The Best Instagram Spots in Puerto Plata

Woman smiling in Puerto Plata on Umbrella Street

Puerto Plata is best known for its gorgeous coast, historic colonial buildings, and the ever-impressive Mount Isabel de Torres. It’s also considered the birthplace of tourism in the Dominican Republic. Not only is Puerto Plata a popular cruise port but also a resort destination, and there’s no lack of things to see in this city. With that in mind, there are endless photo opportunities. Below you’ll find my list of the best Instagram spots in Puerto Plata. 

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Brief History

Puerto Plata was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus during his first voyage. He named it the silver port and built his first settlement upon his return on the second voyage. In the early 1970s, the city was selected by presidential decree as a tourist destination. Since then, with massive infrastructure projects including resorts and cruise ports, Puerto Plata’s tourism has continued to thrive. 

In 2015 the first cruise port opened, and the city saw an explosion of new visitors. It's easy to walk around Puerto Plata with plenty of things to do within walking distance from one another, which contributed to its growth and success. The port became so popular that eventually there wasn’t enough space for all the ships to dock. So in 2021, a second port opened. Now, Puerto Plata is found on most Eastern Caribbean cruise itineraries. 

The Best Instagram Spots in Puerto Plata

The Umbrella Street (Calle de las Sombrillas)

In the heart of Puerto Plata’s city center, is Calle de las Sombrillas - aka the Umbrella Street. A long pedestrian block lined with over a hundred rainbow-hued umbrellas creates a faux colorful floating roof. It’s an eye-catching and fun image that makes for the perfect brightly colored photo. After capturing the best Insta shot, stroll down the street, and stop at one of the many shops or cafes. I found a small stall selling empanadas, and not only were they some of the best empanadas I’d ever had, but they also made for a great subject against the vibrant rainbows. 

Umbrella Street is one of Puerto Plata’s most popular attractions. It can get extremely crowded when several cruise ships are docked, as it's less than a 5-minute drive from the Puerto Plata cruise port and included in many cruise excursions in Puerto Plata. For the best pictures, try to arrive early, both for better lighting and smaller crowds. 

Google Maps Location

The Pink Street (Paseo de Doña Blanca)

Paseo de Doña Blanca, or Pink Street, is another beautiful block located in the city center and one of Puerto Plata’s most Instagrammed attractions. The entire narrow street is painted in a bright pink shade that flatters every skin tone and makes pictures pop with a burst of color. There are countless photo opportunities along the path. You can expect to find reflected windows with potted flowers, pink chairs, and a gorgeous set of painted angel wings. Each of these little touches provides a new perspective that makes for a unique photo. 

Unlike Umbrella Street, you won’t find any stores or restaurants on Pink Street. Its main draw is the photo experience. Some might say, it has a bit of a manufactured look for Instagram purposes, but who cares! Pink Street is a fun spot and great for pretty pictures. 

Google Maps Location

Paso Peatonal de Melosa

Paso Peatonal de Melosa is what Instagram dreams are made of. This tucked-away alley is brimming with unique and cute photo spots. There are plenty of murals and props to pose with. It’s a colorful space with cherry red chairs and tables, as well as flowers and string lights that hang from the ceiling creating a lovely backdrop for pictures. The props are adorable too. My personal favorites were both of the seated props, one in the shape of a heart covered in roses and a written mural bordered in greenery. 

The alley is less popular than the more famous Umbrella and Pink Streets, which is great for fewer people in your photos. Plus it’s the perfect place to escape the crowds for a bit, and enjoy a drink or snack. 

Google Maps Location

Puerto Plata Beach 

Puerto Plata beach might not be the type of beach one thinks of when it comes to Instagram. It doesn’t have white sand or a turquoise sea, but it has distinctive qualities to make photos stand out. A lack of congestion from fellow tourists offers a remote setting without tons of people to photobomb your pictures. Another notable aspect is the small island sitting in the distance with an interesting statue of Poseidon. Also enjoy the deep azure water, miles of sand, and seclusion for a break from the crowds. 

Google Maps Location

Puerto Plata beach with Poseidon statue in the background.

Puerto Plata Sign 

The Puerto Plata sign is a unique structure standing in front of the Atlantic Ocean. Rather than the colorful city name signs tourists flock to pose with at other tropical destinations, Puerto Plata chose a vertical design in a metallic silver hue. At the time it was built, the quirky choice created a bit of a controversy with the local population, but tourists seem to love it.  

Stand behind the sign and peek through the large L for a fun Instagram shot. When taking photos, make sure the camera is further away so that the ocean can be included in the background as well. The mixture of silver with the ocean makes a truly unique picture. 

Google Maps Location

Couple standing behind Puerto Plata sign.

Fort San Felipe (Fortaleza de San Felipe)

One of the most photographed places in Puerto Plata is Fort San Felipe, a historic 14th-century Spanish fortress. The fort was built on a hill facing the ocean to protect the city from pirates. Later it was used as a battlefield during the Quasi-War and as a jail. Today Fort San Felipe is a Museum known for its beautiful coastal view, and is one of the best things to do in Puerto Plata.

There are no bad places to take pictures here, especially on either of the two outdoor levels. My favorite pose was to face the ocean slightly with one of the fort’s four towers still in the shot to create a mix of history and the sea in one photo. Consider photos with cannonballs, straight onto the ocean, or the fort's structure. However, I suggest visiting in the early morning. We visited in the later afternoon, and many of our photos suffered from harsh lighting. 

Google Maps Location

Fort San Felipe.

La Puntilla Park

Steps away from Fort San Felipe is a stunning waterfront park offering sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and a stunning Amphitheater. Several statues and lush greenery line the stone pathway, with the ocean stretching out into the distance in the background. The effect creates simple yet stunning photos. 

Traveling further into the park, one can find a large amphitheater with white rounded metal settings atop to form a dome shape. It’s both a great backdrop and platform for pictures from above. As it’s a wide-spread park, this also means that there won’t be other tourists in your shots no matter what time of day you visit. 

Google Maps Location

La Puntilla Park Amphitheater.
La Puntilla Park and the Atlantic Ocean.

Independence Square

Independent Square is a colonial center filled with history and fascinating architecture. At the heart of the park is a unique Victorian structure. It's an eye-catching backdrop for photos. In the square, you can expect to see statues representing the heroes of the Dominican Republic, including Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez, also known as the father of the nation. He played a key figure in the country, gaining its independence from Haiti in 1844. This is a popular stop for many Puerto Plata cruise excursions.

There’s also the Cathedral de San Filipe Aposol next door to visit after you’ve taken plenty of photos in the square. In addition to a plethora of shops and eateries. We stopped at a gelato shop, Heladería Mariposa Repostería Austriaca, for a delicious treat and to take in the view from upstairs. The balcony provides a clear shot of the square from above. 

Google Maps Location

Statue in Independence Square in Puerto Plata historic center.

My Puerto Plata Experience

While I found the different places we explored (and took plenty of photos at) beautiful, I had a terrible time in Puerto Plata. I think it’s important I be transparent in my writing and experiences, especially regarding mental health, and not sugarcoat them. Puerto Plata isn’t to blame, and I do adore the stunning photos I captured, but my time there was spoiled. 

It was humid, packed with tourists, and vendors at every turn shoved items into my face. These things can happen at any tourist destination, but on this day a man also tried to grab me. Luckily, my husband noticed his hand shooting for me and quickly moved us to a safer place. The man walked away laughing and staring at us. The experience rattled me, so much so that I had a panic attack on the tour bus, and it took some time to breathe through it. 

Check out my post on how to handle panic attacks on vacation here.

This isn’t to deter anyone from visiting or say that Puerto Plata isn't safe to travel to. I truly find these locations beautiful for photos, but I didn’t want to pretend that my time there was amazing. Travel can have it's up and downs like anything else in life. No matter where we go, it’s good to be vigilant of our surroundings, not carry too many valuables, and set realistic expectations. 

Final Thoughts

If you plan on visiting the Dominican Republic and want to take great photos for Instagram, then I highly suggest the spots listed in Puerto Plata. Despite my own negative experience, I don’t regret my time there and am glad to have taken the pictures I did. 

The Best Instagram Spots in Puerto Plata.

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  • Debbie says:

    Your photos are beautiful. Also, I’m glad you’re safe. What a scary situation. I appreciate your transparency on travel and sharing that experience.

    • Jillian says:

      Thank you! It was definitely scary at the time, but I think it's so important to share the good and bad in travel! One of the most important things is to travel safely!

  • Jazmin Marie says:

    Wow, I've never been, but the spot is definitely on my bucket list now. These views are gorgeous!