What to see in Amber Bay, in the Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata is one of the best resorts in the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic – a famous resort town, sprawling on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It was first mentioned in the late 90s of the last century, since then the Amber Coast or Silver Harbor, as this exotic place is called, has become one of the major tourist destinations of the country.

The Road to Puerto Plata

General information

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is a popular resort located at the foot of Mount Isabel de Torres on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The city, which has a population of about 300,000 people, is famous for its beautiful nature and plenty of sandy beaches that offer recreation and entertainment for all tastes. But perhaps the most important treasure of Puerto Plata are the deposits of Dominican amber, including the world-famous black amber.

Attractions and Entertainment

Puerto Plata is famous not only for its golden beaches and exotic scenery, but also for the mass of attractions that reflect the color of this resort town. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

The cable car Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car consists of two cabins – one of them rides up and the other rides down. Each carriage is designed for 15-20 people. The seats in them are standing room only – this allows passengers to move freely through the carriage and enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cableway

The cable car is the way to take vacationers to Mount Isabel de Torres, one of Puerto Plata’s main natural attractions. At its top, which is 800 meters above the ground, you’ll find a souvenir shop, a small café and an observation deck with several telescopes.

There’s also a scaled-down replica of the Brazilian statue of Jesus Christ set up on the site of the prison and the National Botanical Park that was the filming location for some scenes from Jurassic Park. This protected area is inhabited by up to 1000 rare plants and exotic birds that fill the air with their trills.

For your information. You can get to Mount Isabel in the Dominican Republic not only by cable car, but also on foot or by car. The ascent is steep, so do not forget to assess your strength and check the serviceability of the brakes.

  • Location: Calle Avenida Manolo Tavárez Justo, Las Flores, Puerto Plata.
  • Opening hours: 08:30 to 17:00. The last ride is 15 minutes before closing time.
  • Journey time: 25 minutes.
  • Adults – RD$510;
  • Children 5-10 years old – RD$250;
  • Children under 4 years old are free.

27 waterfalls

Among Puerto Plata’s most famous attractions in the Dominican Republic is the “27 Waterfalls” cascade, formed by several mountain rivers at once. This natural attraction, located 20 minutes from the city center, has 3 levels of danger: 7, 12 and 27. While children under the age of 8 are only allowed on the first descent, adults can also roll down from the highest height. You have to climb these steps on your own – on foot or with the help of rope ladders.

Safety at the waterfalls is monitored by specially trained guides, but visitors themselves must also follow the basic rules of conduct. Free helmets and life jackets are provided to each participant. To avoid hurting your feet, wear special swimmer’s slippers. Also don’t forget to take a set of dry clothes, because you’ll get soaked just from head to toe. If you want to document your descent on the camera, order a photo or video. The shots at 27 waterfalls are incredible.

  • Location: Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic.
  • Open daily from 08:00 to 15:00.
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Ticket price depends on level:

  • 1-7: $230 RD$;
  • 1-12: $260 RD$;
  • 1-27: $350 RD$.

Ocean World Adventure Park

“Ocean World, located near the western city limits, includes several areas at once – a zoological garden, a marine park, a marina and a large artificial beach. As one of Puerto Plata’s highlights, it is popular not only with children, but also with adults.

The following types of entertainment are offered at the complex:

  • Swimming with Dolphins – held in the largest dolphin lagoon, involves swimming, dancing and playing with 2 dolphins right in the ocean waters. The program lasts for 30 minutes. Children under 5 years old are not allowed;
  • Swimming with trained sharks – although park workers guarantee complete safety of their charges, this option is hardly suitable for people with poor nerves. The program is exactly the same as in the previous case, but here the young children are joined by women in the position;
  • Meeting a sea lion – lasts the same half hour, during which you can in every way interact with this quite harmless animal.

Besides on the territory of Ocean World Adventure Park you can see exotic birds and all kinds of fish, feed stingrays and tigers, enjoy whale and parrot shows.

Rides at Ocean World Adventure Park

A side note! Instruction in the park is in English. Using your own photo and video equipment is not allowed – only members of the complex can take photos. The cost of photos is RD$700 each or RD$3000 for the whole set.

  • Where to find: Calle Principal # 3 | Cofresi, Puerto Plata 57000.
  • Hours of operation: daily from 09:00 to 18:00.
  • Adult – RD$1,699;
  • Children (ages 4-12) – RD$1,399.

Amber Bay

Looking at photos of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, you’re sure to spot one of the region’s newest attractions. We’re talking about the Amber Cove cruise port, which opened in 2015 and has two separate berths. Amber Cove was supposed to receive up to 30,000 passengers each year, but two years after its opening, that number has grown almost 20 times, making Amber Cove the largest transportation hub in the country.

By the way, it was with its appearance that the active development of Puerto Plata itself began. Currently, Amber Cove has a car rental service, a pharmacy, and a tourist center. Cab drivers throng the exit of the terminal – they are expensive, but you can bargain.

Location: Amber Cove Cruise Park | Cruise Terminal, Puerto Plata 57000.

San Felipe Fortress

Fort St. Felipe, the oldest colonial bastion in the Americas, is a small structure erected in 1577. It was originally intended to protect the city from attacks by the Spanish conquistadors and once the pirates were completely defeated it became one of the city’s prisons.

Today, Fort San Felipe is home to a local museum of both historical and architectural value. It takes no more than 40 minutes to view the exhibits and walk around the grounds. At the entrance, visitors get a multilingual audio guide – Russian is unfortunately not included. But even if you’re not very interested in Puerto Plata’s history, be sure to climb the fortress walls – there’s a beautiful panorama of the city’s sights.

  • Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Ticket price: $500 RD.

Amber Museum

The Amber Museum, located in the heart of the city, occupies a two-story building with a small gift store on the first floor. There you can buy a variety of handicrafts and jewelry made by folk craftsmen.

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In the museum there are unique exhibits that form the basis of the famous collection of Dominican amber. World experts have included it in the register of semiprecious stones, and local craftsmen vied with one another to say that their amber is the most transparent of all the existing versions.

In the museum you can see untreated pieces of hardened tree sap, colored in a variety of shades, from pale yellow and bright blue to black and brown. Most of them have flecks of scorpions, wasps, mosquitoes and other insects in them. And the largest captive of tree resin was a lizard, the length of which is more than 40 cm.

  • Address: Duarte St 61 | Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata 57000.
  • Opening hours: Monday through Saturday from 09:00 to 18:00.
  • The price of an adult ticket is $50 RD$. Admission is free for children.

San Felipe Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Felipe, which appeared at the beginning of the 16th century on the site of an even older church, is located in the central square of the city. As the only Catholic church in the Dominican resort of Puerto Plata, it attracts not only parishioners but also many tourists, for whom English-speaking tours are regularly organized here.

The cathedral is small but very quiet, bright and cozy. It is decorated in the colonial style. Entrance to it is free, the amount of donations, as well as tips for the guides, depends only on your abilities. There are no particular requirements for the appearance of the visitors, but of course, the attire must look appropriate.

Location: Calle Jose Del Carmen Ariza, Puerto Plata 57101.

Beaches

The resort area of Puerto Plato (Dominican Republic) includes several wonderful beaches, the total length of which is about 20 km. Among them there are quiet ones, designed for peaceful family holidays, and restless ones, washed by the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean. As a rule, it is on these beaches stop lovers of surfing, diving and sailing. In addition to the medium and large waves they have a lot of sports clubs, offering not only equipment rental, but also the help of professional instructors.

Well, the biggest surprise is the color of the sand on Puerto Plata. It occurs here in two versions – white and gold. The origin of the latter is due to rich deposits of amber.

As for the most popular resort areas, these include Dorada, Cofresi, Sosua and Long Beach.

Dorada (Golden Beach)

The resort complex Playa Dorada, located 5 km from the city, includes 13 upscale hotels, several bungalows with wicker furniture, a golf course, an equestrian and nightclub, a casino, a shopping center and several fashionable restaurants. The main advantages of the beach are the shallow shoreline, the gradual increase in depth and the crystal clear water, which has been awarded the international Blue Flag Award.

As one of the quietest beaches in Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada offers few water activities, limited to bananas, jet skis and other traditional options. But in the evenings there are regular concerts, Creole dances, contests, shows and other cultural and entertainment events.

Cofresi Beach

The Confresi Resort, named after a famous pirate who hid his treasure in the area, is located in a lagoon with dazzling white sand. On its territory you will find a dozen hotels, a few private villas, as well as a lot of cafes and restaurants. All these buildings are located in the middle of the palm grove, coming almost to the water. Near the beach is the famous Ocean World.

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The entrance to the water is gentle, the shoreline is wide enough, and the ocean is clean and warm. Other advantages of Cofresi include free sun loungers, umbrellas and toilets. In addition, there are professional lifeguards working here every day.

Sosua Beach

Sosua is a small resort town located in a picturesque bay, shaped like a horseshoe. Includes several beach areas (Playa Alicia, Los Charamikos and the beach at the hotel “The Sea”), as well as many bars, restaurants, cafes, discos, nightclubs, beach equipment rentals and sports fields. The length of the coastline is slightly more than 1 km, it can accommodate fans of all kinds of recreation. Also of note is the developed infrastructure, making the stay in Sosua as comfortable as possible.

Long Beach

The review of Puerto Plata beaches in the Dominican Republic completes Long Beach, distinguished by clean sand and varied landscape. Thus, the eastern part of the beach is straight and long, and the western part is dotted with numerous bays and coves. In addition, there are several rock formations and 2 small islands located near the shore.

Long Beach is a public beach, considered a favorite vacation spot by locals and visiting tourists. They are attracted not only by the clear water and golden sand, but also by the presence of several sports clubs that provide surfing and sailing equipment.

Accommodation

Hotel in Puerto Plata

As one of the main resort towns of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata has a huge number of hotels, hostels, guest houses and other accommodation options in different price categories.

If staying in a double room at a 3* hotel starts at $25 per night, then rent the same room at a 5* hotel will cost $100-250. The greatest variation in prices is in renting apartments – their cost starts at $18 and ends at $250 (prices are for the summer period).

Nutrition

Cafe in Puerto Plata

If you come to Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic) you will not go hungry – cafes, restaurants, bars and all kinds of eateries, which serve local and European cuisine, here more than enough. Most of the national dishes have been borrowed from Spain, but this does not make them any less delicious.

The most popular Dominican dishes are La Bandera, a kind of “hodgepodge” made of meat, rice, and red beans, Sancocho, a thick stew of chicken, vegetables, and young corn cobs, and Mofongo, a fried banana puree mixed with pork. Among the drinks the palm belongs to Brugal, a cheap rum made in one of the local factories. Traditional street food is also in demand, featuring burgers, fried fish, french fries and various seafood (grilled prawns are the most prized).

La Bandera

La Bandera

The cost of food in Puerto Plata depends not only on the class of the institution, but also on the variety of the dish itself. So, for a dinner at a budget eatery you’ll pay about $ 20 for two, a middle-class cafe will cost a little more – 50-55$, and the restaurant of high cuisine you should take at least $ 100.

Weather and climate. When is the best time to visit?

What do you need to know about Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, so that a trip to this resort town will leave only pleasant impressions? The list includes many different factors, but perhaps the most important are climate and weather conditions. In this respect the Amber coast is very lucky – you can vacation here at any time of year. However, each season has its own peculiarities.

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Recreation and sightseeing is not prevented in any way, but the skin in such weather burns much faster, so the cream with UV protection is better to be applied in advance. Despite the abundance of tourists do not have to squat on the beaches – there is enough room for everyone.

The prices on this page are for August 2019.

Useful tips

Deciding to visit Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), do not forget to read the advice of those who have already been to this amazing place:

  1. In the land of eternal summer it is very easy to get sunburn. To avoid this, bring a hat with a wide brim and sunscreen with a filter above 30.
  2. The socket format in Puerto Plata is not the same as in Russia. If you do not want to overpay for an adapter, bring it with you. By the way, the standard line voltage at the resort rarely exceeds 110 volts.
  3. Going to see the sights of the city, you must be extremely careful and cautious, because the motorcycle cab, carrying up to 3 passengers at a time, running through the streets at breakneck speed. As for cars, local drivers often violate the basic rules of the road, so when crossing the road is better to just let them pass.
  4. Tap water in the Dominican Republic is used only for technical purposes – it can not even wash their hands.
  5. To avoid infection of viruses and bacteria, stock up on plenty of antiseptic gels and wipes.
  6. When paying for checks at stores, cafes or restaurants it is better to use cash – this will save you from possible credit card cloning.
  7. Use repellent – mosquito bites and poisonous insects are not covered by travel insurance.
  8. Don’t leave valuables unattended, or better yet, come to Puerto Plata without them. Even hotel safes do not protect from thefts in the Dominican Republic. And claims of tourists, who were robbed in hotel rooms, most often go unheeded.

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Puerto Plata

Fort San Felipe was built in 1564 by order of King Philip II of Spain and is the oldest building in Puerto Plata. The fort was erected to protect the island from the pirates who plundered the port cities of the Caribbean Sea and were a real menace even to such a mighty maritime power as Spain in the Middle Ages.

Fort Felipe currently houses a military museum where you can get acquainted with the uniforms and military equipment of the 16th-18th centuries. The main attraction at Fort San Felipe, however, is its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Isabel de Torres Mountain

Isabel de Torres Mountain is located near Puerto Plata. The only cableway in the Caribbean leads to the mountain. The cable car takes tourists to a height of 800 meters where you can enjoy spectacular views of the city and the surrounding blue ocean. The trip takes approximately five to seven minutes. It is recommended to climb the mountain in the morning. In the afternoon, fog obscures the top of the mountain.

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Mount Isabel de Torres Peak offers an impressive view of the Dominican Republic. At the top of the mountain, there is an exact replica of the famous Brazilian statue of Christ the Redeemer. The mountain is also the location for a botanical garden.

3. Amber Cove

The newest cruise port in the Dominican Republic, Amber Cove was built in 2015 near the northern coast of Puerta Plata. The port is the point of reference for most tours and excursions in the Dominican Republic, with most of the offices of tour companies and self-guides located here. The area is also known as the place where Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World, and it is also known for its abundance of amber. Amber Bay is about 20 minutes west of Puerto Plata, where you can visit many of the Dominican attractions, such as Fort San Felipe and the Amber Museum.

4. Amber Museum

Housed in a beautiful Victorian mansion with an interesting history, the Amber Museum is worth a visit to see rare and amazing pieces of amber and understand more about this semi-precious stone. Formed from petrified resin from ancient trees about 25-40 million years ago, the resin (which turns into amber under tremendous pressure) has perfectly preserved everything that went into it. Here you can see various fossils such as insects and plant remains in amber. The main attraction is a piece of amber 40 centimeters long with a lizard encased in it. Dominican amber is considered the best in the world and is quite expensive.

The amber museum is located in downtown Puerto Plata, two blocks southeast of Central Park.

5. Yaque del Norte (Yaque del North River).

The longest river in the Dominican Republic, the Yaque del Norte, has its source in the center of the country, near Santiago. Unfortunately, the river is rather shallow and not very navigable. But some sections of the river are excellent for rafting.

6. Key Paradise Island

One of the main tourist attractions of Puerto Plata is Paradise Island, a real piece of paradise on earth, coral reefs, crystal clear water and gorgeous white sand with palm trees. This is one of the best places for diving in the Dominican Republic.

Paradise Island is located about twenty minutes by boat from the shore and an hour drive from Puerto Plata, to get to the island you will need to book a local guide or advance tour of his travel company.

7. El Salto de Jimenoa (Jimenoa Falls)

El Salto de Jimenoa is a magical waterfall, located in Jarabocoa, among the tropical jungle, where it is always humid and hot in the summer. The waterfall is up to 60 meters high and Jimenoa is famous for the fact that its water is very cold despite the heat surrounding it.

8. Brugal Rum Center

Named after the Catalan expatriate Andrés Brugal, the center involves a visit to the rum distillery and rum tasting, offering visitors the opportunity to see the magic of the transformation of sugar cane into one of the main export products of the Dominican Republic: rum. From golden brown to crystal clear, with different smells and tastes, the Brugal Center will open your eyes to true Caribbean rum.

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