Located on the Bay of Maimon, west of Puerto Plata, you will find a newly established port in the Dominican Republic, Amber Cove. The port is packed full of opportunities for adventurous excursions like swimming with dolphins to more relaxing ones such as lounging on Coconut Beach Cove, but exploring the local shops is a favorite among cruisers. Whether you are shopping for a keepsake for yourself or you are in search of the perfect gifts for your loved ones back home, Amber Cove has no shortage of high quality, authentic items. With such a vast selection, determining what to buy in Amber Cove can be a challenge. Before docking at the port, consider the following top 8 things to buy in Amber Cove:
1. Amber Gemstones or Fossils
The name “Amber Cove” is derived from the region’s rich amber mines. The amber found in this area, and throughout the Dominican Republic, is much clearer than the popular Baltic variety while also containing more fossilized insects. In Amber Cove, you are able to find the more common honey colored gemstones as well as the more exclusive blue variety of amber. Whether you opt for jewelry made with amber gemstones or a more intricate piece featuring an insect, a souvenir or gift made of amber is certainly one of the most authentic and extraordinary treasures you will find while shopping in Amber Cove.
2. Larimar Stone Jewelry
Larimar is a rare and beautiful gemstone that ranges in color from turquoise blue to green. The stone is only found in one location in the entire world- a small area of less than one square mile in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Known for their Larimar, local artisans craft exquisite pieces of jewelry which feature the stone. From modest rings to bold necklaces, a piece of jewelry with Larimar stone acts as both a precious keepsake and a statement piece.
3. Hand-Rolled Cigars
Cigars are one of the most sought-after souvenirs in the Dominican Republic and this is no exception in Amber Cove. Premium hand-rolled cigars are available in a number of different shops at the port. They range in both flavors and strengths but most hand-rolled cigars in the Dominican Republic are renowned for being well-crafted, tightly rolled and uniquely flavorful. Whether a souvenir for yourself or a gift, you are sure to find the style and flavor you are seeking in Amber Cove.
Coffee, often referred to as Santo Domingo, is a staple in the culinary world of the Dominican Republic. With large quantities of beans grown in the mountains, the Dominican Republic is best known for its Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties. While Arabica coffee presents a milder flavor, Robusta is frequently consumed by the locals who prefer a bolder flavor. Both varieties are often for sale in Amber Cove and the number of fresh and flavorful blends available makes a bag of Dominican coffee the perfect gift for all of the coffee lovers in your life.
5. Faceless Dolls
First created by a Dominican artist in 1981, faceless dolls have become a signature souvenir for travelers who visit the Dominican Republic. Each doll is handmade and typically crafted from red clay, porcelain or plaster. They feature bright, vibrant colors and their physical features and clothing vary from doll to doll. Each doll, however, is created without any facial features. Instead, the faces are left blank and smooth. It is believed that these qualities are missing to allow people from all over the world to identify with the faceless dolls.
6. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla beans are grown and extracted in the Dominican Republic, making vanilla extract another highly sought after item in Amber Cove. The vanilla produced has a much different flavor profile than the extracts derived from areas such as Madagascar or Mexico. Highly floral and intense in flavor, purchasing vanilla in Amber Cove allows you to recapture the tastes of the island long after you have arrived home.
MamaJuana is a popular drink that is native to the Dominican Republic. It is concocted through a mixture of rum, red wine, honey, tree bark and a blend of herbs. Locals believe that the drink acts as both an aphrodisiac and a healing agent. With a taste comparable to port wine, many cruisers are eager to taste this beloved drink of the locals. If you opt to take a bottle of MamaJuana home, it is typically available for sale in different formats including prepared or a dry mix. For many cruisers, a dry mix is much easier to travel with.
8. Mahogany Wood Carvings
Mahogany is the national tree of the Dominican Republic so it comes as no surprise that local artisans incorporate the wood into their art. Throughout Amber Cove, and the rest of the Dominican Republic, a number of artisans create authentic mahogany wood carvings. These handmade trinkets are available in many different shops and may depict animals, people or even objects that are significant in the culture. Some artists opt to leave the carvings in their natural state while others may polish and paint the carvings. These carvings are high-quality, making them a treasured gift.
While you will likely find an array of handmade items and other treasured souvenirs in Amber Cove, be sure to keep an eye out for these top eight items as you explore the local shops.