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Trip List by viviandarkbloom

A nice week in Puerto Plata

6 Apr 2006  Caribbean Traveler
4.5 of 5 stars based on 14 votes

When thinking of tropical or beach-oriented getaways, Puerto Plata would be considered a well-kept secret--it's not a destination that quickly comes to mind, or is at the top of everyone's list. While Puerto Plata is surprisingly popular, it is catching on even more with travelers, particularly families (as the New York Times pointed out in a recent article). So now might be the time to catch Puerto Plata before it becomes yet another overcrowded and overrated Caribbean hot spot.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Puerto Plata, Sosua
  • Category: Perfect week or more
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Day 1: Spend the day in downtown Puerto Plata, strolling through Parque Luperon...

    Parque Luperon is the city's central park and an ideal spot for people-watching. Puerto Plata's historic past is also on display here, for many of the town's nineteenth century Victorian mansions are gathered around this area--a delight for an architecture buff. Many shops specializing in local crafts also abound here--including silversmiths and leather crafts. You can also check out La Iglesia de San Felipe, the picturesque church nearby.

  • 2. Day 1: …or take a day trip to Concepcion de la Vega

    In 1492, Columbus built a small fort in this town, and about a hundred later, it was a boomtown, thanks to the discovery of gold in the area. But in 1562, an earthquake destroyed the town, and it remained largely neglected until the 1970s, when the Domincan government undertook archaelogical excavations. The richness and diversity of the Spanish Renaissance is visible in both the buildings that are preserved, and the astonishing diversity of artifacts discovered there.

  • 3. Day 2: Visit the Amber Museum
    Amber Museum, Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata Province

    The Amber Museum is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Puerto Plata, but with a mere $2 (U.S.) admission fee to see such an impressive collection of amber (some of it several thousands years old), it is well worth a visit, and it's not the type of museum that will drain the day away.

  • 4. Visit and take a cable car up Mount Isabel de Torres
    Mount Isabel de Torres, Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata Province

    When you reach the top of Mount Isabel de Torres, you will be treated to a breathtaking, panoramic view of the the Dominican Republic's north coast. After that, you can bask in over seven acres of lush botantic gardens also located on the mountain top. (Make sure you always plan in advance, and check that the cable car is open and operating before planning a trip up the mountain.)

  • 5. Day 3: Spend the day at Playa Dorada
    Golden Beach (Playa Dorada), Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata Province

    Playa Dorada is a complex of beaches, golf courses, shopping boutiques and golf courses, which means that, in short, it has something for everyone in the family.

  • 6. Day 4: Take the kids to Columbus Aguaparque

    The Columbus Aquaparque is the biggest water park in the Caribbean, with so many slides that the kids should be out like a light by bedtime!

  • 7. Day 5: Play a relaxing nine holes of golf at Costambar

    The beach at Costambar is a less-crowded alternative to the bustle of Playa Dorada; it also has golf courses and shopping. Costambar is also establishing itself as a nice, relaxing spot to have a good dinner--there are many outstanding restaurants in the nearby town.

  • 8. Day 6: Spend the day ambling and eating at the street cafes of The Malecon and Fort San Felipe
    Fort San Felipe, Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata Province

    This area offers a unique blend of night life and history. During the day, you can explore Fort San Felipe, the oldest fort in the New World, where Columbus hoped to establish a Spanish colony. Nowadays Fort San Felipe offers visitors not only a small museum, but a moat as well! At night, the Malecon area comes alive with street vendors, music, great cafes and restaurants, and views of the ocean and the people.

  • 9. Day 7: Visit the Brugal Company…
    Brugal Rum Center, Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata Province

    While no actual distilling goes on, a quick tour of this rum factory is a must. Admission is free.

  • 10. …or explore Sosua Beach
    Sosua Beach, Sosua, Puerto Plata Province

    If you're up for a day trip, hop on a catamaran to explore Sosua, the gorgeous island 15 miles away from Puerto Plata, and worthy of a day trip. Beautiful, remote, and quiet, it's a perfect place to indulge in watersports or to merely lie or walk upon the beach. Sosua also possesses a fascinating history; it was actually settled in 1940 by European Jews hoping to escape from Nazi-controlled Europe. Today, there are still several Jewish families who have remained on this paradise.