Puerto Plata: Paradise in the Making
I will admit when I was invited to visit Puerto Plata I had to do a quick Google search to see where the region was located. I am more familiar with the larger tourist destinations of Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. Sitting quietly on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, you will discover the not-so-sleepy city of Puerto Plata. The eighth largest city in the DR was founded in 1502 and is mostly known for its tourist centers of Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada. Ocean World and Teleférico are also major attractions and drive in a large percentage of the tourism.
With countless all-inclusive resorts available in Puerto Plata, it is easy to miss the opportunities that lie around the province. Don’t hesitate to rent a car or sign up for a tour to explore the region. Brugal factory tours, windsurfing in Cabarete, shopping in Sosua, and dinner in historic Puerto Plata will keep your days full and evenings exciting.
Direct flights from international airports to Gregorio Luperon International Airport (POP) are pretty affordable. But what makes flying into POP so appealing is the option to sign up with Before Boarding for an exclusive VIP treatment from gate to the hotel. A Before Boarding representative will greet you at the airline gate and gather your luggage while you relax with a signature cocktail in the Premium Lounge. Free wifi, television, and newspapers will help you get caught up with the world. Once your luggage has been retrieved, your Before Boarding guide will escort you seamlessly through customs and into your waiting shuttle to your destination.
Where to Stay
Puerto Plata and surrounding areas offer no lack in hotels or resorts to stay during your visit. There is something for everyone and every budget. Affordable luxury at all-inclusive resorts and luxurious boutique hotels with every modern amenity will have you requesting additional days off from work.
[bctt tweet=”There is something for everyone and every budget in #PuertoPlata”]
Lifestyle All-Inclusive Resort
By far, one of the largest and most popular resorts for tourists, Lifestyle Resorts offers such a large complex of hotels and amenities that you will be required to rent a golf cart to get around! This is the perfect place to host a business conference or a wedding as they offer a wide array of rooms at various rates. All-Inclusive means all of your meals and drinks are included for no additional fee. Lifestyle hosts a lot of evening events, so remember to bring your cocktail attire and your dancing feet!
Things to remember:
- Golf cart rental is not included and is necessary to get around
- Some suites are in need of updates/maintenance, request a newer room if available
- Presidential Suites are not necessarily ocean view or ocean front, however, they do include a breakfast & lunch buffet
Be Live Marien
Be Live Hotels Marien is definitively smaller than Lifestyle Resort but is not lacking in any offerings. Another all-inclusive resort you can count on all of your food and drinks to be covered during your stay. Be aware, with three on-site restaurants, poolside bar, and luxury day spa, Be Live Marien will make you forget to explore the region of Puerto Plata. The ocean front Snack Bar was a favorite for everyone staying at the resort.
Things to remember:
- Wifi is not included. Prepare to spend $25 for 25 hours of internet access
- Property restaurants are reservation only
- Room service is additional and the menu is very limited. Prepare to pay upon food delivery
- Renovations are now ongoing and you may need to side-step a few construction zones, but this is only during the day and didn’t seem to hinder anyone’s rest and relaxation
Gansevoort’s reputation precedes itself with modern luxury and does not disappoint in it’s newest location. Gansevoort is located 30 minutes drive from Puerto Plata in Playa Imbert. Not all-inclusive, but worth every luxurious penny spent here. Spectacular ocean front views, glass walls, stunning poolside cabanas, and curated dining experiences. Bring your Caribbean white to celebrate Dominican style in the evenings. Gansevoort will not disappoint.
[bctt tweet=”Bring your Caribbean white to celebrate Dominican style in the evenings.”]
Things to remember:
- This location is now in it’s soft opening
- Can be difficult to find if driving yourself. Be sure to rent a GPS or ask for very specific directions
If you are feeling adventurous and wish to rent a car, Avis car rentals are one of the most popular companies to use. No problems getting a car, and no international drivers license required. Just remember that there are a lot… A LOT… of mopeds on the road as that is the primary transportation for locals. They will whiz past you in and out of traffic. Terrifying at first, but you will get used to it and become slightly jealous of their mobility.
Go Caribic is one of the most popular tours to use in Puerto Plata. If there is something specific you would like to visit, be sure to ask in advance or speak with your tour guide. They seem to hold the keys to the city secrets.
What to Do
Since 1888 Brugal has produced some of the Dominican Republic’s finest rum through 5 generations. The factory tasting tour is a must do in Puerto Plata. Call ahead to make sure they are accepting visitors and to confirm their hours, as the availability varies with the season. Remember that you can only take pictures outside or in the shop, but absolutely NOT in the factory!
Mamajuana is a staple in many Dominican’s households, but not as a cocktail mixer. Mamajuana is used by locals for medicinal purposes, where visitors seem to enjoy this local curiosity as a cocktail drink. This unique concoction is created by steeping tree bark and herbs in rum, honey, and red wine for at least 2 weeks. Once it is ready to drink the flavor is similar to a rich port wine and is a deep red color. Do not toss the contents once the liquid has been drained, simply add more rum, honey, and wine to taste and steep for another 2 weeks. The bark/herb mixture can be used repeatedly for up to 25 years! Several souvenir shops in downtown Puerto Plata offer Mamajuana workshops and tastings. Be sure to pick up a bottle to take home and share with friends and family… *cough *cough.
Where to Eat
For a tranquil and unique Victorian environment that embraces the historical culture of Puerto Plata, look no further than Kaffe. This family owned restaurant is located in a renovated Victorian home just one street over from Independence Plaza.
Kaffe's unique approach to embrace #puertoplata heritage can be found in a home near Independence Plaza with 4 boutique dining rooms and a fusion menu. @GoDomRep @aj_trela #GoDomRep #travel #traveling #travelgram #instatravel #vacation #trip #photooftheday #nature #wanderlust #holiday #adventure #visiting #tourism #instatraveling #explore #sun #happy #dominicanrepublic #explore #foodie #culinary #heritage
[bctt tweet=”Kaffe’s unique restaurant embraces #puertoplata heritage with a fusion menu.”]
With a distinct Victorian theme in each salon, this place could very nearly pass for Grandma’s house; that is until you taste the fusion menu of Dominican fare with Miami influence. Call to make a reservation, as the salons and tables book up quickly in the busy season.
Mares Restaurant and Lounge is by far the most surprising gem in Puerto Plata. Located in an old family home, Chef Vasquez has opened up the doors to the public to share his conceptual Puerto Plata cuisine. Delicious food served in an unparalleled setting of a secret Dominican Garden.
[bctt tweet=”Delicious food served in an unparalleled setting of a secret Dominican Garden.”]
Walk through the arbors of exotic flowers and local herb gardens.
Visit the Koi pond or watch the artists work in the art studio next to the restaurant.
Chef Vasquez has accurately portrayed Dominican cuisine with fantasy in a magical garden.
In summary, Puerto Plata is an up and coming destination that will soon rival Punta Cana with attractions. Travel now and get to know the business owners and the hot spots, as they are only going to get hotter!
A special thank you to BVK, Discover Puerto Plata Marketplace 2015, and Cluster Turistico de Puerto Plata for hosting Hospitality21.