In the 19 days I spent at the all-inclusive, I only took one day to go to Puerto Plata, the city closest to the Lifestyle resort, mainly as there was little to see there.
My taxi driver, Luis, picked me up at the resort, and we took the 20-minute drive into the city of Puerto Plata, which has a population of over 330,000 people and over 100,000 hotel beds. Tourism is big business here. It is a busy port city with cruise ships arriving regularly throughout the week.
Puerto Plata has an ariel tramway that takes you up an almost 800-meter mountain to view the city. It was under repair the day I was there. So Luis drove me to a high point in the town so I could get an idea of the view.
Luis then acted as a tour guide and walked around Puerto Plata with me. The first stop was the Larimar Mine Museum. Larimar is a stone that is only found in the Dominican Republic. Apparently, "it opens your partner's heart and soul, revealing their true feelings and love." It's light blue with white marbling. The museum also displays amber and jewelry that incorporate both amber and laramar.
Not surprisingly, there is an AMBER Museum in town. The museum is small and is primarily there to sell products. Including tobacco and Mama Juana, a jar full of bark, sticks and herbs to which you add rum, red wine and honey. According to Wikipedia, "some recipes are said to include grated tortoiseshell or sea turtle penis shaft for aphrodisiac effect." It has a pretty good kick!
From there, Luis took me to his favourite jewelry maker to encourage me to purchase some laramar. Despite heavy sales pressure, I left empty-handed.
Our next stop was a Chocolate Museum. Again, I noticed more than one Chocolate Museum in Puerto Plata, and again, it was just a way to sell chocolate items.
The following two stops, all within distance, were very touristy but fun. What you got on Pink Street was Pink! PINK! PINK! If you wanted to, you could have your picture taken with a monkey.
The other is Umbrella Street, with beautiful hanging umbrellas and vines down the street. While we were there, a classic car drove down the street, and a dancer and the driver emerged from the car to dance with the tourists.
As I walked through the town centre, a lovely two-story gazebo was directly across from the Cathedral of San Felipe Apostol.
I went into the catholic church. It was lovely and not as elaborate as many as I have seen. The original wooden cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1863. However, rebuilding didn't begin until 1929 and was not completed until 1956. Earthquakes have caused damage at least twice since then.
I also made note of various street art that was nearby.
After a few hours it was time to head back to the resort and get sometime on the beach - where it was also very windy! Later that night I headed to Lifestyle's Umbrella Street.
To come - Cabarete.
Until next time.......
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