What to Do in Puerto Plata on a Cruise (Massive Checklist + Suggestions & Issues to Know)


Sitting on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata (translation: Silver Port) sits proper within the center between the tip of Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The realm is steeped in historical past courting again actually to Christopher Columbus, who based close by La Isabela as the primary European settlement in North America in 1493.

View of Puerto Plata from Isabel de Torres
The view of Puerto Plata and the Atlantic Ocean from Isabel de Torres. This coastal metropolis gives heaps to do throughout a cruise port of name.

Right now the realm is a bustling metropolis of roughly 150,000 that’s additionally develop into a preferred cruise vacation spot with a number of ports. In case your cruise features a cease in Puerto Plata, then you definately could be questioning what to do throughout your keep. We’ll cowl a lot of choices of what to expertise in Puerto Plata in your cruise, together with some useful details about what to anticipate in your day in port.

Overview & What Puerto Plata Like?

Whereas many port cities on this space of the world can look like they’re there solely to serve vacationers, Puerto Plata is completely different. Tourism is a serious a part of the financial system, however it’s additionally an actual city.

As you’d anticipate given the situation alongside the coast, the seaside performs a giant position within the issues to do and see. Nonetheless, there may be additionally historical past, pure surroundings, and dramatic landscapes to take pleasure in (together with loads of touristy issues too!).

Map showing location of cruise ports in Puerto Plata
There are two main cruise ports within the space. Taino Bay is correct on the metropolis, whereas Amber Cove sits a number of miles away. Map information: CNES / Airbus, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Applied sciences, US Geological Survey.

There are two completely different cruise ports within the space. In case you are crusing on a Carnival Company line (Carnival, Princess, and so on.), then you’ll dock at Amber Cove. It is a devoted port space about six miles from the middle of Puerto Plata. Constructed within the mid-2010s, this port is certainly touristy with manicured grounds, a pool/bar space for passengers, outlets, and eating places. You would theoretically spend your complete day right here and be entertained.

The second port is the Taino Bay port, situated proper close to the center of the town. This port additionally gives the everyday touristy procuring port space to passengers, however gives easy accessibility to the sights of the town middle as nicely.

As for the town itself, it gives up a really Latin really feel. It’s bustling with vacationers and locals going across the metropolis by automobile, bike, or strolling. Buildings are constructed virtually to the road and densely packed, as is widespread in older cities with Spanish affect, offering lots to see in a small quantity of area.

The encircling areas are lush and mountainous, giving a pure magnificence to the realm. It’s additionally an opportunity to see the actual Dominican Republic in that there are components which might be drop-dead lovely mixed with poorer areas that make you admire what you may have at dwelling.

That each one combines to make Puerto Plata a singular place that gives an expertise we discovered rather more fascinating than extra “sanitized” cruise ports.

Getting Round Puerto Plata

Taxi charges from Amber Cove as seen in port. Charges are sky-high for taking a cab across the space.

If you happen to plan to depart the port to discover, you may have a number of choices for getting round.

Strolling: If you happen to dock on the port close to the town middle, then you possibly can merely stroll many locations. As an illustration, from the port to Parque Central, the stroll is nearly Quarter-hour. It’s one other 10-Quarter-hour to spots just like the beachfront and even much less time to the well-known Umbrella Avenue and Paseo de Dona Blanca (extra on these spots beneath).

Taxi: If you happen to don’t wish to stroll or you might be docked at Amber Cove, then a taxi is an possibility. Simply know that charges are costly. An indication posted exhibits the mounted charges. A trip from Amber Cove to Puerto Plata is $35 every method for as much as 5 passengers. That’s for a visit that’s solely about six miles. Nonetheless, given Amber Cove’s setup, there actually isn’t an alternative choice until taking an tour.

Shore Excursions: Reserving a shore tour to exit and discover the realm? Then your transportation might be included within the journey. Provided that the price of a taxi is pretty excessive, it’s one thing that you must take into account when pricing out issues to do. Having a trip to and from the port included isn’t simply handy, it could actually prevent cash.

Issues to Do in Puerto Plata on a Cruise

Under we cowl quite a few issues to do when you are in port in your cruise.

Visiting Amber Cove

Sign in front of ship at Amber Cove
Amber Cove the place Carnival docks options all kinds of issues to do, from an enormous pool space to picture opps in entrance of the ship.

Crusing on Carnival (or a sister cruise line)? You then’ll dock at Amber Cove (see our information to the port right here). The port space is constructed as a literal playground for passengers. On one aspect is quite a few outlets to discover, a photograph opp in entrance of the ship, and eating places. The opposite aspect consists of a big pool space with loungers, a swim-up bar, zipline, waterslides, and a splash pad for small youngsters. There are additionally different facilities to hire, from a wi-fi day move to kayaks to cabanas. In brief, you possibly can spend your whole day right here within the shadow of the ship if you’d like.

Visiting Taino Bay

Crusing one other cruise line like NCL, Royal Caribbean, MSC, or Virgin Voyages? Then you’ll dock on the Taino Bay port, proper close to the middle of Puerto Plata. Like Amber Cove, it additionally offers lots for passengers to take pleasure in with out going far. There are outlets, eating places, and bars, together with a pool space and man-made seaside (although no open water swimming) that gives views of the ship. If you happen to’re wanting to remain near the ship, that is a simple option to spend the day. Simply know that the port space can get crowded.

Isabel de Torres (Cristo Redentor Statue)

The towering Christ the Redeemer statue sits on the high of Isabel de Torres, wanting over the town.

Simply south of Puerto Plata sits Isabel de Torres — a tree-covered mountain that overlooks the town and the ocean. An tour can take you right here (or take the cable automobile, lined beneath). It’s a nationwide park and incorporates a stroll by lovely forest and manicured grounds. Right here atop the mountain it may be breezy and 20 levels cooler than at sea degree, so be sure you costume a bit of hotter. However the payoff is the view of the town beneath and the prospect to see Cristo Redentor — a statue of Christ with arms unfold that watches over the port.

Umbrella Avenue

Umbrella Avenue in Puerto Plata is likely one of the hottest points of interest.

Positioned close to Parque Central, for those who’re wanting an “Instagram” spot, that is one in every of two must-sees. It’s a small cross road that’s closed to site visitors and a steel body construction has been constructed over it. There, dozens of colourful umbrellas are hung above the road creating a singular space that’s pedestrian-friendly, with small outlets to discover, colourful umbrellas, and delightful bougainvillea crops including to the ambiance.

Paseo de Dona Blanca

The well-known Paseo de Dona Blanca is a brief road painted brilliant pink from high to backside.

We talked about one in every of two “must-sees” for probably the most photo-worthy sports activities. The primary is Umbrella Avenue. The second is Paseo de Dona Blanca. It’s actually a half-block from Umbrella Avenue, and proper close to the middle of city, making each spots fashionable to go to without delay. What’s particular about this alleyway is that it’s pink. We don’t imply a bit of pink. We imply from the roof of buildings all the way down to the walkway, all the things is painted a brilliant pink. It’s a brief stroll by the alley, however it’s a singular spot which you could’t miss.

Teleferico to Isabel de Torres (Cable Automotive)

We talked about Isabel de Torres — the mountain that overlooks the town with beautiful views. There are two methods up. First, you possibly can drive up, or you possibly can take a cable automobile (also referred to as the Teleferico). The doorway is a couple of mile from the cruise port on the town. From right here you possibly can hop aboard the automobile for the trip to the highest, offering beautiful views as you do. As soon as there, you’ll be proper on the Christ the Redeemer statue and may tour the mountain high earlier than heading again down.

Ocean World

You possibly can consider Ocean World as a Puerto Plata model of SeaWorld. It’s a preferred spot to take pleasure in with households as there may be heaps for youths to do and it sits roughly within the center between the 2 cruise ports within the space. You should purchase a day move (or ebook an tour by the cruise line) that provides you entry to snorkeling, animal exhibits, seaside, pool, and waterslides. As well as, there are different alternatives to do issues like swim with dolphins, or shark and sea lion encounters for an additional value.

Playa Neptuno

In Puerto Plata there are many seashores — your complete metropolis sits on the coast. However one of many neatest is Playa Neptuno. That’s as a result of sitting off the coast is a small island about 1,000 ft from shore. There’s an imposing statue of Neptune erected that appears again over the seaside. Maybe better of all, this seaside space is way calmer and quieter than the busy port areas for those who’re on the lookout for a spot to swim.

Fort San Felipe

Fort San Felipe
The fort is a well-known landmark. To the left are the cruise ships docked on the Taino Port. To the suitable is a big amphitheater with a lot of inexperienced area and ocean views.

We’ve talked about the historical past in Puerto Plata, however sadly a lot has been misplaced to time. One spot that continues to be is Fortaleza San Felipe. It sits overlooking the Taino Bay cruise port, and when it was in-built 1577, it served to guard the harbor from pirates. Today you possibly can tour the fort or simply discover the park that surrounds it, with views of the ships, the ocean, and plenty of inexperienced area.

Amber Museum

Jurassic Park followers might keep in mind one of many opening scenes the place a mine within the Dominican Republic finds a bit of amber with a mosquito trapped inside. That led to the cloning of dinosaurs and the invention of the park. Today, amber is a giant a part of Puerto Plata’s historical past and tradition. You’ll discover it on the market in lots of outlets. If you wish to know extra, you possibly can take a look at the Amber Museum, which incorporates an opportunity to see items with historic animals, crops, and bugs encased inside.

Parque Central

A statue in Parque Central alongside the church.

In most Latin American cities, there’s a central plaza that serves as the center of the town. Puerto Plata suits that invoice as nicely. Parque Central is an open sq. with seating, distributors, historic statues, and all lined by Spanish colonial structure together with an enormous church. Have a seat and you may individuals watch to your coronary heart’s content material. It additionally serves as an awesome place to begin for exploring the downtown space.

Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

Certain there may be a lot of historical past and tradition within the space. However while you’re on a cruise, typically you simply wish to get together a bit. In that case, search for shore excursions being supplied by the cruise line for catamaran crusing with snorkeling. These journeys will decide you up, take you on a catamaran trip to a snorkel spot. After a spherical of snorkeling, it’s again on the ship for lunch, open bar, and music. It’s a enjoyable option to spend the day on the water having a good time.

All-Inclusive Seaside Day

One other option to spend the day is with a shore tour to one of many many all-inclusive resorts within the space. Test your cruise line’s itemizing of gives. They are going to possible have 2-3 completely different choices that embrace time at a seaside with meals and drinks served. It may be a simple option to spend a while having fun with your self with out the crowds that you just’ll discover within the port areas.

Damajagua Waterfalls

One of many pure wonders of the realm is Damajagua Waterfalls. If you happen to’re wanting an journey together with one thing which you could’t do anyplace else, that is it. Your cruise line can have an tour to the realm, which takes you into the forest. You’ll be given a helmet and life jacket, hike into the realm the place waterfalls and pure swimming pools of water are discovered. From there, you possibly can slide down the falls or leap off the small cliffs (there are additionally ladders out there). It’s not ideally suited for small youngsters or older people, however these on the lookout for journey will adore it.


Puerto Plata Cruise Suggestions & Issues to Know

The Puerto Plata fireplace station as seen alongside the beachfront boulevard.

If you happen to’re visiting Puerto Plata on a cruise, listed here are some suggestions and issues to know that may make your day run smoother.

Think about Journey Prices on Shore Excursions

If you happen to’re taking a look at an tour and questioning if you are able to do it cheaper by yourself… possible not. That’s as a result of taxi costs within the space are ridiculously excessive. A trip from Amber Cove to the town middle is barely about 6-7 miles however prices $70 spherical journey. Preserve that in thoughts when contemplating what you intend to do for the day.

Free Wi-fi in Port

If you happen to’re in port, go searching for outlets or eating places providing wi-fi providers. As a perk to get you within the door, many provide up wi-fi entry for no cost, supplying you with an opportunity to examine electronic mail or get in contact again dwelling for reasonable.

Photograph Alternatives Are All over the place

If you wish to get an image in entrance of the ship, you’re in luck. Each ports provide a lot of alternatives to get a memento shot. Amber Cove, as an illustration, incorporates a large signal which you could stand between, with the cruise ship over your shoulder.

An Simple Rule for Change Charges

The U.S. greenback is broadly accepted in Puerto Plata, however many issues are priced solely in Dominican pesos. If you happen to’re questioning concerning the trade charge, it’s presently round 55 pesos to 1 greenback. Whereas it’s not excellent, a simple rule of thumb is to simply double the value in Dominican pesos after which put a decimal level two locations in. So if one thing is priced at 350 pesos, double it to 700 after which put a decimal two spots in for $7.00. A t-shirt costing 1,300 pesos comes out to roughly $26.00 in U.S. {dollars}. It’s not excellent, however a simple option to ballpark prices.

Heading to Discover City? Take Screenshots of a Map Earlier than You Go away

One straightforward factor to do in port is just stroll across the downtown space, exploring by yourself or seeing the sights like Paseo de Dona Blanco or the city sq.. If you happen to determine to do that, it’s sensible to take screenshots of the realm in your mapping app in your telephone. This fashion, even for those who don’t have service you should have a map to check with with the intention to get round city.

Attempt to Go to Umbrella Avenue Early

Some of the fashionable sights within the metropolis is Umbrella Avenue, however for those who’re going to go to, then it’s a good suggestion to attempt to go earlier within the day. Given its recognition, the place can refill within the afternoon when everyone seems to be out and about. An earlier go to ought to provide you with extra time for photos with out having too many different individuals within the shot.

Public Seashores Are All over the place

If you happen to simply wish to grasp on the seaside, then there are a selection of public seashores round. Nonetheless, the port areas themselves don’t provide public seaside entry. You’ll need to go outdoors the port to hit the sand and surf. You possibly can stroll the avenue that runs alongside the coast till you discover a spot you want. As nicely, many seashores have quite a few eating places and seaside bars the place it’s also possible to have a chew to eat within the shade.

Amber Cove Passengers Will Want a Journey Anyplace

Whereas passengers in Taino Bay can merely stroll into city, for those who’re docked at Amber Cove (for Carnival ships), then no such luck. Right here the stroll from the ship to out of the port’s gate is roughly half a mile. And after that there isn’t anything inside strolling distance. Which means for those who’re desirous to go discover, you’ll must pay a taxi fare or ebook an tour.

You Can Simply Spend All Day in Port Areas (However You’ll Miss Out)

Not feeling adventurous? Or perhaps you simply wish to have a low-key day. In that case, you completely can have a full day with out leaving the port space. Each Taino Bay and Amber Cove provide areas for passengers tp take pleasure in with out ever leaving the port. This consists of swimming pools, procuring, and eating places. To make sure, this isn’t the actual Puerto Plata or Dominican Republic, and we predict you’ll miss out on lots by not getting out and exploring. However if you’d like it straightforward, it doesn’t get any simpler.

Be Prepared for Rain

In complete, Puerto Plata will get about 60 inches of rain a 12 months. The excellent news is that throughout the busy summer time months of June-September, it’s pretty dry with solely 2-3 inches of rain on common monthly. However November by May even see anyplace from 5 inches as much as 9 inches (November and December) on common every month. In different phrases, if visiting within the winter, pack a rain jacket simply in case.

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