Puerto Plata Travel Guide

  • Puerto Plata
    Puerto Plata
    by Jim_Eliason
  • View of Puerto Plata city
    View of Puerto Plata city
    by marielexoteria
  • Fort San Felipe
    Fort San Felipe
    by Jim_Eliason

Puerto Plata Things to Do

  • Estatua del Cristo Redentor (Christ's...

    This statue is at the very top of the mountain called Loma Isabel de Torres and it's a small replica of the one in Brazil. From here you have really nice views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Puerto Plata City Tour

    During our stay in Puerto Plata in November 2012, we undertook three excursions from our hotel in Playa Dorada.We booked each of these excursions through "Tours by James" who has an office on the ground floor of the Playa Dorada Plaza shopping mall. By booking through "Tours by James" we saved a total of $US 140 between us compared to the prices of...

  • Teleferico (cable car)

    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...

  • Fortaleza San Felipe

    We paid a brief visit to Fortaleza San Felipe during a city tour of Puerto Plata in November 2012.This seafront fortress, dating back to 1577, is located at the end of the Malecon, Puerto Plata's seafront boulevard.Entrance to the fortress cost 100 Pesos (approx. £1.80) and that included the hire of a personal audio guide and earphones. Each time...

  • Amber Museum

    We visited the Amber Museum during a city tour of Puerto Plata in November 2012.The Amber Museum (with its logo reminiscent of the Jurassic Park logo) is located in a very impressive Victorian villa on Calle Duarte, just a couple of minutes walk from the heart of the city, Parque Central. The villa in question is known as Villa Bentz and dates back...

  • Brugal Rum Factory

    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...

  • Fort San Felipe

    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.

  • Museo Ambar

    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.

  • Catedral San Felipe

    Next to the Parque Central is the Catedral San Felipe. This Victorian cathedral is the largest building downtown and is still in active use today.

  • Parque Central

    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.

  • Estatua de Gregorio Luperón (Luperón's...

    Gregorio Luperón was one of the heroes who fought the Restoration war against Spain in 1863 and he was also a president in 1879. His statue is found almost in front of the fort, at El Malecón.

  • Fuerte de San Felipe

    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...


Puerto Plata Hotels

Puerto Plata Restaurants

  • popular hangout among expats

    Sam's Bar is on the ground floor of Hotel Castilla and where you have your breakfast if you stay with them and get the rate that includes it. The breakfast included in the rate is toast with butter, potatoes and eggs and coffee and I found it of good value. Otherwise they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and they have a menu with international...

  • with tasty food and oceanfront view

    We found this place while walking down the Malecón. It's not a pretentious place with good food. We ordered a starter of garlic bread, one grilled beef with fries and salad and one small ham and cheese pizza, with a small Presidente beer and a small Coca Cola and all that cost us 745 pesos (around 22US).When you read the menu it says in small (but...

  • Puerto Plata Hotels

    58 Hotels in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata Transportation

  • Playa Dorada taxi prices

    We never used taxis during our visit to Puerto Plata in November 2012, but I provide the following details for information purposes:A list of taxi prices was provided beside the road outside our hotel, VH Gran Ventana, in Playa Dorada. These included:Tours (prices per person)Puerto Plata City Tour ($US 40)Puerto Plata City Tour with Teleferico ($US...

  • Gregorio Luperon Airport

    Aeropuerto Internacional Gregorio Luperon is located close to the town of Puerto Plata and the many tourist hotel resorts at Playa Dorada on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.The airport is around a 15 minute drive from Playa Dorada and 20 minutes from the centre of Puerto Plata.We flew in and out of this airport during our visit in...

  • Caribe Tours bus

    That's one of the big bus companies that travel between SD and PP. The buses are comfortable, with reclinable seats, music and/or a movie (with Spanish audio) onboard and they're very punctual. They don't have direct buses but they stop at the big cities. A single ticket to PP costs 270 pesos (around 8US) and they have hourly departures between 6am...


Puerto Plata Shopping

  • Shopping mall at Playa Dorada

    The Playa Dorada Plaza is a shopping mall located within the Playa Dorada tourist complex close to the town of Puerto Plata.It is located almost next door to the hotel we were staying at, VH Gran Ventana, so we visited a couple of times during our stay in November 2012.The mall was clearly built during better economic times and has since suffered a...

  • Haggling at the beachside market!

    During our visit to Puerto Plata in November 2012, my girlfriend and I walked along Playa Dorada beach to visit the Orange Market.It is located towards the western end of the beach and was a 25 minute walk from our hotel, the VH Gran Ventana. We passed a number of other hotels en-route.The Orange Market was clearly built in busier times and is used...

  • Good Deal on Gold

    We have been traveling to Puerto Plata for over 7 years and a couple of years ago one of the girls at the hotel recommended them. They are certainly the largest jewelers and have the best prices. It is not a tourist trap. They informed us they liquidate pre-owned jewelry so the only thing I might criticize is their selection of "tourist jewelry"...


Puerto Plata Local Customs

  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo

    Frío frío vendor

    by marielexoteria Updated May 3, 2009

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    A frío frío is pretty much like slush ice. The vendor has a big block of ice and something to shred enough ice to fill your cup (can be 2 sizes), and then you choose the flavor you want from the bottles and he pours it in your glass. Its name means "cold cold" and it's usually a cheap way to refresh yourself when it's hot. I used to have a lot of those when I was growing up so this picture brought back some good memories.

    Frío fríos can be found everywhere in the country but I made the tip here because that's where I took the picture at.

    Edit Apr 2009: a video of a friero (frío frío vendor) making me a frío frío can be seen on Youtube.

    Fr��o fr��o vendors
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    • Budget Travel

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Puerto Plata Warnings and Dangers

  • Excess luggage charges

    This is a warning based on our flight home from Puerto Plata airport in November 2012.The staff at the check-in desk were being VERY strict with regards to passengers exceeding their baggage allowances.Passengers were being charged even if their baggage was just 1kg over the allowance. Not only that, but the charge was a rather steep $US 25 per...

  • "Looky-looky men" on the beach

    We stayed at the VH Gran Ventana hotel on Playa Dorada beach in November 2012.Prior to our visit, I read lots of reviews on Tripadvisor. Many people were complaining about the presence of touts (or "looky-looky men") on the beach. It seemed that some holidaymakers were avoiding the beach completely after their sunbathing was being disturbed by...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Puerto Plata Tourist Traps

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    Carmen Gift Shop (amber and larimar...

    by SWFC_Fan Written Dec 2, 2012

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    We visited Carmen Gift Shop as part of a city tour of Puerto Plata in November 2012.

    First of all, we were shown down the side of the shop where we were able to watch a couple of jewellery makers working away in a tiny workshop. They were producing jewellery from amber and a light blue rock, larimar, that is found only in the Dominican Republic.

    Next, we were treated to a demonstration on how to recognise the difference between genuine amber and the many (plastic) fake amber products that are sold in most souvenir shops. Real amber floats when placed in saltwater, while the imitation amber products sink. This was demonstrated to us as we were shown a variety of amber stones, necklaces and rings and asked to guess whether they would float or sink. In fairness, many of the fake products looked authentic to the untrained eye.

    Having been suitably warned of the dangers of purchasing cut price imitation amber products from the many souvenir shops in town, we were invited inside the Carmen Gift Shop to purchase the genuine article. As well as numerous display cabinets showcasing amber and larimar jewellery at ridiculous (to me at least!) prices, there was the usual selection of souvenirs available (bottles of rum, boxes of cigars, wooden ornaments, fridge magnets, ceramic goods, t-shirts...).

    As the rest of our tour group (and another bus load of tourists that had been escorted there) filled their baskets with jewellery, Emma and I excused ourselves and went for a walk around the surrounding fruit and veg market and local shops.

    We were given around 45 minutes to browse the gift shop...considerably more time than we were given to explore Parque Central, San Felipe Fortress or the summit of Pico Isabel de Torres. This is the thing that frustrates me most about guided tours!!

    Tour buses outside Carmen Gift Shop Carmen Gift Shop, Puerto Plata

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Puerto Plata Off The Beaten Path

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    Playa Boca Nueva at Bergantin

    by SWFC_Fan Written Dec 14, 2012

    During our visit to Puerto Plata in November 2012, we went on the "Outback Safari" excursion. The final stop of the day was a secluded beach where we could boogie board in the waves.

    Our offroad vehicle left the main road between Puerto Plata and the airport and headed along a dirt track (with lots of puddles from the recent rain), through dense vegetation and sugar plantations, towards the coast.

    After a slow and bumpy drive of around 20 minutes we emerged in a clearing in the rainforest. We picked up colourful foam boogie boards from the back of the truck and made our way across a long wooden bridge (made from logs...and a little bit rickety!) to find a sandy beach and some fine waves.

    As well as learning to boogie board (face the shore, hold your board in front of you and jump on it at exactly the right time to be carried by the waves), we were able to indulge in free back and neck massages on the beach. I didn't bother with one, but Emma did and she found it very relaxing.

    I believe the beach in question (after spotting a road sign for Bergantin and making use of Google Maps!) is Playa Boca Nueva at Bergantin. It is only a short distance from the hotel resorts at Playa Dorada, but the rough terrain that must be traversed to reach it makes it feel much more remote and secluded than it actually is!

    Secluded Boca Nueva beach at Bergantin Secluded Boca Nueva beach at Bergantin Secluded Boca Nueva beach at Bergantin Wooden bridge to Boca Nueva beach With my boogie board at Boca Nueva beach

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Puerto Plata Favorites

  • Departure Tax

    All passengers, when leaving the Dominican Republic, must pay a Departure Tax of $US 20.Prior to our trip, we had obtained $US 30 each in cash; $US 10 to pay for our Tourist Cards on arrival and $US 20 to pay for our Departure Tax when leaving the country. I would recommend this course of action to anybody from outside the USA who is visiting the...

  • Tourist Cards

    Most visitors to the Dominican Republic require either a visa or a Tourist Card to enter the country.Citizens of a handful of countries (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Japan, South Korea and Israel) are exempt from this requirement, but all other citizens must obtain the relevant documents.For most European and North American visitors,...

  • Currency

    The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso, which is symbolised as RD$.The Dominican Peso comes in the following denominations:Coins: 1, 5, 10 and 25 RD$Notes: 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 RD$At the time of our visit in November 2012, the inter-bank exchange rate was 62 RD$ per £1.We obtained a few Dominican Pesos...


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