A visit to Mount Isabel de Torres is a must in Puerto Plata. You take the seven-minute cable car (“Teleferico”) ride up the mountainside to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres (792 meters).
On top of the mountain you will find botanical gardens, a statue of Christ (similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), a restaurant and several souvenir shops – in addition, of course, to the breathtaking views of Puerto Plata and the surrounding ocean.
I think the best time to go is in the morning, but don’t go if it is a cloudy day!
Admission fee: 200 peso.
This park contains an unique Victorian style gazebo. It can also serve as a reference point in the old city for finding one's way. As is the case everywhere in the DR, the park has more than its fair share of touts looking to steer you towards souvenir shops in exchange for a commission.
There are two city parks in the old part of Puerto Plata: Parque Luperón and Parque Central.
Parque Luperón is a quiet place with a statue of Gregorio Luperón and shaded benches. (Gregorio Luperón was a successful general in the war against the Spains in the 1860s).
Parque Central (or Parque Independencia) is the gathering place in Puerto Plata, and the Park/Square is surrounded by the City Hall, the Palace of Justice and other government office buildings. Parque Central is a good starting place for a little sightseeing in Puerto Plata.
The Ocean World is a new (opened in March 2004) theme park at Cofresi, just outside Puerto Plata.
In the Park you have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with dolphins, sea lions, sharks, stingrays, exotic tropical birds, meet tigers, walk through a tropical forest, swim in the Tiger Grotto pool and much more.
When you are swimming with the dolphins, I found it all very scheduled and in a tight program. I have been swimming with dolphins other places where the dolphins were freer to do what they want to do, and only came to me if they want to "talk" with me.
But it's a beautiful (and rather expensive) park, so if you haven’t been swimming with dolphins before, you could consider to go to the park.
The Brugal Factory was established by Don Andrés Brugal Montaner in the second half of the 19 century.
It's free to visit the factory, and you don't have to book a tour. We just took at taxi from Puerto Plata to the factory.
First you go into a small cinema where they show you a short movie (15 minutes) about the history of the factory. Then you are guided into the factory, and you end the tour in a little shop. In the shop you can taste different types of rum and - off course - buy bottles and different Brugal merchandise.
My favourites are ’Extra Viejo’ and ’Añejo’...
A main traditional export of the DR is Amber, the solidified & fossilized remains of a tree sap. Amber often catches and preserves whatever small creatures that get caught in the sap. The museum contains many samples of insects and plant life that existed a 100,000 years ago and were perfectly preserved in Amber.
Originally built in 1540 by the Spaniards, this fort was used as a prison until the mid 20th Century. The site in infamous amongst the population as a place where most of DR's patriots were imprisoned at one time or another.
Check out the local newspaper: Maybe a merengue festival or a beach volley tournament going on down the malecón at the weekend... If so you must take a walk down the malecón.
The Dominicans really know how to party. There is music and dancing everywhere - and off course - some rum. You don't have to join the party - you can just watch how the Dominicans enjoy it.
The picture is from the carnival in February 2007.
The oceanfront view avenue will give you nice views of the Atlantic ocean. Here there's usually people listening to music and dancing, working out or just sitting down with a beer and enjoying the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) breeze.
This fort was built in the 1500's to protect the city from "undesired visitors" and was used as a prison under the Trujillo dictatorship. It's one of the must sees of the city and has a museum that charges 40 pesos to enter. At the time we visited, the museum was closed so we didn't get to see the exhibitions.
From the fort there's a nice view of El Malecón and the harbor that simply cannot be missed.
Along the malecon, you will on one of the small islands see a statue dedicated to Neptune (the god of the sea in Roman mythology).
It is said that the statue guards the harbour of Puerto Plata.
Very near the Fort San Felipe a couple of monuments are located.
You’ll find an equestrian statue of General Gregorio Luperon, who was a native son of Puerto Plata - the offspring of a Dominican Father and an English Mother born in 1839. Gregorio Luperon was a successful general in the war against the Spains in 1865, and later he continued to serve and fight for his country until his death in 1897.
Truly a Dominican Patriot and I think he is pictured on the 20 peso bill.
In 1996 a German passenger plane crashed in the sea outside Cabarete only ten minutes after take off.
Just outside the Fort San Felipe in Puerto Plata a monument was raised to honour the memory of all the people who died in the crash.
The Fort of San Felipe is an old imposing stone fortress from 1577 and is located at the malecón in Puerto Plata. The Fort was built so the city could defend itself against French and English pirates, but later it was used as prison for political dissidents.
The fort has been renovated in the recent years, and inside you'll find a museum with lot of objects related to the history of the city.
I find the fort worth a visit. From the fort you got a nice view over the ocean and at night, the fort is outlined in a dazzling display of lights.
We visited the Brugal Rum Factory as part of a city tour of Puerto Plata in November 2012.
To describe our visit as a "factory tour" would be a huge exaggeration. Our guide told us a few facts (quantity of rum produced/exported each year...that kind of thing) as we stood outside and then we were invited to make our way inside. We were told that no photography is permitted within the factory.
We climbed a flight of steps and found ourselves on an elevated walkway that stretched the length of the factory, giving us a bird's eye view of the production process that was taking place below us. No narrative was provided; we were simply invited to walk along the walkway and see things for ourselves.
We stood and watched for a while as various shaped bottles moved along conveyor belts. We could see some workers feeding bottle tops into a machine and others preparing the cardboard boxes that the bottles would ultimately make their way into. The number of bottles being produced was quite remarkable; a constant succession of bottles (hundreds, maybe thousands, just in the few minutes that we were there) making their way along the production line.
At the end of the walkway, we saw large wrapping machines that were wrapping huge pallets filled with dozens of cardboard boxes. They were then being transported by fork lift truck into the despatch area, which was already stacked high with box upon box, crate upon crate, of various Brugal rums.
We then made our way downstairs to the factory shop and tasting area. We were invited to sample the various rums (white, dark and extra viejo aged rum) and then to purchase whichever bottles we liked.
Ordinarily, I might have thought that this was a bit of a tourist trap: show tourists a brief glimpse of the factory and then shepherd them into the shop to part with their money. However, the rum being sold at Brugal factory is genuinely being sold at a competitive price, and we were looking to purchase some to bring home with us. We purchased a couple of 350cl bottles; a dark "Anejo" rum and a darker "Extra Viejo" aged rum. Each bottle cost 152 Pesos ($US 4 / £2.50).
Puerto Plata's Teleferico is apparently the only such cable car system in the whole of the Caribbean. It transports passengers from the city of Puerto Plata to the summit of Pico Isabel de Torres in around 10 minutes.
We took a ride on the Teleferico during a city tour of Puerto Plata in November 2012.
We effectively paid $US 10 each for our ride on the Teleferico. We booked a city tour that included the Teleferico ride and it was $US 10 more expensive than a city tour without it would have cost. For the additional $US 10, we were driven to the base station of the cable car, enjoyed a return ride on it and had around 30 minutes free time to explore the attractions at the top of the mountain (including a statue of Christ that is reminiscent of the one in Rio....and lots of souvenir shops!)
I've since read online that if you visit the Teleferico independently, a ticket costs just 100 Dominican Pesos (approx. £1.70 / $2.80). Most travel agents were charging a standard $US 10 to add the cable car ride to a city tour, but First Choice/Thomson were charging an additional $US 16 to add the cable car ride to one of their city tours.
As we waited to board the cable car, we were seated in a spacious, air conditioned room and were entertained by a group of local musicians who were using traditional instruments and playing lively Caribbean tunes. We then moved onto the boarding platform where we were further entertained by a magician who went through his full repertoire of card tricks and optical illusions. He was very talented and I was happy to tip him.
There are two colourful carriages on the Teleferico; each holding up to 18 passengers and leaving the upper and lower stations simultaneously, passing each other mid-journey.
The view over Puerto Plata and the surrounding coastline from the upper station is breathtaking. Or at least it is if the weather is clear! We visited mid-afternoon after the morning cloud cover had dispersed. We were above the cloud level and could see patchy cloud below us. Earlier in the day we'd have seen nothing but cloud below us. Instead, we were treated to fabulous views over the rainforest covered mountain, the sprawling town and harbour of Puerto Plata and the Atlantic Ocean.
Continued from part 1... Food and Drink All food and drinks were included in the price of our...more
1. What they tell you and what you get is totally diffrent, they may treat you like a king the first...more
In early October of 2010, I stayed at the Blue Bay Villas Doradas. All the staff was wonderful,...more