JustTravelDeals TIP OF THE DAY| UNSPOILED: What Makes Puerto Plata Pop?
JustTravelDeals TIP OF THE DAY| UNSPOILED: What Makes Puerto Plata Pop?
UNSPOILED: What Makes Puerto Plata Pop?
Puerto Plata value proposition: silver product on a budget
Punta Cana is an amazing destination and one of the most popular spots for Canadian sun-seekers. But there’s more to the Dominican Republic than Punta Cana so maybe it’s time to introduce you to the Puerto Plata area, which offers a huge range of activities, attractions and value-priced resorts for today’s travellers seeking more than just a beach.
Where the New World Began
Puerto Plata is often referred to as “where the New World began,” because Christopher Columbus arrived with a fleet of 17 ships and 1,500 people in 1493. The goal was to establish a permanent settlement and search for gold, silver and other precious metals.
It didn’t go so well. A combination of crop failures, sickness and hurricanes sapped the spirit of the settlers and there was little gold to be found. By 1498 the settlement had been abandoned in favour of a new location on the south coast -- Santo Domingo, now the D.R.’s largest city.
Golden Sands & Cooling Breezes
While Punta Cana is famous for its white sand beaches, in Puerto Plata the sands are golden, the beaches are wide and the cooling wind from the North Atlantic makes the area a hotbed for wind- and kite-surfing and sailing. The area is home to famous surfing beaches, plus popular cities and villages like Playa Dorado, Sosua, Cabarete and Cofresi. It became major cruise port with the opening of Carnival Corp’s Amber Cove in October, 2015. It quickly became a favourite for cruise passengers, largely due to the amazing variety of excursions available.
With Air Canada Vacations’ extensive network of flights – and great connector fares from 66 Canadian cities -- the operator offers the frequency and flexibility your clients need to travel to Puerto Plata this summer, fall and winter season.
Summer Flights to Puerto Plata
Montreal to Puerto Plata flights operate on Tuesdays onboard Air Canada Rouge
Toronto to Puerto Plata flights operate on Tuesdays onboard Air Canada Rouge
Winter Flights to Puerto Plata
§Montreal to Puerto Plata flights will operate on Sundays onboard Air Canada Rouge
§Montreal to Puerto Plata flights will also operate Mondays and Wednesdays on board Air Canada Rouge
§Toronto to Puerto Plata flights will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays
UNDERRATED: Exploring Puerto Plata
A rich history, lush forests, beautiful beaches & great adventures
“I’m bored,” is not something you’re likely to hear from visitors to Puerto Plata – even the teenagers. The difficulty is more likely to come from deciding how many activities can be fit in to a time-limited vacation.
Our Puerto Plata packages offer great value, especially for families, and there is so much to do, from swimming in 27 waterfalls to exploring Spanish colonial history, horseback-riding through gorgeous scenery to admiring stunning Atlantic views from the top of the only funicular in the Caribbean at Parque Nacional Isabel de Torres.”
JustTravelDeals is working closely with the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism, the best way to get the inside scoop on developments in the destination. One of the things the operator has learned is that the D.R.’s cuisine is coming into its own.
Here’s a look at just some of the many options available choosing a Puerto Plata holiday with Air Canada Vacations:
Waterfall Wonderland: At Damajagua, guides lead visitors on an enthralling journey through an area with 27 different waterfalls. Participants can jump in, slide in or just bask in a cool natural pool.
Above It All: The Puerto Plata area is home to Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain, that reaches more than 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) into the sky. Reaching the peak is a bit of a hike – two or three days – so most of your clients who want a spectacular view will likely take the cable car up Mount Isabel de Torres, for wonderful views of the city of Puerto Plata and the Atlantic Ocean.
Monkey See: The Monkey Jungle squirrel monkey experience lets visitors get up-close and personal with these adorable little animals. Also on the property is a 4,400 ft., seven-station zipline. Even better is the fact that proceeds from the attractions fund free dental care for local people.
Something Fishy: Ocean World Adventure Park is described as the most advanced interactive marine park of its kind. Guests have the opportunity to touch, pet and feed all their favourite marine animals and mammal friends, including dolphins, sea lions, sharks and stingrays. For an option in a completely natural environment, snorkelling at Paradise (Paraiso) Key is seen by many as among the best in the Caribbean.
City Life: There are excellent tours available exploring the sights of the city of Puerto Plata, from colonial architecture to the waterfront malecon. Some include rum, cigar and chocolate factory tours, as well as the opportunity to sample traditional Dominican Republic food and drink.
Searching For Columbus: La Isabela is where Christopher Columbus made his home in the new world. Ruins, a graveyard and a fascinating museum will take visitors back 500 years in time. Another historical option is Fort San Felipe, constructed by the Spanish between 1564 and 1577 and designed to protect Puerto Plata from pirates and corsairs. A headphone tour allows visitors to move at their own pace.
Adrenaline Rush: From 4WD, ATV and off-road tours to river rafting and tubing, kiteboarding, stand-up paddle-boarding, diving and snorkeling, there are a wide range of choices for adventurous visitors.
“The resorts we feature have lots of activities and diversions to offer,” says ACV’s Gain. “But more and more, our guests want to get out and explore and have new experiences. Puerto Plata is the perfect destination for that.”
UNFORGETTABLE: Accommodations For All Kinds
Top of the POPs – ACV’s favourite Puerto Plata resorts
The previous stories in this Headliner have established that there’s a cornucopia of things to see and do when your clients choose to travel to the Dominican Republic’s Puerto Plata with Air Canada Vacations. But they’ll also need a place to stay, eat, drink and play. With a wide range of all-inclusive properties in the destination, JustTravelDeals has got that covered too.
In this story, we look at four key ACV resorts in POP.
There are more, and every one of them has earned a place in ACV’s Sun brochure, but these are the linchpins of the program. Two of the four properties – The Grand Bahia Principe San Juan and the family-focused Sunscape Puerto Plata from AMResorts – are part of ACV’s Spotlight Collection, which identifies the most popular resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean among the more than 600 ACV offers each winter. Spotlight Collection resorts give your clients an additional 4,000 BONUS Aeroplan® Miles per couple on top of the Miles they already receive with any ACV package.
The other two featured properties – Be Live Marien Collection and Viva Wyndham Tangerine are members of ACV’s Play program, which offers amazing perks for family travellers. Kids aged 2-12 get to eat, play, and stay free, while enjoying dedicated pool areas or sections for children, as well as fun activities in supervised kids’ clubs. Another Play program perk: the flying experience is made smooth and seamless with pre-boarding for families.
Bookings at Be Live Marien Collection and Viva Wyndham Tangerine can also take advantage of the Play More program, introduced just last year, which delivers a lot of value for a little extra. For only $39 per adult and $19 per child, travellers get free seat selection at time of booking for every member of the family -- a value of $160 for a family of 4 or $40 per passenger. You also get a $10 inflight meal voucher per family member, on each leg of the trip. For a family of four, that’s a $240 value for just $116.
Grand Bahia Principe San Juan
We don’t have to tell you that Bahia Principe is one of the leading choices for Canadian sun-seekers. The Grand Bahia Principe San Juan is a medium-sized resort compared to sister the sister Bahia Principe complex in Punta Cana. It features 548 rooms in a series of three-storey buildings, along with five restaurants, six bars and four pools, including a kids’ pool.
Grand Bahia Principe San Juan is part of ACV’s Crystal Collection, which comes with the following exclusive added values:
§4 guaranteed à la carte dinners (reservations required)
§24-hour room service (light menu)
§Concierge service with direct phone line
§Separate check-in & check-out in a private lounge
§Beach towels, bathrobes and slippers in room
§Dedicated/Preferred room location
§Spa treatment discount of 20% per adult
§Weekly cocktail party for ACV clients
Sunscape Puerto Plata
As part of ACV’s Splash Collection, the family-focused Sunscape Puerto Plata offers much-appreciated privileges including private check-in, priority luggage delivery and a surprise gift for the kids. Your clients will also enjoy a preferred room location and early check-in/late checkout based on availability.
“If you’re travelling with a three-year-old, these things are like gold,” says Gain. “And they can really help agents sell the property, because they give peace of mind to you.”
Nine restaurants and nine bars give Sunscape Puerto Plata ensure that guests can enjoy a range of flavours and a cooling beverage around every corner.
B Live Collection Marien
Family fun is central at this 584-room resort equipped with a dedicated children’s pool and a supervised club with kid-friendly activities. As well as the Play program perks described above, ACV guests enjoy bonus features including preferred room location, free WiFi and three guaranteed a la carte reservations.
The B Live Collection Marien offers seven restaurants, including six a la carte choices, and seven bars. There are two pools and a separate kids’ pool, and there’s a nightclub and casino for the adults. The property is popular as a wedding destination, and offers free or well-priced packages including the services of a wedding coordinator.
Viva Wyndham Tangerine
Just 30 minutes from the airport at Puerto Plata, Viva Wyndham Tangerine is in the pleasant town of Cabarete, set on one of the world’s most-famous beachfronts for kitesurfing and kiteboarding. In fact, guests here get an introductory kiteboarding demonstration to help them get started.
The intimate, 276-room Viva Wyndham Tangerine was fully renovated in 2016, giving it a fresh new look and feel. Gain says agents shouldn’t be intimidated by the 3.5-star rating (Be Live Collection Marien is 4.5 stars while Grand Bahia Principe San Juan and Sunscape Puerto Plata are given 4 stars by ACV.)
“It doesn’t have as many restaurants as some of the others – four, including Italian and Mexican specialties – which is why the rating is slightly lower. It’s not a reflection on the quality of the property. And it’s on an amazing beach.”
You will visit the following 2 places:
The Dominican Republic is a sovereign state on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Caribbean region. Though known for its wonderful beaches, all-inclusive resorts and golfing, it has a varied terrain comprising rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. For the adventure tourist this Caribbean country offers a diverse countryside comprising tropical rainforests, arid desert expanses, alpine ranges and steamy mangrove swamps. It's a playground for trekkers, mountain bike enthusiasts and water-sport junkies!
San Felipe de Puerto Plata
San Felipe de Puerto Plata, Puerto de Plata, often referred to as simply Puerto Plata, is the ninth-largest city in the Dominican Republic, and capital of the province of Puerto Plata. The city serves as one of the most important trading ports in the country. Puerto Plata is famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located east of San Felipe de Puerto Plata. There are a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city. The only aerial tramway in the Caribbean is located in Puerto Plata, in which visitors can ride up to the Pico Isabel de Torres, a 793 meter high mountain within the city. The amber museum, is also a well-known attraction in this city. La Isabela, a settlement built by Christopher Columbus, is located near Puerto Plata.