CORAL MARIEN RESORT, PUERTO PLATA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
It had been several years since my last visit to the North Coast and I had missed much of the growth of tourism in the region. The last time I visited, there was one nice resort in the town, and several in the gated community of Playa Dorada (Golden Beach). Costa Dorada (Golden Coast) had not yet been developed and the community of Cabarete was a tiny little village with no resorts at all. The airport was crude, small and dark, with no jetbridges and the road leading from the airport to Sosua and Puerto Plata was narrow, dusty, and unkempt.
Many years ago, when I took my first trip to the Caribbean, my destination was Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. I was unaware at the time --and it wouldn't have mattered in any case -- that the resorts on the beautiful North Coast beaches actually sat on the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Caribbean Sea. I learned about that later, but by then Puerto Plata (and its surrounding communities), had earned a special place in my soul and remains one of my favorite Caribbean destinations to this day.
What a remarkable difference a few years have made. Puerto Plata and the North Coast of the Dominican Republic is a thriving tourist destination, with resorts, restaurants and shopping to rival any other in the Caribbean. And it's still so reasonably priced that you can double the time you would spend elsewhere, take the family, stay in an all-inclusive, and still save money.
Long a destination favored by Europeans and Canadians, the Dominican Republic in general and Puerto Plata specifically have eluded the United States tourism market. With the entry of well-known hotel brands such as Coral Marien and SuperClubs, that will soon change.
Right now, Puerto Plata is the best-kept secret getaway in the world.
MARIEN (pronounced my-ENN), a Coral resort, is located in the Costa Dorado complex about 15 minutes from the airport (which is new and modern now) and 10 minutes outside of the city, with its gingerbread Victorian architecture, lovely Malecon, rum factory and Amber Museum.
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