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Dominican Republic

La Romana Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Beaches

Altos de Chavón; © Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism
Altos de Chavón; © Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

The La Romana cruise port is in Dominican Republic’s third largest city. It is one of the few active cruise ports in the country.

It is mostly used by Carnival cruise ships and related brands such as Princess and Holland America because the company built the port. But this popularity is rather limited because La Romana is a small port.

Carnival makes a small number of stops there throughout the year. They are typically eight-day southern Caribbean cruises that embark from Florida and that also visit Grand Turk, Aruba and Curaçao. Some eastern Caribbean cruises go there as well.

Cruise visitors may find that the main attraction in La Romana is the resort village of Casa de Campo, a 7,000-acre complex that features golf, tennis, skeet shooting, equestrian, beaches and more. It is accessible from cruise ships via taxis and excursion buses.

Like other major destinations in Dominican Republic such as Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, La Romana is a destination that emphasizes plenty of activities in confined areas.

Where is La Romana?

La Romana Cruise Port Map

La Romana is on the southeastern coast of Dominican Republic. It is 80 miles east of Santo Domingo and 48 miles west of Punta Cana. Its location within a 50-minute drive of Punta Cana offers some opportunities for shore excursions to attractions in that famous resort destination including dolphin encounters.

Quick Travel Tips

  • The main attraction is the resort village of Casa de Campo
  • Facilities at the cruise dock are limited
  • Almost all activities require transportation via excursion operators

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Like most private ports in the Caribbean, La Romana offers shopping and restaurants owned by the cruise line. Visitors who want to do more than shop will find other things to do elsewhere.

Caso de Campo Marina
Marina at Casa de Campo; © Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

The region’s most popular cultural attraction is Altos de Chavón, a 15th century artists’ village next to Casa de Campo. It has hosted performers such as Frank Sinatra, Santana, Sting, Plácido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Heart and Air Supply, according to the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.

The village was designed by former Paramount movies set designer Roberto Copa. He also created movie sets for famous Italian film director Federico Fellini.

Some excursions to Altos de Chavón also go to Cuevas de las Maravillas (caves of wonders). Visitors go by footpath 25 feet underground to view stalactites and stalagmites. Another highlight is a collection of about 500 paintings by inhabitants on the island when Columbus first arrived.

The four-hour tour has prices starting at $70 per person plus discounts for children. Some tours are less expensive if they don’t include the cave.

For anyone willing to take the time, Carnival offers a one-hour ride to Punta Cana for the Dolphin Island Park and dolphin encounters. Prices vary based on the program, but they usually start at about $150 per person, which is typical for most dolphin encounter parks in the Caribbean.

Snorkelers and divers will want to visit the Guadalupe underwater museum, which can also be seen by snorkeling above it.

Another popular spot is the living museum of the Cara Merchant shipwreck, which once belonged to the famous Captain Kidd who was sentenced to death after being accused of being a pirate.

A marine coral reef nature preserve surrounds the six-square-mile Isla Catalina, which attracts thousands of divers and snorkelers each year.

Another one-hour excursion drive will go to Hoyo Azul Cave. This natural pool with crystal clear blue water is at the base of a giant cliff. The excursion also includes educational trails and animal encounters.

For golfers, Teeth of the Dog designed by Pete Dye has been called the top golf course in the Caribbean and among the top 100 in the world ranked by Golf Magazine. It is located at the Casa de Campo resort. The resort also has art galleries that display painters and sculptures from around the Dominican Republic.

Three other nearby Dye-designed courses are Dye Fore, The Links, and La Romana Country Club. Another option is La Estancia, designed by his son, P. B. Dye.

Beaches Near the Port

This video explains the best time to visit the Dominican Republic and avoid the annual hurricane season.
Full-Screen Version | YouTube Caribbean Channel

A Catalina Island beach break for five hours has a starting cost of $95 per person with discounts for children. This beach break is more expensive than most because of a 35 minute road ride.

Saona Island is accessible by boat from Bayahibe and is popular for its beaches and excursions on catamarans and speedboats. Lucky tourists will be joined by dolphins that swim and leap nearby. Like Catalina Island, this excursion cost about $95 per person but includes an open bar. Again like Catalina, visitors take a bus ride followed by a boat ride.

Visitors may have better luck and spend less money by going to a beach on their own. Several beaches are near the cruise docks and accessible by shuttle or taxi depending on the location. They include Casa de Campo and a 10-minute taxi ride to Bayahibe Beach.

Two of the best beach options for anyone taking a taxi are Playa El Caleton and Playa Bayahibe. El Caleton is close and decent. Bayahibe is farther and better.

Playa El Caleton is just less than two miles from the cruise terminal and a better choice for anyone who wants a quick visit. Bayahibe is a 25-minute drive and has more to offer. It’s also often available as a cruise excursion.

Two smaller options are Playa Caleta at five miles and Playa El Minitas at four miles from the terminal.

Shopping and Dining

Altos de Chavón has a small number of shops and restaurants. Another shopping and dining option is The Marina, a village within Casa de Campo.

Transportation / Getting Around

La Romana transportation options are simple and clear thanks to its small size: taxis, shuttles and excursion buses.

Passengers will find taxis and shuttles at the docks to take visitors to Casa de Campo, the Marina and Altos de Chavon. Taxi rates are often negotiable, so ask for a price before getting into the cab.

In our experience, negotiating taxi rates in a cruise port is a risky business, especially at the end of the day when the ship is almost ready to leave. We recommend taking an excursion bus whenever possible.


Average monthly temperatures in La Romana.
Average monthly temperatures in La Romana. © Scott S. Bateman

La Romana and other locations in the Dominican Republic are blessed with warmer weather than average temperatures in the Caribbean throughout the year.

Daily highs average in the mid to upper 80s Fahrenheit and break 90 degrees from June through September. Rainfall is lowest during this time as well.

The worst time to visit is November and December when average rainfall reaches nine inches a month. La Romana also has a brief rainy season in May.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 05, 2024

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