Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic - Tullys Travel
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Puerto Plata

The birthplace of tourism in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata continues to pack a mighty punch. Its spectacular, sprawling landscape combines sea, mountains, lush valleys, rivers, and a multitude of beaches. Its fertile soil grows cacao and coffee trees, while underneath rests the world’s clearest amber.

Savvy explorer Christopher Columbus knew there was much to discover on this northern Atlantic coastline–eventually finding gold deposits–when he glimpsed it from his ship in 1492. Drawn by the sight of clouds shimmering over Mount Isabel de Torres and illuminating Puerto Plata’s vast blue shoreline, he named the area the “Silver Port” and settled at La Isabela with a mixed community of Tainos–original inhabitants of the area–and Spaniards, built the first church and his first home in the Americas. You can follow Columbus’s trail and tour these archeological ruins, now part of a national park.

Information & Facts




The Dominican Republic is surrounded by over 1, 600 km (1, 000 miles) of coastline on its north, east, and southern borders, and the climate is tropical. Noontime temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C (80°F to 90°F ), and can fall to 18°C and 23°C (64°F to 73°F) during the winter. Because we are in the tropics, it is hard to say if and when there is a rainy season. Rains are usually short lasting.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and extends to November 30. In the Dominican Republic, these are the summer and early fall seasons when the weather is sunny and humid, with some cloudiness and occasional rain showers in the late afternoon or at night. Historically, most hurricanes have occurred in the month of September. But chances of one hitting are slim, and if it does occur, resort staff is trained in handling these situations, and resort buildings today are equipped to withstand hurricane force. You should also take note that the Dominican Republic is a large country–this means that while one coast may be affected, another may be completely unscathed by a storm.

Getting Around

The Dominican Republic’s public transportation system is surprisingly modern and extensive. Dominicans are constantly on the road–visiting family in the countryside, conducting business, or shuffling to school. Taxis are ubiquitous, Uber is available in three major cities–Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata–and there’s always a form of bus service, big or small, going to any town or city you want to explore. Aside from being the most affordable way to travel, public transportation is a great way to glimpse every day life in the DR, and is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.


The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. And like many of its Latin counterparts, Dominicans have their own accent, colloquialisms, and idioms. They are particularly famous for being incredibly fast speakers, projecting words a mile a minute. They abbreviate, skip syllables, and don’t pronounce certain letters–such as the plural “s” (for example, they say La Terrena when referring to Las Terrenas).

Not knowing Spanish, however, is not a problem: English is widely spoken in the tourist areas. Tour guides and hotel staff across multiple regions are also well versed in multiple languages, including Italian, French, German, and Russian, among others.


The local currency is the Dominican peso (RD$). The daily rate fluctuates depending on the day and the location of exchange.

Keep these numbers in mind as a general guideline:

RD$100 = US$2

RD$500 = US$10

RD$1, 000 = US$20

United States dollars and Euros can be readily exchanged in banks, or in authorized exchange offices around the country. Some exchange offices also accept the following currencies: Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, Danish krone, British pound, Japanese yen, Scottish pound, Swedish krona, and Norwegian krone.

ATMs are widely available from a variety of established banks, including Scotiabank and Banco Popular. They are safe to use for withdrawals in the local currency. They also provide the best exchange rates. Choose an indoor location and stick to daytime use. The Spanish word for ATM is cajero. For help in determining the amount you want to withdraw, download and use a free handy app like XE.

ATMs from Banco Popular, Banco BHD León, Banco Progreso, and Scotiabank accept North American bank cards, and offer an English or Spanish language menu. As a tip, you will often find ATM machines in airports, supermarkets, major resorts, and shopping malls.

Night Life

Puerto Plata’s nightlife ranges from lively salsa clubs to bars with locals and visitors dancing to sultry Merengue music. In addition, the majority of the resorts will have evening shows with dancing, music, singing, costumed performers, Merengue lessons, karaoke and more.


In Dominican Republic there is always time to shop around for amber, larimar, cigars, or world-famous Dominican rum. For these purposes, Playa Dorada Plaza is a great place for shopping. The two-story shopping center has boutiques, jewelry and liquor stores, gift shops, and cigars. It also features traditional Dominican restaurants, a playground for children, banks, movie theaters, nightclub and cafes. For good quality amber and larimar jewelry, visit the Amber Museum, but if what you are looking for is to buy the best rum, Brugal Rum Factory is the place for you. Beach towns like Sosúa and Cabarete are known for quaint little shops selling Dominican souvenirs, from beachwear, to arts and crafts. Also, be sure to walk around in downtown Puerto Plata and stop in one of the many gift shops for local crafts.


Beaches: The pristine beaches are the single greatest attraction in and around Puerto Plata. Its tourist zone includes a stretch of golden sand beaches with more than 75 miles (120 km) of coastline where one can enjoy a refreshing swim, practice water sports, sunbathe or have some leisure time under the shade of a coconut tree with fresh ocean breeze.

Marinas: Approximately 25, 000 boats cruise along the North Coast, the main route between Florida and Venezuela. Therefore, Puerto Plata features several marinas to suit every need. Ocean World Marina is the most complete marina located in the heavily traveled Florida/Bahamas area and the Puerto Rico/Eastern Caribbean region.

Puerto Blanco Marina is located west of Puerto Plata, in the coastal town of Luperón. This fully enclosed marina has the ability to house 200 yachts with drafts up to eight feet. The marina is popular for hosting lively nights with Dominican food, merengue dancing, and weekly karaoke, for those docking their yachts here. The Luperón harbor is known for being a safe zone for yachts during hurricanes and tropical storms. LAGUNA GRI GRI: A sanctuary for colorful birds, Laguna Gri-Gri is a beautiful and peaceful lagoon set under leafy mangroves in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez. Located 62 miles (100 km) east of Puerto Plata, you can take a boat to Laguna Gri-Gri and explore the ancient mangroves, see the Cueva de Las Golondrinas (Cave of the Swallows), swim in the shallow cove and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the secluded nearby beach. BRUGAL RUM FACTORY:Dominican Republic is famous for its rum and Puerto Plata is home to one of the country’s most well-known brand factories, Brugal. Since 1888, this rum has been produced in Puerto Plata by Dominican hands. Starting with the sugar cane, the spirit is distilled and aged, ensuring a truly Dominican flavor. No wonder it is a favorite of many locals and tourists. Tours are offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


The local time zone is Eastern Caribbean Time (GMT-0400). The Dominican Republic does not observe daylight savings time.

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