Puerto Plata, located on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, is not as well known or as crowded as Punta Cana is to the southeast, and that is just how anglers, visitors and locals like it. The waters are not as filled with boats, the beaches are not packed with people, and there is a much more relaxed atmosphere. But don’t let that casual attitude fool you; there is great excitement waiting for you in the waters offshore.
The D.R. has a reputation worldwide as a fishing destination, and Puerto Plata has a distinction, and rightly so, of being one of the best fishing spots on the island. There is amazing action just off the shore year-round and relaxing reefs full of tasty fish just waiting for your hook. The charters here are full of experienced and talented captains who can make your experience here one you will never forget.
While not very well known, there is actually some excellent inshore fishing in the rivers, flats and lagoons. Here you can find Tarpon and Snook. Anyone that fishes know what kind of fun it is trying to land one of these two. This is great for avid fly fishers.
The second option is inshore bottom feeding at the reefs. One advantage of inshore charters is calmer waters. Further out looking for the beasts of the sea, the water is always choppy thanks to strong tradewinds. So this is the perfect option for those not wanting to get or prone to getting seasick. It is also great for families with kids, novices and anglers just looking for a relaxing day on the water while still reeling in a ton of fish, not as large as offshore, but very tasty and still fun to catch.
While there is plenty of fun to be had inshore, offshore is what most anglers coming to the island are here to do, and it is where the action really is. Surprisingly the fishing grounds offshore where the monsters lurk are not very far from land. This is because the Puerto Rico Trench is right off the coast, with the depths of the waters dropping thousands of feet just offshore. The trench has undercurrents that drag plankton and small baitfish to the surface. This is what the big pelagic fish are looking for and why they are in great numbers here in Puerto Plata. Some of these fish, and the fish you will encounter during your charter, are Golden Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), Wahoo, Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna, Barracuda, Sailfish, White Marlin, Striped Marlin and the kind daddy of them all, the one anglers come to the D.R. from all over the world to catch, the Blue Marlin. The best time to fish for Blue Marlin is in the summer and early fall months of June-October. The other fish have their own seasons as well, but most are there year-round. Fishing for these beasts takes patience and strength, and the expertise of a knowledgeable captain. There is nothing like the thrill of hearing the reel screeching, getting into the chair, fighting for what seems like forever as the fish dashes for freedom with incredible leaps out of the water. The exhilarating feeling you get when you finally land one of these monsters of the deep is one you will take with you for a lifetime.
Like Punta Cana, Puerto Plata has some beautiful beaches. Some of them have been voted best in the Caribbean. The coastline is over 60 miles of white sandy beaches. Playa Dorado and Playa Sosua are the two most popular beaches in the area. They are lively with numerous all-inclusive resorts, restaurants and bars. Cabarete Beach is the haven for fun. Huge swells and breaks and the continual tradewinds make this beach the perfect place for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. And there are plenty of more secluded beaches, including Playa Cambiaso. This beach is located down a long road full of potholes, but it is worth the hard drive or long walk. Watching the sunset on this golden beach with azure water and swaying palm trees and not another soul in sight is, in a word, magical.
Back in town is Isabel de Torres Hill. The views from the top are remarkable, and it is the most incredible place to view breathtaking sunrises and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. Getting to the top of the hill is fun too. The Teleferico is a cable car that takes you on a scenic ride from the city’s historical center to the top of the hill.
Puerto Plata is home to the Brugal Rum Distillery, and a visit is a great way to see the process from sugarcane to rum, oh and taste some of the liquid gold too.
El Chico National Park is just outside the town. There are many hiking and biking trails in the park through the tropical rainforest, caves for exploring, and freshwater lagoons perfect for cooling off after a long hike. For a lot of fun, there are the 27 pools of Damajagua. This is 27 natural pools and waterfalls flowing from the Damajagua River. First, you have to climb footbridges and the hill. Then you follow the river, jump off rocks, both big and small, into the pools and slide down waterfalls on your way back down. A trip to Puerto Plata should not be made without a trip here. Cayo Arena is a small island off the coast with white sand beaches and a flourishing reef system that attracts snorkelers and divers. You can also drop anchor and find excellent diving in Sousa Bay. In the waters near Samana Bay, just east of Puerto Plata, humpback whales come to calve and mate during the winter months. It is a little bit of a distance but well worth it. During the day, if you do not want to go to the water or beaches, there is still plenty for you to do.
Puerto Plata is a beautiful small town with much to see and do. It is not too far from Samana Peninsula with its beautiful beaches and small fishing villages. But it is the mind-blowing fishing that you will be bragging to your friends about for years to come. Puerto Plata is special and a true fisherman’s paradise.