For readers believing that Punta Cana is THE place to go when visiting the Dominican Republic, think again. Puerto Plata is slowly but surely making a comeback, with resorts and attractions both couples and families can enjoy. One of those attractions is Ocean World, a vast entertainment complex located in Cofresi on Lifestyle Holiday Vacation Resorts‘ property. And it’s much more than you might think. With a marina and nightlife that includes a casino, fine dining, and a Las Vegas-style show called Bravissimo located on one side of the premises and an animal and sea mammal adventure park located on the other, it’s safe to say that Ocean World has something for everyone.
For the purpose of this review, let’s explore the Adventure Park which greets visitors with a view that will take your breath away. With the turquoise Caribbean Sea to the left and a rainforest covered mountain to the right (as seen in the lead photo), you’ll spend your first few minutes snapping photos and trying to take it all in.
The park is exceptionally clean and beautifully landscaped, staffed with friendly and knowledgeable personnel that will ensure you have a great time. The park houses a variety of tropical birds including Love Birds, Toucans, and Macaws. Contained in an area of the park that resembles a jungle, visitors can walk through each of the bird enclosures for an up-close look at the colorful creatures as well as an interactive experience. A few tigers and an iguana habitat are also located in the jungle section of the park.
In the marine section, visitors can find displays of tropical fish along with several bottle-nose dolphins in a wide open lagoon, a few Nurse sharks in their own enclosure, and some humorous California sea lions, each specifies of which boasts their own daily shows as well as their own interactive experiences.
Uniquely, the park also hosts an opportunity for visitors to snorkel through a manmade reef that’s rife with tropical fish. If you have never snorkeled before, this is an excellent place to start as the enclosure is safe and monitored, it’s very clean, and is easily accessible via stairs placed at both ends of the massive tank. Life jackets and snorkel gear are provided and participants are able to set their own pace as they swim through a living tropical reef, albeit man-made, along with dozens of interesting and colorful fish.
Convenient onsite change rooms and lockers allow for visitors to change into bathing suits for snorkeling or any interactive experiences they may have arranged.
These facilities can also be used should visitors wish to sunbathe on the VIP beach, go for a swim in the adjacent lagoon, or take an invigorating plunge on 1 of 3 colorful waterslides located next to the ocean.
There’s so much to do at Ocean World, with interactive shows staggered throughout the day, that it’s easy to spend an entire day there. Tickets range in price from $30-$250 US depending on whether you opt only for park admission, which includes all exhibits and shows, or whether you add to it with an educational and interactive dolphin, shark, or sea lion encounter. Handy package deals allow patrons to combine encounters at discounted rates. And to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck, Ocean World includes a tasty lunch with all Encounter tickets.
An open-air restaurant containing a buffet and a beautiful gift shop are also on site. And last but not least, transportation to and from the park is no problem considering Ocean World provides pick up and drop off service right from the lobby of several popular Puerto Plata hotels.
We were quite impressed with the Adventure Park. We found it to be clean and well maintained and loaded with things to see and do. We were also relieved to discover that Ocean World does not take its dolphins from the ocean, preferring to rely on those that are born and raised in the park environment. However, the word ‘park’ is somewhat misleading considering their home is not a small man-made tank as we have seen at some facilities. Instead, the dolphins here have the run of a sizeable saltwater lagoon sectioned off from the ocean by a rock break wall. Further, Ocean World takes a limited number of encounters per day and alters the dolphins that are used such that they are not performing all day. Instead, the majority of their day is for play and free swim.
If you’re in Puerto Plata or plan to be, be sure to check out Ocean World and everything their Adventure Park has to offer. Then return after dark for a different kind of experience! You can check out their website here. http://www.oceanworld.net/eng/www.oceanworld.net/eng/