Beach Vacations to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Beach in Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Dominican Repulic
Beach in Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Dominican Repulic (courtesy, The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism)

Puerto Plata Beach Travel Tips

  • August is the warmest month of the year and January the coolest month, although temperatures hover in the 80s year-round. Be aware that it rains more on average in Puerto Plata than in drier eastern areas like Punta Cana.
  • Although most tourists to Puerto Plata are quite content to stay firmly put at their beachside all-inclusive resort, if you do want to explore other beaches check out Cabarete, about 19 miles east of Puerto Plata. It’s famous for having nearly two miles of sand and is a world-renowned windsurfing capital.
  • Although swimsuits and shorts are fine for the beach areas, casual slacks and sundresses are more culturally appropriate in the city.
  • Local beach vendors will persistently ask if you want to rent a chaise lounge if your resort doesn’t offer them, but keep in mind that prices are negotiable.
  • The fair-skinned or sun-adverse will enjoy Guarapitao Beach, just to the west of Puerto Plata, with its plentiful shade.

A tourist resort development since the 1980s, Puerto Plata is one of the main spots sun-deprived North Americans and Europeans head to in the Dominican Republic. Slightly cheaper than better-known Punta Cana, and with smaller beaches, Puerto Plata is located on the country’s northern coast and appeals to those visitors who prefer to explore outside the confines of their resorts. This self-contained city offers groovy nightlife—including clubs dedicated to the country’s famous merengue music—lots of shopping, open-air restaurants, the Brugal Rum Factory tour, and the scenic oceanfront Malecon Boulevard. The area around the Castillo de San Felipe, the oldest military fortification in the Americas, boasts large historic buildings dating back to the 1600s. Above the city, the only aerial tramway in the Caribbean whisks you up to the 2,555-foot Pico Isabel de Torres, where you can visit its botanical garden and a replica of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue.

Most of the tourist infrastructure is found east of Puerto Plata in the beach-lined Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, host to thousands of hotel rooms in all-inclusive resorts (meaning room, food, drinks, entertainment, and some sports are included in the price). With lots of daily direct flights from the U.S. into the area’s Gregorio Luperón International Airport, most visitors book budget-friendly inclusive air and hotel packages. Beyond the sometimes monolithic resorts, the area offers luxury boutique hotels and sports hotels (focused on golf, windsurfing, etc.). Condos and other vacation rentals are also popular in nearby Costambar and Cofresí, which have large expat populations—the latter being home to the Ocean World theme park. The beach town of Sosúa, about 15 miles east of Puerto Plata, is a lower-key version of Playa Dorada and a great place to shop for rum, cigars, and Caribbean art.

Outdoor sports are the thing to do in Puerto Plata, particularly deep sea fishing for marlin and sailfish, scuba diving, and windsurfing (Cabarete, about 19 miles east, is a world-famous windsurfing and kiteboarding destination). In addition, rainforests, mangroves, and waterfalls are all easily accessible in the surrounding area of the north coast.

Published: 8 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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