Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: Sightseeing

Puerto Plata unites several seaside resorts on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic: Sosua, Cabarete and Playa Dorada. There are well-groomed sandy beaches, hotels equipped with all kinds of infrastructure, from restaurants to clubs on the ocean, but tourists love this place not only for this. The resort mainly attracts beach lovers and water sports, there are excellent conditions for surfing and diving.

Fortress of San Felipe

The original mission of the fortress of San Felipe, built by the Spanish in the 16th century in Puerto Plata, was to protect the northern coast from the British and Dutch, as well as from French pirates who plundered the area in search of gold and silver. Today, the fortress is a museum where visitors can see the original cannons facing the Atlantic, ancient weapons and many secret chambers. In addition, the fortress offers panoramic views of the coast of Puerto Plata.

Before you enter, take a moment to explore the large stone fortress outside. Notice how the fortress contrasts with other buildings of Puerto Plata, many of which are houses in the Victorian style of the XIX century.

Go inside to explore the small fortress museum. Exhibits trace the history of the Puerto Plata fortress and include ancient weapons and colonial artifacts. Study the thickness of the strong walls of the fortress. They, together with the moat, helped to keep the invaders from the fortress.

Climb the steps to the rampart and spend a few minutes admiring the view from here, which stretches to the coast and the ocean. The grassy place in front of the fortress is ideal for relaxation. Do not forget to look at the restored white and yellow lighthouse, which is also located on the territory. This lighthouse was built in Puerto Plata in the late 19th century and has a height of 24 meters.

The fortress of San Felipe can be visited as part of a city tour or on your own. Visiting the fortress is paid, the price includes an audio tour and entrance to the lighthouse.



Amber Bay

This place has another name: amber Cove cruise port. It appeared only a couple of years ago. And it is located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The distance between Amber Cove and Puerto Plata is 12 km (7.5 mi) or about 20 minutes drive (via Avenida Manolo Tavares Justo).

Amber Bay combines the historic colonial architecture of Puerto Plata with the modern amenities of the world’s largest ports. Amber Cove includes 30 acres of waterfront property and a shopping mall with plenty of shopping and entertainment.

Amber Cove has a coastal tourist centre, coastal changing cabins, a relaxation area (green spaces, swimming pool, water park), a hilltop observation deck (with a bar), retail shops (selling local souvenirs and handicrafts), a variety of drinks and food. There is also a terminal where you can book a cruise trip to more than 40 regional destinations.

The new port in Puerto Plata has been named “Amber Bay” after the rich amber reserves discovered in the region.

Website: https://ambercove.com/



Passage of Donna Blanca (Paseo de Doa Blanca)

Donna Blanca’s Passage to Puerto Plata is a unique lane created to commemorate the arrival of Mrs. Bianca Franceschini, a pioneer in the development of the early tourism industry in Puerto Plata in the late 18th century. This Victorian-style alley is completely painted pink, including walls, floor, decorative elements, benches and flowers; A great background for photos that attracts weddings, birthdays and photo shoots.

The history of Donna Blanca’s passage dates back to 1898, when Isidoro Renieri and Bianca Franceschini, natives of Italy, arrived in Puerto Plata and, realizing that there were no hotels for travelers, decided to establish their own hotels. Now one of them is called the hotel “Europe”.

Donna Blanca, as she was called in Puerto Plata, was a woman devoted to her family; serious, hardworking, strong and charitable, who with effort and dedication gave herself to the education of her nine children; the eldest of whom was 17 years old when Donna Blanky’s husband died in 1914 in New York City. Despite this, Donna Blanca was able to send several of her children to Italy for higher education.



Cathedral of San Filipe

San Felipe Cathedral is one of the main attractions of Puerto Plata. Built in 1956 on the ruins of an older 14th-century cathedral (burned down during the 1863 war), the building matches modern Victorian architecture. Two imposing bell towers frame the main façade, and a vaulted ceiling extends the entire length of the cathedral, ending with a large single dome at the end.

Today it is the most important religious building in Puerto Plata. In 1996, Pope John Paul II established the Diocese of Puerto Plata, giving the church the rank of cathedral. The cathedral is located in the heart of Puerto Plata Park, overlooking the old Victorian-era district with gingerbread houses and commercial buildings. This park hosts many events, where locals often come with children to have a good time.

Several times a day, bells ring announcing the beginning and end of Mass, and the church becomes crowded. Tourists visiting Puerto Plata also flock in droves with a guide to view the inside of this majestic historical monument of Dominican history and religion.

Amber Museum

Puerto Plata and its surroundings are known for mining some of the oldest and purest samples of amber in the world, and this can be seen in the Amber Museum. Located in downtown Puerto Plata, this Victorian museum has two floors of amber samples, some of which contain fossilized organics. A feature of the museum is that here you can buy jewelry made of amber. The museum guarantees the authenticity of its exhibits.

Amber is the official stone of the Dominican Republic of national importance. Aside from its use in jewelry, many people are interested in the museum’s amber because of the “treasures” it contains. Most of the exhibits in the Puerto Plata Museum contain inside insects, plants, and other creatures that were caught with sticky sap and then fossilized. One of the impressive artifacts of the museum is a large lizard almost 40 centimeters long, completely preserved and enclosed in amber.

The Puerto Plata Museum’s gift shop offers a large assortment of amber jewelry, as well as information about excursions to local mines.

Website: www.ambermuseum.com



The Brugal Rum Factory

For five generations, the Brugal family produced and bottled its own unique rum in Puerto Plano. The tour of the museum is free and illustrates the process of making rum, and also offers a look at the personal history of the family: the patriarch learned his craft in Cuba before moving to the Dominican Republic.

To study in detail the history of the Roma in Puerto Plata, the first mention of which dates back to 1650, you need to go to the Dominican Rum Museum. The site, owned by businessman José Alberto García, tells the story of the development of families that since the 19th century have established a distillery and sugarcane production in the Caribbean. Flaquer, Brugal, Barcel and Bermdez are some of the families that helped create the Dominican Rum Empire, which is now exported around the world, and the Rum Museum can see why this is happening.

In addition to the fact that on a tour of the museum you can taste at least three different tastes of museum rum (which is created right here, among the halls), you can see the first devices and mechanisms that were used to produce rum, as well as the first bottles of rum. In addition, the rum you like can be bought in the museum even cheaper than in neighboring stores.

Excursions to this rum museum in Puerto Plata are offered by many hotels in the resort. Just go to the reception and the staff will tell you how much a tour of the museum costs or how to get to this place on your own.



Museum of Chocolate Del Oro Chocolate Factory

This small chocolate museum, run by an enterprising group of women, is a versatile place to learn all about Dominican cocoa; from wood – you’ll take a trip around the plantation – to creating a chocolate bar. Please note that a tour of the Puerto Plata Museum requires a minimum of half a day.

Cocoa trees grow in the magnificent hilly village of Palmar Grande at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the mountainous province of Puerto Plata. After inspecting the trees, the tour of the museum continues at the factory. Here you can create your own chocolate bar and try it.

The on-site Chocal shop sells chocolate bars and liqueurs.



27 waterfalls

The Damajacua Cascades are one of the most spectacular sights and experiences in Puerto Plata. The cascades, better known as the “27 Waterfalls,” are a national monument. This place vaguely resembles a water park, where only nature has created slides.

It takes about 45 minutes to reach the cascades of Puerto Plata, which are west of Puerto Plata along the Damajacua River. Most visitors choose a jeep tour or other organized excursion to the waterfall, but it is possible to get to the attraction on their own.

The unique waterfall consists of 27 steps, the first of which must be climbed using a rope ladder. As a reward for a difficult climb, it is available here – rolling down slides, diving, swimming and jumping from a seven-meter height under the supervision of instructors. All participants are provided with helmets and life jackets for protection. Children are only allowed to climb the first steps of Puerto Plata Falls. Adults are asked to choose seven, twelve or twenty-seven steps by paying the appropriate fee.

Exploring the lower falls isn’t too tedious, but you should still think twice before taking young children or anyone who has trouble getting around due to slippery rocks. A tour of the 27 waterfalls in Puerto Plata will include climbing, sliding and jumping off a cliff, which can be too challenging for young children.

Naturally, participants must be in good enough physical shape. It is recommended to use very comfortable shoes and take extra dry clothes with you. For an additional fee, you can order a photo or video of the ascent and water activities.

Website: https://27waterfalls.com.do/



Парк развлечений Ocean World Adventure Park

Ocean World Adventure Park, located 4.8 km from Puerto Plata, is a popular attraction for couples and families due to its leisure quality. Among the activities available to visitors are snorkeling on the reef, swimming, shows and meeting animals (for an additional fee). The extensive complex also has hotels, nightlife and a marina.

The entrance fee includes access to attractions in the water park, including water slides and swimming pools, as well as access to the tropical reef aquarium, where you can snorkel and learn about animal species; as well as educational shows with animals, in which sea lions, dolphins, sharks, tropical birds participate.

Visitors can also purchase programs that include sea encounters with lions and rays and swimming with sharks, as well as many other dolphin interaction opportunities. From petting and feeding to swimming and a whole day of work with trainers.

Website: www.oceanworld.net



Cable car and isabel de Torres mountain

The 790-meter-high Isabel de Torres Mountain (also called Pico Isabella de Torres) offers stunning panoramic views of Puerto Plata’s city, beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean. Most tourists prefer to climb the mountain by cable car (the only cable car located in the Caribbean) and enjoy the views as well as take pictures from the air, but more active visitors can climb to the top on foot.

At the top is the image of Christ the Redeemer, who rules the city of Puerto Plata below, reminiscent of the famous landmark located in Rio de Janeiro. Vendors gathered at his feet to create a bustling market where you can buy soft drinks, as well as souvenirs such as amber jewelry, handicrafts and more.

The area also has a snack bar and a botanical garden with beautiful local flowers and greenery. Once you’ve enjoyed the view, take a stroll through the botanical gardens, which feature local flora and shady spots where you can take a break from the sun. If you’re lucky, you might see some of the several species of colorful birds that call the area home.

It is better to schedule a visit in the early morning, before the heat has come. Other travelers even suggest giving up English-speaking guides (usually available for about $5 per person) and just enjoying the top of the mountain on their own.

Website: www.telefericopuertoplata.com



Fun City amusement park with karting

Fun City is a beautiful go-karting center that is the largest in the Dominican Republic and offers several trails for different levels and ages. Best friends and strangers here compete for first place. Machines can bump into each other, rotate and accelerate.

Fun city trails:

  • Cyclone;
  • Sprint;
  • Grand Prix;
  • The bumper of the car.

In addition to the various trails in the Fun City there is a children’s playground, a covered terrace in the dining room and lounges. Birthdays in Puerto Plata can be celebrated in this magnificent amusement park.

The park is open all day, there is also trained staff, a cafeteria and a ticket office. It is conveniently located on the highway, near Playa Dorada, and offers plenty of parking spaces for many buses and private cars. The park can be reached from Puerto Plata in just 5 minutes.

Website: http://www.funcity-gokarts.com/



Paradise Island (Cayo Arena)

A tour of paradise Paradise Island is perhaps the most unique experience travelers will have in the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic. This tiny coral island sits in the middle of the ocean, just off the coast, and is home to countless species of tropical life such as surgeonfish, yellow-tailed snapper, crabs, octopuses, as well as sponges, many corals, and other marine life.

Scuba diving enthusiasts are best to bring a Go pro or any other waterproof camera to capture the fantastic swarms of tropical fish living in the shallow waters surrounding this coral island. Snorkeling equipment is provided by all tour operators who show the best places on the island.

Also, the local tour operator offers diving among the surrounding corals, which is great for novice divers. More advanced divers will go on an excursion to Melissa Insight, one of the coral shoals that descend to a depth of 30 meters. In this dive, you can see several species of anemones, corals and many inhabitants that are great for underwater photography.

Another great place to dive is Cabeza del Cayo, where larger marine species can be found due to strong currents. Coral formations, squid flocks and many other species make this place a favorite for experienced divers.

It is better to come to Paradise Island for a few days, because in addition to marine entertainment, there are interesting places on the island itself. Book hotels in advance while there are still places.



El Dudu Cave

El Doudou Cave is a fascinating and little-known attraction on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. This is one of the most unusual dive sites on the north coast, which is located in its easternmost part, halfway between the villages of Cabrera and Nagua. The secluded cave of El Dudu is a freshwater lake located at the bottom of the coastal mountains.

It takes a bit of bravery before diving into the lake, as the lagoon is surrounded by natural cliffs from which to jump to freshen up. Anyone who has never jumped from a 10-meter springboard might have to beat themselves to jump down. Those who need a little help can also use a zipline tied above the water: take a handle, swing over the water and fall into the water at the right time. This zipline is included in the entrance fee to the Cave of El Doudou.

But the cave is also worth a visit for those who do not need a rush of adrenaline and prefer a more relaxing holiday and less challenging adventures. There are many different ecosystems in and around the cave. Also, this excellent place allows you to enjoy the magnificent landscapes of rocks and trees. If you want to visit the lake, a staircase leads to the water, which provides smooth and easy access.

The entrance to the Dudu Cave costs about $5. A visit to El Dudou Lagoon can easily be combined with two additional short activities. First, there is a small cave system nearby that is interesting to explore. There is also a nearby lagoon with cleaner and shallower water.

Fantastic beaches, exotic landscapes, colonial architecture, unique museums, star hotels and amazing excursions – Puerto Plata has prepared a lot of entertainment for guests. It is better to plan a trip in advance in order to have time to enjoy all the sights of a luxury resort.