Tucked between the mountains and the ocean on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast, Puerto Plata is considered the birthplace of tourism in the country. While there’s plenty to do in town, the multitude of beaches and biodiverse waters just off shore are highlights. Here are some options for encountering sea life during your stay.
The clear, warm waters of Sosua Bay are home to some of the best snorkeling spots in the region. No experience is needed to join a tour, and equipment—a snorkel, mask, and fins—is typically included. The bay is sheltered by an impressive reef, which keeps the waters calm and provides a habitat for a diverse array of fish.
Those who want to go deeper and get closer to the sea life of Puerto Plata can do so, with or without a scuba certification. New and inexperienced divers will learn the basics in a simulator pool before heading to the ocean to see marine life with a certified instructor, while more experienced divers can opt for a 2-tank dive to see sunken ships and coral reefs off the northern coast.
It’s hard to beat a day of sailing on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Though many catamaran cruises offer passengers opportunities to swim and snorkel, you can also spot marine life from the decks, including dolphins and flying fish.
The Bay of Samana, located within day trip distance of Puerto Plata, welcomes some 1,500 humpback whales to its warm waters each year. During peak season (January to March), it’s one of the best places on earth to spot whales. Whale watching tours to this region often include a horseback ride to El Limon waterfall as well.