This is the fourth installment in Wendy's "How Did I End Up Here?" series.
1. The Teleferico (Cable Car). If you are just planning a vacation to Puerto Plata, be sure to take the cable car up to the peak. They have renovated all of the gardens at the summit. The trip and the view are truly spectacular. Just be sure to pick a clear day to get the best of the view. On top you will find a smaller version of the Christ statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro.
2. The Malecon (Boulevard) is a wonderful place to walk and eat. At the end you will find the Fort of San Felipe, an imposing stone fortress from 1577. The fort was built so the city could defend itself against French and English pirates, but later it was used as a prison for political dissidents. The fort has been renovated in the recent years, and inside you'll find a museum with lot of objects related to the history of the city.
3. The Brugal Factory was established by Don Andrés Brugal Montaner in the second half of the 19th century. It is now an interesting automated bottling plant. It's free to visit the factory, and you don't have to book a tour. First, you enter a small cinema where they will show you a short movie (15 minutes) about the history of the factory. Next, you are guided into the factory, and you end the tour in a little shop. In the shop you can taste different types of rum and, of course, buy various items of Brugal merchandise.
4. The Ocean World is a theme park at Cofresi, just outside Puerto Plata. In the park you have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with dolphins, sea lions, sharks, stingrays, and exotic tropical birds. You can meet tigers, walk through a tropical forest, swim in the Tiger Grotto pool, and much more. It's a beautiful (and rather expensive) theme park, so if you haven’t been swimming with dolphins before, you could consider going.
5. Damajagua Falls are 27 waterfalls (some small and some big) about 30 minutes drive from Puerto Plata. There are two different tours: One where you climb all 27 falls (one of them should be very high!), and one where you only climb the first 7 falls. The mountain water is cool and very refreshing. Down the falls it's more like a water slide. Helmets and lifejackets are required. The guides are good and professional. Care needs to be taken following heavy rains.
6. The Amber Museum is located in a very impressive Victorian villa on Calle Duarte, just a couple of minutes walk from the heart of the city, Parque Central. The villa in question is known as Villa Bentz and dates back to 1919. It has housed the Amber Museum since 1982. A main traditional export of the DR is Amber, the solidified and fossilized remains of tree sap. Amber preserves whatever small creatures get caught in the sap. The museum contains many samples of insects and plant life that existed 100,000 years ago and were perfectly preserved in amber.
7. Outback Safari. Professional guides will entertain you with knowledge and humor on an exciting excursion through the beautiful Dominican countryside to see how the locals live. Wave at the friendly children as you enter laid-back villages, where native culture flourishes and time seems to have stood still. Aboard all-terrain trucks you will discover the wide expanses of sugar cane fields and the workers who still preserve some of their ancestral traditions. Part of the fare that you pay is donated to the village schools.
8. Catamaran trips. Soak up the scenery as you sail along the North Coast of this beautiful tropical island paradise. Get your cameras ready to capture the towering mountains that dominate the skyline, and keep your eyes open for the many flying fish and dolphins that swim in these warm waters. A snorkeler's dream awaits at Sosua. Professional instruction and equipment are provided, including inflatable snorkel vests for added buoyancy so even first timers feel like pros! Crystal clear turquoise waters, unparalleled visibility and a pristine setting make Sosua the best snorkel spot on the North Coast.
Wendy has a house for sale in Puerto Plata that you can view on EscapeArtist Real Estate.