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My Puerto Plata Dominican Republic Summer Vacation Review

swim with dolphins puerto plata dominican republic

There are a plethora of vacation destinations within the Caribbean, but perhaps none quite as lovely as Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Located on the north coast, the area boasts charming towns, spectacular hiking and mountain biking, lively nightlife, and miles and miles of beautiful white sand beaches. Plus, unlike other Caribbean vacation destinations, Puerto Plata offers tranquility without the hordes of tourists.

There are numerous activities to enjoy during your stay. As I already mentioned, the coastal region offers up some of the world’s most unspoiled beaches. Imagine spending the day strolling along with aquamarine water on one side and a thick fringe of palm trees on the other, gently swaying in the ocean breeze. Every day I spent an hour or more walking and simply laying in the sun – it was incredibly relaxing and just what I needed.

Amazing Puerto Plata Beach

Outdoor Fun for Everyone!

I’m an outdoor enthusiast and I loved the guided hike my family and I went on that introduced us to the area’s astounding flora and fauna. Thrill seekers can explore the 27 waterfalls, where adrenaline junkies can white water rafting to diving from rock walls into the pools below. Although I didn’t have the stomach for it, I saw people having a great time of it. Puerto Plata has plenty of activities for everyone’s taste.

White Water Rafting Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata also offers a rich and diverse blend of cultures to experience. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy merengue, blues, jazz and folk concerts, as well as traditional dance performances. Puerto Plata even hosts a yearly International sand castle festival. I’d love to try and schedule my next vacation to experience the amazing sand sculptures.

Those seeking an exciting nightlife scene will not be disappointed. All of the resorts have their own bars and discos, so you can enjoy some cocktails and dance the night away, then simply head upstairs to your room when the exhaustion finally sets in. There are also wonderful lounges and cabaret bars that locals enjoy and are happy to share with visitors.

Ocean World – One Place Stop for Water Action

I can hardly talk about exciting activities without mentioning swimming with dolphins at Ocean World Park. Not only will you have a completely exciting and memorable day at the park like my family and I did, but it is so incredibly easy to get to. Any resort in the area will be able to set up transportation to and from your hotel for free. We took a clean and comfortable bus that dropped us off right in front of Ocean World’s ticket booth.

Playing with Rays
Playing with Rays

The staff at the park are incredibly friendly and can direct you to all of the shows and amenities that are offered like the dolphin show, sea lion show, bird show, bird aviary, shark show, tiger grotto, pools and lounge chairs, and the lunch buffet, which was even better than I thought it would be!

My first activity was enjoying the 30-minute Dolphin Show, which was a real crowd pleaser. Even though you’ve probably seen dolphins perform tricks on TV and in the movies, seeing them do it in person is unforgettable. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Sea Lion show because they are just incredibly adorable and funny at the same time. My family and I giggled throughout it.

At some point during the day you’re going to need a break. You can either get some lunch or just relax by the pool in a lounge chair, or do BOTH, which is what we did. As I said, the lunch buffet was really quite tasty and offered us salad, meatballs, rice, chicken, fish, cold cuts, bread and flan. As per usual, I ate more than I should have, which is why I needed to go take a short nap by the pool.

Swimming with Dolphins in Puerto Plata

After my nap is when I actually got to swim with the dolphins. There are 4 different swim programs: Dolphin Swim, Dolphin Encounter, Diving with Dolphins, and Trainer for the Day in Puerto Plata. Swimming with the dolphins gets you into deep water where you can experience a dorsal fin ride and more. I highly recommend this.

Puerto Plata Dolphin Swim

If you have very little ones with you, or even adults who are not strong swimmers, there is the Dolphin Encounter, which is in shallow water. Here you can pet, kiss and hug the dolphins. Trainer for a day is exactly what it sounds like – you get to experience what it would be like to be a dolphin trainer at the park.

I had swum with the dolphins before so I wanted to try something totally different and unique, which is scuba diving with dolphins. I will NEVER forget this experience. If you have diving experience, do not miss this opportunity.

Amber Port – the New Cruise Port

The Amber Port is very new and cost a total of $85 million to build. It was not here the last time I visited Puerto Plata. It has been over 25 years since cruise ships have been able to stop on the Amber Coast – called such because of its abundance of the translucent, burnt-orange stone.

Amber Cove Puerto Plata
Amber Cove Puerto Plata

The port is located on the northern coast right next to Puerto Plata and receives calls from various cruise ships like Carnival, Holland America, Costa, Cunard and P&O, among others. The port has a transportation hub that offers passengers access to taxis and car rentals. Cruise Ship Travel to Dominican Republic

Besides being a port of call, this is a great jumping off point for many day excursions such as a trip to the Amber Museum and the Malecon, a three-mile-long boardwalk in Puerto Plata. You can also connect to Ocean World dolphin swim programs, snorkeling trips, and ATV off-roading adventures.

All-Inclusive Resorts

I have visited Puerto Plata on more than one occasion, and each time, have always been incredibly happy with my accommodations. That’s one of the things that makes this area so perfect for vacationers: the variety of all-inclusive resorts.

For my most recent vacation, my family stayed at the VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort, which is located directly on the beach. My kids loved that the hotel had a kid’s club and three different swimming pools. My wife and I loved the feeling of ultimate tranquility. I don’t relax everywhere I go, but I could definitely relax here. It also didn’t hurt that the resort had an international selection of restaurants. Have you noticed I like to eat?! This resort was the perfect backdrop to our vacation.

VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort All Inclusive Resort

In the past I have stayed at Iberostar Costa Dorada, which is about 10 minutes from the city of Puerto Plata. The thing I remember most about this resort were the lush, tropical gardens everywhere you walked. I remember thinking, “Okay, I am actually in paradise now!”

The staff was very friendly and helped my family and I set up day activities like tennis, kayaking and diving. My wife really liked this hotel because of the spa where she got many, many massages and facials.

Another resort I highly recommend is ClubHotel Riu Merengue. If you like stepping out onto your balcony and feasting your eyes on expansive and impressive views, you won’t be disappointed staying here.  This resort has a fresh water swimming pool, a wellness spa, and even a gym.  The neat thing about this hotel is that it shares facilities with the Hotel Riu Bachata, so you’ll also have access to their programs and activities like windsurfing, table tennis, bodyboarding and golf.

My vacation(s) to Puerto Plata was everything I hoped it would be and I have no doubt if you choose to vacation here, you’ll end up making memories of a lifetime as well.

Your Puerto Plata Experience and Feed Back

We would love to hear from you and what you did in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic. Did you do any of these activities that we have listed here? What places do you recommend to go stay in or eat at? In fact we are so interested in hearing what you have to say that we will entice you to comment, the first 5 comments will receive a $5 Amazon Gift card by email. The only thing we ask that you comment has something to do about Puerto Plata and your stay there or the nearby area.

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Easter in the Dominican Republic – Ocean World… Or Paradise?

When the thought of a beautiful vacation with dolphins and other marine wildlife comes to mind, Ocean World should be at the epicenter. It has the beauty of a paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the world where a person can go and be closer to some of nature’s most beautiful and deadly creatures not to forget an exciting blend of nightlife as well. There is always something to do for everyone that goes here, all you need is a little imagination, drive and a sense for adventure and you are ready to go. The sun is shining and the reflection off the clear blue water is intoxicating. It is as if a person is looking through glass and there isn’t a single detail – not a grain of sand or pebble – that is hidden from view when looking in. You can’t ignore the larger organisms either. The interaction you receive with these beautiful animals is absolutely amazing.

Puerto Plata Dominican Republic Vacation

Check out these All Inclusive Vacation and Resorts from Expedia!

A Unique Journey

Unlike other places, here  you can actually interact with the wildlife. You can interact with sharks, sting rays, sea lions, tigers, and of course dolphins. The most beautiful little creature will come up to you and kiss you on the cheek with its beak. It will almost seem like the dolphin is posing for you; you are the paparazzi and he is your subject, the human in the picture is his accessory. There is personality that the visitor can feel exuding from the creature and it can feel yours. It is truly breathtaking!

If that doesn’t seem like enough there is also the chance to scuba dive with the dolphins and the sharks. When a dolphin comes to mind people don’t automatically think, let’s throw a shark in there. However there is a simple and intoxicating thrill to being with one of the most playful and beautiful creatures with one of the deadliest. There is a balance that the visitor gets to experience. The beauty and serenity of the playful dolphin, with the majesty of a shark, serves to give the visitor a very unique and unforgettable experience.

Many Different Animal at Ocean World Park
Many Different Animal at Ocean World Park

Fun for Everyone and Educational too!

There are also educational tours so the visitor not only gets to experience its physical beauty but appreciate the creature’s intelligence and place in the wild. There are performances by many creatures, including the dolphins. Their gymnastic skills and ability to train in unison with the other dolphins really does inspire a bit of awe from the viewer. The animals move with almost perfect synchronization and one really has to think: it’s hard for humans to be in sync, and these beautiful creatures do it and probably look more graceful than us doing it!

It’s easy to get there, easy to enjoy, but may not be easy to leave. There is magic about Ocean World and creatures in it that keeps wanting to pull you back in. Book your trip! And experience the magic the dolphins and creatures are waiting to share with you.

Book Your Puerto Plata Dominican Republic Programs >>
Beautiful Ocean World Park
Beautiful Ocean World Park
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Swim with Dolphins in Puerto Plata

Dolphins in Puerto Plata are Cool

Beautiful Puerto Plata is located in the Dominican Republic, which is the most diverse and second largest country in the Caribbean. Just south of Miami, the location is easy to get to. For instance, from New York City it is only a four hour flight, and from most European cities it is only an eight hour flight. So, if you’ve ever wanted to swim with dolphins in Puerto Plata, rest assured you can and it’s only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from where you live.

The Dominican Republic is known for its hospitable and welcoming people, its rich history, intriguing culture and astounding nature. Visitors have a ton of entertainment options at their fingertips. They can explore ancient ruins and relics of centuries past; take part in a one-of-a-kind ecotourism adventure in one of the many magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches; eat their heart out in a luxury dining establishment with sumptuous food, or dance the night away to the thrilling rhythm of the merengue.

One of the reasons the country is so breathtakingly beautiful is because it is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the North and the Caribbean Sea on the South. The tropical island is lush with vegetation and offers almost 1,000 miles of gorgeous, pristine coastline that is home to some of the world’s top beaches, magnificent resorts and hotels, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options.
And speaking of entertainment options, would you like to swim with dolphins in Puerto Plata? Well, you’re in luck!

A Video Tour of Dolphin World, Puerto Plata

Swimming with Dolphins in Puerto Plata

When it comes to swimming with dolphins in Puerto Plata you have different programs to choose from.

Swim with Dolphins in Puerto Plata
Swim with Dolphins in Puerto Plata

There’s the Royal Dolphin Swim Program, which puts you in the shallow water where you can experience touching, feeding and training a dolphin. You’ll also have the opportunity for a deep-water interaction with a dolphin and that’s where the magic really happens. How would you like a dorsal fin ride from one end of the natural salt water lagoon to the other? Or maybe you’d get a kick out of a foot push or a belly ride? Then again you may want to just swim beside these amazing creatures and watch them move freely through the turquoise waters.

Besides swimming with the dolphins, Dolphin World also offers snorkeling in the beautiful aquarium, a Dolphin & Sea Lion Show, which visitors have called one of the best shows in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. There is also the Bird Exhibit, Tiger Grotto, and Iguanas Exhibit. And, after all of this adventure and memory making, you’ll most likely be hungry. Dolphin World also provides a buffet lunch and transportation.

Bottlenose Dolphins are Cool!

Dolphins in Puerto Plata are Cool
Dolphins in Puerto Plata are Cool

Bottlenose dolphins are unlike any other animal on the planet and you’ll have a chance to get up-close-and-personal. Well known for their intelligence and charisma, they are friendly, playful, and easily trainable to perform complex tricks.
In the wild, these amazing swimmers can reach speeds of over 18 miles an hour. But, like other mammals, they can’t breathe under water and so they must surface two or three times per minute to take a nice big breath.

Bottlenose dolphins are very social creatures and travel in groups. They communicate with each other through a complex process of squeaks and whistles. They are also very emotional creatures and have exhibited the same type of altruism as human beings. For instance, schools of dolphins have been known to come to the rescue of an injured dolphin and help it to the surface.

Bottlenose dolphins use echolocation to track their prey, and can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second. The sound of these clicks travels underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back to their dolphin senders. This process of sending clicks out and having the sound bounced back reveals the location, size, and shape of the dolphin’s target.
So what DO dolphins eat anyway? Well, they often feed on bottom-dwelling fish, but they also eat shrimp and squid. And, being so clever, dolphins can also be spotted following fishing boats around in hopes of dining on leftovers.

What Are You Waiting for?

Vacations come once a year, but trips of a lifetime happen rarely. Your time swimming with these magical creatures in the gorgeous setting of Puerto Plata is an experience you won’t soon forget!

Book Your Puerto Plata Dolphin Program Online Now >>>
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Punta Cana Dominican Republic Dolphin Program Reviews

The Punta Cana Dominican Republic Dolphin Program is a perfect place for this type of activity because of the weather, location, and the ability to participate with Trained Dolphins, Sea Lions and other Animals. See what our customers have to say about their experience. Here are the Punta Cana Dominican Republic Dolphin Program Reviews and the customer’s words & photos….

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5 Fun Facts about Sea Lions

7 different species

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t think sea lions were pretty adorable. With their long whiskers, winged feet and funny little shuffle-walk, they are one of the most unique creatures on the planet. But there are many things people don’t know about sea lions. For instance, they’re highly intelligent. In fact the US Navy has trained sea lions to help protect the waters off the coast of California from terrorist activity. Sea lions were actually used during the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqui Freedom.
Here are 5 other fun facts about sea lions you may not know.

Bulls and Cows and Pups, Oh My!

Male sea lions are called bulls, females are called cows and their babies are called pups. Sea lions are very social creatures and live in large groups called colonies or pods. These colonies can consist of thousands of sea lions all living in relative harmony, with a few skirmishes here and there.

A Cute Sea Lion Pup
A Cute Sea Lion Pup

And the Gold Medal Goes to…

Despite how oddly-shaped they are, sea lions are actually fantastic athletes able to complete rather astounding physical feats. For instance, they can dive to depths of 800 feet in order to find food. And, although they’re air breathers, they can remain under water for up to 30 minutes and can swim at a top speed of 25 miles an hour. Look out Michael Phelps.

5 Fun Fact about Sea Lions - They dive down deep
5 Fun Fact about Sea Lions – They dive down deep

There are 7 Different Species

There are 7 different species of sea lion found in the waters all around the world. There is the Steller sea lion, also known as the northern sea lion and found in the North Pacific Ocean. The Steller sea lion is the largest of all the species. Next is the South American sea lion found along the west coast of South America; the Australian sea lion – which is a small species found along the south and west coasts of Australia; the California sea lion, which is considered the most intelligent of the species; the New Zealand sea lion found around the south island of New Zealand; and finally the Galapagos sea lion found only around the Galapagos islands and thought to be related to the California sea lion.

7 different species
7 different species

Mmm, Mmm, Good

So, what do sea lions eat? Sea lions are carnivores and primarily live on fish. Some of their favorite fish are herring, mackerel, squid and sardines. Although they do have teeth, they tend to be rather piggish and swallow their fish whole.

what do sea lions eat?
what do sea lions eat?

How do they DO That?

We’ve all seen sea lions balance a ball on their nose, but did you ever really wonder how they do that? Well, they’re kind of cheating. You see they don’t actually balance the ball on their nose, they actually balance it using their stiff whiskers – it just looks like it’s on the tip of their nose. Pretty sneaky.

how they do that?
How they do that?

Get Up Close and Personal

Would you like to learn more about these amazing animals and see (or rather sea) them up close? At Ocean World Adventure Park in Cofresi, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, you can swim, play, hug, kiss and feed the sea lions in their natural habitat. It’s an experience like no other you’ve ever had. Here is a video to see the Sea Lion Encounter in Puerto Plata  program. We also offer swimming with the Sea Lions in Miami, Nassau Bahamas, Punta Cana Dominican Republic, Florida Keys, Panama City Beach, Oahu Hawaii, and Cancun Mexico.