Welcome to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, in the eastern Caribbean. Carnival’s private resort destination is located on the bay of Maimón, 7 miles northwest of Puerto Plata, on the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola.
This private 30-acre retreat is exclusively offered as a port of call to cruisers with Carnival and its sister companies. Opened in 2015, the port at Amber Cove has two berths to hold two large cruise ships simultaneously and is designed to handle up to 8,000 passengers. The zone is crammed with watersports activities, dining opportunities, shopping, shore excursions, and fun attractions.
In This Article…
- What is Amber Cove?
- How to Get to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
- Things to Do at Amber Cove
- Food and Beverages
- Amber Cove Shore Excursions
- Local Attractions Near Amber Cove
- Organized excursions and Tours
- Dolphin Swim and Ocean World Day Pass
- Waterfalls of Damajagua and Off-Road Buggy Trip
- Waterfalls Adrenaline Adventure
- Coconut Beach Break
- Deluxe Catamaran Sail and Snorkel
- Mega Truck Country Ride and Culture Trip
- Deep Sea Fishing
- Top 10 Best of Puerto Plata
- Eco Adrenaline Zipline Adventure
- Zipline and 27 Waterfalls Combo
- Puerto Plata Walking Tour and Lunch
- Beach Getaway
- When is the Best Time to Visit?
What is Amber Cove?
Amber Cove is a private 30-acre port destination located at Maimón in the province of Puerto Plata. The resort is owned and managed by Carnival and is used as a popular port of call for its brands. Packed with watersports activities, shopping, food and fun, it was created to keep visiting cruisers entertained as part of their Caribbean cruise itinerary.
Amber Cove is named after the rare and beautiful semi-precious stone that is found on the island. The amber gemstone is actually fossilized tree resin and is used in local jewelry and souvenir items.
Puerto Plata dates back to the 16th century, and the port serves as a gateway to the area. In keeping with the history and architecture of the area, Amber Cove features architecture reflecting Victorian, Colonial and Spanish styles.
A long pier leads from the cruise ship to the huge shopping area with cobblestone plazas. Further away, there’s a giant Aqua Zone with pool, swim-up bar, cabanas and exciting watersports activities.
The resort boasts a selection of restaurants and bars serving a wide choice of local and international cuisine. Further inland, the hilly tree-covered backdrop overlooks the swimming pool and provides panoramic views of Amber Cove and the surrounding turquoise sea.
How to Get to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
Amber Cove is the newest cruise port in the Caribbean. It brought cruise ships back to the Dominican Republic after almost 30 years of absence.
Carnival Corporation spent $85 million creating Amber Cove on the north coast of the Dominican Republic and it has since welcomed over a million cruisers. The first 3,000 guests arrived aboard the Carnival Victory in October 2015. It has since become a popular port of call on many Eastern Caribbean cruise itineraries.
The only way you can visit Amber Cove is by booking a cruise that includes Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, as a port of call on the itinerary. It is exclusively used by Carnival Cruise Line and its sister cruise companies, including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and Costa Cruises.
Amber Cove is reached along a private pier so cruisers do not have to queue up or use tenders to get ashore. Visitors are greeted by Caribbean music and local dancers to make you feel welcome the moment you step ashore. For cruisers with mobility issues, there are golf carts with local drivers to transport you around.
Things to Do at Amber Cove
There’s no admission fee for cruisers to visit Amber Cove. Guests get complimentary lounge chairs, hammocks, pool access and many free fun activities. There’s also a Photo Op point for getting a selfie with the cruise ship in the background.
Amber Cove is divided into two distinct areas: the waterfront Welcome Center Marketplace and the Aqua Zone. The duty-free shopping area has a range of shops, craft stalls, restaurants and bars. The water zone has three pools connected by a flowing river with pedestrian bridges over it.
The largest pool at Amber Cove includes a swim-up bar for enjoying icy drinks and refreshments. This 300,000-gallon pool also has waterslides, a Lazy River, and plenty of lounge chairs.
Children’s Splash Area
Right next to the pools, there’s a Wet Zone and Splash Pad for youngsters. They can have hours of fun playing with the splash bucket and mini slide. It’s a great way to cool off in the tropical heat. The area has plenty of lounge chairs for adults to keep an eye on youngsters while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
Next to the Splash Pad is a half-size basketball court, a volleyball court and a giant chess set.
Rent a Private Cabana
If you like your own quiet space, renting a cabana is a great option for you. Choose your preferred type and location from Ocean, Poolside, Hillside or Grand Cabanas. These shady hideaways come with a refrigerator stocked with snacks, water and soda. They also include lounge chairs, waiter service, showers and Wi-Fi.
The upgraded Ocean Cabanas are on stilts over the calm blue lagoon waters. They boast cable TV, showers, tables and chairs, while Poolside Cabanas have air-conditioning, TV with Smart cable, a fan and misting system as well as a fully furnished living room for relaxing. Grand cabanas have all the above plus a private hot tub, dining set and furnished living room.
Cabana rates start from around $310 per day for a Hillside Cabana (max. 8 guests) rising to $1170 for a Grand Cabana on the water suitable for up to 20 people to share.
Visit Sky Bar
Perched on the hillside overlooking the whole of Amber cove, the Sky Bar offers a full range of refreshing drinks and snacks with panoramic views.
Windsurfing and Kite-Boarding
Puerto Plata is the windsurfing and kite-boarding capital of the Caribbean, so Amber Cove is a great place to try these exhilarating watersports. There’s a booth offering watersports rentals right on the waterside near the Cabana Bar.
If you’re an adventurous type of cruiser, the 650-foot twin zip lines at Amber Cove are the place to head for. They start from the hillside overlooking the Aqua Zone and carry riders right over the pool.
You can ride unlimited times with a day pass which is reasonably priced at around US$ 20 for adults and $10 for children.
Get ready for some wet and wild watersports at Amber Cove. You can rent many different types of watersports equipment such as stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, hydro-bikes, pedal boats, and solar catamarans for either 30 minutes or an hour. Prices start from around $20.
The main pool has several water slides for exciting rides ending with a big splash!
The Marketplace has excellent retail outlets, including arts and crafts by local artisans. Shops and stalls are plentiful and are a great place to source local souvenirs of your visit to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. Specialties to hunt for are the local rum, coffee beans, chocolate and cigars.
There are plenty of wood carvings and “faceless dolls,” which are signature souvenirs in the Dominican Republic. Beautiful jewelry is made from local amber and rare blue larimar gemstone, which is only found on this island.
Amber Cove Shops
The first area you will hit after disembarking at Amber Cove is the shopping village. Near the Cruise Center, there’s a colonial-style plaza with many stalls selling souvenirs, arts and crafts, including jewelry and trinkets made from local gemstones.
This dazzling jewelry store is owned by the cruise company and offers a stunning array of jewelry at duty-free prices.
The Aurora Cigar Shop
This is the place to see how authentic Dominican cigars are hand-made. They are among the best in the Caribbean and make a great souvenir of your visit to Amber Cove.
Get your passport Stamped
If you visit the Information Center at Amber Cove, you can get your passport stamped with an unofficial stamp showing that you visited Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Food and Beverages
Food and drinks are not included free at Amber Cove, and even those with an unlimited drinks package will have to pay for drinks at all the bars and restaurants while ashore.
Amber Cove has a choice of places to enjoy an exceptional dining experience or sit at the bar and enjoy long fruity drinks, beer, wine and cocktails.
In the Marketplace, there’s Coco Cana Bar and Restaurant, or head to the Aqua Zone and take your pick from the Coco Cana Poolside Lounge, Cabana Bar, or the Sky Bar.
Local Delicacies at Amber Cove
You might want to try some of the local foods from the Dominican Republic to get a taste of the Caribbean cuisine as part of your cruise experience.
La Bandera is the national dish of the Dominican Republic and the name means “flag”. It contains with white beans, stewed beans and tasty roast meat usually served on a bed of rice.
Asopao is a Creole-style Caribbean dish that contains shrimp or chicken along with pumpkin, chili peppers, cilantro and orange
Mangu is made from boiled, mashed plantains topped with fried red onion. It may be served with eggs, salami or fried cheese and is then known as “Los Tres Golpes”.
Quipe is a Lebanese-style dish similar to “kibbeh”. It consists of deep-fried balls of bulgur wheat, often filled with seasoned meat and onions.
Sanocho is a popular Latino American dish that has the consistency of a thick soup made from stewed meats and local vegetables such as yucca and plantain.
Amber Cove Shore Excursions
From the Transportation hub at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic you can depart on pre-booked shore excursions, pick up a rental car or hop in a taxi and explore the local area independently. The town of Puerto Plata has many interesting sights just 7 miles away.
Local Attractions Near Amber Cove
Visit the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata or take a tour of the Brugal Rum Factory. You can enjoy a stroll along the waterfront on the three-mile-long Malecon promenade or explore the historic downtown and main plaza.
Other local highlights to see include Fort San Felipe and the gushing Damajagua Falls. The beach towns of Sousa and Cabarete are the place to watch daring kite-boarders and windsurfers from a beachfront cafe.
Organized excursions and Tours
The Shore Excursions Desk aboard your cruise ship offers a host of activities and tours that can be pre-booked before reaching Amber Cove. Here’s a run-down of the main tours and excursions offered by the cruise line…
Dolphin Swim and Ocean World Day Pass
If you dream of swimming with dolphins, Amber Cove is the place that can make it happen. This is one of the most popular cruise activities, and this excursion includes a Day Pass to Ocean World Adventure Park. Guests can get up-close to these playful marine creatures in waist-deep water. Younger children must be accompanied by an adult.
This exciting experience includes feeding and playing with the dolphins and enjoying a boogie-board ride through one of the largest man-made dolphin lagoons in the world.
Once your small group dolphin encounter is over, you can spend the rest of the day at Ocean World Adventure Park. Watch dolphins, sea lions and tropical birds in various shows, stroll through the aviary of exotic birds or go snorkeling in the Tropical Reef Aquarium.
Bring a towel and visit Pirate’s Pool and enjoy a swim in the calm Dolphin Beach Lagoon.
Waterfalls of Damajagua and Off-Road Buggy Trip
Start your exciting adventure with an exciting 2-hour Polaris buggy ride through the countryside and local villages. You’ll cross the river to reach the famous waterfalls of Damajagua, where you can enjoy sliding into the pool beneath one of several beautiful mountain waterfalls. The trip includes a short hike.
Visitors must wear the helmet and life vest provided. The tour price is per vehicle, which can carry up to two riders. The trip includes complimentary bottled water.
Waterfalls Adrenaline Adventure
Similar to the Waterfalls Adventure but without the Buggy Tour, this more strenuous 4-hour trip includes a 40-minute hike and swim in the waterfalls of Damajagua.
Your guide will lead you on a canyoning experience through narrow passages, flooded caverns and natural waterslides. Wearing a helmet and life vest is mandatory and they are provided. Water shoes and lockers can be rented.
Coconut Beach Break
For a day on a beautiful Caribbean beach, this all-inclusive 4.5-hour Coconut Beach Tour includes a bus ride through the countryside, beach chairs and umbrella, kayaks, snorkeling and paddleboards. There’s an open bar for drinks and a delicious buffet lunch.
Deluxe Catamaran Sail and Snorkel
This 5-hour excursion includes a 45-minute bus ride to the catamaran and a relaxing cruise on the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Lunch and drinks are provided as you enjoy a leisurely sail along the coastline of the Dominican Republic.
Snorkel gear is provided for you to jump in and see the myriad of colorful fish and corals found just offshore near Sosua.
Mega Truck Country Ride and Culture Trip
Enjoy a great view of the countryside as you ride aboard this big-wheel open-sided truck. You’ll pass sugarcane fields, rivers and plantations of cacao, bananas, pineapple and papaya along the way.
The trip gives insight into the history, culture, and folklore of the Dominican Republic as you tour around Puerto Plata. Drive along the scenic Malecon (waterfront), pass San Felipe Cathedral and Independence Square. This 4.5-hour trip from Amber Cove is great value for money and includes a traditional lunch.
Deep Sea Fishing
Head out on a Deep Sea Fishing Excursion from Amber Cove. The 34-foot Trojan boats carry 10 passengers each, and the 4-hour fishing trip includes bait and lines. The experienced crew know the best places to troll for Mahi, wahoo, sailfish and blue marlin, and they sail up to 6 miles offshore.
Top 10 Best of Puerto Plata
This well-priced tour lasts 4.5 hours and takes cruisers on a scenic trip calling in at the Rum Factory, where you can learn about the rum-making experience for yourself. You’ll then enjoy a short visit to the Jose Briseno Baseball Stadium, followed by Independence Square, Victorian houses and the San Felipe Cathedral.
There’s more sightseeing as you drive along the waterfront Malecon and explore the grounds around San Felipe Fortress. Finish with some shopping at the pier before returning to Amber Cove. This trip involves quite a lot of walking and the chance to see the local way of life.
Eco Adrenaline Zipline Adventure
If you fancy more aerial fun than the ziplines at Amber Cove, this 4-hour tour takes you on a fantastic drive. You’ll travel aboard a comfortable coach through the Dominican countryside to Mega Park.
Full training is given before you launch yourself from the platforms in the treetops at heights of up to 90 feet above the ground. The longest zipline runs for 850 meters and is one of the longest in the country. End your adrenaline-packed visit beneath a thatched roof, snacking on local fruits from an organic fruit platter.
Zipline and 27 Waterfalls Combo
For the ultimate adventure, this trip lasts 6.5 hours and includes riding aboard a giant 6×6 Mega Tiger Truck to the waterfalls of Damajagua. See carvings etched by Mother Nature and slide into 7 of the clear waterfall lagoons.
Then clip on your harness and ride the zipline above mahogany trees with farmland and mountain views. The tour includes a 40-minute hike and is not suitable for those who have any type of disability. Maximum age 65 years.
Puerto Plata Walking Tour and Lunch
This 5-hour tour includes transport aboard an air-conditioned bus with a local guide who will introduce you to the history and highlights of Puerto Plata. After seeing the Cathedral and Renovation Library, lunch and snacks are offered at Casa 40, an artists’ haven.
Take a short walk to watch a hand-crafted cigar demonstration before heading to Skina Restaurant for more delicious tastings of Caribbean food and drinks. Admire local murals before enjoying a fresh coconut drink. Finish the tour with an optional stop at La Mariposa Ice Cream Shop and shopping at the pier.
Another day at the beach can be enjoyed with this 4-hour trip to a private beach club. Once there you can spend the time relaxing as you please. Lounge on a sun bed, enjoy your own choice of drinks and meals from the beach bar/restaurant, do some local shopping and join in organized activities if you choose.
Cruises to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, offer many more tours, combos and experiences, so decide what you want to do as part of your cruise and make the most of your visit to this fabulous private cruise retreat.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, is in the Caribbean, so the climate is typically hot and sunny all year round. Average temperatures range from 77°F to the low 90sF (25-33°C).
What’s more important is the wet season, which runs from June to November. Even in these wetter months, there is less than a 20% chance of rain on any given day, and afternoon showers tend to be short and quickly pass.
In the winter months, from December to May, Caribbean cruises are particularly popular and are the best months weather-wise to visit Amber Cove. Daytime highs are in the 80s. Sea temperatures are warmest in August.
There is no beach at Amber Cove as it is a port and pier. However, there is a large resort-style pool, Splash Zone, watersports, shopping and fun activities. You can take an excursion to Coconut Cove, which has a beautiful white sandy beach about 45 minutes drive away. Other local sandy beaches can be found at Riu, Sosua and Cabarete.
Amber Cove is a private port destination created by Carnival and is similar to a private island. It is used exclusively by their cruise ship passengers and those of their sister companies, including Holland America and Princess Cruises.