A key piece of Puerto Plata’s history, Fortaleza San Felipe was built by the Spanish in the 16th century to defend the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from British, Dutch and French pirates seeking the region’s abundant gold and silver. Considered one of the most important colonial military structures in the Caribbean, it was completed in 1577 and then served as a prison from the 19th century until the Trujillo era. Now a museum, a visit to the fort reveals the cannons of that era facing the Atlantic Ocean, old weapons and many hidden rooms. The panoramic views of the coastline of Puerto Plata are impressive. Watching the sunset at the foot of the fort, next to La Puntilla Park, is a daily puerto plateña activity.