Puerto Plata

In about four and a half hours you can go from Santo Domingo to Puerto Plata. A big city at the northern side of the Dominican Republic. This city is very different from the capital. Immediately when you get out of the bus, you’ll see hundreds of motoconcho’s (motorbike taxi’s) who honk to everyone and everything. Out of Santo Domingo you can take a flight to Puerto Plata, but a better and cheaper option is to go by bus. Caribe tours is the cheaper, but also the most crowded bus. Metro tours is a little more expensive but also a little faster. In Puerto Plata you don’t need to stay too long. There isn’t that much to see. Visiting this place for one or two days is recommended though! Because here you actually see the real life of the Dominican Republic.

Fortalezze San Felipe in Puerto Plata.

Fortalezze San Felipe in Puerto Plata.

  Average costs

Stay – Because Puerto Plata doesn’t have a lot of tourists visiting, there aren’t that many budget options. For example, you can’t really find a hostel here. The cheapest place that I could find cost me about thirty dollars a night (Villa Carolina). In this hotel / hostel you get a spacious room in the garden of a Dominican family.
In the rest of the city you’ll find luxurious ressorts or expensive hotels. So be prepared to pay more if you want to have more luxury.
Another good option is to stay at nearby places like Sosúa or Cabarete.

A full list of accommodation in Puerto Plata can be found on this page.

Eat – On average, food is dirt cheap in Puerto Plata. You won’t really find western food, but the Dominican food is incredibly tasty anyway. For one plate in a typical Dominican buffet restaurant you can expect to pay between 100 and 220 Dominican pesos.
In the biggest shopping center at the Malécon you can eat pizza’s for about 500 pesos. Quite expensive if you compare to the local eateries.

Transport – Too bad that Uber isn’t accessible everywhere in the Dominican Republic! Here, you can do a lot of walking or take a motoconcho to visit nearby places.
The distances between the different monuments and sights are not huge, but still… Walking a couple of kilometers or miles can take some time.
If you want to use the motorbike taxi’s, settle a price first. Otherwise it’s guaranteed that they’ll charge you too much. Guagua’s are another way of cheap transportation. However, they aren’t very reliable in Puerto Plata.

Cayo Paraiso or Paradise Island near Puerto Plata.

Cayo Paraiso or Paradise Island near Puerto Plata.

 Saving money

Don’t do tours – Organised tours, like everywhere in the DR, are incredibly expensive. A day trip to the 27 cascades (waterfalls) costs $70 on average. if you know that an entrance ticket for this activity only costs between 250 and 500 Dominican pesos if you buy it at the park (it depends on the amount of waterfalls you do), then you might notice that the tour cost is quite exaggerated…
However, transportation is the annoying part here. Most of the time it is quite easy to take transportation to a place, but once you need to get back the drivers often charge a lot more since they know you have no other way to return to your hotel.

Eat in local restaurants – The food is good and it is really cheap! There aren’t many places around the world where you’ll get a plate full of chicken, rice, fried yucca, plantanes and bananas for only four or five euros! ($5 -$6)
If you’re heading to a touristic bar or restaurant you’ll easily pay double.

Take the bus to Puerto Plata – From Santo Domingo you have two possibilities to get to Puerto Plata. You can take the Caribe tours bus (320 RD$ = +/- $8 or €7,5), or the Metro bus (400 RD$ = +/- $10 or €9). Both are very comfy and bring you to Puerto Plata (or back) in about four to five hours. Both bus stations are very centrally located in Puerto Plata.
Metro Bus is located right in the city center and Caribe Tours is located about one mile out of the center.
Do take a jacket and long pants with you. The airco in the busses will cool you down fast!

Settle the price – If you take a taxi or guagua, you absolutely need to settle the price before you enter the v

Christoffer Columbus discovered the Dominican Republic not far from Puerto Plata.

Christoffer Columbus discovered the Dominican Republic not far from Puerto Plata.

  Do’s

Fortalezze San Felipe – Personally, I thought this was the prettiest place in Puerto Plata. The San Felipe Fort can be found at the western side of the city. The complete domain is very well taken care off and borders the ferocious ocean surrounding the island.
To enter the rather small fort you’ll need to pay €2,5 ($3). For this price you get an audio guide who will explain everything about the fort while you can enjoy the amazing view.
The fort is at the end of the Malécon. Don’t trust Google Maps if it sends you up in Puerto Plata! There also is a prison in the city that is called Fort San Felipe.

Téléferico – The best view over Puerto Plata is from the Isabel de Torres mountain. You get there by taking the cable car of téléferico.
Just like with the San Felipe fort, you need to be sure where you’re going. Google Maps doesn’t always bring you to the right spot.

Malécon – Take a short or long stroll on the malécon. From the San Felipe Fort you can walk a couple of miles next to the palm tree and mangrove filled beaches. I liked the beaches here a lot because they still are very natural.

Cayo Levantado / Cayo Paraiso – Or Paradise Island. This small island from only a couple of square meters is located about one hour and a half away from Puerto Plata. After driving through the neighbouring cities of Puerto Plata you’ll arrive at a calm beach from where you will leave with a speedboat. Around the island you’ll see some beautiful corals! To enjoy the day even more, you get free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks when returning ashore.

Sosúa and Cabarete – Most tourists rather stay in these places. Most of the time, these places are a little more expensive. But there is a better infrastructure for tourists. At the beaches, you’ll find a lot of ressorts and plenty of watersport activities.

The 27 Cascades – The absolute topper among tourist attractions in Puerto Plata are the 27 cascades or the 27 waterfalls.
This nature park is located about twenty kilometers from Puerto Plata and has -of course- 27 waterfalls. Become an adventurer and jump, slip and dive from these waterfalls.
Waterproof shoes are necessary. If you don’t have them, you can also rent them.

Central square of Puerto Plata.

Central square of Puerto Plata.

  Don’ts

Booking certain tours – For some tours, like Cayo Paraiso, there’s no other option. But especially for the 27 waterfalls it’s not recommended to book a tour.
Try to arrange your own transport. Because you’ll save a lot of money for this tour by doing it.

Crossing streets without watching – You’ll immediately notice the enormous amount of traffic when you arrive in Puerto Plata. Sometimes it can take a couple of minutes before you are able to cross the road. Hundreds of motoconcho’s speed through the streets at once. Most of them won’t let you pass through so always watch out when crossing roads!

Long stay – There isn’t that much to do in Puerto Plata. One day is too little, since it’s a long drive to get there. But two days would definitely be enough if you arrive in PP in the morning.

A colonial style building in Puerto Plata.

A colonial style building in Puerto Plata.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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