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The arrival to Puerto Plata of the Costa family

Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Cristóbal Columbus, founded the city of Puerto Plata on 1496.

Something is necessary to explain why a family of Vicenza, Italy, established in its territory, moved to the Dominican Republic. The family Costa, formed by Don Aldo, Doña Didi, its children Michele and Paolo, in 1970 looking for something new arrived at this Caribbean island for different vacations. We were enchanted of the blue and uncontaminated sea, luminous skies, and green panoramas, rich of tropical vegetations, rivers with crystalline waters and a constant temperature of 25 to 26 degrees Celsius. A red moon in few minutes arrived at the dark sky and it left us speechless. After an exotic summer, September arrived fast and we had to decide our future. The selection was concordant, the country had bewitched us. We never forgot our roots, we returned every year to Vicenza, our city of origin. Italy is a country with a known artistic patrimony anywhere in the world and the artists have left expressions of their refined tastes and works of art in each city and town. Nevertheless, the Dominican Republic is a young, warm, hospitable, warm-hearted country, rich of natural beauty, with constant climate, all this influenced our decision. My husband, Don Aldo Costa, in Italy evolved in the tourist area and in Puerto Plata took advantage of his experience to initiate a hotel activity, first organizing a tourism school to the human resources for the hotel industry.

In 1971 opened its doors the greatest hotel of those times: Montemar Hotel. It was obtained that the great travel agencies visited the North Coast and arrived the first groups from Canadian, Swiss, Austrian and Italian. The Boheme cruise ship arrived from Miami with his first tourists. The movement of cruises had great results: nine boats a week with the joint effort and enthusiasm of a small group of puertoplateños and foreigners. 

The international airport Gregorio Luperón of Puerto Plata (POP) was inaugurated in 1980. Before the tourists arrived via Santo Domingo and after four or five hours they arrived at Puerto Plata being annoyed and tired. Still it was in construction the Santiago-Puerto Plata road. Hard and difficult years for the tourism, time of pioneers who now seem very distant. The little paradise place sleeping on the feet of the mountain Isabel de Torres (800 meters of height) or the “little silver cup”, or the fiancée of the Atlantic, as also it was called, Puerto Plata, little by little transformed into an alive, full community of many foreign families with cultures and different customs, always together living in a very hospitable town of joy and generosity, always prepared for the celebration to the merengue beat (Dominican typical music).

Puerto Plata is a city characterized by its mansions of Victorian and neoclassic style. From century XVI; example of it is the fortress San Felipe, typical Spanish brick construction with towers for the guns and harbor defense. The fortress served as infirmary during the North American occupation of 1916, in recent years was a prison, at the moment is an historical museum.

In the park Independence (better well-known as central park) the public square of octagonal plant with Moorish arcs was constructed at the end of century XIX: it was the most elegant of the time. In 1934 the Catholic Church with two twin towers replacing a small one of wood was constructed. In 1999 diocese with the guide of their first bishop was declared, monsignor Gregorio Nicanor Peña. The central park is surrounded by important buildings: the church San Felipe of Art-Deco influence, the club of commerce, constructed 1897 of pure Victorian style, the city council of neoclassic style of the 1898-99, the recreational club of ladies of the 1890, the San Jose pharmacy destroyed completely by a fire and reconstructed in its totality faithfully as the original one with its touch of "Gingerbread" of the Victorian time. The reconstruction was in charge of the family Costa between years 1999-2000. The tradition of the encounter of youths underneath the gorgeous Carolinas (tropical trees with flowers of pink pistils without petals) and music in the park of the municipal band created an atmosphere of dream and legend. It was custom that the young boys, while the band played, courted the adolescents elegant dressed girls, which were taken care of, all the time under the scrutiny, although at a distance, of their family.

The port lighthouse was erected in 1879 by Robert Hill and son, with iron fused and brought from England during the government of general Gregorio Luperón. It was recovered and inaugurated again in 2002. The Masonic lodge “La Restauracion I”, building constructed from 1902 to 1909 is one of most important of the town of neoclassic style. In its interior, there is a stair in form of snail and its splendid halls conserved in original state stand out almost untouched.

Puerto Plata is a tourist pole with its cultural and commercial history, and offers a pleasant and warm atmosphere with its Creole restaurants and of different nationalities. By suggestion of my husband, the North Coast changed its name by the one of  “Costa de Ambar” by presidential decree, justified by the fact that in the northern mountain range there are the most beautiful deposits of amber in the Dominican Republic.