Cofresi Travel Guide

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Cofresi Travel Guide

Cofresi Local History

Cofresi is located approximately 10 km west of Puerto Plata, and was named after Captain Roberto Cofresi, an infamous Puerto Rican pirate. The town had its humble beginnings as a small fishing village, discovered by Christopher Columbus in the early 1490's. The natural port of Puerto Plata has an enigmatic beauty and there is a couple of explanations for its name, which means Port of Silver.

Some people say that the name was given due to the silvery appearance the mist on the background mountain, Isabela de Torres. Others say it was the silvery looking leaves of the guayaba trees that grow on the mountain, and others believe it derived from the appearance of thousands of shimmering silver coins in the port's waters at sunset.

The first fort in the New World, Fuerte de San Felipe, was built in 1540, and the port became a stop for traders between Europe and the Dominican Republic. The Spanish lost interest in the port, during the 1600's, moving south to Santo Domingo and the neighbouring Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba. Abandoned, the city was later destroyed by Spanish royal decree. In the 1740's the city was rebuilt by some Spanish families who immigrated from the Canary Islands.

The thriving port and a tobacco boom, beginning in the 1870's, made this city the wealthiest and cosmopolitan in the Caribbean for a few decades. Most of its importance, of that time, was lost, but Puerto Plata did grow into the largest city on the North Coast of the country. Tourism was brought to the area during the 1970's, and while it did not became a major tourist itself, Puerto Plata continues to have many visitors from the surrounding resort areas.

Today Cofresi is a resort community consisting of higher-end hotels and exclusive private villas enjoying picturesque ocean and mountain views.

Cofresi Attractions

Cofresi Shopping

Columbus Plaza - The plaza offers basic souvenirs and a minimarket. Taina Plaza, formerly the principal retail outlet, now houses a bar/restaurant and simple gift shop only. Several handicraft shacks along the beach. Puerto Plata is a better bet.

Corfresi Several handicraft shacks along the beach. If you enjoy shopping go to the mini markets to buy souvenirs. There are also several handicraft shacks lined along the beach so you can bring back a symbol of the Dominican Republic.

Most people will agree that you can find almost anything in Santo Domingo. Indeed the problem now is sorting through the many new shopping malls that have gone up in the affluent neighbourhoods and commercial areas of the city, and even in the populous eastern side of Santo Domingo. Despite the many new malls, hundreds of specialty shops still are planted throughout the city and discovering them can be a shopper's headache or delight. One big plus about shopping in the DR is that most stores will gift wrap for free.

Santo Domingo - Is a city in which you can buy almost anything. For those who wish to indulge, the city offers a variety of top-notch, shopping centers where one can purchase the latest summer fashions from all over the world, and cold weather clothes as well. There is a round up of some of the larger shopping areas and establishments. Keep in mind that the city is dotted with small specialty shops, like Plaza Central, and Plaza Lama, both situated on Winston Churchill, 27 de Febrero, and 27 Febrero, respectively.

Cofresi Activities

Ocean World Marine & Water Park - This marine park is located 5 km west of Puerto Plata, in the resort area of Cofresi. It has the world's largest dolphin lagoon, the only sea lion encounter of its kind, the world's first shark interaction pool, along with tigers, exotic birds, reptiles and tropical fish.

Glass Bottom Boat - Glass bottom boat tours are available from Sosua, on the North Coast, and are a fun excursion for the whole family. These boats travel the clear waters of Sosua Bay, allowing you to peek at the magnificence and beauty of the underwater world.

Cofresi Parks & Gardens

Ocean World Adventure Park (Cofresi) - This marine park has the world's largest dolphin lagoon, the only sea lion encounter of its kind, the world's first shark interaction pool, along with tigers, exotic birds, reptiles and tropical fish. There is also restaurants and souvenir shops on site.

Central & Independence Parks - Here visitors can see city residents enjoy a break from the mid-day sun under the shade of trees, and Mount Isabel de Torres , the mountain located just behind Puerto Plata. You can take a gondola/cable car from Puerto Plata, to the top, which will provide you with spectacular views of the city and surround area. Once at the top, visitors will find the statue of Christ the Redeemer and beautiful botanical gardens.

Cofresi Beaches

Beaches - Generally unattractive sweeping bay of brown sand, lined with palms and gnarled old trees that offer some shade. The water and sand are clean and, although not the most aesthetically pleasing strip of coastline, it offers satisfactory views of low cliffs and is generally calm, thanks to reef protection.

Sun beds are in plentiful supply and a motley collection of thatched huts sell local handicrafts and snacks. Hotel guests can enjoy a variety of water sports, and a water-sports centre organizes diving, windsurfing and boat rides for visitors without local accommodation.

Cofresi Restaurants and Bars

The food in the Dominican Republic is surprisingly heavy. Local cuisine features many stews (guisados), which often come with a hefty serving of vegetables on the side. A popular choice is the tripe stew mondongo (not to be confused with mofongo, spiced mashed plantain). Casseroles (cazuelas) and soups (sopas) are also widely offered, as are asopaos, thick soupy rice dishes with meat or seafood. Rice also plays a significant role is the Dominican cuisine. It appears cooked with beans (the traditional Caribbean rice 'n' peas) and also 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. Snacks appear at street side stalls all over the country.

Restaurants mix excellent fruit juices and particularly bastidas, which are fresh fruit milk shakes. Rum, of course, is the main alcoholic drink in the Dominican Republic. Visitors will see the main brands advertised everywhere: Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudez.

Cofresi Restaurants

Le Papillon - This is an unusual but charming restaurant, set on a hillside in a residential neighbourhood about 5km south of Puerto Plata. The best way to start a meal here is with a caipirinha (a Brazilian cocktail) at the bar beneath the cane-frond ceiling. Later, within an open-sided pavilion overlooking a forest, visitors will be presented with a menu that is divided into categories, featuring different preparations of pork, chicken, beef, seafood, rabbit, and even vegetarian offerings.

Be sure to try one of the favourites, including fettuccine with lobster; "pirate" kabobs with shrimp, tenderloin of beef, and vegetables, an especially worthy chicken stuffed with shrimp and served with saffron sauce, and a four-fisted version of chateaubriand that is only prepared for two. Reservations are recommended, and main courses are RD$125-RD$295 (US$6.25-US$15). The restaurant is located at Villas Cofresi. Tel: 809/970-7640.

Cofresi Bars & Clubs

Tropicalissimo - The only big show in town is Tropicalissimo, staged at the Barcelo Bavaro Casino in the style of the old Tropicana of Cuba. Most guests do not mind the lack of nightlife as they retire early, exhausted from a day at the beach. Regardless, there are bars in Plaza Bavaro (near Barcelo and Melia hotels) where visitors can meet the locals. The atmosphere at these places should be lively but do not expect too much. If you will be staying in the area of Iberostar or Riu hotels, Disco Pacha is the place. They charge admission for those not staying at Riu hotels. Another area disco is America Latina.

Bavaro Disco - This spot has emerged as the hottest, most popular, and sexiest disco in Punta Cana thanks to a superb sound system. Painted black, with simulated stars overhead and lots of mirrors, the place is open nightly from 11pm to 5am. Entrance is free for residents of the Barcelo Hotel complex, nonresidents pay $45. Located on the grounds of the Bavaro Barcelo Beach, Golf & Casino Resort . Tel: 809/ 686-5797.

Cofresi children's activities

Ocean World Marine & Water Park - This marine park is located 5 km west of Puerto Plata, in the resort area of Cofresi. It has the world's largest dolphin lagoon, the only sea lion encounter of its kind, the world's first shark interaction pool, along with tigers, exotic birds, reptiles and tropical fish.

Glass Bottom Boat - Glass bottom boat tours are available from Sosua, on the North Coast, and are a fun excursion for the whole family. These boats travel the clear waters of Sosua Bay, allowing you to peek at the magnificence and beauty of the underwater world.

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