5 Reasons You Gotta Go to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic

Punta Cana has long reigned as the main hub for most travelers to the Dominican Republic.  However, if you want to escape the swarms of tourists, then Puerto Plata is where you want to be. Spectacular beaches, stunning turquoise water, and lush tropical flora of Puerto Plata are making it one of the hottest destinations on this dreamy island paradise. Tucked away on the north coast of the island, the “Silver Port” is where Caribbean dreams come true. Not that you need more ammo, but here are 5 reasons you gotta go to Puerto Plata, why we think it’s a bonafide Beach Eden.

Sunscape Puerto Plata beach
(Sunscape Puerto Plata beach, Dominican Republic, photo by: one of our True Beach Lovers.)

1. Idyllic Beaches. These unspoiled, sandy earth floors hugged by shimmering, aquamarine water are beyond amazing. Seriously, there are so many incredible stretches of pristine beach that we almost don’t know where to start, but we’ll start anyway. The best known is Playa Grande, just 15m east of Rio San Juan, that boasts long broad stretches of tawny sand lined by lush palms. Nearby is Playa Dorada, where 15 miles of golden sand are calling your name. Other beaches to hit include Cabarete (a laid back surf town), Confresi (with baby blue water), and Playa Mariposa (a romantic cove). Note: the beaches in and around Puerto Plata are fronted by coral reefs, so you can snorkel and scuba when the tides are just right. Ready to dive into and chill on these beachin’ beaches? Once you dig your toes into the sand, you’ll instantly know why it’s one of our 5 reasons you gotta go to Puerto Plata.

2. Excellent Whale Watching. Samana Bay in Puerto Plata is deemed by The World Wildlife Fund to be one of the best places in the world to watch whales. January through early April is the high season when thousands of humpback whales congregate in this area to rendezvous, mate and give birth. Even though the bay is about a two and a half hour drive from the Puerto Plata airport, it’s well worth the time – you can even stay overnight and make it an excursion. If you’re into scuba, you’ll love the songs of the whales – you might even want to sing along! Of the 5 reasons you gotta go to Puerto Plata, this one is definitely bucket list-worthy.

sunset puerto plata
(Sunset over Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, photo by: M. Haas.)

3. Breathtaking Wedding Destination. If your nuptial dreams include being barefoot on a sandy beach in a heaven-on-earth setting, teal waves purring a few feet away, then Puerto Plata is your spot. All you need to make this happen are your passport, an original birth certificate, a single status affidavit (in Spanish) and/or a divorce decree (also in Spanish) indicating you are free to marry. You’ll also need two witnesses (and their passports); however, Dominicans can be witnesses and provide “cedulas” for this purpose. Hotels are equipped to help you pull this off, so if you’re thinking of tying the knot in an unforgettable venue, put a Puerto Plata vacation package on your list.

View of catamaran in Puerto Plata
(View of catamaran in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, photo by: one of our True Beach Lovers.)
Hills in Puerto Plata
(Lush hills, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, photo by: K. Bassham.)

4. Intoxicating Outdoors. Mountain biking is epic here – you can be a beginner or a near stuntman. Either way, you’re covered. Hiking is also good – friendly guides can walk you through (literally) all the glorious flora and fauna that inhabit this verdant enclave. Last but not least, you must check out the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua. Billed as the best kept secret in the Dominican Republic, these awe-inspiring pools etched by Mother Nature out of limestone offer hours of unbridled splashing, jumping, swimming, sliding and chilling. Are you craving a Puerto Plata vacation package yet? Thought so.

wind surfing puerto plata
(Windsurfing, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, photo by: one of our True Beach Lovers.)

5. Thrills-A-Minute Watersports. While the gentle breezes and calm swells have made this a world-renowned, dynamite spot for windsurfing, wakeboarding and kitesurfing, the real draw here is surfing in Cabarete, the surfing capital of the Dominican Republic. Just a 30-minute drive from Puerto Plata, you can find surfing lessons for every level – there are even surfing schools at Encuentro, a five-minute drive west of Cabarete. Hang ten, beach lovers.

These 5 reasons you gotta go to Puerto Plata are just the tip of the beachberg. Visit for yourself to see all the other awesome things about this island paradise.

Lisa Mitchell

I am a blogger for CheapCaribbean.com who is a travel junkie and addicted to the beach.