Are you visiting Puerto Plata for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Puerto Plata and near Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.
When I have a visitor from out of town, the first place they want to see is downtown Puerto Plata, but I also take them to Cabarete, the kiteboarding capital of the world – for a more local, authentic experience. Looking to escape the tourists? My favorite places to visit are Puerto Plata’s beaches. They are usually populated by water sport enthusiasts, but there are many quiet places to sit and take in the view from under a palm tree.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend taking the cable car (Puerto Plata Teleferico) to the top of Mt. Isabel de Torres or enjoy an ocean-view room at a luxury resort.
Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Monkey Jungle.
If you are looking for typical DR cuisine, I recommend a traditional Dominican dish called “la bandera,” or “the flag – rice, beans and meat (usually chicken) – or fresh-cooked seafood.
Dominican coffee and chocolate are very well known for their creaminess and sweetness. Coffee and chocolate tours in the area are available for those interested. Mangú and mofongo are traditional Dominican breakfast foods but those with a sweet tooth can also try dulce de coco or coconetes.
When you are on island, you must try the local cuisine. There are many great local restaurants and roadside eats in the Dominican Republic and throughout Puerto Plata’s towns offering cheap local food. There are several wonderful restaurants along the beaches in Puerto Plata. La Parrillada is one of the oldest in town. Lucia in Casa Colonial, The Beach Club at Sea Horse Ranch, Mares, and La Tarappa are some popular suggestions. Out in Cabarete, the entire beach strip is lined with restaurants. One of my personal favorites there is Casa de Papi.
Things to see and do
When you come to Puerto Plata, get your picture taken on top of Mt. Isabel de Torres, on one of Puerto Plata’s stunning beaches, or one of the 27 Waterfalls at Saltos de Damajagua. Take the cable car (Puerto Plata Teleferico) to the top of Mt. Isabel de Torres – this offers panoramic views as well as opportunities to enjoy a hike, botanic garden and see a replica statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Depending on the time of your visit, there are several unique annual events, most notably the Master of the Ocean watersport tournament as well as the huge (and free) annual Dominican Jazz Fest in November. Looking for exciting night life? Live music is easy to find just about everywhere.
If you are a museum lover, one of Puerto Plata’s best museum’s is the Amber Museum It houses the mosquito encased in amber used in the movie Jurassic Park. Casa Museo General Gregorio Luperon is a museum that focuses on the culture and history of Puerto Plata and its key military leader.
In Puerto Plata, there are many opportunities for outdoor adventure – everything from hiking and mountain biking to canyoning and rappelling off waterfalls. I recommend a visit to the Saltos de Damajagua, a series of 27 waterfalls just outside the city. Tour operator Iguana Mama is a popular option for excursions. Taking a surf lesson is always an option as well. Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the beach or Puerto Plata’s malecón (a boardwalk with bicycle trails).
In the spring and summer you’ll want to check out the events calendar.
Did you know that Puerto Plata’s downtown is home to charming colonial houses? I’ll bet you didn’t know there is a small Jewish community with rich history in Puerto Plata’s town of Sosúa, who fled Nazi Europe. You can learn more at Sosúa’s Museo Judío. For additional insider tips follow @Nancydbrown on Twitter or @Nancydbrown on Instagram.
What are your favorite things to do in Puerto Plata? For additional information on planning your DR vacation visit the Dominican Republic Tourism Board.
All photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.