Things to do in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is on the north side of the Dominican Republic, and is the country’s ninth-largest city. The name translates to ‘Silver Port’ and is so-called for the history of shipwrecks on a reef just off of the coastline, and because of the mist covering the mountains that makes them appear silver. There are a variety of activities to do in Puerto Plata, from exploring the city’s rich history, to meeting a humpback whale face to face in one of the National Marine Parks. The list below features the top attractions and destinations to visit on your next trip.

Puerto Plata Malecon

1. Fort San Felipe

This is a great place to get a sense of the history of Puerto Plata and the Dominican Republic. Originally built by the Spanish, this historic fort is right on the coastline, and features information about early explorers including Christopher Columbus. There are audio guides available, and you can usually explore the outside and inside of the fort, while also enjoying some spectacular views. Even if you visit for only a few minutes, this is definitely a must see place!

Fort San Felipe

2. Playa Dorada

The name means “Golden Beach” in English, and describes the color of the sand. You can expect crystal clear water and clean shores that make this a great place to spend the day relaxing. There are lounge chairs and umbrellas available to rent, and a number of restaurants where you can purchase drinks or snacks. The calm waters make this a great place for families, or to see some fish while snorkeling just offshore. There are several resorts nearby, but you can still enjoy this beach if you are staying elsewhere.

3. Damajagua Waterfalls

Tucked into the lush rainforest around Puerto Plata, this series of 27 cascading waterfalls is an absolute must-see on your next trip. You can swim in the natural pools, and jump off ledges for an exciting thrill. The best way to experience this amazing bit of the Dominican Republic is by booking a guided tour or excursion, which will provide transportation. There are a number of quality excursion providers to choose from. Read my review of the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua to learn more.

4. Amber Museum

Here you can take a look at nature’s time capsule. The museum features a number of interesting pieces of amber, including some with insects or small animals trapped inside and frozen in time. On the tour you’ll learn more about amber itself, and the way it is mined and made into jewelry. A small gift shop at the exit lets you take a piece of history home with you. A different section of the museum allows you to try your hand at cigar rolling.

5. Sousa Bay

Take a short boat ride to the center of Sousa Bay to snorkel, swim, or scuba dive with tropical fish and other fascinating marine life. There are a number of excursions and tours that will take you around, from catamarans with included meals, to scuba trips. Sousa Bay has crystal clear waters that allow snorkelers to really experience the diversity of sea life in the Dominican Republic. You can visit Playa Sousa, just a few minutes west of the center of Puerto Plata, for a few guided excursions, or ask your hotel for a good recommendation. If you want to stay closer to the beach you can bring your own equipment or purchase some on the beach for a more low-key adventure.

6. Horseback Tour

There are a number of companies offering horseback tours of the areas surrounding Puerto Plata, but the best one based on overall visitor experience is Marysol Tours. Both the staff and animals are friendly, and the guides are knowledgeable and professional. During your tour you can expect to see a variety of sites from historic churches, the surrounding mountains, and even a rum factory, but they offer a variety of different packages to suit your interests, or they can help you create a custom excursion for you and your family.

7. Brugal Rum Center

Not only is this a fun option for those interested in rum, it has a good bit of history about rum distillation in the Dominican Republic, and even offers a tasting of two of the rums produced here. For a tour of the facility you can expect to pay only $3, and tours are available in English, Spanish, French, or German. It’s a great opportunity to learn about a long-established family business in Puerto Plata, and to learn about distillation.

8. Catedral San Felipe

Located in the city center of Puerto Plata this beautiful church is a reconstruction of one lost over a decade ago in an earthquake. Set near a lovely historic square, the building itself is beautiful, and worth a visit whether you’re interested in architecture or would like to attend a service. You can enjoy the space on a self-guided tour to enjoy the stained glass, or have a guide tell you more about its history, construction, and reconstruction.

9. White Water Rafting at Jarabacoa

An exciting adventure awaits on these white water rapids in the mountains surrounding Puerto Plata. On the way there you’ll pass beautiful countryside views, and arrive in the forest for a day of adventure. Many tour operators provide transportation and breakfast and lunch before and after rafting. You will be briefed on safety before you head down the rapids for a fun day on the water. It will definitely make your trip to Puerto Plata a memorable one!

As you can see there are so many different things to do in Puerto Plata, no matter your interests. It is a beautiful place to explore the scenery whether you prefer relaxing on the beach, taking a guided tour, exploring the local history and culture, or having an adventure underwater.

Posted in: Small Cities

Comments are closed.