Puerto Plata used to be the tourist center of the Dominican Republic, however, it has lost ground to what are know more popular destinations, mainly Punta Cana and Bavaro Beach, which offer better options of hotel accommodations and pristine beaches. Samana, mostly La Terrenas, is also gaining popularity due to a quaint town center, whale watching attraction, unique natural surroundings and new development. The resorts in Puerto Plata have become outdated, but the proximity to the airport and small towns along the coast can still make it a worth spot to consider.
I decided to stay at the adult only Viva Wyndham V Heavens located on what used to be the most popular location, the Playa Dorada complex and golf course. The hotel was clean and the rooms were spacious. While it offered a variety of restaurants options, only 2-3 are open for dinner each night. Dinner was quite good, but the buffet offered for breakfast and lunch were quite basic. The place was all-inclusive and alcoholic drinks were included with the price, however, there was no options to upgrade on the quality of the booze to top shelf.
The hotel only offered one pool, which was nice, but needed a paint job. The beach was located a short walk away.
A short drive from Puerto Plata is the town of Sosua. The town offers shops and bars which can be explored by strolling the streets. When I visit, I make it a point to have a cocktail at La Puntilla de Piergiorgio. This place offers splendid views. Extra nice if you visit during the sunset.
Sosua has also lost some of its attractions. There are three main resorts in town. The oldest is Casa Marina, and what it used to bea luxury spots, the Victorian House (now know as Topazio Azul Hotel & Resort) and Sosua Bay, have deteriorated from catering to a family friendly environment to catering to a “not so family friendly clientele” (if you know what I mean).
I headed back to Mao, where my parents live and home-base during the trip for my final day. Just 5 minutes from town you can find a great spot to cool off, Rio Mao. The river’s water is clean and refreshing, unless you go after a rainy day, as the water may be murky. You may find some locals during the weekend, but the place is quite serene on weekdays.
After enjoying the river for a few hours I headed to my father’sland further in the country side, where he raises cattle and grows some fruits and vegetables, and where I spent the first 9 years of my live. It’s called Loma de Guayacanes and it offers spectacular valley and mountains views.
On my last day, as I was headed to the airport, I had to stop in Santiago, to have lunch at Kukaramacara and capture a view of El Monumento, a monument built in 1944 which is the symbol of the city. For about $1.50 you can make it to up the 6th floor and get a greater view of the city.
Lastly, I am a dog lover. Through out this trip, I encountered street dogs which were extremely sweet and welcomed human interactions. One of those dogs was one I named Alice atViva Wyndham Hotel in Puerto Plata. The dog came to us during the day at the beach and followed us while we were there, but she was not permitted to go into the resorts’ premises. A few hours later following dinner, I returned to the beach to capture the sunset and see if “Alice” was still around, but there was no signs of her. After calling her name several times… she returned! I was heartbroken. Such a sweet dog. I wish I would had been able to give her a home. So if you ever go there, and see “Alice”, show her some love, she will surely return the favor.
Till next time.