Ratings for the Iberostar Costa Dorada state it’s a 4 ½ star hotel. I’d say that’s pretty accurate - maybe give it a four star rating if you compare it to similar hotels in Cuba and Mexico. But keep in mind that it’s not a 4 ½ star hotel by Canadian standards. My boyfriend and I our in our early forties, from Vancouver, BC, Canada and we’d have no problem recommending this hotel.
HOTEL: Rooms are clean, large and there was no smell. Our first room was in building one and had a view of the fence/wall of the next door hotel. Went straight back to the reception desk and requested a room facing the pool. We were then put in building three on the second floor. Nice view, better location, spacious. The A/C worked fine and wasn’t too loud, rooms come with a hairdryer, small coffeemaker and the coffee/condiments are provided. Mini fridge was handy and stocked every day with beer, water and pop. We had a few ants around the bathroom sink. I told the front desk and they came and sprayed with insect repellant right away.
The nightly entertainment was done by 11:30 pm. The shows are different every night, as there are 21 different shows that they rotate through. Shows are ok, some better than others. Grounds were kept tidy, nice open lobby with a tiny lagoon with 7 flamingos in it. Staff was friendly and the pool was clean. Of the nine 3-storey buildings, I’d recommend building 7 or building 8 (request to face the pool). These are centrally located between the beach, main buffet and lobby area. They are also close to the snack buffet and easy walking distance to the lobby bar (here’s where they serve the best drinks with “premium” alcohol). Building 1 & 5 are nearest to the ocean but are only good if you actually get a room facing the ocean. The view ain’t bad but it’s also not the greatest as the palm trees block your view a bit. Otherwise, bring comfortable walking shoes as it’s a jaunt to get anywhere except the beach.
They have 3 a la carte restaurants that you must make a reservation for (but you can go back to these as much as you want, no limit): (1) The Brazilian restaurant (they come to your table with apprx 6 types of meat on a large skewer and cut a piece off for your plate), (2) The Mexican restaurant (you choose your type of taco here) and (3) The Seafood restaurant. Men are required to wear long pants for these 3 places. We found the meat everywhere to be on the tough/overcooked side. The main buffet is ok. It changes the “theme” every night so there is some variety in the selections but its kinda true what other write in the fact that it does get repetitive and boring by the end of the week. Breakfast and lunch buffets are pretty much the same everyday.
HOTEL LOCATION: Just so you know, the hotel is about 12 km east of downtown Puerto Plata. Not much around except the neighboring hotel, the Grand Oasis which has a casino (we didn’t make it there). Be aware that there are no shops or restaurants on the streets nearby. There is a flea market, called Orange Flea Market, located on the beach, about a 10 min walk away. When facing the ocean, walk to your right as it’s a nice stroll. Typical souvenirs sold here. Watch as they’ll try to rip you off.
The Iberostar is on the main highway and you can easily get local transportation if you want to venture out of the complex. Go west about 1-2 km (8 min walk) to reach the Brugal Factory. Note that it says “Brugal Rum Tour” on all the excursions and brochures – not quite! It’s actually a bottling factory and the admission is free. You watch a 5 min video, view the workers and assembly line machines and then you exit the bldg and you can get a taste sample of the rum. There’s a factory rum store. Prices here aren’t bad: white rum was $7 US, Anejo (amber rum) was $8 US, and the Extra Anejo (aged rum) was $9 US.
TRANSPORTATION & SIGHTSEEING & TIPS: Go and see Sosua. It’s about a 25 min car ride, heading east, from the Iberostar. It’s a larger tourist town with many streets filled with souvenir shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. There’s also the “public beach” that has numerous souvenir shops and tiny bars. In Sosua you can transfer into another caro publico (see below) to get to Cabarete, which is about a 15 min car ride from Sosua. This is a small town, only one city block long known for windsurfing. Lots of shops and money exchange booths and hostel type suites for the night accommodations. Best prices for rum, coffee and cigars are in Cabarete at Janets Supermarket. It’s at the far east side of the main drag, north side. For cheapie souvenirs and t-shirts, we found the best prices here in Cabarete at the Liquidation Store. It’s on the south side of the main drag, in the center of the strip.
We also took a caro publico heading west from the hotel to old Downtown Puerto Plata. Here you’ll find a large public flea market, the amber museum, the old fort, the pier and this is all within walking distance. PP is about 15 minutes away and you see it’s a large city (90,000 population). We enjoyed getting around on our own and felt it was safe. No problems. Of course, the tour rep will suggest you take their tours rather than going out on your own. Be warned, the drivers in the caro publico are aggressive and may not necessarily stay in the proper lanes as they do a lot of passing, some of which might not be for the faint of heart. One time we took the Guagua. This is like an old Volkswagen minivan. Don’t recommend this one so much as they pile everyone and anything into these vehicles. We squished in and counted 24 people! Plus its stop and go constantly as people get on and off whereas with the caro public, once the maximum load of 6 passengers is achieved, the driver can pretty much get a good speed going.
You can take a taxi but they charge outrageous amounts. On the main hwy, there are 2 ways of getting around, the Caro Publico and the Guagua. We tried both and recommend the caro publico. It’s a small car, like an older Toyota Tercel that will hold 7 people. There’s the driver, 2 passengers sit in the front and 4 passengers squeeze in the back. On the roof of the car, you’ll see a red sign Puerto Plata/Sosua. These cars travel back and forth between these two cities. Cost is 30 – 35 Dominican Peso’s. Verbally set your rate before you get in. Of course, with your hotel wristband on, they see a “sucker” tourist and will want to charge you a lot more! Stand your ground, or wait for the next car to pull to the curb and if you can, cover up the wrist band! Cars with a greenish/blueish sign Sosua/Rio San Jan on top of the roof travel between these two cities. Take this car in Sosua to get to Cabarete which will cost 25 Dominican Peso’s.
If you’re into dirt-bike riding like my guy is, you can rent/ride KTM’s for apprx 200 US . He had a great time, 5 ½ hours riding around the jungle and countryside. Just look up Cabarete Enduro Tours on the internet as Rudy runs this excursion out of house.
Friends we met at the hotel took the Paradise Island excursion. They said it was too long of a bus ride (2 hrs) to get you to a spot where you board an uncomfortable boat that takes another 30 minutes to get to the sandbar (aka Island) that is really out in the middle of nowhere. They did admit once you get there, it was beautiful.
Sorry this is so long and wordy, but I know when I was scouting around reading other peoples reviews & comments, that it was helpful and well appreciated. I hope this helps with your traveling plans. Adios!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada hotel is located in front of the large golden sand beach of Costa Dorada, 10 minutes from the city of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic's north coast. This wonderful 5-star All Inclusive resort is a wonderful haven for aquatic sports lovers. Renovated in 2011, the IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada hotel has 498 Double Rooms and 18 spacious Junior Suites. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Costa Dorado
- Iberostar Puerto Plata
- Iberostar Costa Dorada Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata
- Iberostar Costa Dorada Puerto Plata
- Iberostar Hotel Costa Dorada
- Iberostar Costa Dorada Hotel
- Costa Dorado
- Puerto Plata Iberostar
- Iberostar Hotel Puerto Plata