Back in the Dominican Republic

4-Feb-2024 • Puerto Plata Dominican Republic

Although I have been to the Dominican Republic once before, I was very excited to return. Ourfirst visit took place back in 2006 when Marc and I sailed on Princess Cruise Line's Grand Princess for two weeks over the Christmas holidays visiting many islands in the Caribbean. The itinerary was full and it increased our country count by 7 new countries.

This time around, our stop was Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic's third largest city.  We docked at Taino Bay.  The cruise terminal was very developed with not only duty free stores, restaurants, and spas but with a huge pool that zig zagged around the terminal area.  In fact, many cruise passengers decided to spend the entire day here.  The atmosphere was lively and fun.

Having read reviews about Puerto Plata as a cruise stop, we decided to visit and explore the city on our own.  True enough, the center of town was very walkable from where the ship docked.  I remember us being able to disembark at 10:30 am after a long wait on board.  It was the first cruise stop after all and everyone on the ship was anxious to come down and sightsee.

I have to say, even though there were two thousand passengers on board, everyone was very polite upon disembarkation every time we reached a new port.  There was no pushing or shoving.  Everyone was in a good mood.

This was the mural that our ship faced while docked.  

A bird's eye view of the Taino Bay Cruise Terminal.  Wifi was very good here.  For us who didn't avail of internet on board the ship, the connection at port was very helpful as it allowed us to catch up on email and social media.

Earlier in the day, having one's picture taken in front of this sign was impossible.  Luckily by around 5 pm, the crowds had dispersed.

While there were touts offering tours and guide services outside the terminal, they weren't pushy nor aggressive.  They took a simple "No, thank you." and they left us alone right away.

There were lots of signs as well to guide visitors to the historic Parque Central and the fort which the locals called the Puntilla.

Our agenda before lunch was to see as much as we could. Luckily for us, we hit all the sights quickly.  The city wasn't very big.  I remember all the people in the city being so kind and hospitable.  There was one incident when we planned to visit the Fortaleza de San Felipe.  We were walking along one major boulevard.  WE saw a cross walk and intended to cross.  But the cars didn't stop and they all traveled really fast.  Suddenly a policeman came out from out of the blue and accompanied us.  He blew his whistle really loud, stopped traffic and let us through!!!

This was the awesome sculpture at the cruise port terminal. Really cute if you asked me.

Our ship, the Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, docked in Taino Bay 

Chocolates from DR

The Parque Central, the main city square where many of the city's important buildings could be found.

One of the very colorful houses that surrounded the Parque Central

Street Art.  The city had a number of murals scattered around the historic city center.

The decorations in town certainly reminded everyone it was Christmas!

There were a number of old buildings in the city.  This was one of them.

An apartment building 

The monument of a very important statesman right by the fort

At the the historic Fortaleza de San Felipe

Inside the Fort which the locals also called the Puntilla

The Fortaleza de San Felipe. Admission was $5.  Very affordable.

After the cultural blitzkreiging we did, we returned to the ship at 2:30 for our late lunch.  We freshened up a bit then got off the ship to visit the city center once again.  We returned to the cathedral to pray and walked around the Parque Central.

Marc at Pink Street

If I'm not mistaken this is Duarte Street which is lined with world flags on both sides.

The facade of the Cathedral of St. Philip the Apostle in Puerto Plata

Inside the cathedral

A nativity scene

A view of the cathedral from the tower in the middle of Parque Central

Is that Nemo at the cruise port terminal?

The city's famous Pink Street.  More an alley, the entire space has been painted pink. This picture was taken right when all the tourists had left the space and had gone on to the next popular attraction a block away, Umbrella Street.

City Hall right on Parque Central