View from the Aerial Tramway

11 Best Shore Excursions in Puerto Plata for Cruise Ship Visitors

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Puerto Plata is a favorite stop for numerous cruise companies. And it is no secret why that is. Puerto Plata, located on the northern shore of the Dominican Republic, has beautiful coastlines, luscious green landscapes, and very friendly and welcoming residents. If you have booked a Caribbean cruise, you may find yourself lucky to discover that Puerto Plata is one of the ports of call on your vacation. You’ll need to decide from the many shore excursions in Puerto Plata which one you’d like to choose from. This can be a hard decision as there are many wonderful options available. 

With its idyllic palm-fringed beaches, cultural heritage, and many activities, Puerto Plata is an excellent port of call to visit. If you are wondering what to do while in port, you will discover that there are so many things to see and do in Puerto Plata. You will have no problem filling your day with adventure while exploring Puerto Plata and its rich cultural history. 

Should You Book Your Excursion On Your Own or Through Your Cruise Ship?

This is a question that many people ask. There are benefits to both scenarios that you should take into consideration when deciding how to book your shore excursions in Puerto Plata. First and most importantly, if you book your shore excursion through your cruise line, they guarantee that you will not be left behind if there is a delay while you are on your shore excursion. This is important because getting left behind in a port has serious implications and costs, such as needing a passport to fly to the next port, the cost of getting to the next port, and finding a place to stay overnight. The drawback to booking an excursion through your cruise line is the cost. Most shore excursions are pricey, and the costs will increase quickly if you purchase excursions for the whole family. 

The benefit of booking excursions on your own is that you will be paying a reduced price for the same excursion you can book through the cruise line. Also, local tour operators are well aware of the needs of their customers, especially cruise ship passengers. They know that you must return to your ship by a designated time and make sure that you are back in time. One of the drawbacks of booking your own shore excursion is that sometimes shore excursions are specifically tailored for the cruise line. You might not be able to find the exact shore excursion that your cruise ship offers.

Getting to Puerto Plata From the Cruise Ports in Puerto Plata

The shore excursions offered to cruise passengers in Puerto Plata are tailored specifically for cruise passengers. This means that most shore excursion tour operators offer pickup options from either cruise port. While this added benefit is worked in with most excursions, there might be the off chance that you will need to find your own way into town from your cruise port. Do not worry; getting to town is very easy from the Amber Cove cruise port, and especially Taino Bay, Puerto Plata’s cruise port.

If You Arrive at Amber Cove Cruise Port

If you arrive in Puerto Plata via Amber Cove, you will need to get a ride into town since Amber Cove cruise port is 8 miles away. Taxis are available in Amber Cove to take you into town or to other destinations around the area. The cost of taxi services is set by the taxi union and posted in the taxi waiting area right outside the cruise port. The cost for a ride into town is $30.00 per vehicle for a maximum of 5 passengers. The price for additional passengers is $4.00 per passenger.  

Entrance to Amber Cove Cruise Port

If You Arrive at Taino Bay, Puerto Plata’s Cruise Port

If you arrive in Puerto Plata via Taino Bay Cruise Port, you are in luck, as Taino Bay is located near the heart of the city. You should not have any problem connecting with your shore excursion company near the cruise port. And, since you are very near the center of town, you can explore Puerto Plata on foot or walk along the boardwalk known as the Malecon. You can also take a taxi to various points of interest around Puerto Plata.

Taino Bay Letters
Taino Bay Letters

The Best Shore Excursions in Puerto Plata

If you go beyond the cruise port, you will find that there are many exciting things to do in Puerto Plata and the surrounding area. It can be challenging to decide which shore excursion to book. Here are a few of the best excursions in Puerto Plata to help you decide.

Puerto Plata City Tour

The Puerto Plata City Tour is one of the most popular shore excursions in Puerto Plata. During the Puerto Plata City Tour, you will learn about Puerto Plata’s history and culture. On this city tour, you will visit sites such as the Independence Plaza, the town square in the center of town, Macorix House of Rum, and the popular Umbrella Street and Paseo de Dona Blanca, which is also known as Pink Street. You will also visit the Fortaleza San Felipe, which was a fort used to protect the city of Puerto Plata against pirates. You will also stop by an Amber Museum, a Cigar factory, and a Chocolate Factory. 

This tour offers pick-up from both Amber Cove and Taino Bay, so you do not have to worry about finding transportation for your tour. You will also find a similar tour offered by your cruise line.

Umbrella Street in Puerto Plata. A popular stop on one of the shore excursions in Puerto Plata.
Umbrella Street in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata Aerial Tramway El Teleferico

A great excursion to go on to start exploring Puerto Plata and get a perfect bird’s-eye view of Puerto Plata and the surrounding area is the Aerial Tramway, a popular attraction in Puerto Plata. The aerial tramway, known as the Teleferico, is a cable car ride that takes you up to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres. Mount Isabel de Torres is a 793 meter high mountain located to the south of the town of Puerto Plata. As you ascend the mountain, you see that this in one of the best places to see panoramic views of the beautiful town of Puerto Plata and the lush tropical landscape of the mountainside.

The aerial tramway ends at the top of Mount Isabel De Torres which is a national park in the Dominican Republic. At the top, you will find a gift shop, a restaurant, and a miniature replica of the statue of Christ the Redeemer from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. At the time of this writing, this excursion was not offered by most cruise lines. If you decide to ride the aerial tramway you will need to take a taxi to the tramway.

Amber Cove and Taino Bay 2-Person Buggy Tour

This is a rugged half-day dune buggy tour through the Puerto Plata Province, where you will have an exhilarating off-road experience. You will also stop at Playa Dorada, a popular and beautiful beach in the Dominican Republic, where you will be able to stop and go for a swim. There are different varieties of off-road buggy experiences to choose from. Your cruise ship will also offer a similar tour. This tour also offers pick-up at both Amber Cove and Taino Bay cruise ports.

The 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

The Waterfalls of Damajagua is by far one of the more popular shore excursions in Puerto Plata. While there are 27 waterfalls in Damajagua, you will likely only see seven or twelve. This tour is an adventure tour that involves hiking through the forest until you reach the waterfalls. At the waterfall, you will enjoy the water and the natural slides down the waterfall. Lunch is generally included with this tour. You will find a variety of different tours of the waterfalls. This tour also offers pick-up from Amber Cove and Taino Bay cruise ports. You will also find similar waterfall tours offered by the cruise line. 

Waterfalls and Buggys Cruise Ship Shore Excursion

This excursion is a great choice if you would like to combine the waterfalls and buggy excursion. This is a half-day tour with lunch included. You will hike to the waterfall, where you will enjoy the water and the natural slides. After your visit to the waterfall, you will enjoy an all-terrain buggy ride. This tour offers pick-up from Amber Cove and Taino Bay cruise ports. You will find a similar tour offered by your cruise line. 

Zip Line and Waterfall Tour Combo with Lunch

If you would like an exhilarating adventure, you can combine the waterfall hike with a zip line adventure. You will enjoy the cool water and going down the natural slides of the waterfall. You will also enjoy ziplining over the waterfalls. This tour includes lunch and pick-up from Amber Cove and Taino Bay. You will also find a similar excursion offered by your cruise line.  

Monkey Land Excursion

Monkey Land is a popular shore excursion in Puerto Plata that takes you into the jungle, where you will listen to the wildlife while looking for the popular squirrel monkeys found in the Dominican Republic. You will be given a plate of fruit to feed the monkeys. The monkeys will visit you, hoping to get a bite of the fruit. The monkeys are friendly and loveable. However, you will be trained on how to interact with the monkeys to avoid any problems as they are wild animals. Many cruise lines offer this tour. 

The Monkeyland Puerto Plata Tour is similar to the one offered by the cruise. There is also a similar tour, the Monkey Jungle with Zipline tour, which combines an exciting zipline with a visit to Monkey Jungle. Before booking these tours, you will need to confirm that they offer pick-up and drop-off to your cruise port.

You will also find many other excursions to choose from here.

Beach Resort Getaways

A great way to spend the day is at a beach resort, relaxing, swimming, and enjoying the beach or pool. Beach resort getaways are a popular option. Many are offered as shore excursions in Puerto Plata. These are a few popular choices.

View of a beautiful beach in the Dominican Republic. Beach getaways are popular shore excursions in Puerto Plata.
A Beautiful Beach near Puerto Plata

Amber Club Beach Getaway

A day at Amber Club Beach Resort might be what you are looking for. Your cruise line offers a variety of all-inclusive and a la carte options, such as the Amber Beach Club Getaway. You can choose an all-inclusive option at this resort or pay for drinks and meals as you order them. Various cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America, offer this getaway.

Iberostar Costa Dorada

This is an all-inclusive beach escape with air-conditioned transportation to the Iberostar Costa Dorada Resort. You can enjoy their swimming pool and beautiful beach. Beach chairs and umbrellas are included for the day, as are unlimited drinks and snacks. Lunch at the main restaurant is also included. Some cruise lines offer this resort escape, or you can contact the resort to purchase a day pass. 

Fricolandia Private Beach Club

You can spend your day at Fricolandia Private Beach Club, enjoying the picturesque shoreline. To reach the crystal clear waters of the ocean, you will need to go down a wooden staircase. You can choose to enjoy their refreshing cliffside swimming pools instead of walking down to the beach. Lunch and drinks are included in this tour. This beach getaway is offered by several cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line. You can also purchase this excursion on your own.

Other Beach Clubs you can purchase on your own are Ocean Breeze Beach Club and Taino Bay Beach Club. Before buying a day pass, you should confirm any transportation needs with the tour operator or resort, or you can easily take a taxi if necessary. 

Catamaran Snorkeling Tours

If you are looking for a refreshing tour where you will enjoy swimming in the ocean, then I recommend a catamaran snorkeling tour. While you will find independent tour operators offering catamaran snorkeling tours, I recommend taking this tour through your cruise line only, and I do stress “only” if it is offered by your cruise ship. Independent tours tend to run 6 hours or more, and you will risk returning to your ship after the all-aboard time if you do this tour on your own. 

The Cruise Ports in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata has two cruise ports, Amber Cove and Taino Bay. The port you will stop at will depend on the cruise line you are traveling with. 

Amber Cove Cruise Port was developed by Carnival and is primarily used by Carnival Cruise ships, although other cruise lines occasionally visit. The port has two berthing positions and can accommodate up to 8,000 passengers. It is located about 8 miles up the coast from the main town of Puerto Plata. 

Taino Bay, Puerto Plata’s cruise port, is located near the heart of Puerto Plata and is within walking distance of the town of Puerto Plata. Taino Bay Cruise Port has three berthing positions and can accommodate up to 14,000 passengers. The port is used by cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and MSC.

Staying in Port

Both Amber Cove and Taino Bay have many activities. You can stay in port and have a full day enjoying the many activities offered at each cruise port.

Things to Do at Amber Cove Cruise Port in Puerto Plata

Amber Cove is a great port of call. It was developed by Carnival for its cruisers and it does not disappoint. If you choose to stay in port at Amber Cove, there are a variety of activities to keep you busy. 

If you like shopping, you are in luck. There are many shops to explore at Amber Cove. You will find items such as local artisan products, cigars, and the popular Mamajuana cocktail. And as in many other ports of call, there is also a Diamonds International store where you can find incredible jewelry to purchase.

Amber Cove has a large pool area where you can spend the day swimming or sunbathing. There is also a small splash pad for the kids. If you are more daring, you can ride the zipline across the Amber Cove pool area. 

Zipline over the pool area at Amber Cove
Zipline over the pool area at Amber Cove

Other activities at Amber Cove include snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Equipment for these activities is available to rent. If you are looking for a quiet day, you can rent a cabana for your port day.

There are several restaurants and bars in port where you can enjoy lunch and a refreshing cocktail. This option would be an additional cost. You can also head back to the cruise ship for lunch. Going back to the cruise ship is easy as there is no tender at Amber Cove. Read our blog to discover more about the many things to do at Amber Cove Cruise Port.

Things to Do at Taino Bay, Puerto Plata’s Cruise Port

The Dominican Republic developed Taino Bay Cruise Port to accommodate cruise lines other than Carnival. If you decide to stay in port, you can enjoy a variety of activities at Taino Bay. 

Taino Bay has an incredible shopping area where you can find many artisan products and souvenirs to take home. As in many other ports, you will find Diamonds International, where you can find beautiful pieces of jewelry to purchase. 

Taino Bay has a wonderful pool area where you can relax and enjoy sunbathing or swimming the day away. There is a beach area specifically for sunbathing where you will have a great view of your cruise ship. Unfortunately, there is no beach at Taino Bay. You can float down the lazy river if you want a more leisurely water experience. Inner tubes are available without charge.

Swimming pool area at Taino Bay cruise port
Swimming pool area at Taino Bay

If you are interested in learning about the local spider monkeys, Monkey Island is a great place to visit. At Monkey Island, you will spend 30 minutes interacting with curious spider monkeys. Read our blog to discover more about the many things to do at Taino Bay Cruise Port.

Puerto Plata Shore Excursions Recap

There are many shore excursions to choose from. Whether you choose to venture out and explore the town, spend a day relaxing at a beach resort, or spend the day enjoying the activities in port, we are sure you will have an incredible time during your port day in Puerto Plata. Happy Cruising!

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