• Jeweish Museum of Sosua

Learn about the industrious Europeans who fled Nazi Europe–after being granted visas from then-Dominican leader and dictator Rafael Trujillo–and started their life anew as cattle ranchers and farmers in Sosúa in the 1940s.

Address: Calle Dr. Alejo Martinez, El Batey, Sosua

Phone Number: (809) 571 1386 or (809) 440 9981

  • El Choco National Park

El Choco National Park offers a world of nature for hikes, mountain biking, swimming in fresh water lagoons, and cave exploration. Stretching 78 square kilometers (30 square miles), a handful of hiking trails take you through thick tropical forest along cacao and coffee trees, and into caves dating back millions of years.

Address: El Choco, Sosua

Phone Number: (809) 984 9823

  • Monkey Jungle and Zip Line Adventure

Set on 280 acres of farmland between Sosúa and Cabarete, nine kilometers (6 miles) off the road leading to El Choco National Park, Monkey Jungle Park gets rave reviews for its setting and its recreational offers. It is home to squirrel capuchin monkeys, a seven-station zip line, a botanical garden, and an ancient Taino cave you can descend into 18 meters (60 feet) below ground. The monkeys mingle with visitors, posing for photos, and climbing on your shoulders if you choose. The site also serves as a recovery center for rescue capuchins. Tour the botanical gardens tucked inside a grotto, zipline across the farm–with runs stretching up to 800 feet long–or brave the Cave Descender, an 18-meter (60-foot) cable-controlled drop into a cave. All proceeds from tours go to fund an on-site medical and dental clinic.

Address: Carretera El Choco 9km

Phone Number: (829) 554 2425

Schedule: 9:00am – 16:00pm

  • 27 Charcos de Damajagua

Puerto Plata’s crown jewel attraction, the 27 Charcos of Damajagua waterfalls offer a day of hiking through thick forest, crossing footbridges and passing numerous flora before eventually reaching a rocky hilltop where you’ll begin making your way down by jumping or sliding down a series of waterfalls–helmets and safety gear on–as you slide down water-cushioned chutes or jump into deep turquoise pools. Most excursions take you only through seven falls, as reaching the 27th is reserved for the most active and physically fit adventurers. Run by local guides who live within the community, the park entrance fees benefit all of its residents, making it a win for all. The park is located approximately an hour from Puerto Plata city. Make it through the 27 Charcos de Damajagua and you can face any other adventure in the DR!

Address: Damajagua, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 250 4200

Schedule: 8:00am – 15:00pm

  • Amber Route

The Dominican Republic–on its northern coastline–is known for producing some of the clearest and oldest amber in the world, mined in Puerto Plata. The DR’s precious stone earned worldwide fame in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which was inspired from Dominican amber pieces containing prehistoric insects. Today, you can tour the actual amber mines where the stone is unearthed, in the hills of La Cumbre–approximately 43 kilometers (27 miles) from Puerto Plata city, a community set against the Cordillera Septentrional. You’ll tour an on-site educational display on the history and property of amber, then hike the field leading to the mines, passing entrances to holes that run 61 meters deep (200 feet), and watch workers reappear with stones in hand. Purchase them raw on site at a fraction of the price–particularly blue amber, found only in the DR–to be later polished, carved, and set in jewelry of your choosing. You can also find various types of amber sold in jewelry stores around the country and at amber museums.

  • La Puntilla Park and Anfiteatro

A stunning, outdoor Grecian amphitheater facing the Atlantic Ocean, flanked by the San Felipe Fort on one side, and a verdant La Puntilla park. Concerts and other artistic events are occasionally held here. Regarding the Fort, it is one of the most important colonial military structures in the Caribbean turned museum, built by Spaniards in the 16th century to defend the DR’s north coast from pirates. Touring the fort reveals the original canons facing the Atlantic, ancient weapons, and numerous hidden chambers.

  • Brugal Rum Distillery

The largest producer of traditionally made rum in the DR since 1888 offers tours of the distillery, including rum tasting and the chance of purchasing well-priced premium rums.

Address: Avenida Manolo T. Justo, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 261 1888

Schedule: 8:00am – 16:00pm (weekends closed)

  • Cabarete Coffee Company

Based in Cabarete, this “organic, shade grown, hand-picked, fair trade” coffee provider takes you on a tour of multiple coffee farms approximately two hours away, where it sources its coffee beans. You’ll get to roast, grind, and brew your own cup.

Address: 5 Punta Goleta, Cabarete

Phone Number: (809) 571 0919

Schedule: 7:00am – 15:00pm

  • Cabarete Shopping

Shopping in Cabarete is as bona fide an activity as surfing. The beach town’s main street is lined with exquisite boutique stores carrying carefully curated Dominican art and apparel from around the country and from overseas.

  • Casa de Arte

The north coast’s most recent cultural center doubling as a museum and an educational arts and crafts hub. Located in the heart of Sosúa’s beach town, Casa de Arte rotates paintings and sculpture exhibits, lectures, and hosts other events every month.

Address: Pedro Clisante, Sosua

Phone Number: (809) 571 2442

Schedule: 10:00am – 18:00pm (Saturday half-day, Sunday closed)

  • Casa de Cultura

Located across the city’s historical central park, Casa de La Cultura is one of the oldest intellectual hubs and cultural institutions in Puerto Plata, rebuilt at the turn of the 20th century and now hosting key art and cultural events, from exhibits to lectures. Take a tour of the three-story, Victorian-style wooden building, with a Spanish literature library and a second floor veranda with panoramic views over Puerto Plata’s central square.

Address: Calle Separacion, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 291 5051

Schedule: 9:00am – 5:00pm

  • Cayo Arena

Off these northwestern shores, boats depart to the offshore Cayo Arena–also known as Cayo Paraíso–offering exceptional diving for beginner levels, starting at five meters (16 feet). Schools of tropical fish can also easily be seen in shallow turquoise waters, making this spot a paradise for snorkeling fans. This area boasts some of the most abundant marine life in the DR, with corals and sponges that surround the caye, where octopuses, crabs, schools of surgeonfish, sergeant majors, damselfish, angelfish, and yellowtail snappers all swim around your feet. This tiny sandbank is also a dreamy spot to relax and take plenty of beach selfies.

Location: Punta Rucia

Tip: Drive until La Ensenada beach, and rent a speed boat (captain included) to the island. OR book with an agency, it will include pick up and drop off.

  • Cayo Siete Hermanos

Sitting 10 kilometers (six miles) northwest of the Bay of Montecristi, Los Siete Hermanos consist of seven sandy cays–Toruru, Muertos, Ratas, Terrero, Monte Grande, Monte Chico, and Arenas. Formed by coral sands, they offer a world of beaches, underwater exploration, and wildlife. Around the cayes’ shores, you’ll spot cacti, iguanas, and crabs. Underwater, submerged forests, sandy bottoms, and large rocky walls make this area a one-stop site for snorkeling, day or night diving–at just three meters (10 feet), making it accessible to beginners. And unlike other diving spots in Montecristi, you can explore on windy days.

The seven cayes are also the DR’s primary nesting site for boobies–the season runs from late May to early September–and are an ideal spot for watching migratory and native birds.

Location: Montecristi

  • Charco de los Militares

Completely off the beaten track, three waterfalls empty into deep azure pools known as “God’s pool.” You’ll hike for an hour with typical scenes of Puerto Plata village life along the way, and climb up a short series of rocks to the Charcos de Los Militares, where natural river fed pools await.

Address: Tabagua, Puerto Plata

  • Chocal Chocolate Factory

This small chocolate factory is a one-stop shop to learn all about Dominican cacao, from tree to bean, and make chocolate bars on site. It’s a half-day trip that takes you into the gorgeous hilly community of Palmar Grande for some spectacular views.

Address: Camino Palmar Grande Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 805 1955

Schedule: 8:00am – 17:00pm (Closed on weekends)

  • Ciguapa Falls

Take the waterfall experience up a notch at Ciguapa–counting a total of six falls and twelve jumps of up to 10 meters (30 feet) high, during a two-hour river expedition. The journey includes a hike through thick jungle before beginning this water-filled expedition.

Tip: Book with Iguana Mama Adventure Tours. Go to www.iguanamama.com or call (809) 571 0908. (Not sponsored)

  • Cuevas de las Golondrinas

The low-lying Cave of the Swallows or Cueva de las Golondrinas is tucked along the scraggly Atlantic coastline of Río San Juan, just a five-minute boat ride from town. An optional stop on tours of Laguna Gri Gri, your captain will steer the boat inside the small cavern–watch your head–to view its rock composition from ceiling to floor while you float on crystal clear turquoise waters. Once the boat exits the cave, you can choose to swim in the calm natural pool surrounding the area.

Location: Rio San Juan

Schedule: 8:00am – 18:00pm

  • Cuevas de Cabarete

Tucked inside the forest of El Choco National Park, Cabarete’s caves reveal an underground network dating back millions of years. Hiking excursions from town or expert guides at the park can take you to explore the various chambers. Cueva de Cristal–the Crystal Cave–rests underground and you’ll go down a series of steps to view this dark chamber with a fresh water pool, deep enough for certified cave divers to explore. Other caves are above ground; a steep stairway climb leads to vast chambers and tunnels filled with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as rock art.

Address: Cabarete

Phone Number: (809) 984 9823

  • Fun City

When it’s time for a beach break, head over to Fun City, where you’ll face some fierce competition on one of three go-kart tracks with varying speeds and challenges. Whether adult or child, there’s also a ton of fun guaranteed spinning or bumping on the bumper car course, another popular pick. Other attractions include a children’s playground, and a pitcher challenger field with radar display.

Address: Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 320 1031

Schedule: 10:00am – 18:00pm

  • Estero Hondo Marine Mammal Sanctuary

Climb the lookout tower and observe manatees at the Estero Hondo Marine Mammal Sanctuary, in the western corner of the Puerto Plata province. The protected lagoon is where the largest number of endangered, herbivore West Indian Manatees reside. The Marine Mammal Sanctuary also doubles as a protected habitat for birds–hike to the lookout tower to spot the manatees and birds from land.

Location: Estero Hondo

  • Guananico Cacao Trail

The drive to reach Guananico, the agriculturally rich community where citrus, cacao, and other fruits grow organically–is as picturesque as the family-owned Hacienda Cufa chocolate farm itself. Starting at the entrance, you’ll begin a tour with seven stops taking you through cacao fields, learning about the history of chocolate and its production process from bean to bar. Last but not least, you’ll head over to the chocolate hut where all the delicious tastings take place, with chocolate in its various forms and flavors. There’s even a makeshift outdoor spa area where you can get a chocolate facial before a typical Dominican lunch is served on site, under a thatched roof palapa.

Address: La Mariposa, Guananico, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 320 1031

Schedule: 10:00am – 18:00pm

  • Inland Safaris in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata’s farm to sea landscape, filled with picturesque villages, beaches, hills and forests, was made for safaris. You’ll find the largest offering of safari tour excursions here, whether riding in an all-terrain truck or steering your own ATV on bumpy dirt roads. You’ll quickly immerse deep into Puerto Plata’s scenic countryside–stopping at a local’s home for coffee, at viewpoints along the Atlantic coastline for photo ops, farmlands to sample coffee and cacao, and even go horseback riding before you head back home.

Tip: Outback Safari is probably the most famous Safari tours in Puerto Plata. Head over to www.outbackadventuresdr.com or call them at 809 723 1852 or 809 467 5636. (Not Sponsored)

  • La Isabela Ruins

Christopher Columbus built the first European settlement in the New World here on his second voyage in 1493, near the mouth of the Bajabonico River and facing the bay of La Isabela, populating it with his entourage of approximately 1,500 Spaniards. Named after the then-Queen of Spain, the archeological ruins of the settlement, now a national park, are still standing in this bay area, including Columbus’s first home, perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and nearby, the first church. Historical records show that the first Catholic mass was celebrated there. A modern version of the church–Templo de Las Américas–was rebuilt and inaugurated in 1994 to mark the 500th anniversary of that first mass. There’s also a museum on-site depicting the Taino inhabitants and the Spaniards’ arrival, as well as other preserved relics.

Location: La Isabela, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (829) 804 9386

Schedule: 8:00am – 17:00pm

  • Las Americas Temple:

Considered the first Catholic Church of the New World, Templo de Las Américas’ brick and stone colonial building sits in a beautifully landscaped garden. Stroll inside and feel the constant breeze from the nearby Atlantic flowing through this spiritual site.

  • Laguna Dudú

One of the most beautiful natural attractions on the north coast, Laguna Dudú’s series of turquoise, freshwater lagoons surrounded with caves and lush forest will keep you swimming all day long. Located in Cabrera, approximately two hours’ drive east of Puerto Plata and an hour from Playa Grande, the park offers plenty of outdoor entertainment. Swim or rent a kayak to navigate the waters, explore one of the caves on foot, or brave the makeshift zipline at your own risk, throwing you approximately 10 meters (33 feet) down into the deepest lagoon. There’s an on-site restaurant and bar, and plenty of green space to relax all day long.

Location: Carretera Nagua – Cabrera, La Entrada, Cabrera 33000

Phone Number: (809) 697 5534

Schedule: 9:00am – 17:30pm

  • Laguna Gri Gri

Located in the fishing village of Río San Juan, approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Puerto Plata, Laguna Gri-Gri is one of the country’s major bird sanctuaries, set along a peaceful lagoon flanked by thick mangroves. Boat rides take you along this mystical lagoon at any time of day, though sunset is the best time to see egrets, and vultures soaring and chirping loudly above the mangroves as you pass through the narrow channels, eventually leading up to the sea. Daily guided boat tours of the lagoon includes a stop at Cueva de Las Golondrinas (Cave of the Swallows), facing a turquoise, shallow cove where you can take a swim, and end at the magical Playa Caletón to enjoy one of Río San Juan’s blissful beaches.

Location: Rio San Juan

  • Mount Isabel de Torres + Cable Car Ride

Hike your way up or hop on the only cable car in the Caribbean to reach Mount Isabel de Torres, flanked by a giant statue of Christ the Redeemer–one of the province’s iconic landmarks. You’ll be standing 793 meters (2,600 feet) above Puerto Plata’s verdant hills, surrounded with phenomenal views of Puerto Plata’s Atlantic Ocean and beaches in the distance. Once at the peak, hike the beautiful botanical gardens filled with local flora, caves, and plenty of areas for respite from the sun.

A breathtaking 10-minute ride takes you soaring in one of two cable cars 800 meters (2,625 feet) above Puerto Plata’s magical landscape–from the sea on your north to the lush, verdant plains that eventually lead you to the other end of the cable, at Mount Isabel de Torres.

Location: Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 970 0501

Schedule: 8:30am – 17:00pm

  • Ambar Museum

Puerto Plata’s Amber Museum, sitting smack in the heart of the city in a neo-classical style residence, displays some of the DR’s stunning amber stones on several floors, including samples containing animal fossils. Showcased in a room designed like a cave, you’ll view close-ups of stones containing a near 43-centimeter (17-inch) lizard, a scorpion, a centipede, wasp’s nests, and two beetles mating, all of which date back to 15 to 20 million years. There are also amber stones with butterflies, and flowers. One mosquito-encased amber gemstone was used in Steven Spielberg’s motion picture film Jurassic Park.

Location: Calle 12 de Julio, #24, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 244 4895

Schedule: 8:00am – 17:00pm (Sunday’s closed)

  • Gregorio Luperón Museum

Inaugurated in 2012, this restored Victorian-style building is one of the most beautiful buildings in Puerto Plata. The Gregorio Luperón Museum House tells the story of national hero General Gregorio Luperón, recognized leader in the victory of Dominican forces who restored the country’s independence from Spain in 1865. The two-story museum displays period items, from costumes to furniture, and a photo gallery. The Spanish courtyard is a delightful centerpiece, flanked by a colorful mural depicting General Luperón.

Location: Calle 12 de Julio, #54, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 261 8661

Schedule: 9:00am – 17:00pm (Sunday’s closed)

  • Ocean World Adventure Park

Visitors who dream of swimming with dolphins can fulfill their wish at Ocean World Adventure Park, located in Cofresí, just over five kilometers (three miles) west of Puerto Plata city. Aside from dolphins, children and adults can enjoy a multitude of marine experiences, from shows with sea lions and nurse sharks to an exotic bird area, and snorkeling in an artificial coral reef aquarium filled with hundreds of tropical fish. For more adventure, try the giant slide that throws you into the artificial swimming lagoon.

Location: Calle Principal #3, Cofresi Beach, Puerto Plata

Phone Number: (809) 291 1000

Schedule: 9:00am – 18:00pm

  • Parque Independencia

Parque Independencia–also known as Parque Central–is the centerpiece of Puerto Plata city, framed with royal palms and hugged on all four corners by pastel-colored Victorian-era architecture. The white Catedral del Apóstol San Felipe towers over the square, where Puerto Plateños relax throughout the day and night with friends and family. You’ll find a café, ice cream parlor, and restaurant around the square, while the city’s key museums are just a couple of blocks away.

  • Playa Alicia

Isolated yet close to the bustling center of Sosúa, Playa Alicia is one of the DR’s most recent beaches, formed over the last decade from sand shifting over to this location. Also known as the “miracle beach,” its ultra-wide, blond stretch sits below a couple of restaurants and cafés, but there are no other developments or vendors directly on the beach. It’s a great place for a quiet swim and to catch a vibrant sunset.

  • Playa Cabarete

The Caribbean’s hub for windsurfing, kiteboarding, and laser sailing, Playa Cabarete–also known as “Kite Beach” on the western side–is where you can learn and practice wind water sports all year round. On weekends, especially in the summer, the sails and kites are all out on the water, which makes for dreamy photographs. There’s plenty of space for swimming and relaxing as well, facing the many restaurants, bars, shops, and lounges on the eastern side of the beach. International kitesurfing championships are hosted here during the year, and guesthouses and hotels stand along the beach with modern condos available for rent.

  • Playa Caletón

Cozy, crescent-shaped Playa Caletón is a favorite, flanked with lush vegetation and rocky scenery–some of it bearing sculpted faces of Taino Indian chiefs–that gives it a mystical feel. But accessing this beach is easy from the fishing village of Río San Juan. The entrance sits along the highway between Río San Juan and the Playa Grande beach and golf complex, and a stop here is often included on a boat excursion of Laguna Gri Gri and the surrounding coastline.

  • Playa Cambiaso

Reaching the spectacular white sand of Playa Cambiaso is worth the effort–approximately one and half hours northwest from Puerto Plata city between Maimón and Luperón, this wide stretch is lined with coconut palms, while donkeys graze at the back, and a couple of local restaurants serve fresh catch. Families gather here on the weekends, but on weekdays you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. The beach is tricky to find and takes you on bumpy dirt roads–you’ll need an off-road vehicle and an experienced local driver.

  • Playa Cofresi

West of Puerto Plata, Playa Cofresí is a relaxing stretch of light blond sand with calm waters for swimming, and plenty of shade. A few resorts and restaurants dot this beach, located adjacent to Ocean World Adventure Park.

  • Playa Costambar

A gorgeous golden sand beach stretching at least two kilometers (one mile), Playa Costambar is an easy ten-minute ride away from Playa Dorada, and offers the ideal daytime escape with plenty of restaurants and bars lining the shore. Swimming here is safe, in turquoise waters with a little wave action. You’ll also find plenty of rental condos and homes if you’re tempted to stay overnight.

  • Playa Diamante

Located on the northwestern coast, directly off the highway in Cabrera, this light white sand beach is not what you expect: a river flows so near, it gives the sand a soft, spongy texture, while the sea is a mixture of cold and warm from one end to the other. It’s an intriguing experience, but the shallow waters–you can wade in for miles–make it even more ideal for everyone.

  • Playa Dorada & Costa Dorada

Just ten minutes east of downtown Puerto Plata, these reef-protected beaches face the two main resort areas that draw the majority of the area’s visitors. Sections of these stunning, wide golden stretches are Blue Flag certified for their water quality and services. You’ll find extensive options for water sports from kitesurfing to banana boat tubing, as well as restaurants and bars.

  • Playa Dorada Golf Cours

A masterpiece of legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Playa Dorada Golf Course offers five holes with sea-views, including one directly adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. Opened in 1976 inside the popular Playa Dorada Resort Complex in Puerto Plata, the relatively flat course is known for its outstanding conditioning. Fairways are wide with little rough, and greens are generous, featuring water hazards and strategically placed bunkers to spice things up. It’s an ideal vacation resort course that can be enjoyed by all golfers, yet one that still offers challenges. With a location just 15 minutes’ drive from Puerto Plata airport, golfers can play on the day they arrive or before they leave.  18 holes; Par 72; Yardage 6,765; Slope 134; Rating 73.6.

  • Playa El Breton

Off the highway between Río San Juan to Playa Grande, this small cove is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and just relaxing. You’ll find fewer crowds here than at Playa Caletón, particularly during the week. There are no restaurants or facilities here, and that’s the beauty of it.

  • Playa Ensenada

Located just before Punta Rucia, Playa Ensenada is a favorite gathering spot of families on the weekends, for its perfectly white sand beach, ultra-shallow blue waters, and rows of frituras or shacks cooking fresh fish and other specialties al fresco.

  • Playa Encuentro

The break for surfers is at Playa Encuentro, located between Sosúa and Cabarete, and a half-hour drive from Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada hotels. Described as a “perfect right-hand reef break,” you’ll find the area’s top surf schools right on the beach, ready to take you out into the waves. In true surfing tradition, the best time to catch waves is in the early morning.

  • Playa Grande

Approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Puerto Plata city, between Río San Juan and Cabrera, this wide, two-kilometer-long (one mile) golden beach is known for its swells–good for surfers–and undertows in the winter, requiring extra care by not swimming too far off shore. On site, rows of local seafood shacks serve excellent lunch plates while the music echoes. Playa Grande’s perfect palm trees and golden beach landscape make it a photographer’s favorite.

  • Playa Sosua

Hugging a crescent-shaped bay, Sosúa is a beautiful stretch of golden sand contrasting against deep azure-turquoise waters with a white, sandy bottom. It’s also a diver and snorkeler favorite, with easy access to a wide array of sites near shore.