Casino action dominates the night. Newest with the most imaginative decor is the Casino at Ocean World, Calle Principale 3 at Cofresi (tel. 809/291-1111). Its cabaret show staged here, with gorgeous dancers, is the best in the D.R., rivaling some of the spectaculars in Las Vegas. A well-recommended way to experience the charms of this place involves booking a place on the "Ocean World Magical Nights," wherein, for RD$2,460 per person, you'll get round-trip transfers by minivan from most of Puerto Plata's hotels, unlimited access to a well-stocked dinner buffet, access to a dolphin night show and a sea lion night show, access to the casino and the location's many bars, and access to a Las Vegas-style revue replete with views of performers artfully outfitted in a minimalist style. Your hotel desk can usually book such tours for you. Less modern, but within the Playa Dorada hotel complex, is the sprawling, blockbuster-style casino at the Holiday Village Golden Beach (Playa Dorada; tel. 809/320-3800).
The Playa Dorada Hotel complex contains about 15 hotels, some of which have dance clubs that welcome anyone, guest or not, into their confines. These after-dark diversions tend to be filled mainly with foreign visitors, although they occasionally attract locals looking to hook up with tourists. None charge a cover, and the almost-universal drink of choice, Presidente Beer, costs RD$150 a bottle.
At least three clubs pulse out dance music every night of the week within the Playa Dorada complex beginning at 10pm. (Be aware that, in the words of one Dominican night owl we know, "Things don't get interesting till around 11:30pm.")
The hands-down most entertaining dance club at Playa Dorada, the one that everyone says is the most animated and raucous, is Mangú, Playa Dorada (tel. 809/320-3800). Its designers positioned it adjacent to the Holiday Village Golden Beach Resort, but with separate entrances. You'll find an attractively balanced blend of both local residents, many eager to score with an off-island visitor, and holiday makers, who merge and mix in an animated blend of hot bodies and hot merengue. Entrance is free for residents of the Holiday Village, but around RD$100 for nonresidents. Expect flashing lights; hundreds of writhing bodies; and a skin, glitter, and feathers show that begins at 11:30pm.
Mangú's most visible competitor is the Roadway Western Bar and Mix Grill, in the Playa Dorada Plaza (tel. 809/320-4502). Set within a simulated recreation of a log cabin, on the back side of the resort's busiest shopping center, its walls are outfitted with campy slogans like "Gringas are forever." There's no cover charge, and a Presidente beer goes for RD$140.
A final contender for the nightlife circuit in Puerto Plata is Crazy Moon, adjacent to the lobby of the Paradise Hotel (tel. 809/320-3663). Though not as sweepingly popular as either Mangú or the Roadway Bar, it can be a lot of fun, and the music is always danceable.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.