Puerto Plata from the top of the mountain at Teleferico Cable Car, Dominican Republic

Things to do in  Puerto Plata

Culture on the coast

The oldest city on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast, along the Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Plata offers a distinctive combination of beaches and culture. After fully appreciating the city’s beaches, head to the downtown area, where you’ll find some of the best things to do in Puerto Plata. Aside from shops and stately buildings, you’ll find historic structures like Fort San Felipe—built in 1564 to protect the area from pirates—and the Amber Museum. Tours also take you to the 27 waterfalls at Damajagua, where you can climb, swim, and explore.

Top 15 attractions in Puerto Plata

Fort San Felipe (Fortaleza San Felipe)

Built under the orders of King Philip II of Spain, Fort San Felipe(Fortaleza San Felipe) has been guarding the waters off Puerto Plata for more than 450 years. It was designed to protect the town from pirates as well as European invaders and later served as a prison. Today visitors come to tour the ruins and to enjoy the sweeping sea views from its ramparts.More

Amber Cove

Amber Cove is one of the newest cruise ports in the Caribbean, but its nearby attractions are far from rookie. Built by Carnival Cruise Lines for the use of their cruise ships along with other large-capacity liners and located on the Dominican Republic’s so-called Amber Coast, Amber Cove is the gateway to Puerto Plata, a popular Dominican Republic vacation destination.More

Damajagua Falls (27 Charcos)

Hidden in a lush Dominican Republic jungle, Damajagua Falls—otherwise known as the 27 Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua or 27 Charcos—are a series of 27 cascading waterfalls that were discovered in the 1990s. Located in the midst of sugarcane fields in the Northern Corridor mountain range, the hidden falls are a true off-the-beaten-path experience.More

Amber Museum (Museo Del Ámbar)

Dominican amber is considered to be some of the finest and clearest in the world. Housed in a Victorian-era mansion that once belonged to a wealthy local family, Puerto Plata’s Amber Museum (Museo Del Ámbar) has an extensive collection of the semi-precious gemstone.More

Mt. Isabel de Torres

Mt. Isabel de Torres stands 2,600 feet (793 meters above the city of Puerto Plata and the sea. It is topped by a massive statue of Christ (a replica of the one in Rio de Janeiro, a small botanical garden, and spectacular views of the city below. This scenic mountain is also home to the only aerial cable car (teleférico in the Caribbean.More

Dorada Beach (Playa Dorada)

Located along the Dominican Republic's Amber Coast, Dorada Beach is one of the Puerto Plata area's most popular beaches. Also known as Golden Beach, it's ideal for windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, and parasailing. Its crystal clear waters and shallow, sloping beach makes it a favorite with families. Numerous major resorts line its shore.More

Sosua Beach (Playa Sosua)

Located between Puerto Plata’s resorts and the surf town of Cabarete in the Dominican Republic, Sosúa Beach(Playa Sosua) is a pristine stretch of sand famous for excellent diving and snorkeling. With white sand fringed with trees and calm waters ideal for swimming, it’s a relaxing spot popular with families and day-trippers.More

Cayo Paraiso (Paradise Island)

Often called Paradise Island, Cayo Paraiso is an uninhabited island off the Puerto Plata coast in the Dominican Republic. Dotted with rattan huts, this tiny stretch of sand on a coral reef is a popular stop on snorkeling and catamaran tours. Monte Cristi National Park is near Cayo Paraiso and is often included on island tours.More

Santiago de los Caballeros

Located in the Cibao Valley, Santiago de los Caballeros is the Dominican Republic’s second-largest city—and one of its oldest. Surrounded by mountains, the city stands in sharp contrast to the many beach resorts found in other parts of the country. Known for agriculture and industrial businesses, Santiago is also rich in art and culture, sports, and nightlife.More

Punta Ruсia

Punta Rucia (Punta Rusia) is a cape-end beach and fishing village in the Dominican Republic province of Puerto Plata. It’s near the town of La Isabela in the Bay of La Isabela, and diving and snorkeling are popular pastimes. The shallow cove is serene and a good spot to see colorful fish without needing to venture too far from shore.More

Monument of Santiago (Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración)

This eight-story structure located in downtown Santiago was built by the former dictator Trujillo and later became a monument praising the soldiers who battled for Dominican Republic’s independence from Spain. It was built in 1944 and designed by Henry Gazon Bona.Travelers will find this stunning white monument, which stretches high into the sky, at the city’s east end. Visitors can learn how the Monument of Santiago was originally erected to honor Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and later was re-dedicated to fearless soldiers who fought against the Spaniards between 1863 and 1865. It’s the perfect place to take in vast city views from atop the hill and the nearby park is an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic under the shade of a tree.The monument can be visited independently, or seen as part of a Santiago city tour.More
Ocean World Adventure Park

Ocean World Adventure Park

Snorkeling opportunities, dolphin shows, and a beach full of lounge chairs all contribute to Ocean World Adventure Park’s standing as a top family attraction in the Dominican Republic. The park is prime for kids during the day and transforms into a casino after dark, complete with a restaurant, gaming, a disco floor, and a Vegas-style show, offering parent-friendly nightlife with Caribbean flair.More

Brugal Rum Center

One of the biggest and best rum producers in the Dominican Republic, Brugal & Co. has been making rum since 1888. The Brugal Rum Center—also known as Casa Brugal—in Puerto Plata is their flagship factory, where you can learn about the history of rum-making, see the process of transforming sugarcane into rum, and taste the award-winning elixir.More

Monte Cristi National Park

Monte Cristi National Park is popular for birding, especially May–August, when migrating seabirds flock here. The area extends from the Haitian border to the tip of Punta Rucia, and includes subtropical dry forests, lagoons, mangrove swamps, beaches, and a 777-foot (237-meter) limestone mesa called El Morro that juts up from the water.More

La Aurora Cigar Factory

Since it opened its doors in 1903, La Aurora has been known as the original cigar factory of Dominican Republic. What began as a modest family business now stretches across 70 countries and travelers who want to experience the age-old tradition of cigar making can learn the tricks of the trade on a tour of this iconic factory.The 45-minute guided experience showcases the best of the La Aurora brand. Visitors will gain insight into the origins of this Dominican Republic staple, meet the men and women who roll cigars by hand, and gain a deeper understanding of the craftsmanship and attention that goes in to creating one of the nation’s top exports. There’s even time to explore the factory shop and purchase hand and machine-made cigars to take home.More

Top activities in Puerto Plata

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All about Puerto Plata

When to visit

The ideal time to explore Puerto Plata is during the dry season, which stretches from around November to April. These months offer pleasant weather with sunny skies and lower humidity levels, allowing travelers to soak up as much of the area’s beaches and outdoor activities as possible. For a colorful dose of local culture, plan your visit in February for the annual Puerto Plata Carnival celebration. This event features vibrant parades and traditional music and dance performances, adding an extra layer of excitement to your trip.

Getting around

Getting around Puerto Plata is relatively easy, with various transportation options available. Public guaguas (minibuses) are a budget-friendly way to explore the city and nearby areas, but they can be quite crowded. Taxis and motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) are a convenient and accessible option for shorter trips.

While you can rent a car for longer distances, note that the road conditions are not always great. Along the Dominican Republic's north coast in Puerto Plata, you’ll find the Amber Cove port where cruise ships dock. From here, you can access rental cars, taxi services, and shore excursions.

Traveler tips

To experience Puerto Plata like a local, venture to the Malecon (the city’s scenic oceanfront promenade) during the early evening. Folks often gather here to enjoy the cool breeze, socialize, and savor street food and fresh fruit from vendors. It’s a fantastic way to soak in the local ambiance and connect with friendly residents.


People Also Ask

Is Puerto Plata worth visiting?

Yes, Puerto Plata is worth visiting. Travelers come for its beaches with crystalline waters such as Golden Beach (Playa Dorada), architecture that includes the largest collection of preserved 19th century Victorian-style buildings in the Caribbean, and vibrant nightlife. The town is also popular for its seafood, rum, restaurants, and shopping.

What is Puerto Plata best known for?

It’s best known for its white sand beaches, most notably, Sosua Beach, which many tourists consider one of their favorite things to do in Puerto Plata. It’s also known for its large concentration of all-inclusive beachfront resorts and the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua with natural rock formations in the shape of slides. Puerto Plata also has the Caribbean's only cable car, which transports riders to the top of Mt. Isabel de Torres where you'll find botanical gardens and panoramic views of the city.

Can you walk around Puerto Plata?

Yes, Puerto Plata is a great place to explore on foot. Many travelers enjoy walking in the central park, the umbrella-donned Calle de Las Sombrillas street, and its many beaches. Not everything is accessible by walking, though. The best way to travel to top city attractions is by government-regulated taxis.

Can you swim in Puerto Plata?

Yes, Puerto Plata is known for its untouched beaches with crystal-clear waters, especially Cayo Arena—also known as Paradise Island. Reachable by catamaran, Cayo Arena is a popular swimming destination in Puerto Plata. Many travelers also enjoy taking tours that let guests swim alongside dolphins in the area—one of the in-demand things to do in Puerto Plata.

What are the best months to go to Puerto Plata?

One of the Dominican Republic’s biggest draws is the year-round tropical weather. From Dec.–Apr. is great since there is less humidity and little to no rain. Low season runs from May through Nov., and in these months travelers can expect intense heat, humidity, and plenty of rain.

Is Puerto Plata a party town?

Yes, Puerto Plata has a lively nightlife scene, from bars with dance floors to cigar lounges, nightclubs, and casinos. The town has resorts that create a party atmosphere with bars and restaurants located on the beachfront. It’s also near well-known party towns such as Sosúa and Cabarete.

Frequently Asked Questions
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