10 Best Puerto Plata Shore Excursions for Dominican Republic Cruise Port in 2024

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Puerto Plata is the jewel of the Dominican Republic and is a cruise port that is quickly growing in popularity with passengers. This article is your ultimate guide to the best Puerto Plata shore excursions in 2024 that you can pick up from Taino Bay or Amber Cove.

Whether you are a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or a history buff, Puerto Plata has something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the top shore excursions that are available on your Puerto Plata Cruise.

What Makes Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic a great Caribbean cruise destination?

Puerto Plata is located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. It is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural heritage. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and rich Dominican history, it’s no wonder that Puerto Plata shore excursions are a highlight of any Caribbean cruise.

The city’s modern cruise port, Taino Bay, welcomes cruise ship passengers with open arms and offers a plethora of exciting excursions. Carnival Cruise Line and its subsidiaries dock a little bit further along the coast at Amber Cove which is a private beach destination owned by the company.

Puerto Plata Shoreline

What to Expect When Your Cruise Ship Docks at Amber Cove Cruise Port?

Amber Cove is situated near Puerto Plata, and is one of the Caribbean’s most modern and welcoming cruise ports. Amber Cove is not just a cruise terminal; it’s been designed and created by Carnival to be a destination in itself with water sports, pools, and shopping. The longer you are in Amber Cove, the more you will spend with the company.

However, when you visit the Dominican Republic there is so much that this wonderful island has to offer. Ironically that makes Amber Cove a great starting point for many shore excursions in Puerto Plata.

How to Experience the Best of Puerto Plata City in a Half-Day tour?

Panoramic view over Puerto Plata cruise port
View of Puerto Plata from top of the Cable Car

If you’re on a tight schedule, a half-day tour of Puerto Plata City is perfect. Start by taking a cable car to the top of Mount Isabel, offering panoramic views of the coast. Next, visit the historic San Felipe Fortress, which has stood guard over Puerto Plata since the 16th century.

Don’t forget to stop by the Amber Museum and learn about the Dominican Republic’s precious amber.

Free Cancellations
Half-Day Cultural Tour City of Puerto Plata for Cruise Ships

Save hours researching the best things to do in Puerto Plata and take this featured tour instead. Start the day with a convenient pickup, and then head out on a tour of the Brugal Rum Factory, Fort San Felipe, and Parque Central. The highlight is a cable car ride up Mount Isabel de Torres.

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Which Beaches are a Must-Visit on a Puerto Plata shore excursion?

Puerto Plata province is home to some of the Dominican Republic’s most beautiful beaches. Playa Dorada, with its golden sands and clear waters, is perfect for relaxation. It’s very close to the cruise port terminals, so make an ideal stop.

Sosua Bay is another gem, known for its snorkeling and vibrant marine life. For a more secluded experience, visit Cayo Arena (Paradise Island), a small sandbar surrounded by coral reefs.

Free Cancellations
Resort Beach Escape Shore Excursion from Taino Bay

Enjoy a day off the ship and lounging by the ocean in one of Puerto Plata’s soft sandy beaches during this half-day getaway at a local resort that includes a lounge chair on the beach. Lay back and listen to waves while sipping a cocktail and watching the world go by. Enjoy drinks and food from the resort bar (own expense) and cool off with a swim in the pool or ocean.

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What Makes the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua a Unique Excursion?

The 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua are one of Puerto Plata’s natural wonders. As such it is rated as one of the top Puerto Plata shore excursions available and is always very popular.

Nestled in the forest, this series of cascading waterfalls and pools is a paradise for adventure seekers. You can hike, swim, and even slide down natural waterslides. 

The Damajagua Waterfalls excursion is a refreshing and exhilarating experience, but it is a full-day excursion so plan accordingly.

Free Cancellations
27 Waterfalls of Damajagua for Amber Cove Cruise Ship Passengers

Once your cruise ship docks in Puerto Plata's Amber Cove, discover the secluded Damajagua Waterfalls on this full-day trip. Get a short safety briefing, then jump, swim, and slide down natural waterslides. Buffet lunch, rum drinks, safety equipment, and round-trip transportation from the cruise terminal are included.

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How to Explore Puerto Plata on an ATV?

For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, book an ATV tour through Puerto Plata’s amazing scenery. This off-road access in a rugged ATV is perfect for solo passengers or pairs.

Ride through the jungle, cross streams, and reach hidden waterfalls. Some tours also include a visit to the Country World Adventure Park, where you can enjoy an on-site swimming pool and a tropical botanical garden.

Free Cancellations
Amber Cove Shore Excursion: ATV Quads Let's Ride

Enjoy the open countryside on this full-day, guided, ATV tour that includes visits to a cigar rolling factory, a secluded beach, and a Dominican lunch. Pass by locals, scenery, animals, and vegetation and stop for lunch and a swim break at the beach. Head home in a safari-style vehicle while relaxing with a cool rum drink.

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How to Ride a Dune Buggy on a Thrilling Tour Of Puerto Plata?

This is one of the top-rated shore excursions in the Dominican Republic. These two-person dune buggies are for the thrill seekers among us. This is a half day full of fun for those looking for a tour to see the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic and it even includes a beach stop as well.

Top-Rated Tour - Free Cancellations
Two person Buggy Tour from Amber Cove or Taino Bay

Immerse yourself in the Dominican Republic's stunning natural scenery during this rugged, half-day dune buggy tour. Drive off-road through muddy paths and picturesque coastlines in Puerto Plata Province. Small-group tours include a stop at Playa Bergantin with an optional swim.

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How Can I See The Top Historical Sites But Still Have Beach Time?

Puerto Plata is steeped in history. The San Felipe Fortress, or Fortaleza San Felipe, is a 16th-century fortress that offers a glimpse into the Dominican Republic’s colonial past.

Another historical site is the Isabel de Torres Cable Car, which takes you to the top of Mount Isabel for breathtaking views. Don’t miss the Victorian-era buildings in Puerto Plata city, reflecting the rich cultural heritage.

You can choose a tour that combines a bus tour of the historical part of the city with a beach break to get the best of both worlds.

Free Cancellations
Historic Puerto Plata and Resort Beach Shore Excursion

Get some relaxation with your exploration during this half-day, guided, historical tour of Puerto Plata that ends with lounging at a beachside resort. Learn about this vibrant city and then head to Golden Beach where a sunbed and cocktail are waiting for you. Take a swim in the ocean and order some food (own expense) before heading back to your departure point.

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How to Experience Dominican Life and Cuisine?

To truly experience the best of Puerto Plata, immerse yourself in Dominican life and cuisine. Take a tour that includes a visit to a local market, where you can taste traditional Dominican food and drink. The Del Oro Chocolate Factory is a must-visit for chocolate lovers. Engage with the locals and learn about their daily life, traditions, and history.

Another recommended tour that immerses you in the local Dominican culture is a trip to Taino Garden. This is a lush forested area of over 250,000 square meters.

Free Cancellations
Half-Day Nature Culture Excursion, Tropical Taino Garden Tour

The excursion to Tropical Taino Garden is the opportunity for you to get to know the nature of the country, the Dominican culture and the lifestyle in the Dominican countryside. The routes in the forest have a total of 2.5 kilometers of path under the natural shade created by the trees.

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How to Save Money on Your Shore Excursions

Saving money on shore excursions allows you to make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. One of the best ways to save is by considering alternatives to booking through your cruise line.

Booking Through the Cruise Line vs. Independent Companies

Booking your shore excursions through the cruise line is convenient, but it can be much more expensive compared to booking through independent companies like Viator.

Pros of Booking Through the Cruise Line:

  • Convenience: Everything is organized for you, and you don’t have to worry about logistics.
  • Guarantee: The cruise line guarantees that the ship will not leave without you if your shore excursion is delayed.
  • Reliability: The cruise line has vetted the tour operators, ensuring a certain level of quality and safety.

Cons of Booking Through the Cruise Line:

  • Cost: Excursions booked through the cruise line tend to be much more expensive.
  • Crowds: Tours organized by the cruise line can be crowded, as many passengers book the same excursions.
  • Book up quickly: Dominican Republic shore excursions book up quickly and often the cruise line excursions will be fully booked

Pros of Booking Through Independent Companies:

  • Cost Savings: You can often find the same excursions offered by the cruise line at a much lower price when booking through independent companies.
  • Variety: Independent companies may offer a wider range of excursions, including some unique experiences that are not available through the cruise line.
  • Smaller Groups: Tours booked through independent companies may have smaller groups, offering a more personalized experience.

Cons of Booking Through Independent Companies:

  • Logistics: You will need to check the logistics yourself, where you will be picked up, start and finish times etc, which can be more time-consuming.
  • No Guarantee: If your shore excursion is delayed, the cruise ship is not obligated to wait for you – always double check the times and locations of the tour

While booking through your cruise line is convenient, you can save money and potentially have a more personalized experience by booking through independent companies. Just be sure to do your research and understand the pros and cons of each option.

More Puerto Plata Shore Excursion Ideas

Booking Your Shore Excursions: Tips and Recommendations

When booking your Puerto Plata shore excursions, consider the following tips:

  • Book through your cruise line or a reputable tour operator like Viator for the best price and experience.
  • Read reviews and photos from previous visitors to Puerto Plata.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat.
  • Carry some local currency for souvenirs and tips.

Puerto Plata Tours and Shore Excursion – Key Points

Puerto Plata Shore Excursions - View from San Felipe

  • Puerto Plata is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination on your Caribbean cruise in 2024.
  • Amber Cove is a modern cruise port with amenities and is the gateway to Puerto Plata shore excursions.
  • Experience the best of Puerto Plata city, including San Felipe Fortress and Mount Isabel, in a half-day tour.
  • Visit stunning beaches like Playa Dorada and Sosua Bay.
  • The 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua offer a unique and adventurous excursion.
  • Explore the countryside on an ATV and discover hidden waterfalls.
  • Snorkel in the clear waters of Cayo Arena and Sosua Bay.
  • Immerse yourself in Dominican life and savor the local cuisine.
  • Book your shore excursions through reputable sources and prepare for an unforgettable day in paradise.

Embark on an adventure and experience the best Puerto Plata shore excursions on your next cruise. Whether it’s the natural beauty, the rich history, or the vibrant culture, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic has something for everyone.

When booking independent shore excursions we use and recommend Viator. Viator is owned by Tripadvisor and is one of the highest-rated independent tour brokers around. They have never let us down. They also offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before your excursion.

However, no matter what tour operator you use, always do your own research. Check the pickup locations and times of tours carefully and allow yourself plenty of leeway in case of an emergency that might delay the tour. 

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Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for CruiseNonstop.com you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

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