Monday, May 13, 2013

Top Beaches near Puerto Plata: Introduction

"Cristo Redentor" Overlooking Puerto Plata
Plenty of travelers fly into Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperon airport (POP) to bypass Santo Domingo – a great idea for a short stay aimed just at the beaches that might not include the big city. But where to go once you arrive? The sandy spots in Puerto Plata itself are nothing to write home about. Below are three of our favorite beaches in the area, which we’ll profile over the next month. They’re all within an hour’s drive of Puerto Plata: Sosua, Cabarete, and Playa Encuentro.


Sosua is the first big town east of Puerto Plata. Founded in the 40s as a sanctuary for Jewish refugees from Europe, it’s now turned into a beach town with a very distinct European influence. There are two beaches in the city, but the larger, called Playa Sosua, is a wonderful place to spend a day or two. As it’s located inside a bay, the water is calm - perfect for a leisurely swim. Snorkeling is therefore especially popular, as the reef reaches almost to the shore. Behind the beach is a long stretch of stone boardwalk lined with vendors hawking souvenirs and dishes from across the pond, like wurst and schnitzel.

Playa Alicia (a.k.a. Playa Santa) of Sosua

The rowdiest beach town in the country, Cabarete is a party day and night. Not to be forgotten, however, is the quality of its beach. The sand curves languorously, though the waves here are a bit stronger than in Sosua. The town’s bars, restaurants, and nightlife back up directly onto the sand, so that you can take in the view while you enjoy fresh fish, a Santo Libre, and the people-watching.

Seashell Salesman in Cabarete
Playa Encuentro

Unlike the other two, Encuentro is not part of any town. In fact, it’s a bit isolated, which is why we love it. The strong waves are some of the best on the island for surfing, and the sand is often deserted save a few vendors serving just-caught-and-fried fish with refreshing Presidentes. It’s just you, sand, and sea. The beach is accessible by public transport (like the others), but getting there with your own car is much more convenient.

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