Puerto Plata Sign

24 Best Things to Do In Puerto Plata For an Epic Getaway

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From its beautiful sandy beaches, lined by swaying palm trees, to its charming colonial architecture and bustling markets, The city of Puerto Plata promises you an unforgettable experience. There are so many wonderful things to do in Puerto Plata you will not be disappointed. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or a glimpse into the island’s fascinating heritage, Puerto Plata is the perfect place for you to embark on an unforgettable journey. You will enjoy everything this town has to offer in one of the most beautiful Caribbean destinations, the north coast of the Dominican Republic.  

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About Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata stands out with its captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Puerto Plata is the oldest city in the Caribbean and has a storied past dating back to the 16th century when it served as a crucial hub for trade and exploration. Today, Puerto Plata is still a major trading port in the Dominican Republic. It also welcomes visitors with open arms through two cruise ports that bring thousands of visitors annually. It also offers a wide range of experiences where visitors can experience the essence of Dominican hospitality and culture. 

Things to do in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is a vibrant town with many activities and places to visit to add adventure to your vacation. These are a few awesome things to do in Puerto Plata on your Caribbean getaway.

Visit Nearby Towns

There are many towns in the province of Puerto Plata that you can visit. Many popular beaches located near Puerto Plata are part of towns located in the province of Puerto Plata. A couple of towns are Sosua, and Maimon. You can take the time to explore the towns that make up the province of Puerto Plata.

Downtown Puerto Plata
Downtown Puerto Plata
Town of Maimon in Puerto Plata
Town of Maimon in Puerto Plata
Downtown Puerto Plata
Downtown Puerto Plata

Enjoy Some of Puerto Plata’s Fresh Fruit

While driving around town, you will notice many fruit vendors selling fresh fruit. The majority of the vendors grow their own produce and fruit and make them available for purchase to locals and tourists. You will find tropical fruits such as mangos, bananas, limes, watermelon, and papaya. Many stands have chilled coconuts which they will prepare and open for you. This is a tasty and refreshing drink on a hot day. You will also find soursop also known as guanabana. The fruit has a scent that is similar to a pineapple. It is a sweet fruit with notes of apple and citrus. If you haven’t tried soursop, it is definitely worth a try. Some vendors will also have the spicey Mamajuana rum available. This rum is also a treat.

Fruit stand in Puerto Plata
Fruit stand in Puerto Plata

Take a Ride on the Aerial Tramway El Teleferico 

The first aerial tramway of the Caribbean is located in Puerto Plata. You can start your journey in Puerto Plata and get a bird’s-eye view of Puerto Plata and the surrounding area by hopping on the Aerial Tramway, a popular attraction in Puerto Plata. The aerial tramway, known as the Teleferico to locals, is a cable car ride that takes you up to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres. A 793 meter high mountain located to the south of the town of Puerto Plata. As you ascend, you will discover that this is one of the best places to see panoramic views of the beautiful town of Puerto Plata and the lush tropical landscape of the mountainside. The aerial tramway ends at the top of Mount Isabel De Torres which is a national park in the Dominican Republic. At the top, you will find a gift shop, a restaurant, and a miniature replica of the statue of Christ the Redeemer from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.  

For a better view, it is ideal to ride the tramway earlier in the day. This way, your view will not be obstructed if the fog rolls in at the top of the mountain. The cost to ride the tramway is $10.00 per person. 

View from the Aerial Tramway
View from the Aerial Tramway

Visit the Plaza Independencia in Puerto Plata

The Plaza Independencia (Independence Square) is the historic center located in the heart of Puerto Plata. The Plaza Independencia, also known as Central Park or Parque Central, is a large park in the center of town that has a large gazebo in the center. The plaza is vibrant and a gathering place for many locals. The surrounding area has many colorful buildings that are constructed with colonial-style architecture. A few of the government buildings and the main Cathedral are found near the Plaza Independencia. 

Plaza Independencia in Puerto Plata
Plaza Independencia in Puerto Plata
A tree in the Plaza Independencia in Puerto Plata
Plaza Independencia in Puerto Plata

Visit the Cathedral of San Felipe

The Cathedral of San Felipe is located towards the southwestern corner of the Plaza Independencia. This stunning Cathedral is representative of Puerto Plata’s religious heritage. You can enter the Cathedral to admire the beautiful stained glass windows that depict religious scenes and take in its peaceful ambiance.

Cathedral of San Felipe in Puerto Plata
Cathedral of San Felipe in Puerto Plata
Inside view of the Cathedral of San Felipe in Puerto Plata. The cathedral has white walls, pews, and the walkway leading to the alter.
Inside view of the Cathedral of San Felipe

Take a Walk along the Malecon

Take a leisurely stroll and take in the laid-back charm of the Malecon, Puerto Plata’s picturesque waterfront promenade. As you walk along the Malecon, you will enjoy spectacular views of the soft sand beaches that are along the oceanfront boulevard. The Malecon has a lot of shade and is perfect for a morning walk. As you stroll along the boardwalk, you can visit one of the many restaurants, coffee shops, or bars that are located along the boardwalk. You can also rent a bicycle and ride along the bike path.  The Malecon begins near the Puerto Plata sign by the Fortress of San Felipe and extends down 3 kilometers or 1.86 miles.

View of the shoreline from the Malecon in Puerto Plata
View of the shoreline from the Malecon in Puerto Plata
View of the street from the Malecon in Puerto Plata
View of the street from the Malecon in Puerto Plata

Visit The famous Dona Blanca Historical Alley / Pink Street

The Dona Blanca Historical Alley, known as the Paseo de Dona Blanca or Pink Street is located in the heart of Puerto Plata.  The Paseo de Dona Blanca is a small alley in the center of town that is painted entirely in pink. The alley is a facade of Victorian houses that are found in Puerto Plata and is a tribute to the owners of the first hotel in Puerto Plata. 

Paseo de Dona Blanca in Puerto Plata. The street is also known as pink street.
Pink Street in Puerto Plata
View of a Pink bicycle hanging on a wall at Pink Street
Pink bicycle decoration at Pink Street
View of Pink Street
View of Pink Street

Visit Umbrella Street

Umbrella Street is located on San Felipe Street and is near Central Park and Pink Street. Umbrella Street is a picturesque street where you can experience a burst of color and creativity. Colorful and vibrant umbrellas are draped overhead, creating a whimsical canopy of color. Umbrella Street is a lively and very Instagram-worthy thoroughfare. You will find restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops along Umbrella Street. 

Umbrella Street in Puerto Plaza
Umbrella Street in Puerto Plaza

Visit the Amber Museum

The Amber Museum is located in the center of town. The amber museum has several floors of amber on display. There are several pieces with fossilized creatures such as lizards and scorpions that are millions of years old. You will learn about the various pieces of amber on display. You will also learn about the collection and polishing of amber and what it takes to make pieces of jewelry out of amber. There is a gift shop where you can purchase items made out of amber, including amber jewelry, home decor items, and other souvenirs.   

Visit Monkeyland

Monkeyland is a natural habitat for squirrel monkeys located near Puerto Plata. The monkeys are friendly and trained. As you arrive at monkeyland, the staff will put out a plate of fruit to lure the monkeys out of the trees. The squirrel monkeys will climb down from their trees and interact with you. They will sit on your shoulder or head and walk around exploring their new friends. This is a great place to take a photo with the adorable squirrel monkeys. The squirrel monkeys will hang around you and pose for pictures with you. Monkeyland Puerto Plata is a 30 minute drive from the center of town. 

Go Rum tasting at Macorix House of Rum

You can indulge your taste buds with a rum tasting experience at Macorix House of Rum. As you enter Macorix House of Rum your tour guide will walk through a couple of barrel-lined hallways and explain the rum aging process. You will then sample a variety of locally crafted rums. There are several flavors to taste and each pour is generous. If there is a rum flavor that you really like, your tour guides are more than happy to refill your tasting glass. After the tasting, you can purchase bottles of rum in their store. A few tasty flavors include the Rebel, the Coolpina, and especially the spicy Mamajuana. 

Macorix House of Rum
Macorix House of Rum
Macorix House of Rum
Entrance to the rum tasting room
Macorix Rebel Motorcycle at Macorix House of Rum
Macorix Rebel Motorcycle

Visit a Cigar Factory

Visit a local cigar factory and learn about the artistry and craftsmanship behind Dominican cigars. There are several different cigar tours to choose from. A few take you out of Puerto Plata to the town of Santiago de los Caballeros. You will learn about the intricate process of cigar making and appreciate the skill and dedication of the craftsmen who create these world-renowned cigars. 

Visit Fortaleza San Felipe

Fortaleza San Felipe (San Felipe Fortress), also known as El Morro de San Felipe, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. San Felipe Fortress was built by the Spanish in the 16th century to protect the north coast from the English. Today it is a historical monument and museum. If you visit the fortress, you will be able to take in the spectacular ocean view. During the evening this is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset. 

Fort San Felipe in Puerto Plata
Fort San Felipe in Puerto Plata
Amphitheater on the grounds of San Felipe Fortress
Amphitheater on the grounds of San Felipe Fortress

Go Coffee Tasting

Satisfy your caffeine cravings with a coffee tasting experience. Close to the border of Santiago and Puerto Plata is the community of Pedro Garcia lies the Pedro Garcia Coffee Trail. Here you will find an organic coffee farm where you can sample coffee made from the finest beans grown in the Dominican Republic. You will also learn about the coffee-making process from bean to cup and savor the rich flavors and aromas of locally roasted coffee. 

Visit a Chocolate Factory – A Fun Thing To Do in Puerto Plata with Kids

There are a few chocolate factories you can visit in or near Puerto Plata. The Del Oro Chocolate Factory produces organic chocolate. During your tour, you will learn how chocolate is made while tasting various chocolates. After your tour, you can visit the gift shop and purchase chocolate and other souvenirs.

The Chocal Chocolate Factory is a small woman-owned chocolate factory in the Palmar Grande community in Altamira. The Chocal Chocolate factory is approximately 40 minutes from the town of Puerto Plata. You will tour the factory and learn about the chocolate-making process. Afterward, you can visit the gift store, where a wide variety of chocolate is sold. 

Enjoy Some Local Coffee and Chocolate

If you can’t add a trip to a coffee plantation or a chocolate factory to your itinerary, you can still enjoy some of the local coffee and chocolate by visiting a cafe. You will find many cafes that serve and sell Dominican coffee as well as some of the delicious local chocolate. This is a great way to experience both in a shorter amount of time.

El Rincon Cafe which sells specialty coffee and chocolate.
El Rincon Cafe which sells specialty coffee and chocolate.

27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

The 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua is a pretty exciting excursion to go on. The hike to the Damajagua waterfalls can be strenuous, but it is worth the trip. As you visit each waterfall, you will make your way through the natural slides and pools that have developed. You will enjoy sliding and wading along the river as you make your way through the waterfalls. The 27 waterfalls of Damajagua are in a protected area. Thus, you will have a guide that will guide and help you along the way. Visiting the Damajagua Waterfalls is one of the top things to do in Puerto Plata.

Visit Ocean World Adventure Park

Ocean World Adventure Park is located near Cofresi Beach about 3 miles west from the city of Puerto Plata. Ocean World Adventure Park has one of the largest man-made dolphin lagoons. They have dolphin and sea lion encounters which take place in shallow waters. If you’d like a more advanced encounter, you can go on the Dolphin Swim or the Royal Swim for a one-hour interaction in deeper water. Life jackets are required for the Dolphin Swim and the Royal Swim. They also offer a shark encounter with nurse sharks.

Try Some Delicious Dominican Food

No visit to Puerto Plata is complete without tasting the delicious flavors of Dominican cuisine. There are many restaurants in Puerto Plata where you can taste various dishes such as Mangu, Mofongo, Pollo Guisado (Dominican chicken), and delicious seafood dishes. The local culinary scene is sure to please your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

A plate of Mofongo with shrimp with beans and plantain.
A plate of Mofongo with shrimp with beans and plantain.

Visit the Beautiful Beaches Near Puerto Plata

There is no better place to relax and unwind than on a beautiful Caribbean beach. The Dominican Republic has many incredible beaches where you can take in the beauty of the island and enjoy a swim in the blue warm waters of the Caribbean. These are a few of the beautiful beaches in and around Puerto Plata that are worth a visit. 

Cosita Rica Beach and Acapulco Beach

Cosita Rica Beach is in the town of Puerto Plata, next to Acapulco Beach and Long Beach, right off the Malecon. This is a large beach area with several beaches that are very accessible to Taino Bay Cruise Port. This beach area is about a 7-minute drive from the Taino Bay Cruise Port. It is a popular beach to kite surf. The beach is perfectly situated for visitors as there is a wide variety of places to eat in the area. 

Playa Dorada

You will find Playa Dorada is about a 10-minute drive from the center of Puerto Plata. It is a beautiful and popular beach. Playa Dorada is easily one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic. The beach is lined with palm trees that offer some shade. The beach has soft sand with clear turquoise water. The Grand Paradise resort is located very near the beach.    

Playa Grande

If you like to surf, Playa Grande is a great place to visit. During the winter months, the waves and surf are higher, making this a great spot for surfing. If you are visiting Playa Grand for swimming, you should stay close to shore, and be careful as the shore break can be strong. Aside from the high surf, this is a great beach to capture the perfect photo. Playa Grande is a 15-minute drive from Amber Cove and the town center.  

View of Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic
View of Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic

Playa de Maimon / La Playita de Maimon

If you are visiting the western part of Puerto Plata you can stop at Playa de Maimon and La Playita de Maimon. Both of these beaches are approximately 20 minutes from the center of town and are are relatively close to each other. If you are driving from Puerto Plata, Playa de Maimon will be the first beach you reach. Playa de Maimon is the larger of both beaches and is more touristy as it is in front of the Senator Hotel. La Playita de Maimon is a smaller beach a little past the larger Playa de Maimon. It usually has less tourists than its larger neighbor. If you are looking for a more quiet and tranquil beach, La Playita de Maimon is the better choice.

Playa de Maimon in Puerto Plata
Playa de Maimon in Puerto Plata
La Playita de Maimon in Puerto Plata
La Playita de Maimon in Puerto Plata

Playa Sosua

Playa Sosua (Sosua Beach) is approximately 20 minutes from the center of Puerto Plata. It is a beautiful beach with many restaurants, bars, and shops around the beach area. The beach is lined with trees that provide shade for beachgoers. It is a great beach to snorkel and enjoy water sports. There are dive shops in the area as there is excellent diving nearby. 

View of Sosua Bay Beach in the Dominican Republic
View of Sosua Bay Beach in the Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata FAQS

You might have questions regarding visiting Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Here is some additional information to help you plan your trip to Puerto Plata.

Where is Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is a popular port town located in the northern part of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic. The island of Hispaniola is shared by two countries, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and is located in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic is located in the eastern section of Hispaniola, and Haiti is in the western part of Hispaniola. Of the two countries, the Dominican Republic occupies a larger part of Hispaniola. 

Is Puerto Plata Worth Visiting?

Yes! Puerto Plata is worth visiting. There are many beautiful places to see and explore in Puerto Plata. There are beautiful beaches, historical sites, hikes, and and breathtaking views. Puerto Plata is a great town to enjoy a beach vacation. You will not be disappointed with the many things there are to see in Puerto Plata.

The Best Way to Get to Puerto Plata

The best way to get to Puerto Plata is by flying or by cruise ship. The closest airport to Puerto Plata is Santiago de Los Caballeros Cibao, which is about an hour and a half drive away from the town center. The other way many visitors get to Puerto Plata is via cruise ship as this is a popular destination for many cruise lines. There are two cruise ship ports in or near Puerto Plata: Taino Cruise Port and Amber Cove.

Amber Cove cruise ship port is 8 miles from Puerto Plata. Carnival Cruise Corporation developed Amber Cove and thus the port primarily serves cruise ships from the Carnival brand. The Dominican Republic developed Taino Bay to bring in other cruise companies to Puerto Plata. Taino Bay is located right in the heart of Puerto Plata, which makes visiting Puerto Plata easy as you can walk right into town. Both developments were a positive addition to Puerto Plata as it had been 30 years since a cruise ship had arrived in Puerto Plata. Nowadays, Puerto Plata is a popular port of call among many cruise lines.

Getting Around Puerto Plata

There are a few ways to get around town. You can rent a car, rent a motorbike, or take a taxi. If you are driving or you decide to rent a motorbike, be aware that the traffic can be a bit crazy, especially in the busy town areas. You should definitely be careful, especially if you decide to ride a motorbike around town. Once you get to the outer parts of town, in the rural areas, the traffic is lighter, easier to navigate, and flows much better. 

If you are looking for an easy way to get around, taxis are widely available. The taxi union sets the price for routes. The prices are the same throughout the area and are based on distances between locations. Taxis are a bit more reliable than using rideshare as there was an issue between the taxi union and those wanting to drive for the rideshare program when it was expanding.

Are Uber or Lyft Available

For the last several years, Uber has been expanding in the Dominican Republic. Uber is available in several cities in the Dominican Republic, including Puerto Plata. Other cities where Uber is available include Higuey, La Romana, Punta Cana, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, and Santo Domingo. Unfortunately, Lyft is not available in the Dominican Republic. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Puerto Plata

The Dominican Republic is a tropical island with tropical weather year-round. The temperature is constant, with a few cooler months during the year. The average temperature in the Dominican Republic is 84 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the evening. Between May and October, the island has more rain and higher humidity. During this part of the year, the weather seems hotter due to the high humidity. Between November and April, there is less humidity, and the days feel cooler. The best time to visit depends on whether you are comfortable in a hotter, humid climate or would like to be on the island when the weather is milder. I prefer visiting the island when the weather is milder. The days are still nice and warm, and the beaches are perfect. Plus, there is no added humidity to make the day uncomfortable. 

One important thing to note is that the Dominican Republic is in the Atlantic Hurricane Belt. Hurricane season in this area runs from June through October. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather as a hurricane could/will affect your trip. Having travel insurance is also a great idea. 

How Many Days Should You Stay in Puerto Plata?

There are many things to see in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, some areas are a day trip away. If you want to get a feel for the island and visit many locations, stay for at least a week. If you arrive in Puerto Plata via cruise ship, you will only have about an 8-hour day to visit the port town. You can definitely plan a great day and see a few of the sights that are close by.  

What Language is Spoken in the Dominical Republic?

The official language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish. Just like the rest of the Dominican Republic, Spanish is spoken in Puerto Plata. However, you will find that English is widely spoken as well. You should be able to get by if you only speak English, although it helps to know a few words in Spanish. If you find that you need help communicating, you can use a translating app such as Google Translate.

What is the Currency in the Dominican Republic?

The currency used in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso. The United States Dollar is widely accepted. However, if you use American dollars, you will more than likely receive your change in Dominican Pesos.

Visiting Puerto Plata From the Amber Cove Cruise Port

If you are on a Carnival cruise ship, your port stop near Puerto Plata will be at Amber Cove. Amber Cove is a port that was developed by Carnival Corporation for their cruise ships and was opened in 2015. One of the best things about a stop in Amber Cove is that you walk off the ship. There is no tender necessary for a port stop at Amber Cove. Amber Cove is a destination all in itself. 

When you get off the ship and walk down the pier to the entrance of Amber Cove, you will walk through a duty free shop which will lead you to the rest of the Amber Cove Marketplace. Here you will find a variety of shops and places to grab a bite to eat. If you walk through the market place you will come to the parking area where you will find your shore excursion bus as well as taxis. 

Finding Your Shore Excursion Bus in Amber Cove

If you have purchased a shore excursion, you will find cruise ship personnel with signs for each excursion in the marketplace. The ship’s personnel will help guide you to the correct bus. The buses are in the parking lot past the marketplace, waiting for participants and are usually numbered, making them easy to find.

Taking a Taxi from Amber Cove

If you would like to take a taxi from the cruise port to town, you will find taxis available past the marketplace in the parking lot. This is the same parking lot where you will catch your bus if you have purchased a shore excursion. There are set prices for the various destinations around the port. The prices are set by the taxi union and thus, all taxis charge the same price. The round trip cost from Amber Cove to Puerto Plata is $30 each way for a group of 4. There is an additional cost for more people. You can also rent a taxi for the day for $130. This is a great way to customize your experience in Puerto Plata.

Visiting Puerto Plata From the Taino Bay Cruise Port

If you have arrived in Puerto Plata from the Taino Bay Cruise Port, then you are in luck. The Taino Bay Cruise Port is within walking distance from the center of town. You can enjoy some time in the cruise port as there are many amenities for you to enjoy. 

Taino Bay Cruise Port Tuk-Tuks

Once you get off the ship, you will be greeted with tuk-tuks that can take you down the pier to the port. The tuk-tuks are complimentary. However, the drivers do appreciate a tip. 

The Marketplace at Taino Bay Cruise Port 

At the front entrance of Taino Cruise Port, you will walk through the marketplace. There are many shops to explore in this area. You can find many Dominican artisan souvenirs to choose from, as well as t-shirts, mugs, magnets, and parrots. Parrots are a theme at Taino Cruise Port. You will see a few parrots around the area, so it is fitting that you can take a parrot sculpture home if you’d like. There are also several places to eat in the marketplace.

Finding the Taxis and Buses at Taino Bay Cruise Port

As you walk through the marketplace, you will see vendors offering shore excursions. There will be plenty of signs directing you to your shore excursion bus and the area where the taxis are located. You will need to walk towards the end of Taino Bay to reach the parking lot for shore excursion buses and taxis.

Your Puerto Plata Adventure Awaits!

With so many points of interest to explore in and around Puerto Plata, your adventure awaits. Whether you’re seeking adventure, history, culture, or simply a taste of paradise, this vibrant destination has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty and charm of Puerto Plata firsthand!

If you would like to learn more about other Caribbean destinations you can read our blog about Shete Boka National Park, Christoffel National Park, and Grand Cayman Island.

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