Some Examples of Guided Excursions and Visits
At nearly 10,000 feet, it is the highest peak in the Caribbean. Renting mules for the ascent is popular.
Monasterio de San Francisco
The first monastery in the Americas constructed in the 16th century.
Fortaleza San Felipe
Puerto Plata’s only vestige of the Spanish Colonial days is a small fort positioned on a small peninsula in Puerto Plata bay. The fort, featuring a moat and a small museum, was built by Columbus after his arrival in 1492 when he hoped to establish the first Spanish colony in the New World at this location. To the east of the fort is an Oceanside road know as the Malecon which features numerous cafes and roadside vendors. It is a popular promenade for walks beside the beach.
Puerto Plata, the country’s second largest city, sits on the north coast and is the gateway to the numerous holiday towns and resorts along the coast. The city sports a romantic air of days gone by, enhanced by its Victorian architecture. The surrounding Atlantic coastal area with its assortment of seaside towns and resorts is known as the Amber Coast because of the rich deposits of lustrous semi-precious amber found in the region.
The Amber Museum
An attractive Victorian building in the center of Puerto Plata houses the Amber Museum, showcasing a unique collection of valuable Dominican amber. According to experts the amber found in this region is the most transparent, and therefore the most valued in the world. The substance, classified as a semi-precious stone, is actually tree resin that has hardened across millennia, often enclosing fossils of plant and insect life. The museum offers guided tours in several languages, and has a shop where a full selection of Dominican amber jewelry can be obtained.
To the east of Puerto Plata is Sosua, a small village with a cosmopolitan character which offers a superb , crescent-shaped beach and numerous cafes, bars and restaurants. The town was developed by a group of approximately 600 Jewish refugees from Europe who settled there in 1940 and founded the now-thriving dairy industry for which the village is noted. The original synagogue built by this expatriate community is still standing and features a museum dedicated to the history of the community.
Colonial Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo’s present day splendor is nurtured by its rich colonial past evidenced by an impressive showing of historic ruins, remains and preserved monuments. As the first city in the Americas, Santo Domingo’s colonial sector proudly boasts the first cathedral, fortress, hospital, monastery, university, palace and street. A stroll down the cobblestone streets of the old sector reveals the days of yesteryear.
Mount Isabel de Torres
Towering over the city of Puerto Plata is the 2,600 ft Mount Isabel. Visitors can take a cable-car ride up the mountainside to explore the summit and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline.