If you haven’t heard of Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata is in the north part of the country of Dominican Republic. I was in the Dominican Republic for a day and I took a day excursion by visiting the best of Puerto Plata.
To get to Puerto Plata, a traveler should dock thru Amber Cove coming from a cruise in Amber Coast. Amber Cove brims with bars, pools, lounging and shopping spots. It’s located just outside Puerto Plata, founded by Columbus and the first European settlement in the Americas.
We stayed in Amber Cove for half an hour waiting for our tour guide and our excursion to start. While waiting, cruise guests can shop in different stores. They can get souvenirs made out of the country’s pure source. When the tour guide announced that he already have the exact head count for people going to the tour, we directly headed to the bus that will take us to these sites. These sites were Brugal Rum Factory, Amber Museum, Fortaleza San Felipe, Plaza Independencia and Catedral de San Felipe.
1. Brugal Rum Factory or Distillery
It is located less than a kilometer east of the town limits on the main Sosua-Playa Dorada highway. The distillery is open every day of the week except the weekends. Open at office hours from 9AM to 12PM then 2PM to 5PM. Going to the distillery is for free. Guests will be met by pleasant guide in the reception area and will escort everyone inside the distillery that produces about a million and a half liters of white and dark rum each year. The guide will also explain the distillation and fermentation process to get the perfect rum from sugarcanes. At the end of the tour is a free taste and guests can buy slightly discounted rum by liters and some decent souvenirs.
2. Amber Museum or Museo del Ambar
Amber Museum which was about 10 minutes drive from Brugal Rum Factory is a museum that displays pieces taken from the amber mines in the Northern Mountains with millennial fossils. The museum is located at Duarte Street #61 and is close to Central Park. The building that houses the museum is considered a splendid sample of neoclassical architecture with Victorian influence. Amber is considered a precious gem but it is actually formed when tree saps fossilizes that sometimes catches insects, leaves and plants. Amber mining has been a big business in Dominican Republic over the centuries.
3. Fortaleza de San Felipe
Fortaleza de San Felipe or San Felipe Fort is located on a small peninsula on the Bahia de Puerto Plata. It is the bay where Columbus once had such high hopes for. The Fort is the only vestige of Puerto Plata’s colonial past. Since we were on excursion, we don’t have to pay for admission. In the fort, we were able to look in on a small historical museum and the tiny cell where the hero of the Independence Movement, Juan Pablo Duarte, was briefly confined. Fortaleza San Felipe was utilized to protect the province of Puerto Plata from pirates and corsairs. It is located on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It has its strategic location protecting the entrance of the seaport. Now, it serves as a museum showcasing its role in the history of Puerto Plata.
4. Plaza Independencia
Located at the center of the historic square, Plaza Independencia is a prominent cultural symbol and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city of Puerto Plata. This serene site evokes a sense of nostalgia with its Victorian-style designs and landscaped gardens and flower beds. The plaza has cobbled pathways, park benches, shaded trees, and lots of pigeons. It is a perfect place for a quiet walk in the evening or a great place to kill time in daylight.
5. Catedral de San Felipe Apóstol
Catedral de San Felipe Apóstol is located in Calle Jose del Carmen Ariza. The cathedral is built in modern Victorian style and is the mother of the Diocese of Puerto Plata. It is the biggest Roman Catholic church in the city and most of the locals are Catholic.
As a summary, the whole experience I had in Dominican Republic specifically in Puerto Plata was wonderful and full of information of the rich culture of the country. It sure was the best of Puerto Plata. If I would go back to Dominican Republic, I want to try their beach which is in the eastern part of the nation at Punta Cana. But for now, Puerto Plata was interesting.
Here is my vlog on the Best of Puerto Plata: