After your guide picks you up from your hotel in Puerto Plata in the early morning, board a luxury yacht for a two-hour cruise along the island’s north coast. Listen to music aboard the yacht as you relax and take in the scenic beauty of the area, and enjoy a light breakfast including fresh fruit, sparkling wine and an open bar.
Sail past the village of La Isabela, the first settlement established by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World – now an archaeological and historical park. As you marvel at the site, where cliffs rise above two rivers shrouded in emerald green foliage, learn about the disastrous end of the colony – due to hurricanes, crop failure, disease and mutiny – as well as the indigenous Tainos enslaved to find gold.
Upon reaching the lovely fishing village of Punta Rusia, disembark for a thrilling banana boat ride. Put on a lifejacket and sit astride the inflatable yellow tube, holding on tight as you and your group are towed through the water. Once you’ve recovered, there’s time for a delicious lunch at a restaurant on the beach lined with coconut palms and a few fishing boats.
After lunch, take a 25-minute speedboat ride to Cayo Paraiso, a natural sandbank that boasts a fantastic coral reef. Cruise across the sparkling Caribbean waters and disembark at this sun lover’s paradise filled with powder-white sands and dotted with tiki huts. Put on your snorkel gear and experience some of the Dominican Republic’s greatest snorkeling as you explore the warm, crystal-clear lagoon encircling Cayo Paraiso.
You’ll discover a range of captivating sea creatures that dwell in the underwater habitat, from schools of tropical fish darting in and out of vibrant corals to colorful starfish, sea turtles, spotted eels and stingrays. Back on shore, enjoy unlimited drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) on the unspoiled beach as you relax in this unforgettable paradise!
Next, hop back in the speedboat for a 30-minute tour of Monte Cristi National Park (Parque Nacional Monte Cristi) – noted as one of the island’s driest regions. Your guide will take you past coastal lagoons, sub-tropical dry forest and dense mangrove swamps, and point out a variety of birdlife including flamingos, herons and brown pelicans that flock here.
View the natural attraction of El Morro, a 777-foot (237-meter) limestone mesa rising from the sand and surrounding waters. From here, one can see Los Cayos Siete Hermanos (The Seven Brothers Cays) – several small offshore islands that offer refuge to 10 species of reptiles, including the American crocodile and sea turtles that return each year to lay their eggs.
After your boat tour, board your coach for the return trip to Puerto Plata, arriving at your hotel around 5:30pm.