A settlement since the 16th century, the city of San Felipe de Puerto Plata, commonly referred to as just Puerto Plata, has been welcoming traders and travellers for centuries and was one of the first areas developed for tourists in the Dominican Republic. Visitors wanting to indulge in more than a comfortable lounge chair by the pool should consider these five options for exploring Puerto Plata.

Mount Isabel de Torres

Start your exploration of the city at the top by taking the Teleferico (aerial tramway)—the only tramway in the Caribbean—to the top of this 793-metre-high mountain. From the flat plateau you’ll get some stunning, panoramic views of the city. After, you can also wander the botanical gardens and see the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Malecón de Puerto Plata

This entirely paved pathway, complete with bike trails, runs along the shore from popular Long Beach in the east to Fortaleza San Felipe in the west. Along the way, visitors can check out Cosita Rica and Acapulco beaches or stop for a bite and a drink at one of the cafés or restaurants.

Fortaleza San Felipe

Commissioned by King Felipe II of Spain in 1564 to protect his new territory from pirates and European adversaries, this 16th-century fort is one of the oldest in the Caribbean. The stone structure, which was once also used as a prison, is now a museum showcasing 18th and 19th century artifacts.

Damajagua Waterfalls

Located about half an hour from the city centre, these beautiful waterfalls are definitely worth the little trek. Visitors can explore 27 waterfalls, all surrounded by lush landscapes. For the more adventurous, guides will help you climb up the falls so you can jump or slide into pools at the bottom.

Downtown Puerto Plata

Go on a self-guided walking tour of this colourful, historic neighbourhood to take in an endless array of Victorian architecture—one of the largest collections of this type of architecture anywhere in the Caribbean. There are plenty of shops, clubs and restaurants to check out, as well as many historical monuments in and around the main square such as the San Felipe Cathedral.