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Why This Lesser-Known Caribbean Destination Is The Perfect Island Getaway

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There’s no denying that the Caribbean is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world.

But as some areas grow so wildly popular, it can be more and more difficult to find the true hidden gem destinations.

Luckily, there are still plenty if you know where to look, and there is one lesser-known island destination that is the perfect island getaway.

Aerial view of Playa Dorada in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Welcome To Puerto Plata

If you haven’t heard of Puerto Plata, that’s a good thing!

Often outshined by its southerly Dominican Republic neighbor of Punta Cana, Puerto Plata is an up-and-coming resort destination that offers incredible value, immaculate beaches, and perfect weather.

Don’t confuse up-and-coming for sub-par though, as Puerto Plata has been an established cruise stop destination for decades, meaning the infrastructure for tourism is more than ready to welcome you with open arms.

We were lucky enough to check out Puerto Plata ourselves recently and found 5 reasons why it makes the perfect island getaway:

Beach at Viva Heavens in Puerto Plata
Beach area at Viva Heavens by Wyndham

Affordable Doesn’t Mean Cheap

We were lucky enough to stay at the Viva Heavens by Wyndham in Puerto Plata and couldn’t have found a better place to enjoy a luxurious all-inclusive getaway while also getting a ton of value for money.

Traveling to an international destination to chase the sand and sun can be a real budget buster if you let it, but at Viva Heavens, you can sip that Pina Colada on the beach without stressing about the bill.

@traveloffpath What an amazing and underrated destination, and such a good stay at Viva Heavens! . #dominicanrepublic #wyndham #beach #travel #travelblogger #vacation #puertoplata ♬ Fang – Official Sound Studio

Viva’s all-inclusive packages cover everything from meals and drinks to activities and entertainment, so you can splurge on souvenirs without breaking the bank.

Depending on the time of year you travel, you can stay at Viva Heavens for under $200 per night.

Outside of the resort, you can also expect lower prices, as Puerto Plata is typically cheaper than much of what you’ll find in larger destinations like Cancun or even Punta Cana.

Aerial view of the pool at Viva Heavens by Wyndham in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Viva Heavens by Wyndham Pool

Incredible Beaches

You can’t very well be an amazing island getaway without having immaculate beaches, and Puerto Plata doesn’t disappoint!

The beach right at Viva Heavens was incredible, and there were plenty of loungers to lay out on and catch up on your latest book obsession (looking at you Fourth Wing…). Any time you feel like taking a dip, the gorgeous Caribbean water is only footsteps away.

We walked for about an hour in one direction along the beach and were blown away at how pretty it was the entire way.

Playa Dorada definitely lived up to its name — Golden Beach.

If lounging around isn’t your thing, then feel free to hop on a kayak or grab your goggles and explore!

Viva Heavens has kayaks and paddleboards available for the active ones in the group.

View from above of Playa Dorada in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata

Perfect Weather

Forget winter coats and snow boots; in Puerto Plata, sunshine is practically guaranteed!

During our stay, we had maybe 30 minutes of overcast weather, and if the moon wasn’t out, then the sun was showering us with some much-needed warmth after flying down from the cold weather back home.

However, even if we had decided to visit in the summer, Puerto Plata offers amazing weather all year. There is never a bad time for a visit!

Average winter temperatures hover between 68°F and 84°F while summer temperatures hang out between 75°F and 90°F. It's always wonderful!

Perfect weather at the beach in Puerto Plata

Easy Excursions

While you could spend every moment of your vacay chilling on the beach or at Viva Heavens’ pool, make sure to ditch the resort loungers for a day and dive into Puerto Plata with excursions that are close and easy.

Forget long taxi rides and confusing itineraries; if you are staying at the Viva Heavens, your hotel is your adventure HQ!

They have an onsite tours desk that can help you set up any adventure you want.  

You can pick from a ton of different tours, from snorkeling in crystal-clear reefs to ziplining through lush rainforests, or take a city tour.

There's an adventure for every type of traveler in Puerto Plata.

Downtown Puerto Plata

We took the city tour excursion with Camel Safari Exploring, which was packed with great experiences!

We started by roaring up a mountain in a safari truck, watching the city shrink beneath us.

Reaching the peak of Isabel de Torres, we took in the view from 2,565 feet above the sparkling Caribbean Sea below us.

You are so high up that the blue of the sky mixes with the blue of the ocean, and it can actually be hard to find the horizon.

View from the top of Isabel de Torres looking at the city of Puerto Plata below
View from the top of Isabel de Torres

The view was unreal – a postcard panorama of lush jungle, turquoise waters, and the city sprawling like a colorful mosaic.

Once we descended the mountain again, we got to check out the Ron Macorix Rum factory. We toured the factory, learning how this smooth Dominican spirit is crafted, and then came the best part – the rum tasting!

After this, history was calling our names, so we stepped back in time at Fort San Felipe, a fortress that once guarded the city from pirates.

There is an audio guide that will tell you about the fort’s place in history, and there are plenty of opportunities to get some great photos.

Fort San Felipe
Fort San Felipe


Finally, what good is an island getaway if getting there is a huge hassle?

Luckily, Puerto Plata has its own airport with direct connections to Miami, Charlotte, New York, and more.

From there, it’s a quick trip to your hotel.

If you are staying at the Viva Heavens, then you’ll only have about a 25-minute drive!

And getting around Puerto Plata once you are there is a breeze. Uber operates in the area, and a taxi can always be called by your wonderful concierge at Viva Heavens.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Independence Square, Plaza de Independencia, and a catholic church in the center of the city

An Undiscovered Gem

We went to Puerto Plata expecting sun and sand, but left with memories we'll relive for years to come!

While the destination is certainly growing in popularity, it is under the radar enough that you'll feel like an early adopter.

So ditch the tourist traps and head to Puerto Plata for an island getaway that's perfect for any budget and any kind of traveler.

**Travel Off Path was a guest of Viva Heavens by Wyndham, who helped with the creation of this itinerary by hosting some of our accommodations and attractions. Our opinions, recommendations, and suggestions remain our own.**

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