Montecristi 101 – Everything you need to know
The jewel of the northwest, Montecristi presents an almost unmatched landscape that is ripe for off-the beaten path adventures.
Montecristi is more than just a beautiful town with an amazing beach, it’s home to some tasty food and views that will take your breath away!
The spectacular cliffs called El Morro and the Cayo Los Siete Hermanos offers the visitor a little bit of everything, from history and nature to relaxation.
If you are into scuba diving, Montecristi’s waters are known as the “ship graveyard of the Caribbean,” with over 450 sunken galleons dating back to Columbus’s days, some of them awaiting for discovery.
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Montecristi, one of the most outstanding tourism spots in the Caribbean.
Where is Montecristi located?
Montecristi is a province in the Dominican Republic founded by Christopher Columbus in 1496. Its name “Montecristi” comes from the Spanish for “Mount Christ”.
The Montecristi province limits to the North with the Atlantic Ocean: to the South with the provinces Dajabón and Santiago Rodríguez; to the East with the Valverde province and to the West with the Atlantic Ocean and the Republic of Haiti.
As the jewel of the northwest, the province of Monte Cristi offers a wild and stunning scenery ripe for off-the-beaten-path adventures. Rice fields, banana fields, goats and giant cactus stand on sentry roads.
What is San Fernando de Montecristi?
San Fernando de Montecristi, the capital city, was founded in 1502 by Nicolás de Ovando in honor of King Ferdinand II of Spain – revealing an incredible legacy.
Tourism development is currently concentrated in this city, although there is potential along the entire coast, both western (Pepillo Salcedo) and north.
- Is Montecristi worth visiting?
Yes, Montecristi is one of the top Caribbean destinations for tourists all over the world, mostly Americans and Canadians who want to enjoy a spot that faces the Atlantic Ocean.
The thing that makes this province stand out the most is its natural beauty, but also its people. The locals are some of the friendliest in the world and go above and beyond to make sure visitors have a great time.
- What is the best month to go to Monte Cristi province?
The best time to visit Punta Cana is between December and April, when the weather is dry and sunny.
This is also the busiest time of year, so make sure to book your accommodation and flights in advance.
- How do I get to Montecristi?
The best way to get to Montecristi is by plane or boat. There are two international airports and two marinas nearby.
- Where is the Gregorio Luperón International Airport located?
The Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) is located 20 minutes north of Puerto Plata and the closest airport to the Montecristi province and to othertourist destinations such as Cofresí, Playa Dorada, Sosúa, and Cabarete.
The second option is the Cibao International Airport (STI) located in Santiago, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, right in the mountainous center of the country.
You also need to fill out an electronic ticket to arrive and departure the country.
Related – How to fill out the E-Ticket for the Dominican Republic
- Which marinas are close by Monte Cristi?
The closest marinas are in Puerto Plata, which is about an hour away from Monte Cristi.
- Ocean World Marina
- Puerto Blanco Marina
- What should I pack for Monte Cristi?
The clothing that you should pack for Monte Cristi should be comfortable, casual and light.
Since it’s a beach destination, make sure to pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses and hat.
Other items that you should consider packing are:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Insect repellent
- Cash in small denominations (US dollars are best)
While most places accept credit cards, there are some that only accept cash. It’s always good to have cash on hand just in case.
What are some beaches in Montecristi?
The province of Monte Cristi has some pretty beaches:
- Playa Los Cocos.
- Playa Buen Hombre
- Playa El Morro
- La Playita.
- Playa La granja
- Playa Juan de Bolaños
- Playa Los Coquitos in Pepillo Salcedo.
What is the currency used in Monte Cristi?
The currency used in Monte Cristi is the Dominican Peso (DOP), as is the official currency of the Dominican Republic’s government and economic system.
However, American US dollars are also widely accepted, although you will usually get a better rate if you pay in pesos.
ATMs can be found at the airport, shopping malls, in the local community, the hotel, and banks.
- What is the weather like in Montecristi?
Montecristi has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 26°C (79°F).
The rainy season is from May to November, while the dry season is from December to April.
- What is the hottest and coldest month in Montecristi?
The hottest month in Montecristi is August, with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F).
The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 24°C (75°F).
- Are there mosquitoes in Montecristi?
Yes, there are mosquitoes in Montecristi. Be sure to pack insect repellent and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts in the evenings to keep them at bay.
- What is the time zone in Monte Cristi?
Monte Cristi is in the Atlantic Standard Time Zone (GMT -4).
- What is the rainy season in Montecristi?
The rainy season in Montecristi runs from May to November, with an average rainfall of 100 inches per year.
Hurricanes and tropical storms have little impact on the Montecristi area, however, their rains can cause floods and overflows in the Yaque del Norte River
- Is there a hurricane season in Monte Cristi?
Yes, the hurricane season in Monte Cristi typically runs from June to November.
- How big is Monte Cristi?
The Montecristi province covers an area of 1,886 square kilometers and has an elevation of 33 feet (10 meters) above sea level. SanFernando de Monte Cristi, the capital, is about 517 square kilometers.
- What should I do if I get sick while in Punta Cana?
If you get sick while in Punta Cana, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. There are a number of hospitals and clinics located around the spot and a lot of resorts have first-aid clinics inside.
It is also a good idea to have travel insurance.
Is Montecristi safe?
Yes, Montecristi is safe. The crime rate is relatively low and most visitors report having a hassle-free experience.
Of course, it is always important to take precautions when travelling to any new destination and be aware of your surroundings.
- Can I drink the tap water in Montecristi?
DON’T drink the tap water. Stick to bottled water, which is widely available and cheap.
- Is it safe to rent a car in Montecristi?
Yes, it is safe to rent a car in Montecristi. However, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively.
The roads can be in poor condition and traffic can be chaotic, so it is important to exercise caution and get insurance.
- What side of the road do they drive on in Montecristi?
They drive on the right side of the road in Montecristi.
Is Montecristi a weddings destination?
Yes, Montecristi is a popular destination for weddings. The Dominican Republic offers a number of beautiful locations and churches for weddings and receptions.
What is the Montecristi nightlife like?
If you’re looking for a good time, you’ll definitely find it in Montecristi.
This vibrant city is home to a variety of bars, restaurants, and clubs, so there’s sure to be something to suit your taste.
Whether you’re looking for a casual night out or a wild night on the dance floor, Montecristi has you covered. And of course, no night out would be complete without a few drinks.
You’ll find plenty of places to get your fix, whether you’re in the mood for a cold beer or a refreshing cocktail. Also, many of the hotels also have their own bars and nightclubs.
What is the food like in Montecristi?
The food in Montecristi is typical Dominican food, which is a mix of Spanish, African, and Taíno influences. Some of the most popular dishes include:
- Sancocho, a soup made with meats and root vegetables.
- Habichuelas guisadas, stewed beans.
- Arroz con pollo, chicken and rice.
- Pescado frito, fried fish.
- Tostones, twice-fried plantains.
What is the voltage in Montecristi?
The voltage in Montecristi is 110 volts, which is the standard in North America.
If your devices use a different voltage, you will need to bring a power converter with you.
Can I go scuba diving while I visit Monte Cristi?
Yes, there are a number of scuba diving companies located in Monte Cristi that offer day trips and certification courses.
Some of the popular dive sites include:
Elbow Reef, a shallow reef with a variety of colorful fish.
Cayo Arena, an uninhabited island with clear water and white sand beaches.
Cayo los Siete Hermanos , a group of seven small islands with coral reefs and marine life.
The Monte Cristi Underwater National Park
The Monte Cristi Underwater National Park is famous for Scuba Diving and snorkeling. It’s the most important barrier reef in all of Dominican Republic, with an area spanning over 96 mi² (249 km). The start point begins at mouth North Yaque River while ending up near Punta Rucia- which makes it one fantastic location to explore!
- Coral Reefs
It boasts an excellent barrier coral reef that can be diving, snorkeling and underwater photography opportunities for visitors. You’ll see various hard-and soft corals beds as well colorful schools containing tropical fish sponges manatee sea turtles in this precious marine environment which was established back in 1991 when it became one of only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located on Caribbean.
- Sea Floor
The national park not only includes coral colonies. It also protects the marine floor by including areas like paradise island, which have natural swimming pools made up of pure sifted sand with an excellent exfoliating property for your skin!
- Sunken ships
Also he wrecks of the Old World are waiting to be found in this park. Your adventure awaits you with 450+ sunken ships and galleons from colonial times through 19th centuries! You can explore them near Florida’s coastlines, keys or even deeper at depths where many remain undiscovered today – all depending on your preference for discovery that will last a lifetime is what makes it so exciting being an underwater explorer like us here at X- promoters who do more than just promotes but also invite others into their adventures by promoting such activities as wreck diving which has been shown time after again how much fun they really are when done right
A.D.M.A.T. has identified and is studying several famous shipwrecks within the park:
- The Pipe Shipwreck Late 17th century
- The Tile Shipwreck 1720
- Le Casimir 1829
- Le Dragon 1783
- The Island Shipwreck
- Costa Verde Shipwreck
I’m not a certified diver. Can I still go diving in Punta Cana?
Yes, most dive centers offer intro dives for non-certified divers. These require no previous experience and provide an introduction to scuba diving in a safe and controlled environment.
However, for deeper dives, you certainly need to have a license.
Is there snorkeling in Monte Cristi?
Yes, the best spot for snorkeling in Montecristi is at the Cayo Siete Hermanos islands.
Can I go deep sea fishing in Montecristi?
Yes, the best fishing spots in Monte Cristi are the coral reefs. You can catch sportfish like barracuda and blue runner, but if you’re after bigger game there is also deep sea species such as mahi-mahis ( freezer quality), sailfishes , and wahoo.
How do I get around Montecristi?
The best way to get around Monte Cristi is by car.
Also, the town is small and easy to navigate, and there are plenty of things to see and do within walking distance.
You can also rent a bicycle or motorbike if you want to explore further afield.
There is a public bus system in Monte Cristi. The buses run regularly and are relatively cheap, but they can be crowded during peak times. If you are a tourist, make sure you are sided by a local.
How many days do you need in Monte Cristi?
Ideally, you should spend at least 3 days in Monte Cristi. This will give you enough time to explore the town and its surrounding areas. If you want to dive or go deep sea fishing, you may need to add an extra day or two to your itinerary.
What are some of the top tourist attractions in Montecristi?
Some of the top tourist attractions in Montecristi include:
- The Fortaleza San Cristóbal, a 16th-century fortress built by the Spanish to defend against pirate attacks.
- The Tobacco Museum, which is dedicated to the history of tobacco production in the Dominican Republic.
- El Morro – El Morro, with an approximate height of 237 meters, is one of the characteristic symbols
- Cayo Los Siete Hermanos, which offer visitors a little bit of everything from history and nature to relaxation and adventure.
- Relax on one of the many beaches in Montecristi.
- Explore the mangrove tunnels.
- Visit the capital city of San Fernando de Montecristi.
- There is a protected lagoon you can reach by hiking in Estero Hondo where you can see the home of the largest number of “endangered herbivore West Indian Manatees ” in the Dominican Republic.
- A tour to Cayo Arena is considered one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic . You can catch a boat transfer to this sandy key/island off Punta Rucia, which is located about an hour from Monte Cristi town.
- Visit Punta Rucia, a small fishing village where you can find some of the best seafood in the Dominican Republic.
What is there to do in Montecristi for families?
There are plenty of things to do in Monte Cristi for families. Some of the top activities include:
- Visit the Montecristi Bird Sanctuary.
- Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town.
- Explore the old fortifications.
- Visit the local markets.
Take a walk on main square and take a picture on the clock tower or reloj de montecristu, designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (of the Eiffel Tower) and built by Jean-Paul Garnier (of the famous watches).
- What is there to do in Montecristi for couples or singles?
There are plenty of things to do in Monte Cristi for couples or singles.
Some of the top activities include:
- Take a boat tour around the Cayo Los Siete Hermanos
- Visit Cayo Arena
- Go deep sea fishing
- Visit the tobacco plantations and the Tobacco Museum
- Relax on one of the many beaches
- Visit any of the six protected areas for ecotourism
- What can you not bring to Montecristi?
There are a few items that you are not allowed to bring into Monte Cristi, such as:
- Illegal drugs
- Pornographic materials
Are there any waterparks in Montecristi?
No, there are no waterparks in Monte Cristi.
The closest waterpark is located in Puerto Plata, which is about an hour and a half away by car.
There, you will find the Ocean World Adventure Park, which has an aquarium and a dolphin encounter.
During your visit to the northern coast of the country, you can also visit Fun City and the Monkey Jungle.
Facts about Montecristi
- Monte Cristi was founded by Nicolás de Ovando in 1506 and populated in 1533 by Juan de Bolaños and 63 families from the Canary Islands .
- Monte Cristi had a boom period in the last quarter of the 1800s. The town was at the forefront in many of the advances including the first aqueduct, first railroad and telephone.
- During this period, the town attracted people not only from Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata and other communities, but also foreigners (English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Americans, South Americans and islanders from the other Antilles).
- The economic decline of Monte Cristi began with the decrease in the demand for raw materials in Europe, difficulties of the Casa Jiménez, which the dictator Ulises Hereaux forced to escape from the hands of his political rival, Juan Isidro Jiménez , and then the problems derived from World War I.
- Montecristi town museum. In 1606, one hundred years after its founding, it was destroyed as retribution for doing business with pirates
- The Montecristi province has one of the most diverse and numerous systems of protected areas in the country, six in total, which include national parks, underwater national parks, wildlife refuges and scientific reserves.
Why is Montecristi so popular?
Montecristi a is a popular destination for a number of reasons.
First, the town is home to some of the most beautiful cayes and islands in the Dominican Republic, where you can also enjoy the beach.
Second, the town is rich in history and culture. You can scuba dive and explore sunken ships from the colonial era.
Third, there are a variety of activities and attractions that visitors can enjoy while in Montecristi, including bird watching, visit the manatee sanctuary, and ecotourism in the several national parks available.
Finally, the town is home to a number of restaurants and bars, as well as hotels and resorts that offer a variety of amenities and services.