Puerto Plata, the oldest city on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, sits sandwiched between the mountains and the sea. From its colonial-era fort to its oceanfront promenade, there’s plenty to do in this working port town. Here are some ideas if you have just 24 hours to spend in Puerto Plata.
While much of Puerto Plata’s appeal lies in its beaches and coastal scenery, even those with limited time should plan to spend at least half a day exploring the colonial city center. Get oriented during a sightseeing tour of some of the city’s most notable attractions, including Fort San Felipe (the oldest fort in the New World), the Amber Museum (Museo de Ambar Dominicano), and the Brugal Rum Distillery. If time permits, take the cable car to the top of Mount Isabel for its sprawling botanical gardens and panoramic views of the Amber Coast from 2,560 feet (780 meters) above sea level.
It would be a shame to leave Puerto Plata without spending some time in the warm Caribbean waters, and you have a range of ways to do so. Hop aboard a glass-bottom boat for an afternoon of snorkeling or observing colorful marine life from the boat itself; go stand-up paddleboarding at Sosua Beach; or experience the water from two vantage points: from the back of a Jet Ski and while parasailing behind a speedboat. Certified divers can opt to spend the afternoon exploring coral reefs and sunken Spanish galleons off the northern coast.
If you’ve ever dreamed of riding horseback on a beautiful beach, now’s your chance. Put on your bathing suit and saddle up for a sunset ride along a quiet beach, and take a dip in the Caribbean sea with your horse. Afterward, sit down for dinner on the beach, followed by roasted marshmallows around a campfire as the stars begin to come out. Night owls and groups of friends can opt for a party-hopping tour along the north coast instead, stopping for cocktails and dancing at the bars and clubs of Puerto Plata, Sousa, and Cabarete.