Coastal Puerto Plata, the oldest city in the north
Almost completely visible from the port, Puerto Plata is a charming coastal town surrounded by the Isabel de Torres hills on the South and Southwest, and the Atlantic Ocean on the north. While it’s the ninth city in the DR, it’s the oldest and biggest city in the north and a big contributor to the economic growth of the country. We already wrote a blog about the hills earlier, but now it’s time to shine some light on this city, with its old-fashioned charm and pretty sights. Leggo!
Puerto Plata is the capital of the province Puerto Plata. It will take you around 5 and a half hours to get there from Punta Cana. On your way, you can stop by Santo Domingo or Santiago de los Caballeros and make into a weekend getaway.
Once you arrive in Puerto Plata, you can’t help but stare at that imposant Pico de Isabel Torres (the top of the Isabel de Torres hills). The good news is that a cable car takes you all the way to the top to give you an amazing, panoramic view over the city and the coastline. Be sure to pick a non-cloudy day though, you don’t want to get up there for nothing! Once you’re up there, you can also take a stroll through the botanical gardens and take a pick with a smaller version of the famous Rio de Janeiro Christ the Redeemer statue.
Hold the fort
Puerto Plata’s colonial days won’t seem far away when you see Fuerte de San Felipe in all its glory. A 16th century fort with massive walls, several historical artifacts like canonballs and handcuffs, and pretty views over the bay. You can also spot the 24 meter, yellow and white lighthouse, that was first lit in 1879 and restored in 2000.
A little bit of history
Famous for revolting against Spanish forces in the 19th century, the life of independence leader Gregorio Luperon is told in this beautiful, Victorian building. Through photos and stories, you can learn more about his life from a small child, through his rise as military leader and provisional president. The museum also gives you more information about the history of the city of Puerto Plata.
The building of the amber museum itself is a pretty piece of Victorian architecture, but what lies ahead is interesting too. Amber is formed from tree sap and classified as semiprecious. Capturing many fossils of plants and insect life in its transparent stone it makes each piece unique and beautiful to look at. There’s a collection of jewelry and other gifts in the shop that make wonderful souvenirs.
Of course, a city like this has a authentic church to go with it. The Iglesia San Felipe has been completely restored in 1988 and now sports beautiful Italian stained-glass windows donated by local families during the restoration. It also has a cute gazebo that we are dreaming of marrying in someday. Who knows?
Looking for something to eat after a long day?
Sweat is dripping along your back, your mouth is dry and your belly rumbling. What a wonderful city, but after strutting around in this cute, cobblestoned place your body needs fuel. If you take our advice, you won’t be hangry for much longer. If you’re looking for a cup of brown gold, visit Kaffe, a place where you can wind down on the patio with some (ice)coffee and a crepe. Mares restaurant and pool lounge is a Dominican, haute fusion restaurant that serves tasty local treats with a twist: for example their goat marinated with rum or a sweet plantain sushi roll. If you’re on the go and you don’t necessarily need a place to sit, we recommend the Mercado Municipal, a market where you can by some authentic local snacks or ultrafresh fruits while you’re shopping for your souvenirs (get some Dominican spices!).
You can also do a tour with Sunwing to Puerto Plata City.
Would you take the cable car to the Pico de Isabel Torres? Or have you been there already? Daredevil! Tag us in your pictures or leave us a comment @bestofpuntacanaofficial