In the previous article I had mentioned how amazing the beaches are in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The beautiful golden sand beaches are hidden gems that offer year round beauty and often more privacy than most. The Dominican also offers many topless and nude beaches if you are so inclined. I found that many of the European visitors took full advantage of the ‘clothing optional’ policy around resort pools and beaches. The time I was there I was able to enjoy a few other things and today I would like to share one of my favorites:
Many of are familiar with and have been to either Marine World or Sea World in Florida, California, or elsewhere. These marine animal theme parks offer many special encounters and attractions to the public. Often these parks are overcrowded with long lines and the special encounters cost more than your airfare sometimes. The thing I loved about Ocean World was that it delivered an amazing family experience worth the price. Usually if you are staying in a resort they offer excursions at a discounted rate. Ocean World is said to have the largest man-made dolphin habitat in the world! It is located in Cofresi which is only minutes away from Puerto Plata.
The first thing you should know is that you should plan on getting wet! Bring a swimsuit or clothes that dry quickly! Most things do dry quickly in the Caribbean sun. They do have lockers and showers if you wish to change clothes later. When we arrived at Ocean World we were first allowed to use their water slide outside the park. It allowed us to cool down a bit and prepare for the excitement ahead.
Ocean World also offered a Casino and Marina:
After you were finished with the water slide you would make your way into the park. You could choose to do this dry or wet. We chose wet!
Once inside the park there were numerous options. Ocean World prides itself on being one of only a few parks that places and emphasis on human and marine animal interaction. They have many educational and entertaining shows as well as interactive experiences that are included in the entrance fee. The first thing we were able to do was to snorkel in their coral reef aquarium. This aquarium is packed full with a variety of fish, lobsters, and coral reef life. When we were there we had no time limit and could return to the aquarium later if we wanted to.
After the snorkeling you can attend one of many educational programs. We enjoyed a show about sharks. They offer shark encounters, but the program we attended was a normal show. We were able to watch them manhandle the sharks with ease separated from us by only a rope.
They also offered a Tiger Grotto. This is an area in which you can swim in water that is separated by only glass from Tigers. It is also included in the admission price. You can watch the tigers on the other side and they can swim up to the glass between you. Most of the time they seemed to enjoy sitting around and being hot, but we took full advantage of the clear, cold water.
You can also take full advantage of the Seal Lion, Bird or Dolphin Shows. They all offer their own special experiences, and encounters.
My absolute favorite thing that I did while at Ocean World was the Dolphin Swim. I had always wanted to do this before, and it felt like it was well worth the price here. It’s been a while, but I think we did pay around $200 for the experience. It was worth every single penny. There were only 10 people in the water with 2 dolphins. We were in the water with the dolphins for about 30 minutes. They had the dolphins dance with us individually, kiss us, hug us, jump over us, and then in the end we each were personally escorted across the water by both dolphins. We were able to feed them, and pet them. I remember when my dolphin was dancing with me its body hit against my legs once, and though it didn’t hurt I was able to feel the great power this mammal possessed.
The funniest thing that happened was when my dolphin was supposed to kiss me it kissed my mother instead. She never let me live that down.
It did eventually kiss me
My favorite part of course was holding onto the dolphins’ fins and being carried across the water. You could barely see a thing from all the water that sprayed into your fast as you raced across the water. The trainers would blow a whistle so we would know when to let go, and not fly into the dock.
Ocean World was an amazing experience. The value for the money was outstanding. Even if you don’t splurge on a few extra encounters it is totally worth it. You are able to enjoy a cool and refreshing swim, and gain an education on a variety of animals in a beautiful setting. I would highly recommend this park if you are nearby! It is a great place for the entire family.
There are a few more things that the area offers that I will cover in part two. I think if you continue to check out the Dominican Republic you will find that the discoveries are endless!