You’ll find much about Puerto Plata to enjoy, particularly its nightlife. Its core, the Old City, or Zona Colonial, borders the port to the east, a narrow grid of streets that was once the most stylish neighbourhood in the country. Around the original town sprawls a patchwork maze of industrial zones and concrete barrios known as the New City, formed over the past century with the growth of the town’s main industries apart from tourism, namely tobacco, sugar and rum. More relaxing than either the city or Playa Dorada is Costambar, a quiet gated maze of townhouses and condos just a short RD$50 motoconcho or taxi ride away from the Parque Central while a little further west you’ll find the huge and much-advertised Ocean World, an aquamarine park home to dolphins, seals, sharks and more, whose new marina is one of the largest in the Caribbean and a major stop on the cruise-ship circuit.
The city’s Fortaleza San Felipe is the only impressive vestige of colonial times in one of the oldest European settlements of the New World. More prominent, if not quite as atmospheric, are the scores of often rather dilapidated Victorian gingerbread mansions that make an outdoor museum of the Old City. Along the Atlantic Ocean is its famous Malecón, a 2km promenade best experienced on a weekend evening when its discos, outdoor bars and bonfire beach parties spring to life. Other sights of interest include the Museo de Ámbar, with an impressive display of prehistoric insects trapped in the translucent sap, and the cable-car ride to the summit of Mount Isabela de Torres, the flat-topped behemoth that lords over the city from the south.