Dominican amber is considered to be some of the finest and clearest in the world. Housed in a Victorian-era mansion that once belonged to a wealthy local family, Puerto Plata’s Amber Museum (Museo de Ambar Dominicano) has an extensive collection of the semi-precious gemstone.
Amber is formed from the resin of trees that became fossilized between 25 and 40 million years ago, covering and preserving whatever lay in its path, from insects to leaves and even small animals. Situated in a beautifully restored Victorian mansion, the Amber Museum has many excellent examples of the naturally formed stone. One of the most popular items on display is a 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) lizard, perfectly preserved in clear resin.
Information panels explain in both English and Spanish how the gemstone is formed and share the history of the family who owned the house. Many Puerto Plata tours include a visit to the museum in addition to such popular attractions as Fortaleza San Felipe and the cable car on Mt. Isabel de Torres.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry to the Amber Museum is free.
- An on-site shop sells genuine amber jewelry and the popular larimar jewelry.
- You can tour the museum with a guide or choose to explore independently.
- Because of steps up to the museum as well as between floors, the museum is not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Amber Museum is located at 61 Calle Duarte, close to the cathedral in the center of Puerto Plata. It’s walking distance from other points in the center and can be visited as part of a guided tour of the town.
When to Get There
The museum is open daily and is busiest mid-mornings. Guides offer tours throughout the day, but visit first thing or in the afternoon for a quieter experience.
Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve
To see more of the Dominican Republic’s natural beauty, head to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve (Parque Ecológico Ojos Indígenas), about 270 miles (430 kilometers) southeast of Puerto Plata. Here you can learn about the island’s plants and animals, swim in crystal clear freshwater lagoons, and walk along forest trails to an almost deserted beach.