An Insider's Guide to Puerto Plata

San Felipe de Puerto Plata, located in the Dominican Republic, is the capital of the province Puerto Plata. Most often just referred to as “Puerto Plata,” the region itself is also known as the Amber Coast thanks to their large export of the semi-precious rock amber. The downtown region, centro de Puerto Plata, has beautiful buildings, la cathedral de San Felipe and more. Take an insider’s look into this fantastic getaway. 

1. Puerto Plata: San Felipe Fort

San Felipe Fort

This fort was built in the sixteenth century and is the main colonial monument of the city of Puerto Plata. The purpose of this fort was to protect the city against the French and English pirates that always tried to not only frighten the Puerto Plateños but also take their land. The best part about this fort is the beautiful views of coastal line and fantastic view of Pico Isabel de Torres.

2. Puerto Plata: Playa Dorada

Playa Dorada

When looking for a place to stay in Puerto Plata, any of the hotels that are on the beach of Playa Dorada are ideal. This quaint little beach has the view of Pico Isabel de Torres and is a great, beautiful beach that you can lounge by and walk on. 

3. Puerto Plata: Fresh Coconut Water

Fresh Coconut Water

A hot humid day is just one of the many things you can expect in Puerto Plata. So when someone sells you a coconut filled with its own delish water for less than a dollar you will take it in a heartbeat! Plus not only does fresh coconut water hydrate you but it is low in calories and fat-free (for all of you watching your weight while on vacation).

4. Puerto Plata: Grilled Lobster

Grilled Lobster

One of the benefits of traveling to any island in the Caribbean is the fact that you can find seafood everywhere and for a low cost. A super-yummy dish? Grilled lobster, nice and juicy with that slight taste of charcoal that makes it all taste like heaven. This dish can be ordered almost anywhere in Puerto Plata at a pretty reasonable rate compared to what we spend in the U.S. for a lobster tail.

5. Puerto Plata: Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp ceviche is everywhere, which is great, because you’ll want to eat it. A lot. Anywhere you order it you will be certain that it is going to be fresh and well done. Some come served in a pineapple with pineapple chunks, mahi mahi and extra lime. (Plus the shrimp, of course.) 

6. Puerto Plata: Monkey Jungle

Monkey Jungle

If you are up to doing some outdoor activities that exclude being a bum on the beach, head out to Sosua’s Monkey Jungle. The town called Sosua, has a look and feel as if you were in the Mediterranean coast due to its coastal line and bright green beaches. You can zip line through 7 different hills and enter a monkey’s grotto home, where you can feed bananas and watermelon pieces to squirrel monkeys. While you are there, learn about their fantastic medical and dental clinic they have set up for the poor of the Sosua, Cabarete, and Sabaneta neighborhoods.  

7. Puerto Plata: Organic Burgers at Monkey Jungle

Organic Beef Garlic Burgers at Monkey Jungle

After feeding the monkeys and zip-lining through the mountains of Monkey Jungle, take a break in their lounge area and enjoy what a delicious burger – their organic beef garlic burger, to be exact. They raise their own cows and garlic, and then make it into a delicious meal. 

8. Puerto Plata: Mama Juana

Mama Juana

You can’t go anywhere in Dominican Republic without having to try at least once a shot of Mama Juana. Mama Juana is rumored to be an aphrodisiac and you can see why since it contains rum, red wine, honey and several different tree barks and herbs. It is a sweet drink and it is served in room temperature but you can ask your bartender to chill it for you beforehand.

9. Puerto Plata: Pina Coladas

Piña Coladas

When you visit the area make sure to buy a fresh Pina Colada made with Brugal rum (Dominican rum). Seriously, it might be worth the trip.