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Dominican Republic

Amber Cove Cruise Port Tips

Amber Cove cruise port
Amber Cove cruise port. © Carnival Cruise Lines
The filming location of the original Jurassic Park movie has become an $85 million port for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Amber Cove is a small bay near the resort city of Puerto Plata on the north coast of Dominican Republic. It lies just south of Grand Turk and the Turks and Caicos islands.

The port officially opened in October 2015 with the arrival of Carnival Victory and 3,000 passengers. It highlights the return of the first cruise passengers to Puerto Plata in 30 years.

The strategic location of the port will potentially result in future cruise stops in Cuba, Carnival says.

Other Carnival brands will visit the port including Cunard, P&O, AIDA, Azura, Costa and Holland America.

Amber Cove Attractions


Amber Cove represents another step in a trend toward cruise lines developing their own ports and providing attractions that encourage visitors to stay on site or nearby.

They also provide an opportunity for the cruise lines to become excursion operators for anyone wanting more adventurous activities.

Amber Cove has a welcome center with a crafts marketplace, restaurants, pool, splash zone and green space areas.


“The new port will host one of the most extensive shore excursion programs available in the Caribbean, offering roughly 40 different landside experiences including beaches, water sports and special culinary, cultural and adventure options,” Carnival says.

One of the largest nearby attractions is Ocean World, a two-mile drive from the port. Ocean World has animal encounters with an emphasis on swimming with dolphins.

Puerto Plata with much more shopping and dining lies seven miles southeast of the port. The town was founded by Christopher Columbus and was the first European settlement in the Americas.

Just before reaching Puerto Plata, visitors may want to see Fort San Felipe. The fort, completed in 1577, was built to protect the city from pirates.

The Amber Cove port has various shore and water excursions that are standard for Caribbean destinations. They include ATV rides, snorkeling and boating trips. But it also has a major national park that has some unique features.

Parque Nacional Isabel De Torres is located about the same distance from Amber Cove as Puerto Plata, although just south of the city.

The main feature of the park is Mount Isabel De Torres. The 2,600-foot mountain is known for its cable ride to the top and panoramic views of Puerto Plata, Christ the Redeemer statue and the surrounding countryside. The park also has hiking trails, botanical gardens and a bird sanctuary.

Beaches


Anyone who wants a more authentic beach than the one at Amber Cove can venture three plus miles by taxi or rental car to calm Cofresi Beach. It is next to Water World Adventure Park, which makes it easy to combine both activities in one trip.

The rougher waters of Grand Beach or Playa Grande are four miles in the other direction. Otherwise, good options that take up to an hour to reach are Sosua Beach and Cabarete Beach. Both of them are in attractive tourist towns to the east of Puerto Plata. Some cruise line excursions do go to Cabarete.

Getting Around


Attractions around Amber Cove such as beaches, Puerto Plata and Parque Nacional Isabel De Torres are close enough to tempt some people to rent a car.

Car rentals are available at the Amber Cove docks as well as taxis. A one-way trip to Puerto Plata costs about $35.

Rental car agencies such as Alamo and National have an office at the cruise port.

Weather


The dry season for Amber Cove is June through September and part of October. The heaviest rains historically take place from November through January, according to the Dominican Republic National Meteorological Office.

Average high temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius during the summer. They decline to about 84 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius during the winter.

Amber Cove weather in January | February | March | April | May | October | November | December

Other Tips


Restaurants usually include a 10 percent tip with the bill. Most people do not tip taxi drivers, although tipping is acceptable for good service.

Dominican Republic uses the same ten-digit call system as the United States. The main area code is 809.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

August 14, 2018

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