Puerto Plata

About San Felipe de Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata Vacation, Hotels. Resorts and cheap Flights

To understand why Columbus chose to call this town Puerto de Plata (Port of Silver) we need only to take a twilight stroll. You'll be awestruck by how imbued the coast is with silver hues as the sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean. This provincial capital has noticeable Victorian style and colonial relics such as the Fort of San Felipe. Agricultural, cattle farms and tourism create its strong economy. It also has the most important amber mines in the world. Sosua is a charming, cosmopolitan town with idyllic beaches and a whole host of attractions. It is the most modern tourist package imaginable, combining the peace and quiet of the beach with a bustling nightlife.

Nearby, Cabarete is famous for windsurfing. There is no coral reef to serve as a breakwater to the waves, which, whipped up by the trade winds, come roaring in unchecked all year round. Beaches Playa Dorada and Long Beach are not the greatest, but hotels fight for their tiny section. Plenty of animation is provided though. Cabarete has one of the world's ten best windsurfing beaches. Sosua has a 1 km beach of incomparable beauty.

Beaches

Playa Dorada and Long Beach are not the greatest, but hotels fight for their tiny section. Plenty of animation is provided though.

Cabarete has one of the world's ten best windsurfing beaches.

Sosua has a 1 km beach of incomparable beauty.

Climate

The weather remains tropical year round with an average annual temperature of 25° C.

Temperature in CelsiusJFMAMJJASOND
Maximum272727272930303030302827
Minimum212021222324252524242221
Rainfall (mm)19015012015012060708090130290270

Geography

Backed by the majestic mountain called Isabel de Torres and bathed in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Plata is the major port in the Northern part of Dominican Republic. The surrounding region contains the largest deposits of amber in the world.

History

Puerto Plata is steeped in history: Columbus arrived on board the Santa Maria and wanted to establish the first town of the new world, La Isabela. It was finally founded on 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus, on the foot of the Isabel de Torres Mountains. It became a major centre and soon became the last stop for ships going back to Europe, their holds laden with treasures.

Sosua was originally a small town serving as home to hundreds of refugee Jews, who are still the mainstay of the economy today.

Nature

Take the cable car to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres where spectacular views of the city and surround area can be seen.

Laguna Gri Gri has clear waters and unusual rock formations surrounded by mangrove trees. A great spot for snorkelling and diving.

The Damajagua Cascades are 27 waterfalls that you can slide down after hiring a guide to take you through the climbing path. Most visitors only go to the seventh fall.

Unique to Here

Cabarete hosts the spectacular World Windsurfing Championship, followed by the Cabarete Race Week, the world competition of amateur windsurfers where there are no professionals.

  • Airport :
    Gregorio Luperon International Airport
  • Airport Tax :
    The departure tax of 20$ USD is not included with Sunwing/Signature Vacations.
    This tax must be paid, in cash, per person and in the currency indicated.
  • Distance from Airport :
    10-20 minutes
  • Tourist Office :
    Playa Long Beach, Puerto Plata, Telephone (809) 586-3676
  • Tourist Season :
    November through April
  • Festivals & Events

    February 27 - Carnival
    June - Cabarete Race Week
    October - Dominican Republic Jazz Festival
    October - Merengue Festival in Malecon

    Transportation

    Although taxis are available 24 hours a day you can also travel in carros publicos (public taxis), buses, and moto conchos which are inexpensive.

    Major car rental companies have airport and city locations. The country has an excellent bus system and Air Santo Domingo operates flights between Santo Domingo and the principal touristic regions. You can also rent bicycles.

    Activities & Sports

    You will find many recreational activities, particularly water sports such as kayaks, sailboats, power boats, skiing and Jet Skis. Cabarete has one of the world's ten best windsurfing beaches and even host yearly cometitions.

    Play golf at the Playa Dorada 18-hole golf course or the Los Mangos 9-hole golf course. An hour and a half away you will find one of the best courses in the Caribbean, the Playa Grande Golf Course.

    Diving and snorkeling enthusiast of all levels can enjoy shallow reefs, shipwrecks, freshwater caves and deep water diving. Experienced divers will enjoy the Monte Cristi area.

    Fishing is a popular activity and excursions can be arranged. Ranches are plentiful on the North Coast and many offer horseback riding.

    Archaeology

    La Isabela is believed to be the first permanent settlement built by Christopher Columbus on his maiden voyage in 1492. The ruins of the town are now a historical point of interest and are located on the north shore of the Dominican Republic, at the base of Cape Isabela.

    Attractions & Sights

    In Puerto Plata you can see the remains of Columbus's house and the church where the first mass of the new world was held.

    You should not forget to admire the Victorian gingerbread-like mansions from the late 1800's that set the pattern for a whole era.

    Fort San Felipe, the oldest fort in the New World and took 33 years to complete. It is virtually impenetrable. During Trujillo's rule, Fort San Felipe was used as a prison.

    The museum of Taino civilisation and the Templo de las Américas should be visited, as well as the Amber Museum, featuring leaves, flowers, insects and reptile fossils trapped in amber (resin) pieces.

    The Brugal Rum Distillery offers guided tours of how their rum is made.

    Nightlife

    Most hotels feature evening shows or have in-house discos. Puerto Plata offers a range of clubs and bars boasting merengue and salsa music.

    Sosua has become a charming pueblito visited by tourists attracted by the cultural activities.

    If you like to play your odds at one of the casinos, try the Playa Dorada Casino with its mahogany gaming tables and silver ceiling, or the Amhsa Paradise Beach Casino, displaying a hot pink decor.

    Side Trips

    An hour south of Puerto Plata is the second largest city in the country, Santiago. Visitors can explore the busy downtown streets, visit the Parque Duarte, the Cathedral of Santiago, or the many monuments and museums. The Leon Jimenez Cultural Center offers cultural exhibits and performances. The city also offers good restaurants and an active nightlife.

    Lying on the lower slopes of Pico Duarte at a height of 500 m above sea level, the Valle de Jarabacoa enjoys a cool climate all the year round; hence its nickname of Land of the Eternal Spring. The landscape is utterly alpine: forest of broad-leaved trees, pine woods, evergreen pastures with avidly grazing herds. This valley is the perfect spot for those seeking a real contact with nature. You can take your pick from rafting down the River Jimenoa or River Yaque del Norte or descending them in a pneumatic launches, gorge descending in Salto de Jimenoa or hang gliding with takeoffs from a height of 200 m.

    The blue of the Atlantic Ocean brings out all the splendour of this arid and intriguing province stretching along the northern point of the island. The National Park of Monte Cristi contains the Sleeping dromedary, a curious natural rock sculpture better known as El Morro. Nearby lie the Islas de los Siete Hermanos, seven virgin isles that delight and surprise underwater divers with their splendid fauna and thrill bird lovers with the boobies, seabirds that come down from Florida to mate and breed here.

    Climate

    Accommodations

    Puerto Plata attracts a clientele preferring less expensive All Inclusive resorts. These can be found all along the coast, from Playa Dorada to Sosua and Cabarete. Very few independent hotels remain.

    Eating Out

    The region is famous for its delicacy of crab claws cooked in Creole style and ginger sweetmeats.

    This region is resort territory so most restaurants are located within them, however good restaurants can be found in Cofresi, Playa Dorada Plaza and in Puerto Plata. Reservations are suggested.

    Shopping

    Several shopping malls can be found in these parts: the Plaza Turisol Complex is near Puerto Plata region, the Playa Dorada Plaza and the Plaza Isabela are in Playa Dorada.

    Here are the world's greatest reserves of amber; hence the name in Spanish of Costa de Ambar (Coast of Amber). Other Popular souvenirs include sugar cane products, rum, larimar, and mahogany woodcarvings and tobacco.

    The weather remains tropical year round with an average annual temperature of 25° C.

    Airport :Gregorio Luperon International Airport Airport Tax : The departure tax of around US $20 per person is payable at the airport should it not already be included on your plane ticket, please verify. Distance from Airport : 10-20 minutes

    Tourist Office : Playa Long Beach, Puerto Plata, Telephone (809) 586-3676 Tourist Season : November through April Festivals & Events February 27 - Carnival June - Cabarete Race Week October - Dominican Republic Jazz Festival October - Merengue Festival in Malecon

    Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

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