Those who visit the North Coast, also known as La Costa Ámbar (The Amber Coast) will find that its menu of activities is as varied as its topography. At the northwestern corner of the country lagoons rest peacefully amidst mangroves and thick vegetation, mountainous tropical forests reach to blue skies, and arid cliffs fall steeply into the ocean’s breakers. And whether you are an adventure junkie, a history buff, or a sun-seeking beachcomber, there is something in this region to satisfy your needs.
When Christopher Columbus made his second journey to the New World in 1493 he founded the second European settlement in the New World on this stretch of coastline at La Isabela in the northwest. All that now remains of that settlement are the ruins of their destroyed encampment, which can be seen in the Parque Nacional La Isabela . After the miserable failure of La Isabela, Columbus and his men moved to Santo Domingo  and the north coast became mainly an import-and-export shipping yard for hundreds of years. But the mountainous tropical forests with no real passageways caused the area to be secluded from the rest of the country and unsettled for many years. Tourists didn’t even start visiting this region until the late 1900s.
Although much of this region still has wide expanses of undeveloped land, many people associate the North Coast with the all-inclusive resorts of the Playa Dorada  region. But there is so much more here to experience along the north coast: Windsurfers and kitesurfers recognize Cabarete ’s prowess as a major port of call for water sport lovers, Sosúa  has emerged as a scuba diver’s dream, and untouched beaches are scattered all along the curvaceous coastline.
There is more buzzing in the air than just the din of motoconchos that clog the city streets of Puerto Plata . In recent years, there has been massive motivation from the Ministry of Tourism to funnel pesos into the region once again in an effort to activate the economy of the region so it can compete with the nation’s bread and butter provider, Punta Cana/Bávaro . Puerto Plata’s central park was given a facelift, newly constructed and hoping-to-be-filled luxury condos line the highways and beaches, even Sosúa ’s notorious sex-tourism was somewhat eradicated (it unfortunately didn’t take) all in an effort to revitalize the north coast.
The farther west from Puerto Plata you travel, the less desperate for attention the tourism industry seems to be. If you are looking for relaxed independence, go west. But if action and entertainment are your goal, then the Cabarete , Sosúa , and Puerto Plata  regions are for you.