Puerto Plata Guide - POP Travel
Puerto Plata was the first resort destination developed in the Dominican Republic, in the late 80`s, specifically in the Playa Dorada area where still many tourists come each year to spend holidays and enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle. With several white sand beaches, many resorts, discos, restaurants, private luxury villa developments, spas, a new marina with casino, resort and marine park.
Puerto Plata has many more amenities such as oceanfront golfing at Playa Dorada, fine spa services at theBagua Spa, first class sport fishing, a cable car that takes you to the Isabel De Torres peak, which offers a breath taking bird’s eye perspective of the whole city and lush gardens for visitors to enjoy. Find more about Puerto Platain the pages of this travel guide, which we hope will be useful for visitors of the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Golden Treasures invites you to visit Puerto Plata and enjoy the best of it.
POP TRAVEL GUIDE: A GUIDED TOUR OF PUERTO PLATA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Puerto Plata, known by many as POP, has a special quality and history, being the first place Christopher Columbus set foot on in October 12, 1492 when he embarked on his search journey of the Indies and ended up finding a path to a “New World” which became later known as the American continent. Such name was given to it to honor Americo Vespucio, The explorer and cartographer that demonstrated that the New World discovered by Columbus was not eastern Asia, but a previously unknown “fourth” continent.
Columbus called his first settlement here La Isabela, honoring the Spanish queen at the time and from there POP holds a record of firsts in the new world, such as first Spanish settlement, first church, and so on. Columbus called it “the most beautiful land on Earth”. Many Europeans still feel this is a blessed land.
Traveling to Puerto Plata takes less than two hours from Miami International airport, and 30 minutes more from New York’s La Guardia. Once the airplane reaches the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, the view below shows a long corridor of endless white sand beaches and coconut palms, the inviting welcome call of the Caribbean to a relaxing, naturally gifted paradise destination. Several options are available before you book your trip to POP, whether to stay in an all-inclusive hotel, of which there are many of the best in this area, rent a vacation villa with beachfront or oceanfront for a more private experience, or a self catering beach or ocean condo in any of the main towns.
Carnival Cruises opened the Amber Cove port on 2015 and it already takes half a million passengers to Puerto Plata each year, a number expected to increase in the next few years.
POP offers you a wealth of choices hardly seen anywhere else, starting with Puerto Plata town which has white sand beaches like Long Beach, Playa Dorada, Playa Luperon, Punta Rusia, Costambar and Cofresi beach. Long Beach is located at the end of the ocean drive Dominicans call Malecón, a popular place to enjoy the sea breeze and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean ( people call POP the “bride of the Atlantic” here ).
Many Puerto Plata restaurants, cafes and bars can be found in this long avenue, such as TAM TAM, where ex pats are seen each morning enjoying breakfast with coffee and reading the news. Aguaceros is also a famous spot to enjoy a cold Presidente with the ocean view, and a good menu of local and regional dishes. Playa Dorada, a gated private resorts complex, offers many cafés, restaurants , discos and gift shops with local artwork, cigars, liquor and many more items in the shopping malls.
The Isabela settlement that Columbus first built here shows the signs of centuries past, and there is a museum with old relics and a very rich history of colonial times and the life in the island around those years. If you visit Puerto Plata you need to visit Damajagua, a natural park with 27 natural pools and a great trail for rope climbing and natural scenery. And if you travel 30 minutes into the mountain side, you will find a zip line tour with Yasika Adventures, in which you are suspended 100-300 meters above the ground, “zipping” down a line at 30 mph, quite a thrill and very secure with staff. Also it is worth mentioning Rancho Montana, a horse ranch in Gaspar Hernandez where you can have a great eco-friendly adventure with your family.
The Outback Safari is one of the most famous adventure trips in the North Coast, check out their website for more information. Monkey Jungle in Sosua has an exotic display of monkeys and birds as a backdrop for a zip line tour. Fun City Gokarts is the place to go for a fun filled day driving around in special circuits, children and adults alike. Located in the main highway just a few minutes from Playa Dorada. Diving tours in the beach of Casa Marina resort we find Aqua Center, a professional, PADI certified diving school with many years in the business. If you want to experience the best eco tours in the area try Iguana Mama, with a large selection of tours such as trekking, kayaking, mountain biking, rafting, etc. based in Cabarete.
Puerto Plata has a rich tradition with roots in its colonial past, and still there can be seen Spanish influence in the architecture of the old buildings, the language and some aspects of the Dominican life. Many of the local people living in Puerto Plata work for the resort and other tourism-related industry, and the residents learn to speak other languages out of the need to work for the tourist industry. Many foreign visitors fall in love with local men and women, and nowadays there is a large population of ex pats living in the north coast. Several neighborhoods have been developed with homes ranging from us$200-500,000 a price that can mostly be afforded by foreigners.
Places like Bayardo, Estancia, Torre Alta are among the best locations to live, with ocean and mountain views that make Puerto Plata real estate a good option when it comes to investing in a Caribbean island home. Golden Treasures offers a selection of homes in the finest neighborhoods and at affordable prices too. See our real estate page for more information and a tour of the available properties. Cofresi beach, Costambar beach and Playa Dorada properties are also available. Dominican Republic fishing is one of the best attractions if you like the sport.
Many activities are available in the north coast area such as fishing, snorkeling, Sosua diving, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, golfing at oceanfront course Playa Dorada, dirt buggies, horse back riding, discos, casinos, shopping malls, museums, marine themed parks ( Ocean World ) and many tours by local tour operators such as Mel Tours. Fun city is the place to go if you want to enjoy driving go-karts with the kids and other activities. Dolphin swimming and shark encounters ( educational ) are also available at Ocean World, which also has a marina, restaurant, disco and a very nice casino with sea-life design from start to bottom.
Places like Coco Bongo and Hemingway’s are a must visit for grown ups for disco nights and bar chatting in Playa Dorada, where also there are movie theaters if you don’t want to miss a world premiere. The concierge at your hotel or private villa will help you get reservations for activities and other extras such as car rentals, private chef, laundry service, office center services, tour guides, etc. so you can make the most of what foreigners call Puerta Plata ( misspelled ).
Some advice before traveling: beware that there are mosquitoes as this is a tropical island, so bring some mosquito repelling spray. Also beware that tap water should not be drunk, only bottled water. Also the ice in drinks should come from bottled water, so make sure the bar you visit looks clean enough. Some anti-diarrhea pills might come in handy, just in case. Local police for tourists areas are called POLITUR, ( now called CESTUR ) dressed in navy blue pants and white shirts or t-shirts and always found patrolling the bars and beaches. Drug use is illegal in the Dominican Republic, with heavy fines and jail time.
The country is safe for tourists, and Sosua is a famous spot where sex trade had lots of women harassing men but the new mayor introduced new rules and the women that remained in town must work inside bars and clubs, not on the street. If you wander to poor neighborhoods or hang out with street “chicas”, chances are you’ll get stripped off your money in one way or another. It’s better to enjoy the best of the north coast within the tourist destination areas, or get a local guy to guide you around.