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Puerto Plata

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'''Guagua''' are simple minivan for normally 7-8 persons that can be easily packed to 22 persons and 2 roosters! Guagua are the main common transportation system but not really organised; you can stop practically anywhere along the main streets and wait for one to stop and climb up, the fare is normally cheap, but you'll probably have to negotiate with the driver or the door operator
 
'''Guagua''' are simple minivan for normally 7-8 persons that can be easily packed to 22 persons and 2 roosters! Guagua are the main common transportation system but not really organised; you can stop practically anywhere along the main streets and wait for one to stop and climb up, the fare is normally cheap, but you'll probably have to negotiate with the driver or the door operator
  
'''Propinas'''.  Much has been written about Propinas in the surrounding areas of Puerto Plata (to get a better idea who these people are see the Sosua page[[http://wikitravel.org/en/Sosua]] ).  The same general rules must apply here.  The difference is that some of the ones here will take the "con man" approach.  One typical example is that you will be approached by a friendly individual who will pretend to be an employee at your resort, based on looking at the wristband you wear, given to you at the hotel.  They can be very knowledgeable about your resort when asking them any questions, and so it is easy to see how they may win your confidence.   
+
'''Propinas'''.  Much has been written about Propinas in the surrounding areas of Puerto Plata (to get a better idea who these people are see '''[[Sosua]]''' ).  The same general rules must apply here.  The difference is that some of the ones here will take the "con man" approach.  One typical example is that you will be approached by a friendly individual who will pretend to be an employee at your resort, based on looking at the wristband you wear, given to you at the hotel.  They can be very knowledgeable about your resort when asking them any questions, and so it is easy to see how they may win your confidence.   
  
 
At first they will say how he/she does not need any of your money and how they will protect you from aggressive vendors.  They will show you around various landmarks (mostly upon request) and they will help you bargain at local shops (sometimes at very good deals).  Some time after when they feel the dust has already settled in, they will begin to pluck at the heartstrings (talking about how his/her parents needs medication, or how his/her baby needs milk, etc.) so you may feel obligated to give them some money when they do ask for it(usually $30 - $60 USD, which is WELL ABOVE THE PROPINA GOING RATE!).  Even if you offer to buy the items yourself at the store you are already in, they will insist on taking the money instead.  Soon afterwards, they will direct you to the bus station which will lead you back to the resort, and most of the times you will never see this individual again!
 
At first they will say how he/she does not need any of your money and how they will protect you from aggressive vendors.  They will show you around various landmarks (mostly upon request) and they will help you bargain at local shops (sometimes at very good deals).  Some time after when they feel the dust has already settled in, they will begin to pluck at the heartstrings (talking about how his/her parents needs medication, or how his/her baby needs milk, etc.) so you may feel obligated to give them some money when they do ask for it(usually $30 - $60 USD, which is WELL ABOVE THE PROPINA GOING RATE!).  Even if you offer to buy the items yourself at the store you are already in, they will insist on taking the money instead.  Soon afterwards, they will direct you to the bus station which will lead you back to the resort, and most of the times you will never see this individual again!

Revision as of 03:50, 9 June 2009

Puerto Plata or San Felipe de Puerto Plata is a city in the Dominican Republic with a population of about 130,000. It is capital of the province of Puerto Plata.

Understand

Known for its pretty sandy beaches, Puerto Plata is a popular resort destination as well as a great place to meet Dominican people and to shop in local commerce.

Get in

Gregorio Luperón International Airport (also: Puerto Plata Airport) (IATA: POP) (ICAO: MDPP). Daily flights to most North American cities.

Get around

There are several options for local transportation between the city proper and the surrounding hotels and resorts.

You can book your airport transfers in advance from the comfort of your home with Dominican Airport Transfers one of the Dominican Republic's leaders in airport transfers servicing all airports and tourist destinations. You can actually get an instant quote and book online on their automated site. Dominican Airport Transfers office is located in Santo Domingo City.

Taxis are the most expensive option and not really more secure than other choices. Buses are slower, but the cheapest, and, once you understand the routes, the easiest way to get around.

Guagua are simple minivan for normally 7-8 persons that can be easily packed to 22 persons and 2 roosters! Guagua are the main common transportation system but not really organised; you can stop practically anywhere along the main streets and wait for one to stop and climb up, the fare is normally cheap, but you'll probably have to negotiate with the driver or the door operator

Propinas. Much has been written about Propinas in the surrounding areas of Puerto Plata (to get a better idea who these people are see Sosua ). The same general rules must apply here. The difference is that some of the ones here will take the "con man" approach. One typical example is that you will be approached by a friendly individual who will pretend to be an employee at your resort, based on looking at the wristband you wear, given to you at the hotel. They can be very knowledgeable about your resort when asking them any questions, and so it is easy to see how they may win your confidence.

At first they will say how he/she does not need any of your money and how they will protect you from aggressive vendors. They will show you around various landmarks (mostly upon request) and they will help you bargain at local shops (sometimes at very good deals). Some time after when they feel the dust has already settled in, they will begin to pluck at the heartstrings (talking about how his/her parents needs medication, or how his/her baby needs milk, etc.) so you may feel obligated to give them some money when they do ask for it(usually $30 - $60 USD, which is WELL ABOVE THE PROPINA GOING RATE!). Even if you offer to buy the items yourself at the store you are already in, they will insist on taking the money instead. Soon afterwards, they will direct you to the bus station which will lead you back to the resort, and most of the times you will never see this individual again!

General rule of thumb: If you do not recognize the individual at all it is best to ignore them (perhaps by pretending to not understand them at all by replying in gibberish). However, if you do not speak Spanish and if you are lost, Propinas may be your only hope in directing you on how to get back, even if their company is at a staggering cost. If you do recognize an employee outside of your hotel, make sure YOU are the one who approaches that person first. And if you know exactly where you are going, just simply ignore them. Or if you are well-versed in Spanish but a little lost, it is better to ask around from someone else who seems less shady as there can be helpful individuals not looking to dig into your wallet. Don't be played for a fool.

See

Do

  • The beach Rent a lounge chair if you really want to appreciate it, if you don't, the Dominican people will ask you all day long if you want to rent a chair from them. The only advantage to being extremely patient and tolerant is their prices drop down with the time! But as everything else, chair rental prices are also negotiable.
  • Water sports and excursions There are countless excursion companies, both local and foreign-based offering water sports (water-skiing, banana boat rides, windsurfing, catamaran cruises, etc.) and land excursions ('safari' trips, horseback riding)

Buy

If you are looking for tourist stuff (paints, rum, cigars, t-shirts, etc.) the best place to go is Sosua, about 10-15 minutes from Puerto Plata.

Also good for vanilla and coffee.

Eat

Entre Amigos, located along the Malecon, which is the road that paralells the ocean in Puerto Plata, is an excellent restaurant.

Drink

Sleep

For additional nearby options see Sosua and Cabarete.

  • Anguins International, Puerto Plata, [1]. Privately owned, luxury three bedroom, three and a half bathroom villa can accommodate up to 6 people. It is located in a quiet residential enclave just 15 minutes from downtown Puerto Plata, the international airport and all major tourist attractions and just 3 minutes walk from the beach.
  • RIU Bachata- Puerto Plata [3]. Beautiful Riu Bachata is an extraordinary getaway on the spectacular shores of Maimon Bay, overlooking a lush tropical mountainside. The 610 bungalow-style guestrooms offer deluxe accommodations with Riu's unique amenities, such as a mini-bar and liquor dispenser. The hotel features a relaxed atmosphere and a wide array of dining and leisure options, all complemented by the renowned Caribbean Street promenade and the exchange privileges programme with Riu's two sister properties within the resort.
  • RIU Mambo- Puerto Plata [4]. Located on beautiful Maimon Bay, Riu Mambo offers a breathtaking view of the ocean and the Puerto Plata mountains. Hotel features 463 tastefully appointed guestrooms, equipped with a mini-bar and liquor dispenser, tantalizing dining options and fun-filled entertainment that includes several sports activities, live music, Riu theme shows and an exciting casino. Exchange privileges with Riu's two sister properties in the Puerto Plata Riu Resort.
  • RIU Merengue- Puerto Plata, [5]. Set amidst tropical gardens and surrounded by mountains, the deluxe Riu Merengue is a beachfront village-style resort, located just 15 minutes from beautiful Puerto Plata. Featuring 544 guestrooms, with spacious accommodations that include a mini-bar and liquor dispenser and a wide array of restaurants, bars and facilities for a truly thrilling experience.
  • Victoria Golf & Beach Resort, (Playa Dorada), [2]. The Victoria Resort Golf & Beach - a charming, smaller resort - Officially re-opened on December 23rd, 2005 after a complete multimillion-dollar remodeling! with the new name Victoria Golf & Beach resort, focused on the golf and honeymoon market. Golfers will enjoy reduced rates at the adjacent 18 hole Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course and the service of a personel golf concierge. Honeymooners (or those of you on a second honeymoon!) may want to upgrade to the ultra-romantic honeymoon suites with a shower built for two and a jacuzzi on the balcony! Clients will be able to choose between "all inclusive" and "bed & breakfast" meal plans.

Most of the large resorts in the area are directly on the beach and offer 'all inclusive' options for food, drinks, and activities.

  • Casa Colonial Hotel, Playa Dorada road, [6]. A fusion of old world charm and modern sensibilities, the Casa Colonial Beach & Spa is a 5 Star luxury ‘all suite’ boutique hotel with an incredible spa, a roof top infinity pool with 4 Jacuzzis and an award winning Executive Chef.
  • Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada, Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Tel: (809) 291-0001, [7]. Located 15 minutes from Puerto Plata Airport. 204 room resort located in the Playa Dorada complex with a shopping mall, three casinos, numerous restaurants, discos, beach and golf.
  • The White House, [8]. Luxury 5-bedroom villa near Cabarete and Sosua on the north coast.

Get out

  • Ocean World
  • Caia Paraiso
  • Montecristo National Park
  • Sosua - Ten minutes from Puerto Plata airport, this town has a nice beach, a wide selection of hotels and restaurants, and a notorious nightlife.
  • Cabarete - Located a short distance to the east, this town offers a massive number of resorts and some of the best kite surfing and wind surfing in the Caribbean.
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