Information about Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata: pearl of the north coast of the Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata (officially San Felipe de Puerto Plata) is the largest city on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, and also the capital of the province of Puerto Plata. With about 300,000 inhabitants its the ninth largest city in the DR. The city is famous for the resorts like Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, east of the city. Just south of the city is Pico Isabel de Torres, a 793-meter-high mountain in a national park, which can be visited by aerial cableway – the only one in the Caribbean – with a spectacular view over the city and the coast. The top of the mountain offers a botanical garden and a replica of Christ the Savior, the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro. Other attractions include Fort San Felipe, built in the 16th century, and the Amber Museum. La Isabela, where Christopher Columbus first landed in America and built his first settlement, is located near Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata International Airport is a 20 minutes drive from the city.
As the largest town on the North Coast Puerto Plata has all amenities: nice restaurants, fun bars, good doctors and hospitals, several large modern supermarkets and many smaller stores, a beautiful town square, and a lovely boulevard along the ocean front. The old centre, with colonial style buildings, is being renovated and made more accessible and safer for pedestrians.
In October 2015 Carnival Cruise Lines included Puerto Plata in its travel schedules; its new cruise ship harbor about 10 miles from Puerto Plata now receives an average of one cruise ship a day.
Reasons to retire in or work from the North Coast of the Dominican Republic
Although these days most tourism goes to Punta Cana, which has beautiful beaches and hotels, the North Coast of the DR is attractive if you are interested in more than just those two things:
- A mild, agreeable tropical climate
- Cool nights from November to April, with fresh sea breezes
- Beautiful mountainous hinterland, many attractions
- Large offer of attractive real estate, at low prices, for sale and rent
- Best land deals in the Caribbean
- Puerto Plata, Sosua, and Cabarete are pleasant, entertaining towns with all amenities
- Excellent connections with the larger cities Santiago and Santo Domingo
- A good, recently renovated international airport
- Friendly local population, many English speaking
- Low cost of living
For the above reasons the North Coast of the Dominican Republic is arguably the best part of the Dominican Republic to retire to, especially if you like your real estate to be close to sea as well as mountains. Santo Domingo, the capital, has a beautiful old city, a rich cultural life and ample culture and entertainment, but is also a huge urban sprawl with clogged streets resulting in almost permanent traffic jams. There is a seaside boulevard, but as the rest of the city it’s clogged with traffic, no terraces, no beaches: the closest beach is a considerable way off. Santiago is in the interior, so no beach there either – and also heavy traffic. Both places are better to visit than to live in!
As far as tourism is concerned, although tourism development in the DR started in Puerto Plata, today Punta Cana on the easternmost tip of the island draws by far the most tourists, almost 70% of the total, because of its excellent all-in hotels and lovely beaches. But that’s all there is in Punta Cana. The North Coast still receives about 15% of tourists but is much more varied, with in addition to a number of great beaches a beautiful mountainous hinterland and several interesting smaller towns. Among the latter are Sosua, home to many retirees, with nice beaches, bars and restaurants, and Cabarete, likewise, and moreover a kite surfers’ paradise. There are many attractions in the province – check out the websites below.
Third party review
Here is what Canadian travel writers John and Sandra Nowlan from Halifax say about the North Coast – Puerto Plata (Source: Telegram.com)
It’s a view like no other. As we reached the top of the Caribbean’s first and highest cable car ride, the community of Puerto Plata spread out 800 metres below us with its crescent harbour, 20 kilometres of white sand beach, several baseball diamonds (locals love the Blue Jays) and thousands of modest homes.
We were in one of the Dominican Republic’s premiere resort areas but, unlike the more popular, upscale and modern Punta Cana region in the east, the north coast of the DR is much more laid-back, established and authentic with a lot of colonial architecture from the late 19th century, plus Fort San Felipe, the oldest military installation in the Americas, completed in 1577 to thwart pirates. There are some truly luxurious resorts in the area but most of the all-inclusives we saw tend to be older and modest in size and price. …
We loved our earlier visits to Punta Cana but we were enchanted by Puerto Plata, its excellent wide, sandy beaches (among the best in the Caribbean) and wonderful mountain views.
We also enjoyed the many attractions beyond our Iberostar resort. In addition to the cable car to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres, a highlight for us was a visit to nearby Ocean World, a marine park with dolphins, sea lions, sharks, stingrays and thousands of tropical birds.
The north coast of the Dominican Republic is famous for its amber (ancient resin) and the unique Amber Museum, housed in a beautiful pink and white Colonial building, is well worth a visit. … Rum is the famous amber liquid produced in the Caribbean from molasses. Few countries do it as well as the Dominican Republic. Visitors are welcome to visit the Brugal rum factory in Puerto Plata. Established in 1888, it’s the best-known rum producer in the country. ….
Our last evening was spent about 30 km from Puerto Plata on Playa Cabarete, one of the top five kiteboarding and windsurfing beaches in the world. Along the wide, sandy beach scores of open air restaurants with twinkling lights contribute to a magical night beneath the stars. With toes in the sand we ate at La Casita De Papi, famous for its fresh fish and Shrimp Langostino. The beachfront is also home to the Cabarete Mojito Bar. We thought Cuba made the best mojitos in the world. We were wrong; they’re produced right here in the DR.
Links for more information on the North Coast and Puerto Plata
Here are some links with more information on Puerto Plata and the North Coast of the Dominican Republic:
La Playa: Two-weekly magazine in English and German.
North Coast news, industry directory, holiday travel, social activities:
General information: history, geography, education, culture, tourism:
Holiday Insider Guide with a special focus on Puerto Plata and the North Coast:
For general and tourist information, art and culture:
For social contacts, meeting short and long term expats and Dominicans, social and cultural activities:
Video about Puerto Plata: