Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Museo Del Ambar (Amber Museum)

Collection of fossils, plants, and ancient animals encased in amber

Contributor: bebeto

The Dominican Republic has a special relationship with amber, producing and extraordinary range of colors. Christopher Columbus wrote about the local Taino Indians amber-adorned shoes, which he exchanged for a necklace made of Baltic amber.

Considered a semi-precious gem, amber is formed when tree sap fossilizes, sometimes catching plants, and animals in it. Amber mining has, over the centuries, been big business in the Dominican Republic.

The German Bentz brothers made their fortune at the turn of the last century in another popular export: sugar. They built the opulent Villa Bentz in 1919 at the peak of their success. In later years hard times would force them to sell the mansion, after which it began to fall into disrepair. It was not until Didi and Aldo Costa restored it for their museum that it reclaimed its former beauty.

In 1970, the Costa family moved to Puerto Plata and began the collection of amber that would eventually fill the museum. Curated with the assistance of the American Brandt Ghepart of the Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, the museum opened in March 1982.

On display are many rare finds, including the most famous display: a nearly 17-inch long ancient lizard trapped in amber.

  • Hours
    Open, with guided tours in several languages available Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
  • Website
  • Address
    Calle Duarte 61, Puerto Plata, 57000, Dominican Republic
  • Cost
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The most celebrated chunk of amber at the Museo del Ambar encases...
Curious Fact no. 175 See more Share:
About 100 meters from the Church of San Felipe on Calle Duarte
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