17 Best Things to Do in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata
jvphoto.ca / shutterstock.com

Tourists will be dazzled the minute they step into Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

The city offers everything one looks for during a vacation, ranging from amazing white-sand beaches to thrill-inducing adventures.

Curious to know more about this beautiful city?

Scroll down to find the top things to do in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, to enjoy a memorable vacation.

Visit Paradise Island

Paradise Island
Ronald Saunders from Warrington, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head out to the beautiful Paradise Island while you are in Puerto Plata!

As the name suggests, the place is indeed a paradise.

It is going to be a long day on the island, so prepare yourself for it.

It is natural to get excited when you step out of the boat and arrive at this desert island.

Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities you can engage yourself in to see the coral reef.

You should make sure to spend some tranquil moments on this island before proceeding to Monte Cristi National Park.

Ride a Cable Car in Puerto Plata

Cable car in Puerto Plata
Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock.com

It is an excellent thing to do in the city irrespective of whether one is coming from a cruise or not.

You can explore some of the city's major tourist attractions.

You can opt for a guided cable car tour, which will take you to some of the most famous sites in the city.

These include Mt.Isabela, San Felipe Fortress, and the historic Victorian district, among others.

Cable car in Puerto Plata
lemontune.com / Shutterstock.com

Visit Samana Bacardi Island

Samana Bacardi Island
JueHa / Shutterstock.com

Start your tour from the quaint Samana fishing village before embarking on a full-day trip into the ocean.

If you are lucky, you may also spot some magnificent whales.

You will be stunned to see a breathtaking island with gorgeous white sand.

Other top attractions of this island include banana palm, coconut trees, and turquoise blue waters.

It is the perfect place to lay down, unwind, and forget all your worries.

Aerial view of Samana Bacardi Island
Nikolay Antonov / Shutterstock.com

Check out Damajagua Waterfalls

Damajagua Waterfalls
Funcheta, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Apart from the beach, the major natural attraction for tourists in Puerto Plata is Damajagua Waterfalls.

Visiting these waterfalls is an excellent adventure for adrenalin-junkies and nature lovers.

The Rio Damajagua has as many as 27 magnificent waterfalls and as many pools.

Outdoorsy tourists will love the place.

They can also try sliding down with the expert assistance of a guide.

There will be a chance to observe birds and tropical plants on the way.

It is recommended to take the help of online tour guides or pre-book a shore excursion.

The entire excursion will vary between 3 and 6 hours based on the number of waterfalls a tourist wants to explore.

Tourists should be equipped with lifejackets and helmets while making their way downstream either by sliding or jumping and swimming.

Do Some Whale-Watching at Samana Bay

Whale-watching at Samana Bay
Judith Lienert / Shutterstock.com

Visiting the Sanctuary of Humpback Whales in Samana is one of the most popular excursions to engage in in the Dominican Republic or the lovely Samana Bay.

Every year, around 2,000 humpback whales travel to these parts to reproduce in the Atlantic Ocean's warm waters in December and March.

In fact, Samana is regarded as one of the finest places in the works to enjoy humpback whale watching.

So, how about whale-watching and spending some quality time while relaxing at the stunning Cayo Levantado Beach?

There is hardly anyone who would not like that.

It is the perfect opportunity to marvel at some of the most wonderful creations of nature.

Tail of Baby Humpback Whale
Jeanine Verbraak / Shutterstock.com

Visit the Amber Museum

Amber Museum boasts one of the largest amber exhibitions.

The exhibition is an out-of-the-ordinary event and extremely fascinating that one encounters while visiting Puerto Plata.

The museum offers some exciting tours for people interested in learning more about the island's natural history.

There are interesting exhibitions on insects' fossils and also about how the formation of Amber took place.

There is a souvenir shop where visitors can shop for jewelry made from amber.

Visit Ocean World Adventure Park and Swim With Dolphins

Ocean World Adventure Park
https://www.flickr.com/photos/anokarina/, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking forward to spending some family time together in the city?

Then, a visit to Ocean World Adventure Park should be the destination you and your family should head to.

The park features different types of adventures for each family member.

These include swimming with sharks or dolphins, fantastic shows with birds or sea animals, visiting exotic bird areas.

There is an artificial coral reef museum, which has been filled with fish and you can enjoy snorkeling here.

It is an excellent place to spend a few hours in the afternoon or morning, burn some energy, and have fun.

Learn the History Behind Fort San Felipe

Fort San Felipe
Jeremy Alan Baxter / Shutterstock.com

Fort San Felipe is regarded as one of the most prominent engineering marvels.

It was constructed to safeguard the island's north coast from the Dutch and British armies.

It is also one of the top tourist attractions of Puerto Plata.

You will know about the place and the island's history during your visit to the fort.

If possible, watch the sunset from this fort, and you will enjoy a gorgeous view.

Fort San Felipe
Fedor Selivanov / Shutterstock.com

Playa Dorada

Playa Dorada
Tonggotraveller / Shutterstock.com

It is the major point of tourist activity in Puerto Plata.

This stretch of stunning golden-sand beach is where most of the all-inclusive resorts of the area can be found.

It is considered to be one of the country's finest beaches.

It is not possible to avoid live Merengue music while on this beach.

Playa Dorada Mall
Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock.com

Those who plan to visit the beach for the day do not have to leave the place for souvenirs, drinks, or food.

The beach is not only dotted by hotels but also has a shopping center and many restaurants.

The warm water here is perfect for water sports.

There are many rental shops from where equipment can be rented.

Go to Mount Isabel de Torres

Mount Isabel de Torres
Steffen Engesser / Shutterstock.com

Also referred to as 'Pico Isabella de Torres,' Mount Isabel de Torres looms over the city of Puerto Plata.

It offers fabulous panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, beach, and city.

Many tourists ride the cable car to reach the mountain top.

Therefore, there are innumerable opportunities to enjoy picturesque views while going up.

Cable car cabin on Mount Isabel de Torres
MLIN / Shutterstock.com

More active travelers can also hike to reach the top.

There is a statue of Christ the Redeemer on the summit, and vendors come together at his feet to form a bustling shopping plaza.

These vendors sell souvenirs, such as handmade crafts, amber Jewry, and refreshments.

There is also an eatery here.

The botanical gardens are a short walk away, where the lush greenery and local flowers will offer respite from the crowd.

Try Out the Safari Adventure Tour

An outdoor safari adventure tour is a fun activity for families and couples visiting Puerto Plata.

It is a great way to explore the inhabitants and the diverse landscapes of this island.

Travelers can enjoy unobstructed views from an open-air safari truck as the guide narrates about the surrounding countryside.

Tourists can occasionally stop for photo ops and visit picturesque locations, such as the Mount Isabela de Torres slopes.

They can also stop at a plantation, which grows fruits, coffee, and chocolate during the tour.

Such a tour also includes stopping at a wildlife rescue, a school, and a local home.

You will also be taken to a secluded beach as part of the tour, where you can play in the water or relax.

Take a Day Trip to Cabarete

Kite boating in Cabarete
Leonardo Lazzaro / Shutterstock.com

Cabarete boasts a gorgeous white-sand beach stretching for around four miles.

The top of the beach is dotted with restaurants, and tourists have the choice to relax and enjoy delicacies on the sand.

Shops and other retail establishments are also available along the main road.

The area is known for consistent winds and warm waters and is regarded as one of the finest in the world to engage in kiteboarding.

Surfers at Cabarete
Tpena / Shutterstock.com

Kite Beach is a famous attraction on Cabarete.

It is a great location for experts seeking fun or beginners who wish to learn the sport.

The area is also good for surfing, especially at Playa Encuentro.

Visitors can kite in the afternoon and go surfing in the morning.

The drive from Puerto Plata to Cabarete takes less than 60 minutes.

Try out the Zipline Adventure and Eco-Tour

Another exciting activity for nature lovers and thrill-seekers is to try 'Monkey Jungle.'

The tour is named after the squirrel monkeys who resided in the forest.

This particular part of the forest is located near Cabarete and close to El Choco National Park.

Tourists can visit the place on a guided zipline adventure trip from Puerto Plata.

The duration of this tour is around 5 - 6 hours and includes a visit to the park.

There are 7 ziplines and 2 suspension bridges here that provide an interesting perspective of a tropical forest.

Tourists will not only enjoy the adventure of treetops, but they can also explore Monkey Jungle in the company of a professional naturalist.

They can also get acquainted with the local animals, plants, and ecosystem.

Check Out Casa de la Cultura

It is a beautiful 3-story historic building, which is set across the Central Park of Puerto Plata.

Its cultural significance dates back to when the revolutionaries gathered here under Ulises "Lilís" Heureaux's dictatorship.

Today, Casa de la Cultura has been made an art gallery and features works of various local artists.

The building celebrates different cultural events all through the year and boasts a historical library.

Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area, as well as the park from its third-floor veranda and the wraparound porches.

Make the Most of Your Day-Off On-Road Tours

Puerto Plata
Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock.com

There are miles of beautiful coastline trails, making the area a great destination to go off-roading and enjoy the lovely views.

There are special tours, which will give tourists to ride their own ATV in the company of a local guide while passing through the rustic rural trails.

It is a preferred activity for couples, and there are many stops in between for photo-ops.

The tour includes complimentary beverages and snacks so that visitors are hydrated and properly fuelled for the trip.

Take a Day Trip to Sosúa

Tropical Gazebo in Sosúa
my.miracle.box / Shutterstock.com

Sosúa is about 15 miles east of Puerto Plata and is popular for its cosmopolitan character and sheltered beaches.

Its origin dates back to when Jewish Europeans came as refugees here to flee from their persecution orders.

They eventually settled down here in the forties to begin a new life.

The locality today has become home to several cafés, hotels, villas, and guesthouses.

Sosúa Beach is crescent-shaped and is lined with buzzes with vendors and shady trees.

It is one of the best locations in the region for snorkeling and scuba diving.

In case you are coming here during the winters, you can also spot migrating whales.

You should also visit Casa De Arte, located in the town center, while in Sosúa.

Sculptures in Castle Museum at Sosúa
irina guseva / Shutterstock.com

You can come across beautiful exhibits created by local artists, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and drawings.

Casa de Arte also acts as a school where local kids and twins are taught different performing and visual arts.

It also hosts a variety of cultural events.