This week, the development of the Ambar Highway in Santo Domingo is set to connect the tourist city of Puerto Plata with the Santiago beltway, giving travellers ease of access to Santo Domingo and beyond. Initial investments for the new highway were made in April 2022, when the nation received 700 million USD from the Bávaro-Punta Cana and La Romana-Bayahibe tourism offices.
The highway is set to be 32.7 kilometres long and will take less than 25 minutes to connect the two popular locations. Alongside the Coral highway, this new road is set to boost the economy of the Dominican Republic by strengthening travel connections for tourists and creating jobs for the Dominican population. Cities close to Santo Domingo, such as San Jose de Ocoa and Boca Chica will also benefit from the new build, as it will allow tourists to explore smaller cities on the way to their beach getaway in Puerto Plata.
This is part of a larger scheme by the Dominican government to encourage more tourism in the region of Puerto Plata: This less-known coastal city has several white-sand beaches, including Dorada, Sosúa, Cabarete, Punta Rucia and Cambiaso. It is also home to Mount Isabel de Torres, where visitors can take a cable car 2,625 feet about Puerto Plata’s skyline to view the lush rainforest and tropical ecosystems that the country has to offer.
There are currently only a few direct routes currently available to those wishing to travel between Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. Tourists are able to take a 3-hour bus ride, or a 2-hour drive to get to their destination, but this can often be delayed by traffic and unreliable schedules. There is also the possibility of flying from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo to Gregorio Luperon Airport in Punta Cana, but domestic flights are incredibly expensive and only occur a few times a week.
This city is often overshadowed by the popular getaway town of Punta Cana: a recent report suggested that around 60% of all foreign visitors entered the country through Punta Cana International Airport in 2021, as compared to only 5% of passengers entering Puerto Plata International Airport. The construction of the Ambar highway will make the journey from the centre of the country in Santo Domingo more accessible to adventurers looking for a tropical beach getaway alongside a trip to the capital.
The establishment of the highway in Puerto Plata is also essential for creating convenient travel routes for tourists looking to explore the southern part of the Dominican Republic after disembarking cruise liners. After the re-opening of travel routes in 2022, the Taino Bay cruise terminal in Puerto Plata welcomed thousands of visitors from neighbouring Caribbean islands and the USA. Companies including Norwegian Cruises and Oceania Cruises all operate voyages from this port, with passengers often spending at least 1-2 days in Puerto Plata.
The new Ambar highway is therefore incredibly useful for tourists who wish to visit other areas in the Dominican Republic within a certain time limit.
The construction of the Ambar Coast Highway is also useful for tourists and residents who want to travel from Puerto Plata to Santo Domingo for large scale shopping trips. Santo Domingo has many shopping malls and large department stores such as Ikea.
This also gives tourists the option to fly directly to Santiago and then travel to Puerto Plata, which has more flights departing from its airport than Gregorio Luperon in Puerto Plata.
The current Dominican Republic Minister of Public Works has stated that the highway will raise the importance of the country’s Atlantic coast, making it a ‘thriving tourist hub’.
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