What To Do In Puerto Plata

 In Beaches, Puerto Plata, Where To, People + Culture, Gastronomy + Nightlife, Nature + Ecotourism, Tips

My visit to Dominican Republic was supported & arranged by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism & Go Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata is where tourism in Dominican Republic began. The area boasts beautiful landscapes, relaxed beaches, and lush mountains & valleys. Home to the only aerial tramway in the Caribbean and some of Dominican Republic’s first resorts, there is plenty to discover in beautiful Puerto Plata.

Quick History Of Puerto Plata

Founded January 2, 1494 nearby La Isabela, just outside Puerto Plata was the first village established in the New World. Puerto Plata gained it’s name for its silvery appearance from a distance thanks to the leaf color of trees that populate the coastline.

Street art in Puerto Plata

Dominican Republic Quick Info

  • Currency: the Dominican Peso, abbreviated to RD$. Current exchange rate as of January 2019 is RD$50.42 to $1 USD
  • Language: Spanish
  • Drives on: Right

What To Do In Puerto Plata

Explore historic Puerto Plata by foot… or bicycle

Set around Parque Central explore the Victorian style architecture, visit the cathedral, wander the narrow streets or just relax and people watch at the park. Not keen to explore on your own? Join a Puerto Plata city tour.

 

Hike, or take the Teleférico to the top of Isabel de Torres

The only aerial tramway in the Caribbean takes you to the top of 800 meter Isabel de Torres (don’t worry, those of you wanting to get in some exercise, you can hike it). From the top enjoy the views down on Puerto Plata from above, have a stroll through the botanical garden or have a meal at the restaurant up top. There is a large statue of Jesus up here, in fact it’s a scaled down replica of the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro , you can’t miss it.

Jumping into a cool swimming hole after a bike ride though the countryside

Bike or ATV through jungle paths to see Northern Dominican Republic’s countryside

Wanna swim in secret lakes, sip coconuts with locals and see Dominican Republic’s rolling, lush countryside? Join Outback Adventures for an electric bike or ATV excursion. This was actually one of my favorite experiences in Puerto Plata, whizzing past beautiful places, and smiling faces.

Take a Rum factory tour

Being situated in the Caribbean, Dominican Republic is famous for its rum. When wandering around Puerto Plata, make sure and pop into Macorix House of Rum for an escape from the afternoon heat to learn about the creation process and sample some locally made Dominican rums. Don’t miss out on tasting the Coco Splash and Pineapple Rums.

Stargazing on Playa Dorada

Relax on Playa Dorada or Playa Cabarete

Playa Dorada & Playa Cabarete are great places to relax in the sun with calm Caribbean waters lapping at the shore.

Take a tour of a cigar shop

Not just Cuba is renown for its fine cigars. Dominican Republic has a long history of cigar making. Pop in an learn a little about the history, tobaccos used and even take a crack at rolling one yourself.

Fort San Felipe

Get a historical feel for Puerto Plata exploring the fort and grounds surrounding it. Admission is free and informative headsets are available.

Other Activities To Try

Visit the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua

One of the best day trips for adventure travelers visiting the North Atlantic Dominican Republic Coast. Exactly as the name implies, there are 27 dazzling waterfalls to explore in this area. Check out day tours here.

Visit the Monkey Jungle

A monkey rescue where you’ll have the chance to see and watch squirrel monkeys. Monkeys here are rescued on the island and free to roam the jungle. There is also a zipline at the rescue where proceeds help benefit the community.

Get a surf lesson

Head to Cabarete Beach to sneak in a ride, or for those without much experience get a surf lesson in.

Go horseback riding

From Cabarete Beach it’s possible to go riding by horseback, trotting along this stunning and dramatic coastline. Check out this beach tour by horseback.

Key Paradise

This perfect day trip will have you feeling like you’ve been marooned on a tropical island. Take a boat around, sightsee, snorkel, and have a drink on the perfect beach. Check out this Key Paradise day tour.

Snorkel and Dive

With prime corals scattered along the coast, snorkeling and diving around Puerto Plata is a real treat for those that like to drop below the surface. Check out these 2-tank dive trips and snorkel day trips.

Casa Museo Gergorio Luperón

A must for any history buff. This museum employs guides that are very well versed on the history of Puerto Plata that can answer any questions. There’s also the chance to catch an educational film here showcasing Puerto Plata’s history.

The Amber Museum

Puerto Plata is nicknamed ‘The Amber Coast’, thanks to the plethora of Amber that is found in the region. The museum holds impressive specimens locked in Amber. For movie fanatics, the mosquito trapped in amber used in the Jurassic Park movie was kept here at the Amber Museum.

Cabarete Caves

A series of small caves connected by short hikes. Hire a knowledgeable guide and learn about the medicinal uses of plants that populate the area.

Where To Stay

Sunrise at Casa Colonial

On my recent trip to Puerto Plata with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism I stayed at the gorgeous Casa Colonial Beach Hotel & Spa on Playa Dorada (rooms start at $250 USD/night for a double). For those of you traveling on budgets here are a few more wallet-friendly options.

Search more Puerto Plata area hotels, hostels and guesthouses on booking.com

Where To Eat In Puerto Plata

Appetizers at The Beach Club at Sea Horse Ranch

Lucia Restaurant: Located inside Casa Colonial Beach Hotel & Spa, this gorgeous restaurant offers gourmet French-Caribbean fusion dishes on their menu and fine wines from all over the globe.

Casita Azul Victoria Bar & Grill: This beautiful recently renovated Victorian home located along Parque Central in the heart of Puerto Plata offers up traditional Caribbean fare and unique spins on classic drinks. Don’t pass up the coconut mojito.

The Beach Club At Sea Horse Ranch: An ocean front roundhouse with panoramic views from Cabarete’s North Atlantic coast where you can enjoy gourmet modern twists on favorite classics and delicious cocktails. From personal experience I 100% recommend timing your meal here with sunset.

Tours

Traveling solo can be daunting. Why not join a day tour to explore with others? Here are a few great day tours offered around and near Puerto Plata:

27 Falls of Damajagua

Puerto Plata ATV adventure

Explore Puerto Plata city tour & aerial tram ride

Horseback riding at the beach

Puerto Plata gastronomy and libations tour

Catamaran tour

Ocean World day pass

Monkey Jungle zipline

Puerto Plata safari adventure

Puerto Plata Snorkeling Tour

Check out more tours in Puerto Plata on offer here

How To Get Around

Once in Puerto Plata proper it’s easy enough to explore the historic center by foot. Most resorts are located outside town where grabbing a taxi or Uber into town will be your most convenient option. Usually a short walk outside the resort area you can flag down a motorbike taxi (look for drivers wearing vests) for those more adventurous as some of these guys can drive a bit crazy.

Buses connect Puerto Plata with other cities in Dominican Republic as well as across the border to Haiti. Read up more here. Puerto Plata does have an international airport about 25 minutes drive from the city.

Best Time To Visit

November-March are the best months to go to Puerto Plata as weather is drier. April-July is still a good time of year to visit as well with many celebrations happening, though temperatures tend to be a bit hotter. August-October is generally not recommended as it is hurricane season, though not impossible if storms altering plans isn’t an issue.

Safety

Crime in Puerto Plata tends to be lower than in other parts of Dominican Republic. The usual precautions apply and try to be aware of your surroundings at all times just like anywhere else in the world.

Traditional Carnival costumes in La Vega

Where To Go Next?

The Carnival Museum in La Vega

Santo Domingo & Boca Chica

Need Travel Insurance?

Start shopping plans over at World Nomads.

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