Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (DO)
On the mountainous northern coast of the Dominican Republic, nestled between Monte Isabel de Torres and the Atlantic Ocean, lies the region and town of Puerto Plata. Fishing in Puerto Plata is just as exciting as in other parts of the Dominican Republic. Its proximity to the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest in the Atlantic, provides easy access to many pelagic species of game fish — striped marlin, blue and white marlin, dorado, tuna, cobia, wahoo, and sailfish.
Five minutes out of the marina is “the drop” and fishing lines are out practically from the moment you leave the dock. The trench has precipices, or “banks,” that rise from the bottom and attract feeding schools of dolphin and tuna. It’s common to find these schools and fish off them all day long. In addition, local sport fishermen set out FADs (fish aggregating devices) up and down the North Shore in very deep water to attract bait fish and their larger predators. Due to the ever-present trade winds, be prepared for a bouncy ride when fishing off the North Shore. The Puerto Plata area has lots of beaches, among them Playa Dorada. Shore fishing is found all along the coastline, but anglers must show caution as rip tides are frequent, as are coral bottoms and sinkholes. Other inshore fishing includes lagoon fishing, notably nearby Laguna Gri-Gri, and fishing in the rivers that are easily accessed via the different bays along the North Shore. Anglers venture up the rivers to find large snook and tarpon.
Mahi Mahi (Dorado): November – March
Blue Marlin: July – September
White Marlin: June
Wahoo: October – December
Sailfish: October – February
Tuna: January – February
The following fish can be found year-round:
Snapper, grouper, cobia, jack, mackerel, kingfish, swordfish, tarpons, permit, bonefish, and shark.
The local beach of choice is Playa Dorada, with plenty of sunbathing and beach activities to spend the day. Further east you’ll find Cabarete which is a world famous windsurfing and kitesurfing destination. Fewer tourists can be found on the beaches further west of Puerto Plata at Cofresí. Puerta Plata is close to Mount Isabel de Torres, the tall mountain peak south of the town. There is a cable car that will take you to the top for stunning vistas. Another thrilling sight not to be missed is the “27 Waterfalls” at Damajaqua Cascades.
Notable touristic sites include Fort San Felipe, the Amber Museum, and Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina, and Casino. Golf aficionados can get their fix at Playa Dorada Golf Course, Los Mangos, and VH Victoria Resort. Last but not least, humpback whales migrate to the warm tropical waters off of the North Shore from January to March, so check out the many options for whale watching tours from Puerto Plata to see these giants up close.
Fishing in the Dominican Republic is lightly regulated. Although technically fishing licenses are required, fishing regulations are rarely enforced, therefore it is difficult to find places that sell fishing licenses to even buy one. The one rule that is enforced is the catch and release of billfish species.