Puerto Plata City Guide
About Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is located on the northern shore of the island of Hispanolia that hosts the Dominican Republic. Puerto Plata is also known as San Felipe de Puerto Plata and was discovered by Christopher Columbus who wanted to build a city on this scenic area of the island, renowned for its picturesque beaches surrounded by verdant mountains. He was unable to do so, and in 1502, Nicolás de Ovando founded Puerto Plata, which went on to become a major port of the area from where ships laden with treasures from the New World departed.
Today Puerto Plata is an immensely popular vacation destination of the Caribbean and is known for its many diverse hotels that are concentrated mainly within a hotel zone known as Playa Dorada.
Where to stay in Puerto Plata
Luxury hotels, spa hotels, all–inclusive resort hotels, boutique beach hotels, discount hotels and budget accommodation; Puerto Plata offers them all at its three main beachside areas.
Playa Dorado is home to most of the all-inclusive hotel properties in Puerto Plata. If you would like to book your vacation to Puerto Plata at one of the many all-inclusive hotel properties located within Playa Dorada then Fare Buzz can help you secure attractive hotel rates for same.
Costa Dorada is located within a three minute drive west from Playa Dorada and offers a similar ambience as the former but has fewer hotels located within its boundaries.
Playa Cofresi is located within easy access from the center of Puerto Plata and is home to the prominent Puerto Plata attraction of Ocean World. Ocean World is an immensely popular attraction with families on a vacation to Puerto Plata with their children.
Places to see in Puerto Plata
The Oceanworld marine adventure park is an immensely popular attraction for both adults and children on a vacation to Puerto Plata. This park is situated 3 miles west of Puerto Plata and offers a casino and a world-class marina along with an aqua park, which features enclosures that feature interactive displays of marine animals like dolphins, sea lions, sharks, piranhas, stingrays and more. If you are on a vacation to Puerto Plata with children then a visit to Oceanworld is definitely recommended.
Fort San Felipe
Fort San Felipe is an important historical attraction in Puerto Plata that dates back to 1564. This fort was constructed on the orders of King Philip II of Spain. Fort San Felipe features thick, towering walls and was believed to be impenetrable for it was surrounded by a moat that had sharpened swords embedded in the coral located beneath the surface of the water.
Isabel de Torres
The Isabel de Torres observation tower played an important role during the reign of Dominican Republic leader Rafael Trujillo. This tower rises to height of 780 meters above sea level and offers panoramic views of the Amber Coast from its summit, which can be accessed via cable car.
Museo de Ambar Dominicano (Museum of Dominican Amber)
This museum showcases stunning exhibits of Amber found in the Dominican Republic. This attraction should be considered a must-do for any jewelry and gem stone enthusiast on a visit to Puerto Plata.
Brugal Rum Bottling Plant
The Brugal Rum Bottling Plant offers an insight into the booming Dominican rum manufacturing industry. A tour of the factory demonstrates the process involved in the bottling of this world class rum. After the tour, participants are treated to a free rum based cocktail and also have the opportunity to buy souvenirs.
Parque Nacional La Isabella
This park is yet another historical attraction located in Puerto Plata. This attraction contains the remains of the church where the first Mass in the New World was conducted and an observation tower from where Columbus used to gaze at the stars. The park also contains a small museum, which has artifacts from the period new European settlers arrived here.
Best time to visit Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata experiences year round amenable weather, which is characterized by average daytime highs of 84F( 29C). The resort also experiences a rainy season that lasts from May through October and is marked by much high humidity and precipitation. The period between November and April is the drier tropical cool season in Puerto Plata, which generally features warm days and mild evenings. This drier tropical cool season in Puerto Plata is the peak tourist season at this beachside paradise.
However, if you choose to do your flight and hotel bookings with Fare Buzz you need not worry about paying high peak tourist rates, for Fare Buzz can procure attractive hotel and flight deals for your stay in Puerto Plata no matter when you choose to visit.
Getting around in Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is accessed via its Puerto Plata International Gregorio Luperón Airport, which is situated 7 miles (11km) east of Playa Dorada. This airport welcomes a whole host of budget and regular carriers and it can be reached via a forty minute drive from most for the hotels located within the resort area of Puerto Plata.
If you need to rent a car for the duration of your vacation in Puerto Plata, then Fare Buzz can be of assistance; for it offers a variety of affordable car rentals for Puerto Plata. These Puerto Plata car rentals can be booked at the same time that you make your other travel bookings for your visit to Puerto Plata.
If you choose not to rent a car for the duration of your vacation in Puerto Plata, then you can avail of the various modes of public transport that are available in Puerto Plata like taxis and minivans (Guaguas). However like in various other Caribbean destinations, it is prudent to fix your fare with the taxi driver before you set off on your journey in Puerto Plata as the taxis in Puerto Plata are largely unmetered.
Where to shop in Puerto Plata
Visitors to Puerto Plata enjoy shopping for various souvenir items like rum, vanilla, high quality Cuban and Dominican cigars, amber jewelry and ornaments adorned with fossils, ceramics, woodcarvings and colorful artworks from the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Puerta Plata’s main shopping destinations include Playa Dorada Plaza, an expansive shopping center, which hosts more than eighty stores and offers a wide array of dining and shopping options. Other similar shopping hubs in Puerto Plata include centers like the Plaza Turisol Complex and the Centro Commercial Playa Dorada. Both these retail heavens host a wide array of shops and provide ample opportunity for tourists to shop for souvenirs, apparel, accessories and the like.
Puerto Plata’s oceanfront Malecon is also littered with various gift shops and galleries offering a wide range of Dominican and Haitian handicrafts. Furthermore, the town of Sousa located on the outskirts of Puerto Plata offers additional souvenir shopping opportunities at its many excellent retail outlets.
Where to eat in Puerto Plata
The dining options in Puerto Plata are diverse and include a wide variety of restaurants, catering to every taste, preference and travel budget. Recommended eateries in Puerto Plata include establishments like Lucia (Asian Fusion located within the luxurious five-star Casa Colonial Beach and Spa resort), Verandah Café (eatery also housed within the Casa Colonial Beach and Spa resort offering continental eats), La Pardilla Steakhouse and Café (grilled meats and seafood), Hemingway’s Café (casual dining spot frequented by locals and tourists) and Jardin de Jade restaurant (Asian Fusion fare).
Nightlife in Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is a vibrant city with a phenomenal brand of nightlife. This oceanfront resort city is home to several casinos equipped with slot machines and gaming tables. Popular games like craps, blackjack, poker, roulette are offered by the various Puerto Plata casinos like the aquatic-themed Ocean World Casino, the American Casino, Occidental Beach Resort Casino and Puerto Plata Beach Resort and Casino.
Additionally, these casinos also host dance shows and nightclubs onsite. One such popular show is the Vegas-style Bravissimo show which features more than 30 dancers, 120 costumes and much Caribbean music. The Bravissimo show is a regular feature at the Ocean World Casino though many other resorts in Puerto Plata like Clubhotel Riu Mambo and Clubhotel Riu Merengue, also host glamorous dance and music productions daily.
In addition to these casinos and big music and dance productions, the nightlife scene in Peurto Plata also features numerous clubs, bars and discos frequented by locals and visitors alike. Favored nightlife haunts currently include buzzing hotspots like Lighthouse Lounge and Disco, Hemingway Café, Rancho Tipco Dance Club, Ocean World Disco, and Coco Bongo Fiesta and Disco.