San Felipe de Puerto Plata, better known as Puerto Plata, is well-known for its beautiful beaches. Well-connected to North America by direct flights through its international airport, Puerto Plata makes a good choice for Americans and Canadians who want a tropical beach vacation, but do not want to travel around the world to get it. Those who journey to the city will find its green scenery and clear, warm waters offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Within the city limits of Puerto Plata is Mount Isabelle de Torres, a green 2,600-foot mountain. There are hiking paths up this mountain, although they are not well-marked. Hikers should either engage a guide, join a hiking tour or bring along a map and a compass or GPS and be prepared to do some orienteering. If you do go up the mountain independently, bring a machete, as the jungle undergrowth is reputed to be thick. There is a botanical garden and observation point on the top, which can be also reached by cable car (or used by hikers for the return trip).
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
With warm waters and high visibility, the seas off Puerto Plata are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. There are coral-encrusted underwater rocks and reefs that offer a range of challenges for divers and snorkelers alike. Sites like Three Rocks have a maximum depth of 27 feet and are thus suitable for novice divers and snorkelers. Wrecks like the cargo ship Zingara (in 118 feet of water) make for more challenging dives. Snorkelers can typically join any scuba diving trip at a reduced fee (although some dive sites are too deep and unsuitable for snorkelers), and there are dedicated snorkeling trips as well.
Although the Dominican Republic is not a famous surfing destination, Cabarete Beach near Puerto Plata is an excellent surfing spot. With waves up to 15 feet high, this is a good beach for experienced surfers, but not for beginners. The peak season for surfing is between October and April.
Every year between mid-January and mid-March, thousands of humpback whales make a migration to an area off the Puerto Plata coast called the Silver Banks. Whale-watching trips leave from Puerto Plata every day during the late winter. However, Puerto Plata has become a popular enough whale-watching venue that you should book your trip prior to leaving for the Dominican Republic, as these trips are often sold out.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.