Most of us dream of luxurious vacations in world renowned resorts and destinations, but such desires are not always within budget. And if long, sandy, white beaches is what you lust for, then maybe the Dominican Republic is the place where your heart needs to be. The two main beach-towns are Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, both offering all-inclusive services and spectacular comfort, although Puerto Plata is considered to offer more authenticity as well as off-resort activities such as admiring breathtaking architectural features of the historic district; select dining in cozy restaurants or thriving nightlife in Santo Domingo.
The first thing to bear in mind when planning a budget trip to Puerto Plata is visiting in May or June as this will surely reduce the accommodation costs by up to 50 percent. Careful planning ahead may also save you some money, seeing that although all-inclusive resorts are to some extent some of the cheapest around, looking for alternative accommodation downtown might prove to be even cheaper. As far as transportation is concerned, taxis are a no go on a budget, because they are not only the most expensive but also quite an unreliable means of travel.
If you do chose to travel by taxi, be sure to discuss with the driver and agree on the fare prior to entering the vehicle. Buses would be the cheapest option once you understand routes, although they may be quite slow. Be sure to not get fooled by Propinas, who more often than not pretend to be an employee of the resort you are staying in and offer to show you around, arrange bargains for you at local shops, protect you from aggressive vendors and after they feel comfortable enough, you will be presented with excuses and reasons for which you will feel obligated to give them money, after which the individual will show you to a bus and disappear.
When looking to buy specific items ( rum, cigars, etc. ) Sosua is a good place to start ( just 10-15 minutes from Puerto Plata ) or La Sirena Market with a wide variety of products not easy to come by in smaller shops.
All things taken into consideration, destinations like Puerto Plata are doable on a budget, if carefully planned ahead. You might need to inform yourself about customs specific to the destination, but once you find yourself knee deep in clear, crystal waters, the hard planning will have been worth it.

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