 2012-2016 ) who saw a chance to win a second term by helping communities that were neglected by previous presidents. This resulted in new advertising campaigns, more infrastructure investments and new laws to attract more foreign investment.

A tour through Puerto Plata now reveals that large scale investments like the Carnival Cruise port have placed the region once again as a center hub for tourism, bringing thousands of passengers each week and creating a market for locals that needed it to sustain their economies.  Large mall chains like La Sirena and Jumbo are already in place in Puerto Plata, the latter just breaking ground for an 65,000 sq ft mall near the busiest highway.

The latest video advertising for Puerto Plata:

Sources:

http://discoverpuertoplata.com

https://en.wikipedia.org

http://blog.goldenkeymanagement.com