If you’re a long-time cruiser, you may not have had the pleasure of visiting the Caribbean’s newest cruise port yet, but we’re betting that Amber Cove will be popping up on your vacation wish list in no time. Here’s what you need to know about the Dominican Republic’s new cruise destination.
1. Amber Cove is the Dominican Republic’s Newest Cruise Port
The Amber Cove Cruise Center is still pretty new—and it’s a pretty big deal, to boot. When it opened along the Dominican Republic’s northern “Amber Coast” in October 2015, it re-opened the area for cruise ships to visit. (The last ship to call at nearby Puerto Plata was almost thirty years ago.) Your ship will sail into the Bay of Maimon, a short distance to the north-west from Puerto Plata.
2. But There’s Plenty of History Nearby
While Amber Cove and its attractions are still new, the area dates back to the 1490s. Puerto Plata was first discovered by Christopher Columbus and was the site of one of the first forts in the Americas, Fuerte de San Felipe. Today, Puerto Plata is a popular beach town, but you can still experience its Spanish colonial past with a walking tour or time spent at local museums and landmarks.
3. The Weather is Great
While temperatures can get hot in the tropical climate of the Dominican Republic, the weather at Amber Cove and Puerto Plata remains pleasant for most of the year. Summer may see days in 80s, whereas winter days average around 75 degrees (F). Expect higher chances of rain in December, and the warmest sea temperatures in August.
4. It’s Easy to Get Around
Providing cruise passengers easy transportation was one of the main goals when developing Amber Cove. From the transportation hub here you can access rental cars, taxi services and a long list of shore excursions that can take you into the region’s lush landscape and historic towns.
5. You Can Control the Action
If you like to find your own adventure on four wheels or flying through the air, Amber Cove has you covered. The port has one of the most robust shore excursion and activity lineups in the Caribbean. You could buckle up for an ATV or buggy expedition, a helicopter tour or a zip line through the rainforest. Or, choose a more leisurely pace with a kayak, paddle board or snorkeling tour. You can even opt for fishing expeditions or horseback riding.
6. You Can Spend the Day Like a VIP
While some of us like to get the blood pumping on a day in port, others like to slow things down—right down. If you’re looking for some pampering on your day in Amber Cove, a cabana might be just what the captain ordered. That’s right, overwater cabanas are not just the stuff of daydreams; you can rent one here and spend the day being waited on and enjoying ocean breezes from your deck and outdoor shower, or relishing the comfort of A/C, Wi-Fi and TV inside. Cabanas can be rented for up to 20 people.
7. You Can Swim with Dolphins
One of the most popular cruise activities for families is to swim with dolphins on a day in port. At Amber Cove, you can make it happen, at Ocean World’s Dolphin Encounter. The experience lets you get up close to these magnificent mammals in waist-deep water, so it’s accessible even for younger children (although they will need to be accompanied by an adult.) For those who want a bit more of a thrill, you can also swim with stingrays and sharks.
8. Beach or Pool? You Don’t Have to Choose
Water babies have their choice of nearby beachfront resort experiences—think beach lounger, beach umbrella and chair-side service—along with the simplicity of waterside hammocks and major pool action on-site at Aqua Zone (complimentary for cruisers). This resort-style pool has a swim-up bar, waterslides, a lazy river and plenty of lounge chairs for kicking back.
9. Shopaholics Will Be Happy
Retail therapy is easy to come by at Amber Cove, whether you’re looking for authentic art and crafts by local Dominican artisans, or something special from one of your favorite brands. There are shops and marketplace stalls right at the port, and more local offerings in town at Puerto Plata. If you want to take home a unique taste of the island, look for Dominican specialties such as rum, coffee, chocolate and amber. Frommer’s has more info on shopping in Puerto Plata here.
10. It’s Easy to Explore
If you’re into sightseeing or soaking up local culture, Amber Cove and Puerto Plata have plenty of options, including the Amber Museum and the Brugal Rum factory. The historic downtown and main plaza are great places to take a stroll, as is the Malecon, a three-mile long open air boardwalk overlooking the ocean. History buffs may want to visit Fort San Felipe, while nature-lovers can check out Damajagua Falls or the nearby beach towns of Sousa and Cabarete (great for catching some windsurfing and kiteboarding action). To get a bird’s-eye view of all there is to do at Amber Cove, head to the Sky Bar. It’s perched at the top of a 60-foot granite hill and offers panoramic views of the cove below.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.