Here at Gentedimontagna, we're huge fans of great-looking travel accessories like the very stylish ONA camera bags. NYC-based founder Tracy Foster has spent the past five years flitting between NYC and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, where bags are handcrafted from waxed canvas and full-grain Italian leather. When she's not in the factory reviewing samples, discussing inventory, and developing new products, she makes the most of island time.
1. SLEEP IN
Casa Colonial Beach and Spa is located along the beautiful northern coast of the D.R. and is right on the beach at Playa Dorada. The ambience is lovely and the décor and is a nice fusion of old-world elegance and contemporary style. It is — by far! — the nicest hotel in the city.
2. SHOP LIKE A LOCAL
The Mercado (Avenida Isabel de Torres and Calle 2) is the city's local market. Open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., it's a good place to take photos, get a sense of local life, and do a little shopping. You'll find colorful Dominican and Haitian art, local crafts, and an array of fruits and vegetables. You might even find a beautiful baby sitting by a pile of beans!
3. GET A VIEW FROM THE TOP
Pico Isabel de Torres is a gorgeous mountain with spectacular views of the city. Take a cable car to the top of the mountain and enjoy its lush, colorful botanical gardens. Clear days mean great views and photo opps of the city and coastline.
4. DON'T FORGET TO EAT
My favorite restaurant in the city is Los Tres Cocos. The owner, Mikey, prepares consistently delicious Austrian and Dominican fare and creative cocktails. My favorite dishes are the black tiger giant shrimp and filet of Chile salmon.
Lucia at Casa Colonial serves a nice mix of Dominican, Italian, and American fare. They're famous for their yucca mofongo.
5. GO DIVING
My husband sometimes joins me on my trips and he loves to scuba dive in nearby Sousa. The waters off the northern coast have excellent visibility and beautiful fish. Arrange a trip with Northern Coast Aquasports.