Reasons to Visit Puerto Plata Over Santo Domingo

Carnival participants from Santiago dressed up as Diablo Cojuelo performing during Santo Domingo Carnival, Dominican Republic
Carnival participants from Santiago dressed up as Diablo Cojuelo performing during Santo Domingo Carnival, Dominican Republic | © Vova Pomortzeff / Alamy Stock Photo
Shimon Brathwaite

Puerto Plata is the first custom built tourist destination in the Dominican Republic and is the ideal place for budget-conscious travelers. Puerto Plata has a large concentration of all-inclusive beachfront resorts and is well known for its numerous tourist attractions, making it very competitive with the country’s capital ( Santo Domingo) for the most visited city in the country.

Playa Dorada

Puerto Plata is well known for its white sand beaches and one of its most popular ones is Playa Dorada. Playa Dorada is Puerto Plata‘s tourist hub; it’s a huge resort complex located along a long stretching beach. It consists of several hotels, restaurants, a shopping center, and the Robert Trent Jones golf course. The warm waters and sun also make it ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Damajaqua Waterfalls

Damajaqua Waterfalls are a series of 27 waterfalls and rock pools and is one of the biggest tourist attractions Puerto Plata has to offer. Tours of these waterfalls involve climbing up to the falls before sliding, swimming, or jumping down them.

Amber Museum of Puerto Plata

Amber is the national gem of the Dominican Republic and the Amber museum is meant to celebrate its beauty. This museum is set in a beautiful Victorian-style building and it displays several specimens of valuable Dominican amber, many of which have been fossilized with flora and fauna. It also has a gift shop, where you can purchase amber jewelry.

Fort San Felipe

Fort San Felipe is Puerto Plata‘s only remaining colonial structure and is one of the first European forts constructed in the Americas. It was built to fight off French and English pirates and remains today as a testament to the country’s colonial history. Inside you can find many interesting wartime artifacts as well as a small museum.

Zipline Adventure and Tropical Zoo

Zipline Adventure gives you an opportunity to see the lush green forestry of the Dominican Republic from a bird’s eye view that covers 2,408 meters or 7,900 feet via a steel cable. Combine this with a trip to a tropical petting zoo where you can pose for photos with resident animals, such as parrots and squirrel monkeys. This makes this adventure one of the better options for animal and nature lovers.


Puerto Plata‘s entertainment is enough to keep you going for weeks. All of the resorts have their own bars and discos which are free for guests and open to those who have purchased day passes. Here you can find spots like Sosua’s Ruby Lounge, which has live music and karaoke, as well as parties that spill out into the streets on most nights and Lax, Cabarete’s nightlife hub.



Puerto Plata‘s town displays a rich blend of multiple cultures. In the third week of June, Puerto Plata has a weeklong cultural festival that features merengue, blues, jazz, and folk concerts at San Felipe Fort. Troupes from Santo Domingo also perform traditional dances to African spiritual music and salsa.

Ocean World Adventures

Ocean World Adventures is a very popular water park that emphasizes visitor and animal interactions. In addition to numerous water slides and aquarium viewings, visitors will have the opportunity to swim with dolphins and other tropical fish, play with sea lions, pet sharks, and stingrays. Ocean World Adventures also provides viewings of some land animals, such as tropical birds and tigers.

A tiger exhibit

Mount Isabel de Torres

Mount Isabel de Torres is a 2,600-foot mountain, making it the highest mountain in the Caribbean, and is accessed via a seven-minute cable car ride. At the top of the mountain, you can expect a spectacular view of Puerto Plata, flower-filled gardens, a restaurant, and a statue of Christ similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro.

Fun City Action Park

Fun City Action Park is the largest and most elaborate go-kart center in the Dominican Republic. It features three different tracks all in one location and over two dozen different types of go-karts to choose from.


Cabarete is the ideal place for people who are young, fit, and adventurous. The warm waters and consistently strong winds make this area one of the best in the world for windsurfing and kiteboarding. On top of the water sports, the four-mile white sand beach is lined with cafés, restaurants, and shops that make it a great place to visit.

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