Getting Out of Amber Cove

May 30, 2016
amber cove excursion


Last month I found myself on a cruise to the Dominican Republic. We docked in Amber Cove, a port on the northwest side of the island. It’s pretty, has cute shops, decent food, and is not even that overpriced. It’s also not at all where you should spend your time in the Dominican Republic.

amber cove DR

Here’s what you should do instead:

Explore the Sights of Puerto Plata

Hop in a taxi and get out of Amber Cove. Puerto Plata, the capital of the province, is only about a 10 minute drive away and has some cool local shops, colonial history, and a nice beach. (Tip–Get a taxi once you’re outside the gates of Amber Cove, as it’s about 1/3 of the price. Don’t pay more than $10 to get to Plaza Independencia).

plaza independencia puerto plata

puerto plata

Get lost

Puerto Plata is a very small city, so don’t worry you won’t actually get lost! But do wander along the streets. I dragged my mom down what to some could be questionable looking alleyways, but we found the most amazing bakery with pastries for about 20c, a man selling chulas for $1, and the sweetest family-run bar where we people-watched and drank as the day wound down. Was this food more exciting than what we had been served for days on a cruise? Yes. And seeing how people live and carry out their daily lives in other cities and countries is always interesting.

puerto plata DR

puerto plata dominican republic

bakery puerto plata

market puerto plata dr

coffee puerto plata

bar puerto plata

Hike the Damajagua Cascades (27 Waterfalls)

This is one of the most invigorating things I’ve done in awhile, and my mom kept saying it was one of the best things she’s done in her life. You hike through canyons knee deep in water, sometimes swimming, climbing slippery rocks and diving into pools, and then slide down waterfalls on the way back. Our guides were amazing. One even carried my camera above his head in a plastic bag and documented the whole adventure. Plus, it only costs $7 for your ticket, guide, and a lifejacket. Plan ahead and bring water shoes or you’ll have to wear shoes they provide, which in my case were yellow Keds….

waterfalls in the dominican republic

Sliding down a waterfall

damajagua cascades

My mom having the time of her life

27 waterfalls dominican republic

Look closely at my shoes…

Visit a Private Island

We rented a car with a few other women, found a local guide (leave me a comment and I’ll send you his phone number) to drive us around, and headed to Play Rucia. Here we met up with our guide’s friends and made our way to Paradise Island in a rickey boat that I wasn’t sure would make it. At one point the water was so bumpy even our guide looked nervous, and we arrived absolutely soaked. In other words it was amazing.  There were a few other people on the island when we got there, but after about 30 minutes we had the entire place to ourselves to snorkel, drink rum, eat fresh pineapple and coconut, and lie in the sun marveling at the beauty around us.

puerto plata beach

rent boat puerto plata

paradise island boat trip

paradise island dr


local guide puerto plata

fishing puerto plata

dominican republic food

boating puerto plata

paradise island

Have you been to Puerto Plata? What did you think? Anything you would add? Let me know for my next trip!

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  • Reply jimmy guthrie January 18, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Super informative. My wife and I and another couple are cursing to Amber Cove on Princess in Feb. Thanks for the info. Jimmy Guthrie

  • Reply Yvette Fiala January 28, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Hi, we will be stopping at Amber Cove – one of our cruise ship days …around Feb 10th, 2017 for one day. I’d love to see the 27 waterfalls, do it on my own… question if I may? Did you take a taxi from the cruise port or how did you get to the waterfalls? Don’t want to take the guided expensive tour, but is the taxi not too expensive? Also the Paradise Island trip.. you didn’t do that all in one day, did you (waterfalls and paradise island/rucia) thank you!!!

    • Reply curiosityandacarryon January 31, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Hi Yvette,

      Yep, I took a taxi from Amber Cove. Amber Cove has taxis, but they’re much more expensive than the ones you can get just outside the gate. I asked someone I met for the number of a local taxi driver, and called from outside the gate. If that’s not possible, you could still take one of the Amber Cove taxis, and it would still be cheaper than doing the guided tour. Admission to the 27 waterfalls on your own is so cheap! You could also try walking a bit down the road outside of the gate and flagging one. It seemed to be a busy area. We did the 27 waterfalls in the morning, and Paradise Island for lunch/the afternoon. It was a packed day, but so enjoyable! I hope you have a great trip!

  • Reply Chelsae February 4, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Did you do all of this in just one day?

  • Reply Bradley February 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Yvette.

    Thank you for the awesome travel review. Me and my girlfriend are headed to Amber Cove next week. Could you please email the name and number of your driver.

    Thank you!

  • Reply Alexa February 16, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Amazing! Came across your blog on Pinterest looking for things to do in PP as my boyfriend and I are going for a week in March. I think his biggest concern is getting around from place to place. We are staying in Cofresi so we are not exactly in Puerto Plata, and he is (from the South) nervous about getting into a bad situation. Please assure me so that I can assure him.

    • Reply curiosityandacarryon February 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Alexa, thanks so much for reading! I didn’t feel unsafe AT ALL while there. Everyone was super friendly and helpful. As with anywhere, keep your money/passport on you and in an inside pocket or zipped bag, and be careful of people trying to rip you off. But honestly I didn’t feel unsafe in any way. Have fun!!

  • Reply Annette March 3, 2017 at 7:42 am

    We will be in Amber Cove in next week and would love to have the name and number of your guide and taxi driver. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures.

  • Reply Cha March 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Hi Yvette, i loved reading your story! Next month i will be staying at the Rui Merengue so i’m looking for things to do on pintarest and nice places to eat… could you please email me the taxi drivers name and number. Thank you!

  • Reply Emilie Marie Slone Tice March 21, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Yvette, my new husband and I are going to Amber Cove next week as part of our honeymoon cruise. I do not want to spend an arm and leg on our adventures away from the cruise ship. I was wondering if you could email me and let me know where exactly you went as well as the name and number of your taxi driver.

  • I love to hear from you!

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