24 Best Things to Do in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Discover the top 24 things to do in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, with our super in-depth area guide for cruise and general visitors.

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Puerto Plata, the eighth-largest city in the Dominican Republic, is teeming with adrenaline-fueled attractions and anxiety-eliminating beaches. But with so many options, it isn’t easy to pinpoint precisely how to spend your day — until now.

We’re going to explore the top 24 things to do in Puerto Plata right here to make planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip a piece of cake.

1. Find Your Calm at Key Paradise

A 20-minute boat ride from the Puerto Plata coast sits Key Paradise, perhaps the most beautiful tropical trip you’ll ever take. 

The island earns its name as it seems to be a slice of paradise sprouting from the middle of the ocean. Its white sands create a stunning contrast to the teal seawater. 

Snorkeling, eating great food, and watching schools of fish are among the activities present on Key Paradise. You can even relax at the bar!

2. Go to Ocean World Adventure Park

Calle Principal #3, Cofresi Beach, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Interested in marine life? Ocean World Adventure Park should definitely find its way onto your Puerto Plata bucket list! Thanks to its interactive, wonderfully engaging experiences, it’s a highly regarded attraction.

Ocean World
Ocean World (Photo Credit: Pavel Prodan / Shutterstock)

The admission fee includes entrance into the water park, pools, Tropical Reef Aquarium, waterslides, and snorkeling. But we recommend investing in a one-of-a-kind access-only pass that can include swimming with sharks, dolphins, sea lions, and so much more.

If you’re looking to go “all out,” why not spend the whole day with the experienced trainers, taking care of and learning about all the animals?

3. Discover Monkeyland

Los Llabones, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Nestled in a whopping five acres of lush countryside sits Monkeyland, a place where animal lovers can delight in families of friendly primates.

Monkeyland, Dominican Republic
Monkeyland, Dominican Republic (Photo Credit: Zlata Sargsyan / Shutterstock)

Alongside experienced guides, you’ll stroll through botanical gardens, identifying medicinal plants and native fruit trees. Eventually, you’ll find yourself closely interacting with the monkeys and watching them in their natural habitat. 

4. Hop Aboard the Caribbean’s Only Cable Car

C. del Teleférico, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

That’s right, the only cable car in the entire Caribbean is located in Puerto Plata! For those who aren’t the best hikers, it’s the number one way to scale the famous Mount Isabel de Torres.

While riding the car, you can absorb the bird’s eye view of the beautiful location and capture the memory with airborne photographs.

Puerto Plata Cable Car
Puerto Plata Cable Car (Photo Credit: lemontune.com / Shutterstock)

When you reach the summit, you’ll notice a depiction of the Christ Redeemer, akin to the famous landmark in Rio de Janeiro. Don’t forget to have a look by his feet at the bustling market where you can purchase souvenirs, soothe rumbling stomachs, and quench your thirst. 

5. Swim at 27 Charcos de Damajagua

27 Waterfalls of Damajagua, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

If you really want to feel at one with nature on your trip to Puerto Plata, you have to visit the 27 Charcos de Damajague, the waterfalls. 

Wearing helmets and lifejackets, you’ll adventure through the river by sliding, swimming, and jumping. The oh-so-adrenaline-fueling twisty Corkscrew waterfall and the 20 feet drop at la Tinajita is enough to make your heart skip a beat (in the best way). 

We suggest taking a guided tour of this natural wonder. Organized excursions include a free lunch buffet and guarantee safety when traversing the slippery rocks and splashing into the waterfalls.

6. Zipline Through the Treetops

Country World Adventure Park, Carretera Puerto Plata Navarrete, Dominican Republic

Are you a nature lover? If so, you’ll love this one of our ideal things to do in Puerto Plata.

The Zip Line Adventure takes you on a 7,900 feet tour over the Puerto Plata treetops on double galvanized steel cables.

Zipline in the Dominican Republic
Zipline in the Dominican Republic (Photo Credit: FOTOADICTA / Shutterstock)

It takes roughly four hours, and you don’t need any experience, so there’s nothing stopping you from experiencing the stunning views. 

And yes, it’s great for the entire family. Young children can go with their parents or one of the guides!

7. Gallop Through The Water

Puerto Plata boasts a 2-hour horseback ride on the beach. If you’re a fan of these majestic animals, experiencing the almost ethereal scenery from horseback is truly magical.

While riding, you’ll follow trails toward turquoise waterfalls, up mountain peaks, and beyond.

Horse Riding in the Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: Stefano Ember / Shutterstock

You’ll begin at Boca Nueva, where you’ll mount your trusty steed. Then, you’ll ride along Bergantin Beach, gazing at the sea as you go. The highlight of the trip? Entering the water on horseback — if your horse doesn’t mind getting wet, of course!

8. Enjoy Playa Dorada

Playa Dorada is the main tourist hub in Puerto Plata. The golden sands showcase the vast majority of the area’s all-inclusive resorts, restaurants, boutiques, and more. It’s unarguably the most popular beachfront in the entire Dominican Republic. Don’t miss your chance to visit!

Playa Dorada
Playa Dorada (Photo Credit: Tonggotraveller / Shutterstock)

Once situated on the beach, you won’t need to go far for entertainment or food. Live Merengue music is bound to occur, and the shore is dotted with all kinds of eateries. Not to mention the water (yes, it’s warm!) is perfect for watersports or serene swimming.

9. Visit the Amber Museum of Puerto Plata

61 Duarte Street, Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata’s mined amber is known around the world for being some of the oldest but, most importantly, the clearest. These spectacular specimens can be found inside the walls of the Amber Museum.

Even though it isn’t a stone per se, the Dominican Republic regards amber as its national gemstone. 

While wandering around the museum, pay very close attention to each specimen. There are typically insects, plants, and other creatures fossilized inside the amber. We’re sure you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the museum’s prized possession — a perfectly amber-preserved, 16-inch lizard!

10. Join The 4-Wheel Adventure

Kilometer 6, 1er de Muñez, doral-muñoz Calle, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Whether cruising to Puerto Plata as a family or couple, joining the 4-wheel adventure is a must-do. 

You will drive quad bikes through sugar cane fields before eventually emerging on a sun-kissed beach. From muddy paths to sandy shores, you’ll immerse yourself in the diverse surroundings of Puerto Plata.

Buggy Tour
Buggy Tour (Photo Credit: Piotr Velixar / Shutterstock)

This particular tour lasts for a whopping half-day and is packed with a sense of adventure, enjoyment, and the Dominican Republic’s natural beauty. You’ll even be collected from your hotel! Provided you wear clothes you don’t mind muddying, you’re bound to have the experience of a lifetime.

11. Hike Up Mount Isabel de Torres

Manolo Tavarez, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Mount Isabel de Torres overlooks Puerto Plata, giving you a bird’s eye view of the unforgettable location. Your hike ends at the top of the mount, leaving you standing 2,600 feet above the hills, beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Mount Isabel de Torres
Mount Isabel de Torres (Photo Credit: Reimar / Shutterstock)

But don’t worry — you don’t need to hurry back down again once you’ve taken in the panoramic views. At its peak, Mount Isabel de Torres displays flower-filled gardens, caves, and shady areas, allowing you some much-needed respite from the ever-blazing sun.

12. Explore Samana Bacardi Island

Samana is a dazzling fishing village in the perfect spot to glimpse whales from dry land. Honestly, it’ll be hard to tear yourself away from the sheer magnificence of your surroundings.

Samana Bacardi Island
Samana Bacardi Island (Photo Credit: AurelioaPhoto / Shutterstock)

Affectionately dubbed Bacardi Island, Samana boasts coconut trees, sparkling turquoise waters, and coconut palms. Put simply, it has everything you need for a tropical day trip. Give yourself the R&R you deserve by checking this beautiful island off your Puerto Plata bucket list. 

13. Discover Puerto Plata’s Historical Center

The Historical Center is actually Puerto Plata’s Parque Central or Independence Square. It’s perhaps the best place to gaze at the stunning Victorian architecture and soak up the slow-paced way of living.

The location isn’t as large as you might expect. However, it’s packed to the brim with interesting information, breathtaking sites, and addictive atmospheres. Plus, you’ll definitely find something to tickle your tastebuds.

 Puerto Plata's Parque Central or Independence Square
Puerto Plata’s Parque Central or Independence Square (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

It’s also home to a variety of attractions also on this list of things to do in Puerto Plata, including the Fortress of San Felipe.

14. Marvel at the Fortress of San Felipe

AV. Gral. Gregorio Luperón, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Fort San Felipe, otherwise named Fortaleza San Felipe or Fuerte San Felipe, was built in the 16th century by the Spaniards. It’s the only colonial building left in Puerto Plata, making it a must-visit for many history buffs.

Fortress of San Felipe
Fortress of San Felipe (Photo Credit: Viagens e Caminhos / Shutterstock)

Initially constructed to defend the north coast, it ended up being used as a prison, mainly for political dissidents during Trujillo’s regime.

These days, it remains as a museum, allowing you to witness the original canons casting glares across the Atlantic. You’ll even get to explore the array of hidden chambers and spot ancient weaponry thrughout the fort.

15. Gaze at Casa de la Cultura

Beller, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Casa de la Cultura is an architectural wonder based in Puerto Plata. It’s certainly one to add to your visit list. So, what exactly is it?

Well, it’s a three-story building situated across from Central Park (i.e., Parque Central). It acquired cultural importance since it was the gathering place of revolutionaries under the dictatorship of Ulises Heureaux.

Casa de la Cultura Museum
Casa de la Cultura Museum (Photo Credit: ross thereault / Shutterstock)

Today, it’s a gorgeous art gallery paying homage to local artists. On top of that, you can expect to find an expansive historical library to help you brush up on the area’s past. 

16. Soak Up History at Casa Museo General Gregoria Luperón

Calle 12 de Julio 54, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

If you would love nothing more than to spend your day in Puerto Plata immersing yourself in the history of the beautiful area, you should make your way to the Casa Museo General Gregorio Luperón.

The museum educates its visitors on the history of the stunning Puerto Plata region by regaling the tale of General Luperón. The establishment is meticulously managed with incredibly knowledgeable guides. Plus, you’ll even watch a short film to stretch your understanding of the artifacts inside the museum. 

17. Kite Surf in Cabarete

What was once a quaint fishing village is now an adrenaline-fueled getaway for those who love watersports! Whether you’re exploring the area as part of your cruise or are just visiting for a day, you can’t miss kite surfing and windsurfing here.

Kite Surfing
Kite Surfing (Photo Credit: Vallehr / Shutterstock)

Kite Beach is the town’s biggest claim to fame. However, there is a less intense water sporting shore about five minutes from downtown Cabarete called Bozo Beach. You’ll even find ten kitesurfing schools to choose from to learn the ropes if you’ve never embarked on such an adventure before!

Truthfully, Cabarete is fantastic even if you don’t feel like taking to the water. Lounging on the sands and watching others ride the waves is often just as fun. 

18. See The Khaki Shore at Playa Sosua

Playa Sosua, 57000, Dominican Republic

Situated to the east of Playa Dorada, you’ll find Playa Sosua, an ultra-popular sandy stretch known for its super-soft, khaki-colored shore. The calm, shallow, clear water makes for a stress-free day out for the entire family. Couple that with the ample number of beach-front bars, and you have yourself the perfect day!

Playa Sosua
Playa Sosua (Photo Credit: Hedwin de Los Santos / Shutterstock)

But be aware of the afternoon crowds. We recommend spending the morning at Playa Sosua before heading off to another one of our things to do in Puerto Plata if hordes of people aren’t really your thing. 

19. Visit Cathedral San Felipe

C. José del Carmen Ariza 36, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

The current cathedral, built in 1956, stands atop the footprint of the 16th-century church that sadly burned to the ground in 1863. While Cathedral San Felipe is certainly a modern take on the once-glorious building, it makes for a very interesting view.

Cathedral San Felipe, Puerto Plata
Cathedral San Felipe, Puerto Plata (Photo Credit: Gary Wonning / Shutterstock)

The stained glass and blocky architecture are simply stunning. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area before or after Mass, you’ll hear the ringing of the bells. Outside the cathedral’s doors, you’ll find plenty of independent tour guides waiting to give you a personal guided tour. Just be sure you tip them afterward!

20. Tickle Your Tastebuds at Del Oro Chocolate Factory

Calle Principal La Estancia, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Touring the Del Oro Chocolate Factory is a much-loved event for cruisers. You experience the bean-to-bar chocolate production process, learning why the organic cacao beans truly transform the not-so-humble chocolate bar as you go.

The factory was initially set up to help Dominican cocoa farmers achieve the value they deserve from their crops. And to this day, Del Oro Chocolate Factory is committed to doing just that by upholding the high standards locals and tourists have come to expect.

Their wheelchair-accessible tours begin with warm samples of their famous hot chocolate and brownies before you set off around the establishment. Throughout the event, there are other chances to sample various chocolate-based products that your tastebuds simply won’t allow you to miss. 

21. Whale-Watch at Samana Bay

#4 Mella Street, Samaná 32000, Dominican Republic

Whale watching at the Sanctuary of Humpback Whales is, by far, one of the most popular attractions. And it presents a multitude of picture opportunities to immortalize the memory.

Whale Watching at Samana Bay
Whale Watching at Samana Bay (Photo Credit: Judith Lienert / Shutterstock)

In March and December, roughly 2,000 beautiful humpback whales migrate to the warm Atlantic Ocean to reproduce. So, depending on your vacation dates, you can experience this worldly wonder. Amazingly, it’s actually one of the best places on the globe to enjoy watching humpback whales, so we wholeheartedly suggest taking advantage of that!

22. Sample the Island’s Much-Loved Rum

Av Manolo T. Justo, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

As we’re sure you know, the Dominican Republic is highly regarded for its rum. But what you may not know is that the country’s biggest distillery just so happens to sit in Puerto Plata! For all you rum lovers out there, it’s a must-stop location.

Brugal Rum Distillery
Brugal Rum Distillery (Photo Credit: Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock)

Since 1888, Brugal Rum Distillery has been aging its fine rum in 200,000 American white oak barrels. Participate in a distillery tour to learn about the production process before trying the company’s famous drinks. 

After the tour, there is, of course, ample opportunity to purchase rum which we know you won’t want to pass up!

23. Walk the Malecón

Malecón is the gorgeously paved waterfront boulevard that you simply can’t miss — no trip to Puerto Plata is complete without a stroll. 

Stretching from the sandy shores of Long Beach to the city center, Malecón is lined by a plethora of palm-bordered beaches and the unforgettably clear water.

Malecón, Puerto Plata
Malecón, Puerto Plata (Photo Credit: Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock)

During your walk, you’ll spy locals and tourists alike walking, jogging, admiring the views, and cycling. Make sure you take a second to stop for a brew in the morning or tipple as the sun fades. It takes picturesque to another level. 

But for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, visit during Carnival. Malecón is the go-to spot for parades and other festivities. 

24. Appreciate the Rainbow on Umbrella Street

C. San Felipe, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Umbrella Street, otherwise known as Calle de las Sombrillas, takes up a relatively short stretch of Calle San Felipe, one of Puerto Plata’s downtown locations. Even without looking skyward, it’s difficult to miss the countless rainbow-colored umbrellas strung overhead. It’s enough to turn any frown upside down.

Umbrella Street, Puerto Plata
Umbrella Street, Puerto Plata (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

While strolling along the path, you could stop for coffee at one of the independent bistros or purchase hand-rolled cigars from various sellers in the area. But whatever you do, don’t forget to snap that insta-worthy picture (we promise you’ll regret it if you forget)!

Puerto Plata FAQ

Puerto Plata guarantees you have a spectacular time with its incredible sights and popular attractions. Read through some frequently asked questions related to traveling to Puerto Plata.

Where Is Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic?

Puerto Plata sits in the northern Dominican Republic, nestled at the bottom of Isabel de Torres Peak. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the port serves the ever-fertile Cibao Valley, one of the country’s top coffee-growing regions.

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock in Puerto Plata?

On a cruise to Puerto Plata, you’ll dock in the all-new Taíno Bay Cruise Port and be greeted by an entire entertainment complex complete with a zip line, theme park, and botanical garden.

Where to Stay in Puerto Plata?

To ensure you take advantage of all the amazing things to do in Puerto Plata, we suggest staying in these hotels — there’s one for every budget:

  • BlueBay Villas Doradas — 2006 saw this adults-only all-inclusive resort be completely refurbished. It’s the perfect place for couples to relax or wholeheartedly enjoy their honeymoon. Located next to the 18-hole Playa Dorada golf course, it’s ideal for fans of the sport. 
  • Senator Puerto Plata Spa Resort — Nestled on the Bahía Maimón beach, this resort showcases a Caribbean street alight with shops and a wellness center. You’ll never get tired of the luxury treatments, two outdoor pools, or the plethora of restaurants and live cooking stations. 
  • Emotions by Hodelpa Puerto Plata — For a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, you can’t go wrong staying at this resort. Boasting all-inclusive plans, pools, beach access, kids’ club, entertainment, and more, you’ll have a five-star experience without breaking the bank.
  • Casa Colonial Beach & Spa — Situated on the breathtaking Playa Dorada, the high-end waterfront boutique property blends into its natural surroundings. Staying here treats you to a rooftop pool, deluxe spa, orchid gardens, and Jacuzzis
Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma
I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers. Find out more about us here.

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