Experience a city's charming rebirth
When Christopher Columbus first discovered the northern shores of the Dominican Republic in the late 15th-century, he christened it San Felipe de Puerto Plata or “Port of Silver” after the glistening silver mountain peak shrouded in fog. Situated at the base of Isabel de Torres Mountain, Puerto Plata flourished as a major trade center for the Spanish colonies, until smuggling and strife razed the city completely in mid-19th century and it was rebuilt anew in Victorian and neoclassic architecture.
Today, its well-preserved historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Puerto Plata draws vacationers from around the world to its numerous tourist attractions, including whimsical waterfalls, beautiful stretches of white-sand beaches at Playa Dorada and Cabarete, and spectacular snorkeling sites all waiting to be explored on an MSC Caribbean and Antilles Cruise.
MSC Cruises excursions offer plenty of exciting things to see including:
- City center
- Isabel de Torres Mountain
- Damajaqua Waterfalls
- Paradise Island
Discover the highlights of the city center an MSC excursion that stops at Independence Square, San Felipe Cathedral and historic San Felipe Fortress, built in the 16th century to protect the city from pirates. While in town, delve into local traditions. Listen to merengue, shop for hand-rolled cigars, and stop at the Brugal Rum distillery, established in 1888, for a tasting of top Dominican rums.
Above the city, enjoy panoramic views from the peak of Isabel de Torres Mountain, which at over 2,600 feet above sea level is the highest point in Puerto Plata. Here you can also find the Christ the Redeemer monument—a replica of the one in Rio de Janeiro—as well as a botanical garden that is worth a visit.
Venture inland to Damajaqua Waterfalls, composed of a series of 27 waterfalls like “The Virgin,” “La Tinajita” and “The Corkscrew.” A guided excursion of these waterfalls will have you climbing, jumping, swimming and sliding down these natural limestone waterslides in what promises to be a thrilling adventure.
If you’re after sand and sea, don’t miss a trip to one of the beloved beaches. For something truly special, try a catamaran or speedboat excursion to Cayo Arena, known as Paradise Island. This idyllic coral island, just off the coast of Punta Rusia, is home to hundreds of species of fish awaiting your discovery at the Dominican Republic’s best snorkeling reef.