The Amber Gallery in Puerto Plata can be considered the most complete tour of the Dominican Republic’s cultural and historic past.
A perfect place to admire the finest display of Amber, the semi-precious, prehistoric fossilized resin that preserved prehistoric flora and fauna for millions of years; Larimar, the gorgeous blue stone native to the island; The Taino, the first ancestors of Hispaniola; Evolution of the Dominican currency and national flag; intro to the world of Dominican Mamajuana rum and cigars; Organic Dominican coffee, and Jewelry.
The Store: Officially opened in May 25th, 1999, this museum and gift shop is a famous attraction of Puerto Plata, visited daily by many tourists from all over the world. The first floor has a store with three main areas, displaying a fine selection of Dominican jewelry, art, and handcrafts. Also a display of organic DR coffee with samples for sale.
The Amber Exhibits: The second level is accessed from the front stairs, where visitors buy a ticket for about fifty us cents; The foyer has a dinosaur ( a Tyrannosaurus Rex ) with amber eyes and teeth, its glowing, volcanic-like body giving off a feeling it’s all made of amber.
Right past, the first gallery exhibit shows raw amber on the rock, still untouched. Also, a glass display of a sap-oozing tree forest reenacting the creation of amber, long ago; and a map of Hispaniola island showing the locations where amber is mined.
Left and right, the exquisitely displayed labyrinth shows a unique selection of inclusions: fossilized leaves, insects and small animals encapsulated in million-year old amber (20-50 million yrs old). This museum includes captions on the mining, uses and historic role played by amber throughout the world for centuries.
The golden hues of amber cast precious reflections of light, specially when lit from below. Some pieces are shown below a magnifying case that zooms in on the small animals trapped inside.
The Larimar Exhibits: Once visitors complete the tour of the Amber exhibits, there is a cave-looking entrance that mimics a mine, complete with shovel and ax in a wall; a reminder of where amber comes from. Once through it, the visitor reaches the Larimar room, where the blue stone is displayed as Jewelry, rock and specialized custom designs.
The Numismatics Exhibits: This exhibit includes a display of the history and evolution of Dominican currency, with old notes dating back to the 17th century. Also commemorative coins and a display of all the Dominican Republic national emblems used since 1844 all the way to the actual one used in the Dominican flag. This time-travel display in an impressive effort towards preserving the Dominican heritage across the ages.
The Taino Room: The first inhabitants of the island of Hispaniola ( now the Dominican Republic and Haiti ) left behind a legacy that was almost erased by the invading conquistadores from Spain, when Christopher Columbus first set foot in La Isabela ( now Puerto Plata ) on October 12th, 1492 – leading to the discovery of America as the “New World”. The Taino were decimated by disease and war from Europe, a byproduct of the colonization. The exhibit displays original Taino gods called Zemi, and other stone hand made statues. The same room exhibits Dominican life as it was during the 16th and 17th century.
The Cigar Hut and Rum Bar: Right past the Taino Room, visitors find the Cigar Hut and can enjoy fine Dominican hand made cigars, available for sale. A rolling table and countryside style decor include a roller that introduces the selection. Next to it, there’s a rum bar with Mamajuana, a drink made of rum, red wine, honey and herbs.
This is the perfect way to end a tour with a high spirit, tasting a famous local drink and smoking a good cigar with a bit of chit chat with Humberto, the connoisseur that takes care of the cigar and bar exhibit. The Amber Gallery Puerto Plata is part of the Puerto Plata Historic Center tour.
The Amber Gallery
Calle 12 de Julio Esq. Jose Del Carmen Ariza, Puerto Plata
Phones: 809-586-2101 Fax 809-586-6025