A key piece of Puerto Plata’s history, Fortaleza San Felipe was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend the north coast of the Dominican Republic from the British and Dutch, and from French pirates in search of the area’s abundant gold and silver. Considered one of the most important colonial military structures in the Caribbean, it was completed in 1577 and later served as a prison from the 19th century through the Trujillo years. Now a museum, touring the fort reveals the original canons facing the Atlantic, ancient weapons, and numerous hidden chambers. The panoramic views over the Puerto Plata coastline are impressive. Catching the sunset at the foot of the fort, beside La Puntilla park, is a daily Puerto Plateño activity.