DR Touristing: Puerto Plata

We took our first overnight trip to the closest city, Puerto Plata, about an hour’s drive away through pretty rolling hills and a ton of construction.

Captain came along for the ride. He’s still figuring out the right way to ride in a car; he tried a couple of different positions before settling on the center of the back seat.

By the time we got there, since we’re super morning people, it was time for lunch. We parked outside a sketchy touristic “Amber Museum” aka store, where they insisted on accompanying us on a walk down to the beach to see “their cousin’s tipico” on the Malecon. Naturally this was in the opposite direction from the restaurant we’d picked out. We eventually lost the guy, and headed back to Casa 40 for a surprisingly delicious lunch, and an excellent cat frolic. We especially loved their anti-straw propaganda.

There’s an especially tourist-friendly “instagram alley” downtown, just outside the restaurant. The coffee shop didn’t really sell coffee, and the chocolate museum was more of a store with a backdrop, but the backdrops were nice so we still stopped for a couple more photos. Captain was less enthusiastic about this stop.

We’re told that the DR is famous for its amber, and we did, out of morbid curiosity, return to the tourist trap “amber museum”. They told us that the other museum was closed, and when we said we didn’t have much time, they rushed us through their little museum section to get us into their shop. Go figure. This was kind of what we expected, so we made a hasty exit and crossed town to get to the official museum. We were the only ones there, and were treated to a nice tour by a knowledgeable docent who was very apologetic about how the real guide would not be there for another hour. They had examples of just about every tiny fossilized thing I could imagine, and best of all, their gift shop was closed for renovation. (Charitably, perhaps this is what the tourist trap meant?) Apparently they loaned some of their pieces for the Jurassic Park movie, and they were really proud about that.

There’s also a museum dedicated to General Luperon, and since he’s our town’s namestake, we had to check that out. We were paired with an English-speaking guide, and she tried really hard, but despite all our best efforts, I don’t think we learned anything about the General at all. Ah well: it was a neat house to visit, and the General was friendly.

We also wandered the town a bit, down to the beach and around the obligatory square and fort. In the square, we ran into a funeral procession, which was interesting to see – a slow pass through town in a mixture of cars and motos.

Captain napped in the wonderfully accommodating (and kitten-filled) hotel for some of this, as well as for dinner – which was a good thing, since the restaurant we ate at had several very cuddly kittens. Jazz was most pleased: Captain is many things, but a lap cat is not one of them.

The next morning, we toured the Brugal rum distillery, the Del Oro chocolate factory, and several supermarkets, and completely neglected to take any pictures of any of them.

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