Bahia Luperon Travel Guide

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Bahia Luperon Travel Guide

Bahia Luperon Local History

Columbus wanted to establish a city at Puerto Plata and name it La Isabela, but being detained by a tempest, it was not until 1502 that Nicolas de Ovando founded Puerto Plata, northwest of Santo Domingo. The port became the last stop for ships going back to Europe. Puerto Plata became a major port and trading centre for the Spanish colonies. Original examples of the brightly painted Caribbean-style houses can be found in the bustling centre and along the seafront boulevard.

During the governorship of Nicolas de Ovando in 1502, the city grew in size and by 1508 was granted an official coat of arms by the king of Spain. At first the city prospered as a major trade center for the Spanish Colonies, but with the discovery of new richer lands, the city slowly died. By 1520 the city was financially ruin. Those that remained turn to more profitable business such as smuggling. The Spanish Crown ordered the city destroyed and the citizens re-located to the southern region of the island. Smuggling, however, continued well into the latter part of the 17th century. The city was abandoned until the 18th century, when once again the port open to merchants, but tragedy fell. In 1863 fire swept throughout the city.

The city remained dormant until the beginning of the 1960, when the island took an upward swing in tourism. Its natural beauty and sun-drenched beaches made it an ideal spot for resort development. When you arrive in Puerto Plata, you will land at the Gregorio Luperon, the international airport located here, which serves the north coast of the country. Built in 1978 it was renovated in 1994 to accommodate the increase in tourism to the island. Once again the city prosperity gradually returned and has continued to prosper into the year 2000.

Bahia Luperon Attractions

Bahia Luperon Shopping

Shopping - Shopping in this area is mostly confined to main hotels. There is a handful of cheap and cheerful gift shops in the village and by the beach, specializing in local trinkets. Souvenirs made in the DR are tangible memories of a vacation or holiday that one carries back to one's home country. They may be practical or whimsical, but most of all, they should capture the essence of the country you have visited.

Souvenirs from the Dominican Republic - These include a number of items that reflect the sights and tastes of this country, such as paintings and carvings, ceramics, clay dolls, jewelry of amber or larimar, coffee and cigars. Note that the colourful paintings that are sold as Dominican art on city streets, are actually variations of famous Haitian paintings using house paint. Souvenirs may be purchased in the many shopping centers of Santo Domingo, at supermarkets, at hotels, or at special artisan marketplaces.

Mercado Modelo - Is a bustling marketplace that carries a large selection of crafts and paintings (not to mention postcards, fruit, meat and vegetables, freshly ground coffee, and almost anything else). Prices may be marked up to allow for tour guide commissions and bargaining. If you have not come with a guide, you are welcome to bargain for a discount. Located on Av. Mella, near the Parque Independencia.

Bahia Luperon Activities

Fun City Action Park - This go-kart racing park is located 15 km east of Puerto Plata. The park offers 4 racing tracks with go-kart, sprint, midget, grand prix and bumper cars. There is a restaurant/snack bar on site. The park is generally open between 10 am and 8 pm every day.

Columbus Aquaparque/Water Park - This waterslide park is located 2 km west of Sosua and is the largest waterslide park in the Caribbean. The park has many different types (levels) of slides, as well as swimming pools, restaurants and shops. The park is generally open from 10:00am until 5:00pm daily and occasionally hosts live musical performances on weekends.

Bahia Luperon Parks & Gardens

La Isabela - This is the site of the first constructed Spanish settlement and today it is a protected park. Well known as a testament to the true beginning of America.

Damajagua Cascades - Located 20 - 30 minutes west of Puerto Plata, the gardens has 27 waterfalls. There are many Guides at the entrance who will take you through the route for a tip. It is a 30 minute walk to the first waterfall and most people are able to climb up to the seventh fall. An alternate route is to climb up the footpath and cascade the waterfalls back down.

Mount Isabela de Torres (Puerto Plata) - From Puerto Plata, visitors can take a cable car up to the top of the highest manicured gardens in the Caribbean, providing spectacular views of the city and surrounding areas below. At the summit is the statue of Christ the Redeemer , tropical gardens and a restaurant. If you are looking for more of an adventure-type trip, the mountain can also be hiked (approximately 4 hours) to the top, through a canopy of tropical forests.

Bahia Luperon Beaches

Luperon Beach - This is good choice in the area, which lies about a 60-minute drive to the west of Puerto Plata. This is a wide beach of powdery white sand, set amid palm trees that provide wonderful shade when the noonday sun grows too fierce. It is better for windsurfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling than swimming. Various water sports concessions are found here, along with several snack bars.

Puerto Blanca Marina - Luperon is predominantly known for its marina, located on the outskirts of town. This bay location provides the perfect mooring spot for large fishing vessels and sailboats, looking to explore a bit of the Dominican Republic, stock up on supplies for the rest of their journey, or seek tranquil refuge if there is stormy weather out at sea. Luperon is considered to be the only safe harbour in the Dominican Republic.

The Beach Playa Grande - Very popular with tourists because the sand and water are very clean. There are also palm trees to lie under and sun beds to catch the rays. To get a souvenir to remember your holiday, there by is a village nearby which specializes in selling local trinkets. Water sports facilities are available on the beach. If you enjoy eating out there are a couple of restaurants in the village. Playa Grande is reasonably attractive and offers relatively protected swimming, owing to its position in the cove.

The Beaches at Playa Dorada - Collectively known as the "Amber Coast" for the deposits of amber that have been discovered here. Playa Dorada has one of the highest concentrations of hotels on the north coast, so the beaches here, though good, are almost always crowded, both with tourists and locals. The beaches have lovely white or powdery beige sand and the waters are very popular with water-skiers and windsurfers. Many concession stands along the beach rent equipment.

Bahia Luperon Restaurants and Bars

Rice plays a considerable role in Dominican cuisine, and visitors can explore the wonderful ways in which it is used, at many of the local restaurants and snack bars. Meat, rice and tropical vegetables are found on most menus, and it also appears cooked with beans (the traditional Caribbean rice 'n' peas) and with coconut. Rice and chicken (Arroz con pollo) is a favourite dish, as is locrio, which is similar to paella except that meat is used rather than seafood.

Cuisine in the Dominican Republic is surprisingly heavy, featuring many stews (guisados) which often come with a hefty serving of vegetables on the side. Favourite desserts include rice pudding and sweet sugary concoctions, served with the islands wonderful tropical fruits. Restaurants mix excellent fruit juices and particularly bastidas, which are fresh fruit milk shakes.

Rum, is the main alcoholic drink in the Dominican Republic, and you will see the main brands advertised everywhere: Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudez. They come as white (blanco) rums, but these can be pretty harsh, so do try the mellower golden (dorado) or aged (anejo) rums. The Dominican beer, Presidente, is the finest lager beer in the Caribbean, best served at near freezing temperature.

Bahia Luperon Restaurants

Acuarela - The best and most appealing restaurant in Puerto Plata occupies the rose-colored walls of a 150-year-old former private home. The house was the birthplace and home of the nation's most famous watercolorist, Rafi Vasquez. Today, the house is maintained as a restaurant by the artist's son and daughter-in-law, Rafael and Linda Vasquez. Well-crafted starters include Camembert tropicale wrapped in prosciutto and served with guava and orange slices, and shrimp Acuarela, breaded in yucca flour and served with a tropical fruit chutney. The best main courses include a confit of crispy duck with Asian hoisin sauce, New Zealand lamb chops with chutney, tomatoes, onions, and rosemary; and a mixed seafood platter with lobster, shrimp, and calamari. Main courses are RD$145-RD$375 (US$7.25-US$19). The restaurant is located on Calle Certad 3, at Calle Presidente Vasquez. Tel: 809/586-5314.

Aquaceros Bar & Grill - This is a favourite restaurant on the Malecon, just across the busy boulevard from the sea. The menu lists such tempting food items as Creole-style conch, two different preparations of lobster, burgers, barbecued fish, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas. Of special note is the house version of Monterrey chicken, made with chicken breast, ham, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. Rum punch and banana mamas give diners a buzz. Reservations are recommended, and main courses are $5-$17. The restaurant is located at Malecon 32. Tel: 809/586-2796.

Hemingway's Cafe - The character of this cafe stands in stark contrast to the manicured exterior of the shopping center that contains it. Inside, visitors will find a dark and shadowy bar and grill, dotted with accessories you might have found on a pier in Key West. Here you can have you fill of succulent pastas, fajitas, quesadillas, meal-sized salads, burgers, and huge New York steaks, while downing one of the "Floridita" cocktails. After around 9pm, a karaoke machine cranks out romantic or rock-and-roll favourites. Sandwiches, salads, and pastas are available at RD$69-RD$89 (US$3.45-US$4.45), and main course platters are RD$89-RD$349 (US$4.45-US$17). The cafe is located at Playa Dorada Plaza. Tel: 809/320-2230.

Bahia Luperon Bars & Clubs

Playa Dorada Casino - Visitors who only have time to visit one casino, should favour this establishment. The mahogany gaming tables are reflected in the silver ceiling. No shorts are permitted inside the premises after 7pm, and beach attire is usually discouraged. Access to the slot machines is at 4pm, with full casino action after 6pm. The casino is located in the Playa Dorada Hotel. Tel: 809/586-3988.

Crazy Moon - This is the hottest, hippest, and most sought-after nightclub in Puerto Plata. Fronted by an artful re-creation of a clapboard-sided Creole cottage, it's open Monday to Saturday 10pm to 4am. Admission charges range from RD$20 to RD$80 (US$1-US$4).Crazy Moon is adjacent to the lobby of the AMHSA Paradise Hotel. Tel: 809/320-3663.

La Barrica - Lies behind an ochre-colored Spanish colonial facade on the dusty highway leading from Puerto Plata to Santiago, about 2km south of the town center. It is mobbed with locals every night after 11pm. They talk, smoke, drink, flirt, and often make out on any of the thousands of folding chairs. If you enjoy active, sometimes aggressive merengue bars where a man will positively never need to be alone, you might find it fascinating. Women should not come here alone. Entrance is free, and you might be frisked for weapons before you enter. Open Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 6am, Friday and Saturday 2pm to 6am. Located on Avenida Manolo Tavares Justo 106. Tel: 809/586-6660.

Bahia Luperon children's activities

Fun City Action Park - This go-kart racing park is located 15 km east of Puerto Plata. The park offers 4 racing tracks with go-kart, sprint, midget, grand prix and bumper cars. There is a restaurant/snack bar on site. The park is generally open between 10 am and 8 pm every day.

Columbus Aquaparque/Water Park - This waterslide park is located 2 km west of Sosua and is the largest waterslide park in the Caribbean. The park has many different types (levels) of slides, as well as swimming pools, restaurants and shops. The park is generally open from 10:00am until 5:00pm daily and occasionally hosts live musical performances on weekends.

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