Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic..
More Than Just a North Island City!
By John McNamara
When flying into
Puerto Plata, one can see why so many people fall in love with
this beautiful place. There are miles and miles of sandy beaches,
a luscious ocean, rolling mountains, and a green landscape
that would make anyone’s heart smile. Landing at the
airport, one is greeted in the arrival area with the sound
of fun and danceable Salsa music, situated with a Spanish Quartet-happy
musicians preparing one for their stay in this lovely land.
One needs to be ready for all kinds of adventure, experiencing
different culture and customs, activities, and some of the
best accommodations in the Caribbean to make this a memorable
The Dominican culture
is an adventure one needs to be prepared for. In general, Dominicans
enjoy life, smile and are happy people. However, as an American,
are some aspects of Dominican culture that are different. For instance, navigating
the tricky roads while driving. I would not recommend vacationers who are arriving
for the first time to rent a vehicle. One can find many tour operators that
are willing to transfer people safely from the airport to the
hotel. For such type
of transportation transfers, I would recommend Hola Tours. They are a reliable
company that will pick up vacationers at the airport and hotel. The roads to
the hotels are treacherous; but, hopefully after this article is published,
they will be improved. The last time, two years ago, I was
in Puerto Plata the roads
by the ocean were under construction; but, now they are fine and well-paved.
However, the main road from the airport was under repair with many men working
diligently to fix it. Your driver will earn every penny because of their expertise
of the roads, insane drivers, cars and mopeds that are everywhere. From what
I have experienced, even though you are traveling in a third world country,
one does not feel unsafe unlike other places I have traveled
to. The Dominican people
are warm, hospitable and ready to please you.
There are plenty of
activities in Puerto Plata, ranging from the mountains to the
sea. One cannot miss swimming with the dolphins in Puerto Plata. If given the
to do this activity, I guarantee you will love it. Because of the crystal clear
water, your encounter with these lovely sea creatures will be a memory you
will never forget. I was able enjoy the dolphin swim, sea lion
encounter and aquarium
snorkel trip. This was a great day frolicking with all these sea animals.
Also, one might want
to experience a city tour of Puerto Plata. For about $40.00
U.S. dollars, the vacationer will be shown unique sights within this exciting
city. Some of the points of interest include the cable car ride up the Mountain
Isabella. It is the second largest mountain in Dominican Republic and is about
2,500 feet high. In the city limits, there is also a wine and rum factory.
The Brungal Rum is a very famous establishment in these parts.
Everyone needs to
visit the city center situated with a beautiful plaza, gazebo, large church,
and city hall. It is also enjoyable to walk around as a tourist and interact
with locals. Baseball is another passion in the Dominican Republic. The main
team is called the Los Marinaros, and their stadium is off of the main road.
The locals love to hang out on Mala Con Playa. This is an area where the government
has put a lot of money into refurbishing the beach with more sand. Another
main boulevard extends
past the beach and accommodates a lot of people during the local celebrations,
such as Carnival, Easter, and Christmas.
The Dominican’s are mostly known for their music and dancing. The dances
of choice in the order of preference include the Merengue, the Bachata, and then
the Salsa. One can almost feel the beat of their music and the spirit of their
dances in everything that the Dominicans do- from street cleaning to waiting
on tables. The sound of music seems to emanate from everywhere-cars, bars, and
homes. Along the beach corridor is the place where Christopher Columbus discovered
North America. In fact, he built a fort here which guards the harbor. Some of
the main industries, one can also see on any tour is
the cigar and jewelry business. The cigar business is prolific and tobacco is
locally grown, picked, rolled, packed and sold. Also, hand-craftsman take stones,
such as amber and larimar, and make them into fine jewelry that is sold locally.
Amber is a fossilized tree resin, which has sat for approximately 50 million
years before it was mined. One can also see various species of insects in the
amber, such as misquotes, flies, and spiders. The other stone larimar is a semi-
precious gem produced from the Caribbean. This stone is rare and new. The only
known deposit in the world is located in the southwest portion of the Dominican
Republic. To inquire more about cigars and the jewelry, please email Gottfriend
or Gunilda at La Casa Del Larimar, a fine gift store, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The accommodation I
stayed in was called Sun Village. It is an all-inclusive resort
which is absolutely beautiful. The place has ambiance, class
and all the
amenities one could ask for. I think Puerto Plata hotels have redefined the
meaning of the word “pools” as it had all types of pools; namely, pools for
adults, pools with water falls, a pool for children with a water slide and toys,
pools by the ocean, infinity pools, and, of course, whirl pools. If one gets
tired of pool life, then there is always the option of the rolling surf in the
Dominican Sea. I love the ocean, so you get the best of both worlds. The word
all- inclusive is something new for many Americans. It simply means that one’s
meals and drinks are included in the price of the hotel. Some people prefer the
European plan, where everything is a la carte, but the all- inclusive package
tends to be such a great value. Sun village also has a world-class spa with a
gym, scuba shop, and horseback riding excursions.
Staying at an all-inclusive
resort, one may need to understand the resort’s
meal plans. Most all-inclusive resorts have one main dining hall and the other,
as they call it, is a la carte type of restaurants. The main dining hall is usually
buffet style and is self-serve. Usually the a la carte restaurants are theme-based
such as Mexican, Italian, and Japanese. In these a la carte restaurants, one
chose from a selection from the menu. This option is still included in the price
of your stay. These restaurants are much nicer, tend to have better service and
appear more elegant than the average dining hall. Typically, the food is also
much better. Tipping is acceptable, but not mandatory. Also, at this particular
resort, as with other all-inclusive resorts, one needs to spend a little time
understanding the amenities as there are many choices and opportunities. Read
your hotel guide and go out and explore the property and therefore you can plan
your days accordingly.
Overall, the Dominican Republic is a great value, as well as a fun and exciting
place to visit on most vacationer’s travel budget. To get some pricing
for a vacation click here.