Puerto Plata Shore Excursions Guide

Welcome to the stunning North Coast of the Dominican Republic! If your cruise ship is docking at the Amber Cove or Taino Bay cruise ports, get ready for an adventure-packed day exploring Puerto Plata and its surroundings. From historical landmarks to thrilling activities, this Puerto Plata Shore Excursions guide will help you make the most of your time ashore.

Cannons guard the city as timeless sentinels at Fort San Felipe, Puerto Plata.

Fort San Felipe Puerto Plata, courtesy of puertoplatadr.com

Getting Around:

Transfer Services: Upon disembarking, you’ll find various transportation options. Taxis, shuttle services, and organized tours are readily available. Consider booking excursions in advance to ensure a smooth experience. The Puerto Plata Concierge can assist you in booking a transfer and also any excursions.

Puerto Plata port transfer services, a highlight of the Puerto Plata Shore Excursions Guide.

Puerto Plata port transfer services

Top 6 Activities in Puerto Plata:

1. Ocean World Adventure Park: Ideal for families, this marine-themed park offers encounters with dolphins, sea lions, and exotic animals. Enjoy shows, snorkeling, and relaxing by the pool. This park is located in Cofresi Beach, Puerto Plata.

2. 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua: For the adventurous souls, embark on a trek to the 27 waterfalls and take a refreshing dip in each. It’s an exhilarating experience surrounded by lush tropical landscapes.

3. Puerto Plata City Tour: Explore the historic city with a guided tour. Visit the iconic Fort San Felipe, the Amber Museum, and the Victorian-style architecture of the historic district, Parque Independencia.

4. Sosua Snorkeling Catamaran: This private catamaran service offers various catamaran models to choose from, including top brands such as Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Aventura, and Privilege. The charter is very scenic, sailing along the gorgeous coastal landscape and stopping at major snorkel spots in Sosua. It includes drinks, food, snorkel gear, music and crew. Book it online today.

Sosua snorkeling catamaran

5. Sosua Beach Snorkeling: Discover the vibrant underwater world of Sosua Bay. Snorkeling excursions offer the chance to see colorful coral reefs and tropical fish.

6. Playa Dorada Beach: If you prefer a relaxing day, head to Playa Dorada. Enjoy the sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and explore the local shops and restaurants.

Snorkeling in Sosua beach

Snorkeling in Sosua beach

Tours list by Cruise Ship:

Cruising in the MSC Seashore or Seascape? visit the MSC Puerto Plata Excursions page for a curated list of shore excursions. MSC docks at the Taino Bay port, which is located in the heart of the city, easily accessible to many activities in town, specially within the Historic district.  You can see all the scheduled cruise trips to Puerto Plata at the MSC cruises page.

Playa Dorada beach

Playa Dorada beach, courtesy of puertoplatadr.com

For those visiting with the Dominican Daze by Virgin cruises try the Virgin Voyages Puerto Plata excursions. this cruise trip docks the Scarlet Lady and on occasions the Valiant Lady, which are the flagships of cruising with Virgin. Arrival time is usually 10am or before, sometimes as early as 8am with departure around 5pm or even 7pm.

Tips for a Great Experience:

1. Currency: The official currency is the Dominican Peso (DOP). Ensure you have some local currency for small purchases, but major credit cards are widely accepted, as well as cash in US Dollar (mainly), Canadian Dollar and also Euro. USA currency is the most widely accepted, and trades for RD$56 local pesos per dollar. The current exchange rate today can be referenced here with Scotiabank.

2. Language: Spanish is the official language. While many locals in tourist areas speak English, German, French and other languages, it’s helpful to know a few basic Spanish phrases that will open many doors into the local culture.

3. Clothing and Sun Protection: Wear comfortable clothing, and don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, especially if you plan on spending time outdoors. Having mosquito protection for your skin is 100% recommended when taking tours in the countryside, specially in tours walking in the forest land, river side, etc.

4. Bargaining: In markets and local shops, bargaining is common. Feel free to negotiate prices but do so respectfully.

5. Time Management: Keep track of your ship’s departure time and plan your excursions accordingly. It’s advisable to return to the ship well in advance. Always plan to book shore excursions for the first hours of the day, say 9am-3pm and leave the last 2 hours of the day for port activities such as shopping.

Doing it this way you will always be on time when the cruise ship departs. Most cruise ship arrivals at Amber Cove and Taino Bay do so between 8am-10am; and depart around 5-7pm in most cases. Check the Puerto Plata cruise port schedule online before booking any out of port excursion.

Ocean World Marine park, a top tour of the Puerto Plata Shore Excursions Guide

Ocean World Marine park

Landmarks and Cultural Insights:

1. Fort San Felipe: This historic fortress was built in the 16th century to protect Puerto Plata from pirate attacks. Explore the well-preserved grounds and enjoy panoramic views.

2. Amber Museum: Learn about the region’s rich history with amber, known as “Dominican Gold.” The museum showcases unique amber pieces, including fossilized insects.

3. Victorian District: Wander through the charming Victorian-style buildings in the historic district, reflecting Puerto Plata’s colonial past. This is located within the city tour boundaries, see above.

4. Malecon: Stroll along the Malecon, a scenic oceanfront boulevard, and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. You’ll find shops, restaurants, and vibrant street life.

The Puerto Plata catamaran

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, Puerto Plata has something for every type of traveler. By planning ahead and choosing the right excursions, you’re sure to make the most of your day on the Dominican Republic’s beautiful North Coast. Enjoy your time ashore and visit the Puerto Plata Ports Guide to get the most complete overview and reviews of the local ports including the restaurants, shopping, swimming pools, bars and amenities.