If you’re looking for the right destination for your sun, sea and sand cheap holidays in 2018, Puerto Plata has it all – radiant white beaches, majestic mountains and vibrant underwater coral. Puerto Plata is known as the ‘silver city’ along the amber coast of the Dominican Republic, and is one of the country’s most cherished locations. As the first village in the New World was established in this region all the way back in 1494, this is a resort of great history as well as beauty. Formerly a primarily maritime region, Puerto Plata is now renowned for its tourist-friendly landscape, facilities and attractions. You’ll find mile upon mile of pristine beaches, with the Costa Dorada in the east and the Bahia Maimon in the west. Every beach you visit along this stretch of coastline has powdery silver sands, swaying palm trees and first-rate hotels, creating an ambience of exclusivity. If you don’t want to spend all of the time at your beach, though, don’t worry, as Puerto Plata has its fair of other attractions, too. These include the Cordillera Central mountains, the Puerto Plata’s answer to the Alps, clear blue lagoons and verdant coffee plantations.
Besides its famous beach resorts, Puerto Plata has plenty of excellent attractions and things to do. When you first arrive, try heading to the Damajaqua Cascades, a series of 27 scenic waterfalls of different heights. With a variety of waterfalls, a trip to the Damajaqua Cascades is a good option for those travelling with a group of friends or family as there’s something for everybody. If you want to relax and unwind, try Cabarete Beach for relaxing in the sun, or try your hand at skim boarding or wind surfing for a more high-octane experience. Just outside of the city you’ll find Mount Isabel de Torres, which offers breathtaking views all year round. You can reach the mountain by cable car to enjoy the views at your leisure, which are particulary beautiful during the sunset hours. Another must-visit attraction is the Fort San Felipe, one of the longest standing European forts that remains in the Americas.
Cuisine in Puerto Plata reflects wider Dominican cuisine. Native Dominican food blends Spanish and African elements with fresh local produce for a vibrant, punchy taste. Most Dominican meals use fresh seafood and fish, while the most popular meats are pork, chicken and beef. Salad is a delicious side that is frequently used in the Dominican Republic thanks to the island’s home-grown lettuce, papaya, passion fruit, citrus fruits and tomatoes. At most of the city’s restaurants, meat dominates the menu, with one of the most popular dishes being the ‘La Bandera’, or ‘the flag’, consisting of beef, chicken, rice, avocado, yucca, plantain and salad. The natives enjoy a good drink in Puerto Plata, with a wide range of fine rums on offer including anejo (aged), dorado (gold), and blanco (white). There are also plenty of very sweet fruit shakes sold in street stalls, and are known locally as ‘batidos’.
Puerto Plata has a good range of family-friendly activities to keep everybody happy and entertained during your family holiday. A great place to kick off your holiday is at the Parque Central, a city park with plenty of shade to be found between several pretty buildings. In the centre you’ll find a gazebo and some paintings, information about the town square and the main city church. You can keep your family active on holiday by heading to The Malecon, a long expanse of walkways with a few little parks close by. For a historic experience, visit the Fuerte de San Felipe, a historic 16th-century fort that protected the northern coast from pirates.
Puerto Plata is the prime location in the Dominican Republic for windsurfing, thanks to the entire northern coastline being windy and warm. Many of the best active things to do here are based on and around the water, including watersports favourites like banana boating, catamaran cruises and windsurfing. Thanks to the northern coast’s famous beautiful beaches and year-round good weather, Puerto Plata’s weather is ideal for kiteboarding and windsurfing. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in watersports, give kiteboarding a try. This new addition to the world of watersports is similar to regular surfing, but includes a kite to catch the wind, adding to the challenge of balancing and enabling more experienced kitesurfers to catch the gusts and perform flying jumps and tricks. Puerto Plata has a Kite Club which offers three-day kiteboarding lessons and all the equipment you’ll need, with lessons held on the warm sands of Puerto Plata’s Malecon Beach. Another amazing beach for watersports is Cabarete Beach, on which numerous world records have been set. One of the finest watersports schools in the area is the Cabarete Windsports Club, which provides windsurfing lessons for all levels of ability. The two windiest seasons in Puerto Plata run in winter, from January to March, and in summer from June to August, although many sporting enthusiasts continue to visit Cabarete Beach year-round for both kiteboarding and windsurfing.
There are some truly spectacular beaches along the coastline of Puerto Plata, one of the finest being the Playa Dorado. This beautiful beach is home to many of the most popular hotels in the area, and is considered to be the jewel of the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The beach itself is long and lined with swaying coconut trees, and has clean, light-grey sand. Playa Dorado is popular thanks to its relatively quiet spaces and nearby amenities, including several popular chain restaurants, cash machines and car hire agencies. Other beautiful beaches in the area include the Bahia Maimon, one of the country’s most unspoilt spots with a serene turquoise bay, nestled amidst rolling green hills.
As with much of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata has a laid-back ambience and lust for life that is reflected in the vibrant nightlife. At Big Lee’s Beach bar you can relax and unwind with a cold beer with friends, or make new friends with the locals. If you go on a Friday night, you’ll be able to enjoy the live music performances, too. Senor Rock is an American-themed restaurant that plays live music each night and serves a crowd-pleasing menu of wings, chicken, fajitas, pizza and seafood. For a more polished nightlife experience, try the Bravissimo at Ocean World, a Vegas-style show with spectacular stage shows and unlimited drinks on the couples’ package. If you want to amp up the excitement, spend an evening at the Ocean World Casino, a modern one-room casino with a range of classic casino slot games, blackjack and roulette.
With stunning beaches, excellent attractions and a variety of good restaurants, bars and cafés, Puerto Plata is a good choice of romantic destination for your next couples holiday. The city is bursting at the seams with great nightclubs, restaurants and scenic beaches, whether you’re looking to inject some excitement into your relationship with plenty of fun nights out or are looking to spend plenty of quality time together with intimate romantic dinners. One of the best restaurants to enjoy with your loved one is the Mares Restaurant and Pool Lounge, which offers freshly-prepared meals that walk the line between decadence and fragrant for a romantic sensory experience. Ocean World Adventure Park hosts twice-weekly dinner date nights on Wednesdays and Saturdays that include dinner and a show, with delicious food and Vegas-style entertainment. As many of the Dominican Republic’s dance styles are intimate and romantic, visiting a nightclub can be a great way to connect as a couple with catchy music and romantic dances including the salsa and merengue.
The Dominican Republic’s culture is a fascinating mix of the cultural elements of the Taino Indians, African slaves and Spanish colonists that have inhabited the country throughout history. The rich African history of Puerto Plata is reflected in the culture and lifestyle here, from merengue music to African-inspired dance and food. Music plays a huge role in the lives of Dominicans and is usually played loudly in the streets as a form of celebration. The three main forms of music here are bachata, salsa and merengue, while in recent years American-influenced reggae, hip hop and rap have become very popular in Dominican culture, too.
As family plays a dominant role in the lifestyle of the Dominican Republic, this is an ideal destination for reconnecting with your family and loved ones, and winding back your lifestyle a notch or two to enjoy the simple pleasures. In Puerto Plata there are several historic attractions that are well worth a visit for learning more about the culture of this beautiful country, including the Fortaleza San Felipe, Museo Del Ambar and Casa Museo General Greogorio Luperon. In terms of festivals and events, Puerto Plata honours the usual Dominican festivals including the Fiesta Patronal, in honour of San Felipe, on 5th July each year. In February, the city comes to life with hundreds of costumed party-goers, floats and pageants during Carnival, and in the third week of October, Malecon hosts the iconic Merengue Festival.