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Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata Travel Guide: Tips, Attractions, Weather

Puerto Plata's central plaza
Parque Central in Puerto Plaza. Credit: Wikimedia public domain

A Puerto Plata vacation will take travelers to the largest city on the north coast of Dominican Republic and one of the country’s most popular resort destinations.

It is best suited to vacationers who want access to more diverse recreation and access to a nearby major city, unlike the more remote location of Punta Cana on the southeast coast.

Puerto Plata is the eighth largest city in Dominican Republic, capital of the Puerto Plata province and home to more than 250,000 people.

It also is a cruise destination thanks to the privately held port at nearby Amber Cove.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Anyone who wants to venture outside of their resorts will find that excursions of Puerto Plata may fill the need. Common experiences for visitors include cable car rides up Mount Isabela, Parque Independicia in the city center as well as tours of Fort San Felipe.

Fort San Felipe is one of the first European forts built in America, and it served as a prison during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Other attractions include the Amber Museum near the city’s central park, the Brugal Rum Factory, Ocean World Adventure Park and a cable car ride up the 2,600-foot-tall Mount Isabel de Torres.

The Country World Adventures zipline park is 20 minutes outside of the city. It offers eight ACCT certified zip lines and a total of more than 7,900 feet of double, galvanized aircraft steel cable. The longest ride ais 2,460 feet or nearly half a mile.

The nearby cities of Cabarete and Sousa are two of the most popular attractions beyond Puerto Plata.

Cabarete is one of the top five kiteboarding and windsurfing locations in the world. Sousa has small town ambience, is situated on a bay and offers bars, shops and restaurants in addition to its own resorts. It also is known for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the region.

Parque Nacional Isabel De Torres is a short drive to the south of Puerto Plata. This national park offers a cable ride to the top of Mount Isabel De Torres for panoramic views of the city, Christ the Redeemer statue and nearby countryside. It also has botanical gardens, a bird sanctuary and hiking trails.

The region has two 18-hole golf courses. They are the nearby Playa Dorada Golf Course and the more distant Playa Grande Golf Course, both designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.

The Playa Dorada is located at the Playa Dorada Resort Complex and the Playa Grande is located between the towns of Rio San Juan and Cabrera.

Places to Stay

A major concentration of places to stay is located at Playa Dorada, which lies just east of Puerto Plata. It is the world’s largest resort complex with 15 resorts, a golf course, beaches, a mall and restaurants.

Places to stay include all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels for anyone wanting a more private setting, and sports-oriented hotels focusing on golf, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Getting Around

Anyone planning a trip to Puerto Plata will most likely arrive at and leave from the Puerto Plata Airport – also known as Gregorio Luperon International Airport—which is 11 miles from Puerto Plata.

Taxi rates are not standard, so visitors should negotiate the fare before getting into the cab.

Private minibuses run between the city’s central plaza and the Playa Dorada resort.


Puerto Plata average monthly rainfall
Puerto Plata average monthly rainfall. © Scott S. Bateman

Puerto Plata has a mild climate compared to most Caribbean places with an average high temperature ranging from 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius in January and February to 87 degrees Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius from June through October, according to historical data from Dominican Republic’s National Office of Meteorology.

The average rainfall is two to three inches a month from January through April. It jumps to about five inches in May during a brief rainy season.

It drops a bit during the summer and steadily climbs to a high point of about six inches in October.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
April 03, 2024

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