Puerto Plata holds the usual Dominican festivals, a fiesta patronal – this one in honour of patron San Felipe on July 5, featuring large crowds drinking and dancing along the Malecón – and Carnival, in February, when hundreds of townspeople parade around in full regalia and thwack passers-by with inflated balloons. Perhaps better than either of these, however, is the renowned Merengue Festival – which typically sees parties right along the Malecón – usually held during the third week of October, though the exact timing varies slightly from year to year. A cultural festival, involving all sorts of music and dancing alongside art and craft exhibitions, takes place annually in the third week of June round the fort and central plaza.

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Video: 14 things we love about the Dominican Republic

Video: 14 things we love about the Dominican Republic

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