Although the precise date that it was originally founded remains unclear, history shows that Puerto Plata was most likely founded back around the year 1500. Christopher Columbus sailed right past this idyllic Caribbean port of call early in his travels, as well, and European immigrants helped give the town a Victorian edge during the 19th century. Today, visitors enjoy touring the old fort that is located here and find a great deal of diversion over at the major water park that is located nearby. Still others find bliss on the sandy beaches and are fascinated by the nice museums. Regardless of how you spend your time here, you are certain to have a memorable, fun-filled experience.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
Puerto Plata offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore secluded beaches, check out historic buildings and monuments – and take in spectacular views – all within the same small area. You’ll feel as if you have visited five or six different places when your visit to Puerto Plata is finished, and it is sure to go down as one of the best ports of call you have ever visited.
Puerto Plata boasts plenty of fine beaches where visitors can kick back, relax and enjoy the sun, sand and surf. Those who are eager to explore around a little bit will find plenty to do in this Caribbean port of call, including:
San Felipe Fort
The fort that stands in Puerto Plata was built back in the year 1577, following several years of going back and forth about its design and layout. It was built in order to protect the city from pirates, bandits and other troublemakers who often tried to raid the fledgling settlement and its inhabitants.
Those who enjoy lighthouses will get a real kick out of El Faro in Puerto Plata. It was built to help guide ships that were crossing the Atlantic, to work as a beacon for seafarers who needed to get their bearings. Today, visitors can go up into El Faro and enjoy phenomenal views of the surrounding area.
If you want to get an up close and personal look at dolphins while in Puerto Plata, swing by Ocean World. This well run attraction is a great place to spend a few hours – or an entire afternoon – while in this port of call.
Rather than spend all of your time on your feet roaming around Puerto Plata, you could try out the motorized railway that will lift you up to the top of a nearby mountain. From there, you can take in panoramic views of the area, and marvel at the raw natural beauty of Puerto Plata and the ocean. The ride up alone is well worth the price of the ticket, and it will become a fond memory for anyone lucky enough to experience it.
Although there is a smattering of small shops in Puerto Plata, those who want to do some serious shopping should head over to nearby Sosua. There are many marketplaces in Sosua, and you will be able to track down absolutely anything you could possibly want there. A large number of beach vendors are usually on hand at Sosua, too, allowing you to shop while still enjoying the beauty of the region.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
If you or someone you love enjoys a good cigar, then you’ll be able to take your pick from a fantastic array of them in Puerto Plata. After all, the Dominican Republic is known for its fine cigars, and they make for great presents.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
Breakfast in Puerto Plata – or anywhere in the Dominican Republic – can be made extra special by trying the local breakfast delicacy called mangu. Mangu is made out of cheese, bacon and plantains and is absolutely delightful. You can actually find mangu to eat at many dining establishments in Puerto Plata; although it is a breakfast dish, it can usually be enjoyed at any time of the day as it is very popular. Some compare it to mashed potatoes, but it has a taste that is truly all its own.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
If you ask the locals, they would agree that anytime is a good time to come to Puerto Plata. Indeed, the Dominican Republic does enjoy some of the most enviable weather of anyplace on Earth. However, for the best chance of nothing but sun and dry weather, try coming to Puerto Plata during July. Although it can be quite hot at that time, it is usually tempered by the wonderful breezes that are so persistent here.
Where You’re Docked
The commercial dock at Puerto Plata is where all of the major cruise ships dock. It is very centrally located, making it easy to access everything that Puerto Plata has to offer. Visitors do not have to worry about making special arrangements to get from place to place here.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
A vast array of the most popular cruise lines have itineraries that feature stops at Puerto Plata. A couple of the large cruise lines that stop in Puerto Plata are Holland America, Princess Cruises, Caribbean Cruises, and Holland America. However, there are many other choices in terms of dates, ships, days at sea and in port when it comes to Puerto Plata.