Welcome to the North Coast in Puerto Plata, Sosúa and Cabarete
Puerto Plata, the birthplace of tourism in the Dominican Republic, still packs a powerful punch. Its spectacular, sprawling landscape combines sea, mountains, lush valleys, rivers and a multitude of beaches. Cocoa and coffee trees grow in the fertile soil, while the world’s clearest amber rests below.
The astute explorer Christopher Columbus knew there was much to discover on this North Atlantic coast – he even found gold deposits when he glimpsed it from his ship in 1492. Attracted by the sight of clouds shimmering over Mount Isabel de Torres and illuminating the vast blue coastline of Puerto Plata, he named the area the “Silver Harbor” and settled in La Isabela with a mixed community of Tainos – the indigenous people of the area – and Spaniards, building the first church and his first house in the Americas. You can follow in Columbus’ footsteps and visit these archaeological ruins, which are now part of a national park.
The natural riches of Puerto Plata never cease to amaze those who behold La Novia del Atlántico, or as the locals call it, the Darling of the Atlantic. A bird’s-eye view from the cable car – the only one in the Caribbean that takes passengers to Mount Isabel de Torres and its lush botanical gardens – reveals a stretch of Atlantic coastline with more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) of beaches gracing numerous coastal villages, inland farming villages with rivers and waterfalls, and hotels of all sizes to suit every taste. In addition, Puerto Plata is home to colonial remains, including the largest collection of preserved 19th-century Victorian-style houses in the Caribbean, the world’s oldest amber fossils on display at the Amber Museum, and one of the first colonial-era forts in the region, Fortaleza San Felipe, which dates back to 1577.
The city is also home to the largest collection of amber fossils in the world, including the world’s oldest amber fossils on display at the Amber Museum, and one of the first colonial-era forts in the region, Fortaleza San Felipe, which dates back to 1577.
East and west along the Puerto Plata coast, steady trade winds, river systems, the vast Cordillera Septentrional mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean blend into a world of outdoor adventure that includes beach towns known for their water sports. Less than half an hour from the city, Sosúa was first settled by Jewish immigrants fleeing Nazi Germany and offers beautiful beaches where expats and locals coexist, as well as rich marine life. Nearby Cabarete is a world-famous hub for windsurfing, surfing, and kitesurfing, and a popular cosmopolitan hideaway for snowbirds. Playa Dorada is for those who want to relax in style on golden stretches, with ocean activities close to town, from canyoneering at the 27 charcos of Damajagua Falls to snorkeling at Cayo Arena and relaxing at Ocean World Marina.
Apart from nature, Puerto Plata offers a variety of cultural experiences with its multitude of vibrant villages. Home to community tourism, here you can wander family-owned cacao or coffee plantations, learn to play the merengue and dance from a family of musicians, or immerse yourself in Dominican pelota at the Bartolo Colón Stadium and Museum. Along the way, a variety of culinary experiences abound, from roadside snacks to seafood on the beach to gourmet international restaurants.
Puerto Plata’s main ports of call include the Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP), located 15 minutes from the city center and Playa Dorada or Costa Dorada hotels, and the Amber Cove Cruise Center in Maimón.