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10 Awesome Things To Do In Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic


view of Puerto Plata from the top of Isabel De Torres mountain

View of Puerto Plata from the top of Isabel De Torres mountain.

The Dominican Republic has been on my bucket list for a while now. My mom, who traveled a lot, has always told me that the Dominican Republic has some of the best beaches she’s ever seen but the real reason why I have always wanted to visit is because I know quite a few Dominicans and they are all such happy, warm hearted people that I could not wait to visit their island.

Amber Cove seen from Fathom's Adonia

Amber Cove seen from Fathom’s Adonia.

From the first moment I laid eyes on the Dominican shore as we arrived to Amber Cove aboard Fathom’s Adonia I could feel this island’s magic. Even on an overcast day the deep greens of the lush forest and the turquoise color of the water was bright and filled with energy. We only had a couple of days to explore Puerto Plata so we wanted to make the best of our time there and in order to do that we decided not to book any of the shore excursions offered by Fathom and instead strike our own path with the help of a local tour company.

I have shared about my amazing and life-changing travel experience with Fathom and Impact Travel heres but right now I want to share how beautiful and wonderful Puerto Plata is as a destination. For two days we explored Puerto Plata with Go Caribic. Our  fantastic private guide and driver gave us a insider’s look into the area and we quickly fell in love with the Dominican Republic and with it’s people. Puerto Plata has some gorgeous beaches and so many things to do and we want to share with you our personal favorites. So here are our top 10 things to do in Puerto Plata.

Teleferico Puerto Plata cable car

1. Marvel at the panoramic views while riding the Puerto Plata cable car.

Climbing over 2500 feet up to the top of the Isabel de Torres mountain the Puerto Plata Teleferico is not to be missed. From the cable car you will enjoy breathtaking views of the city of Puerto Plata, the mountains covered in lush forests and the beaches.

Gardens on the top of Mount Isabel de Torres

Gardens and sculpture of Cristo Redentor on the top of Mount Isabel de Torres

At the top of the Isabel de Torres mountain you will find the Cristo Redentor statue surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens filled with flowers. If you have the time you can spend a whole morning here.

27 Charcos de Damajagua or the 27 Damajagua Cascades in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Natural slide at the Charcos de Damajagua.

2. Feed your sense of adventure at los 27 Charcos de Damajagua.

The Charcos de Damajagua (or the Damajagua waterfalls) are a series of 27 cascades that fall into 27 small pools and it’s one of the most gorgeous and fun places I’ve ever been to. First you hike through a beautiful lush forest. Once you get to the river you start coming down through the cascades and pools sliding, jumping down, swimming and wading along the small river gorge.

27 Charcos de Damajagua or the 27 Damajagua Cascades in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

River gorge at the Charcos de Damajagua.

The guides help you through and tell you exactly what to do. This was an exciting and fun activity with truly breathtaking views. I feel that the photos and video I took does not do this place justice.
amber museum in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic

3. Explore the Amber Museum.

I am a bit of a science geek and I have always been intrigued by amber and how it traps plants, insects and other small animals keeping them intact for millions of years. The Amber Museum is a small building but it has some truly fantastic specimens including a small lizard trapped in amber. We learned so much about amber and also found out that the amber with the mosquito inside used for the Jurassic Park movies came from the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata.

amber and Larimar This is also the perfect place to buy some amber and larimar jewelry. Larimar is a beautiful and rare blue stone only found in the Dominican Republic.

San Felipe Fort in Puerto Plata

4. Go back in time at the San Felipe Fort.

The San Felipe Fortress also known as El Morro de San Felipe is just a few minutes from Puerto Plata’s historic district. Located on a hilltop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean the San Felipe Fortress was commissioned by King Felipe II of Spain and construction was finished on 1577.

San Felipe Fortress in Puerto Plata

This museum houses 18th and 19th century military artifacts and you can do a self guided tour renting headphones at the entrance. The area around the fortress is beautiful so give yourself enough time so you can walk along the malecón and take it all in.

Parque Central with Victorian architecture in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic

5. Stroll Puerto Plata’s historical center.

Beautiful victorian architecture lines the Parque Central where you can people watch, fee the pigeons and visit the cathedral.  The Parque Central is a great place to just relax and get into the slow paced mood of the Dominican Republic.

Victorian architecture in Puerto Plata

Victorian architecture in Puerto Plata.

From here it’s a short walk to the Amber Museum and the malecón. Just a couple of blocks away you can have lunch or dinner at the Kaffe restaurant, a beautiful colonial house with tables out on a tree covered patio: highly recommended!

Riding horses on the beach in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic

6. Ride horses on the beach.

I love horses and riding on the beach has always been one of my favorite things to do. Feeling the wind in your hair as you gallop splashing in the waves is an exhilarating experience. I loved that there are several beaches in Puerto Plata where you can ride. We rode at Cabarete beach where you can rent the horses in one of the beachfront hotels.

Cabarete caves in Puerto Plata

7. Swim among stalactites and stalagmites at the Cabarete Caves.

The Cabarete caves are a system of caves. You can explore three them and even swim in a couple of them. Although they are small and some of them are hard to go down into this is a great adventure and a lot of fun.

hiking to the cabarete caves in Puerto Plata

Hiking to the cabarete caves in Puerto Plata.

I loved the short hike to get to the different caves and the guide was wonderful, showing us all sorts of different plants and explaining about their history and medicinal attributes.

lagoon at the Cabarete caves in Puerto Plata

Lagoon at the Cabarete caves in Puerto Plata.

You can also take a boat tour along the freshwater lagoon and horseback ride on the trails.

Playa Alicia

Playa Alicia in Puerto Plata is a small and quite beach surrounded by small cliffs.

8. Relax on Puerto Plata’s beautiful beaches.

Puerto Plata has some truly fantastic beaches. Everyone agreed that Playa Sousa is the best beach in the area, although we did not have time to visit it.

Playa Alicia in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic

We really enjoyed Alicia beach, a small and quiet beach and a beautiful spot to enjoy the sunset. We also visited Cabarete beach which was beautiful but quite windy. We can’t wait to go back with more time so that we can really take advantage of the Puerto Plata’s beautiful beaches and relax!

Plantain cheesecake at Green Jack in Puerto Plata

Plantain cheesecake at Green Jack restaurant in Playa Dorada.

9. Get a taste for traditional flavors and fusion Dominican cusine at Green Jack’s.

Located at Blue Jack Tar hotel in Playa Dorada, Green Jack Tar restaurant offers a great variety of foods from authentic dominican dishes to original creations from chef Breidy Vasquez that combine Caribbean and international flavors in original and creative ways.  Make sure to try their amazing sancocho, their citibía fried ravioles (yuca empanadas) and the chillo (deboned whole fried fresh fish).

fried fish at Green Jack Tar restaurant

Fried chillo at Green Jack Tar restaurant.

We started off with a traditional sancocho; this Dominican meat stew is a local staple and one of those dishes that everyone makes in their own way. Made with different meats, plantains, yuca and potatoes the Green Jack’s version made with chicken, longaniza and beef was hearty and bursting with flavor. We follow it with a Dominican moussaka and the fried chillo (whole local fresh fish deboned and fried). For dessert we had an delicious plantain cheesecake.

windsurfing in Cabarete beach in Puerto Plata

10. Learn to kite surf at Cabarete beach.

One of the 10 best kite surfing beaches in the world, Cabarete beach is the perfect location to practice this exciting sport or to learn if you are interested.  The Eastern Trade Winds provide strong and consistent wind all year round and this combined with warm water and a sandy bottom, with only a few spots of reef in the inner bay that are quite easy to avoid make the Cabarete beach the ideal spot to practice kite surfing or windsurfing whether you are a new to the sport or an expert. Sailing conditions in the mornings are ideal for beginners or children, as the water tends to be flat and the winds light.

The gardens at the top of Isabel de Torres mountain in Puerto Plata.

The gardens at the top of Isabel de Torres mountain in Puerto Plata.

I was truly blown away by the beauty of Puerto Plata and the northern part of the Dominican Republic, but my favorite part of our trip was getting to know so many amazing people. Because we where traveling at our own pace and because we had the advantage of knowing the language we had the opportunity to talk to so many people and where infected by the Puerto Platense’s positive energy and love for their country. Everyone we met was so excited about the return of cruise lines to their town and so welcoming. When we first docked in Amber Cove aboard Fathom’s inaugural cruise the mood was electrifying and festive and the mood continued to be cheerful during the whole time where there. We really felt like we where being welcomed with open arms and I can not wait to go back to the Dominican Republic!

If you are visiting Puerto Plata be sure to check out the Discover Puerto Plata website, filled with useful information and events.  You can also follow Discover Puerto Plata on Facebook and @DiscoverPuertoPlata on Instagram and be sure to follow the #GoDomRep hashtag to see gorgeous photos of great destinations and things to do throughout Dominican Republic.

If you are looking for a private tour I can not recommend GoCaribic enough, the service and the experience where fantastic.

10 Awesome Things To Do In Puerto Plata

10 Awesome Things To Do In Puerto Plata

About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula moved from her native Guatemala to SW Florida with her husband and two children and together they are discovering what it means to live life between two languages.

Paula studied architecture who now makes a living as a freelance writer, traveler and amateur photographer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on travel, food and bicultural and bilingual parenting .

When she is not on a plane or road trip she likes to create recipes inspired in the flavors of her native Guatemala.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2016/latino-parenting/10-things-puerto-plata/


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  1. Romina Tibytt

    Que maravilloso lugar, y como siempre unas fotografías hermosas!! Gracias por compartir tu viaje! Espero ir pronto a conocer 😀
    Romina Tibytt recently posted…La emoción de descubrir al faraón más famoso: King TUTMy Profile

  2. Diana Rodriguez - Compras y Hogar

    Que lindo lo pasaron con ese hermoso paisaje, Tengo que decirle a mi esposo que planeemos vacaciones al RD!
    Diana Rodriguez – Compras y Hogar recently posted…Piel Radiante Durante Todo el DíaMy Profile

  3. coolchillmom

    what a great list! those caves are calling my name
    coolchillmom recently posted…Type A Newbie Mom Tips from The Laundry RoomMy Profile

  4. Toughcookiemommy

    I love all of these activities and sites but the cascades are absolutely breathtaking. I imagine the water is so refreshing and warm too!
    Toughcookiemommy recently posted…Are You Suffering From A Cold Or Allergies? #BeatSpringAllergies @MinuteClinic #AdMy Profile

  5. Myrah Duque

    My country has some much to offer. I am so glad you finally made it there and that you loved it. I must visit Los Charcos!
    Myrah Duque recently posted…Save $44 on Michael Kors Jet Set Signature Logo Tote!My Profile

  6. Rosey

    So many great things to see and do. I’d love to ride a horse on the beach. That’s on my bucket list.

  7. Mayra Rodriguez - Estilo Familiar

    Quedé prendada de las fotos y todas las aventuras que pudiste hacer en República Dominicana. Me encantar y se parece tanto a Puerto Rico.
    Mayra Rodriguez – Estilo Familiar recently posted…Regala Suculentas en Mason JarsMy Profile

  8. DR

    Puerto Plata and the surroundings are very nice. Beautiful beaches and the Samana Peninsula is not far.


    Que hermoso lugar, y que bien la pasaron, muchas gracias por las recomendaciones, tengo que visitar Republica Dominicana! Saludos!
    S.YISSELE recently posted…Miércoles Mudo/Wordless Wednesday: Esta Semana estamos de Cumpleaños #MMMy Profile

  10. Dania Santana

    I’m so glad you got to do so much during your time in Puerto Plata. It is a very special town that truly shows the mixed heritage of Dominican culture. You have to go to Samaná next. 😉

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