Here are the best Puerto Plata shore excursions for your next trip to the Dominican Republic. If you’re visiting the Dominican Republic from a cruise ship, you may be searching for the most amazing Puerto Plata cruise port tours. If your ship is docking at the Amber Cove cruise port or the Taino Bay port, we’ve got you covered!The north coast of the Dominican Republic is absolutely stunning. There are beautiful natural wonders by land and by sea, as well as postcard perfect coastlines. This region is also known as the Amber Coast due to the region’s large natural amber deposits. Since the Amber Cove cruise port opened in 2015, a second cruise port, Taíno Bay opened in 2021.Posts may be sponsored. Post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you make a purchase using my link.Should I book my tours independently or through the cruise ship?Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: 27 Waterfalls of DamajaguaPuerto Plata Shore Excursions: City Highlights TourPuerto Plata Shore Excursions: Visit a Beautiful BeachRePapel, Artisanal Paper with PurposeChocal, Hands On Chocolate Experience With Women’s Co-OpPuerto Plata Shore Excursions: Snorkeling TourPuerto Plata Shore Excursions: ATV TourResort Day Passes in Puerto PlataSunscape Puerto Plata Resort & SpaIberostar Costa DoradaViva Wyndham V HeavensSpend the Day in Amber CovePuerto Plata Shore Excursions: Eat, Drink and Be Merry TourWant to see more photos of the Dominican Republic?What Not to Do in Puerto Plata: Swim With DolphinsMore Blog Posts About Dominican RepublicMore Caribbean Cruise Port GuidesFind the Best Cruise DealsShould I book my tours independently or through the cruise ship?When you’re booking your tour on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, you may wonder if it’s necessary to book your shore excursions through the cruise line. Please note that you may have to book a couple of these excursions through the cruise ship, and they may not be available with all cruise lines. I’ll provide details about booking some of these tours independently if they aren’t available through the cruise ship.Many of the Puerto Plata shore excursions can be booked independently from the cruise ship. I find that the cruise ships always charge a premium price and you can find much better deals if you book the tours independently. These tour companies are well aware of the fact that the cruise ship will leave without you if you do not make it back to the Puerto Plata cruise port on time.Don’t worry, they’ll get you back on time! It’s always a good idea to remind your tour operator that you will need to be back to the ship by a certain time, too. So, without further ado, here are the best shore excursions in Puerto Plata and beyond.Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: 27 Waterfalls of DamajaguaPhoto Credit: Daniel Greene27 Waterfalls of Damajagua (or 27 Charcos, as the locals call them) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Puerto Plata. Much like the name suggests, this natural wonder consists of 27 waterfalls and there are naturally formed rock slides between them.Most visitors only experience 12 waterfalls in one visit due to time restraints and the effort it takes to cross all of the waterfalls in a single day. Your tour guide provides you with a helmet and a life jacket for your safety. You’ll embark on an uphill hike to the top of the 12th waterfall, a moderate hike taking about 40 minutes. It takes 70 minutes to hike to the top of the 27th waterfall.Once you reach the top of the waterfall, it’s time for the really fun part. Slide across the rocky ledges down each waterfall and into the natural swimming pools below. For the larger drops, you can experience a thrill of a lifetime or take an alternate route down if you don’t feel comfortable with the drops. The Damajagua Waterfalls is one of the top Puerto Plata shore excursions for lovers of the great outdoors. Book your tour here.Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: City Highlights TourSometimes when you visit a new place, you want to see the most popular attractions and highlights all in one day. Out of all the Puerto Plata shore excursions, I recommend booking a city highlights tour to get an overall sense of the city. This is a fantastic choice for first time visitors to Puerto Plata.You’ll travel between the attractions in a private air-conditioned vehicle and you’ll also avoid the crowds this way, too. In a half day tour, you’re able to cover so much ground on this tour of Puerto Plata with your local guide.Some attractions you’ll see include the Macorix House of Rum, Independence Square (Puerto Plata Central Park), the San Felipe Fortress, Umbrella Street, Fifi Jewelry Amber Museum, Del Oro Chocolate Factory, and Catedral San Felipe (The Cathedral of St. Philip the Apostle).Your tour guide, Edwin, provides you with an amazing introduction to this vibrant Dominican city. One past customer raved, “Edwin is a wonderful, kind, funny, knowledgeable, and respectful guide.” Book your tour here.Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: Visit a Beautiful BeachOne of the top reasons to visit the Dominican Republic is to experience the beautiful beaches. I suggest visiting my blog post about the 20 best beaches in Dominican Republic and choosing one near Puerto Plata. Some of the best beaches near Puerto Plata include Playa Dorada (it’s the closest), Sosua Beach, Encuentro Beach and Cabarete Beach.You can easily take a taxi to any of these beaches, making sure to arrange a pickup time to return back to the cruise ship. For an even easier option, choose one of the Puerto Plata shore excursions that takes you to a beach. This tour to Playa Dorada (Golden Beach) includes a short city tour, a half day at the beach with a complimentary lounger, and transportation to and from the cruise port. White sand beaches, turquoise water, what more could you ask for?If you’re looking for a beach excursion in Puerto Plata, this one is the most convenient and delivers exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t mind arranging your own transportation, I also suggest taking a look a little farther down this article to the section on booking a day pass to a resort. However, for the simplest option, book your Playa Dorada tour here.RePapel, Artisanal Paper with PurposeRePapel is a small cooperative in a low income community of Puerto Plata and 100% of the workforce are women. These women are local artisans committed to working with natural and recycled products, as well as reducing overall waste.RePapel allows these women to be self-employed. Before working at RePapel, the women often worked as nannies away from their homes and their families. By working at this co-op, they are able to follow their passions creating handmade products, and spend time with their own families at home after work.By volunteering at RePapel, we offered extra hands and assistance creating paper products and handmade crafts. We were able to increase the amount of products made, interact with the ladies in English (helping their English skills), and purchase products from their shop. We helped make paper and also jewelry made from paper.I’ve never met a group of women quite like this one. These are the happiest women I’ve ever met! They are always singing, dancing, and clapping. They only knew us for minutes, yet made us feel welcomed like a part of their family. Even though we spent a small amount of time together, we were hugging each other like we were old friends.You can book this experience through select cruise ships’ Puerto Plata shore excursions (Princess, Holland America Line) . If you aren’t visiting Puerto Plata on a cruise, you may be able to arrange a visit to RePapel. Inquire through their Facebook page or by email (I’m not sure if anyone will reply, but it’s worth a shot!).Chocal, Hands On Chocolate Experience With Women’s Co-OpChocal is a cacao cooperative where you can assist the workers with their chocolate production. This company successfully grows cacao plants and produces chocolate bars for sale all over the Dominican Republic.The company had to take out a sizeable loan for proper equipment, and cannot afford to hire any more workers at this time. As the women have even gained help from their own children at the cooperative, they’re in need of extra hands to help make more chocolate bars.Once the organization sells enough chocolate to pay back the loan, they’ll be able to hire more workers that they desperately need. In the meantime, volunteers assist in the various steps of making chocolate.We sorted cacao beans and cacao nibs; both steps must be done by hand and can be a time consuming job. We also helped create packaging for the cacao balls, and poured chocolate into molds. At the end, we were able to purchase chocolate from their shop as souvenirs for loved ones back home (or to eat on the bus ride back to the ship!).You can book this experience through select cruise ships’ Puerto Plata shore excursions (Princess, Holland America Line). If you aren’t visiting Puerto Plata on a cruise, you may be able to book your visit independently. Check out the Chocal website for contact information.Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: Snorkeling TourWant the best of Puerto Plata’s beaches and underwater adventures all in one? This snorkeling tour in Puerto Plata takes you to two snorkeling sites in Sosua Bay on a half day tour. It’s one of the best Puerto Plata shore excursions to view underwater sea life.You’ll drive to Sosua Bay to experience its crystal clear waters and 1km long sandy beach. The tour company provides all equipment (mask, fins, etc.). You’ll take a boat ride to the first snorkel spot, Three Rocks, and then back to Sosua bay for the second coral reef.After snorkeling, a sun chair awaits you on Sosua Beach where you can relax or swim in the sunshine. There are also many shops and restaurants on Sosua Beach that you’re welcome to check out. Book your snorkeling tour here.Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: ATV TourCraving excitement? This is one of the top small group Puerto Plata shore excursions for adventure seekers! This ATV Adventure Tour incorporates a half day visit to Country World Adventure Park where you’ll explore the Dominican countryside in a rugged quad one or two-seater.You’ll get off-road access in a rugged ATV for solo passengers or pairs. Other amenities at Country World Adventure Park (and included with your tour) are an on-site swimming pool, a pool zip line, and tropical botanical garden. Water and coffee/tea is also included.Even if you’ve never ridden an ATV before, the staff and tour guides will make you feel comfortable and help you learn how to ride them. One reviewer states, “This experience was not only the best excursion I’ve ever been on, it was the highlight of our entire trip!”. Book your tour here.Resort Day Passes in Puerto PlataWhen you’re looking to take it easy, booking a resort day pass is one of the best Puerto Plata shore excursions you can take. The main attraction is relaxing! Essentially, you’ll book a day pass to a beautiful all-inclusive resort and enjoy all the amenities while you’re there. Here are some of the best resort day passes in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.Sunscape Puerto Plata Resort & SpaPhoto Credit: ExpediaThe Sunscape Resort & Spa is a family-friendly, all-inclusive resort on a stunning beach in Puerto Plata. There are many activities to enjoy along with delicious food and drink. When you book a daycation to the Sunscape Resort & Spa, you’ll enjoy three pools, access to the beach area, tennis courts, beach volleyball, pool games, complimentary wifi, an all-inclusive buffet, two snack bars and five open bars. Book your day pass here.Iberostar Costa DoradaPhoto Credit: ExpediaA day pass to the Iberostar Costa Dorada is an entire day in paradise! This is an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort on an award-winning beach. It’s just 10 minutes away from the Puerto Plata city center. With your all inclusive day pass, enjoy three outdoor pools, a fitness room, tennis courts, basketball courts, and unlimited cuisine from restaurants and bars. There’s complimentary wifi, beach access, and the option to upgrade to have a room at the hotel for the day. Book your day pass here.Viva Wyndham V HeavensPhoto Credit: ExpediaSpend the day at the beautiful Viva Wyndham V Heavens all-inclusive beachfront resort. Enjoy the white sand beach and turquoise waters along with a fun array of activities and entertainment. There’s an outdoor pool with loungers, an endless amount of food and drinks from on-site restaurants and bars, non-motorized water sports, a fitness center, and complimentary wifi. Book your day pass here.Spend the Day in Amber CoveIf your cruise ship is docking at the Amber Cove cruise port, you may choose to spend the day there. Amber Cove has fantastic amenities if you’re looking for a swimming pool day or water activities day. Amber Cove cruise port is a great place to walk around and explore. There are palm trees, fountains, man-made waterfalls, and flowers all around. Go shopping or enjoy a coffee tasting at a cute cafe.At the Amber Cove Aqua Zone, there’s a huge swimming pool with two water slides. There’s also a relaxing lazy river where you can float for hours in the sunshine. The pool has over 1000 loungers all around it, so you won’t have any issues finding a place to take it easy.While the swimming pool, lazy river and waterslides are free, there are more paid activities that you can do at the Amber Cove Aqua Zone. You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, aqua bikes, and other sporting equipment for some exercise in the water for an additional charge at the Amber Cove Aqua Zone.There’s a 650 foot zip line that runs across the Aqua Zone of Amber Cove. We paid $20 per person to ride the zip line and we were able to ride it an unlimited amount of times all day. It’s one of the best ways to see the beautiful natural scenery from up above, combined with a thrilling ride. Check out our full blog post about Amber Cove to learn more details about everything you can see and do there.Puerto Plata Shore Excursions: Eat, Drink and Be Merry TourHere’s an amazing city tour that offers a true taste of Dominican life. The Eat, Drink and Be Merry Tour, operated by Iguana Mama, provides details about Dominican history, culture, and folklore from knowledgeable local guides. This tour includes transportation to and from the cruise port, and all over the city of Puerto Plata.You’ll make a couple of stops at famous Puerto Plata attractions, like the Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car to the top of Mt Isabel where you’ll enjoy panoramic views. You’ll also visit the Fortaleza San Felipe and time permitting, go inside the fort.You will also experience the best Dominican food and drink. Learn the history of rum making on the island and sample 8 different kinds of rum. Have lunch at a beautiful courtyard cafe in a restored Victorian home. And lastly, learn to roll a cigar (and sample, if you wish), drink Mama Juana and it’s party time! Book your tour here.What Not to Do in Puerto Plata: Swim With DolphinsWhen you’re planning your Puerto Plata shore excursion, please, please, please do not swim with dolphins. At Ocean World Adventure Park, Ocean’s World Dolphin Encounter is a captive marine mammal park. I really wish that these kinds of parks no longer existed. Most people who want to swim with dolphins adore animals. But, please know that you are contributing to their suffering by supporting these places.A British study out of the University of Newcastle found that “these programs are highly stressful for dolphins because they disrupt natural resting, feeding and social behavior.” Dolphins are very intelligent, highly sociable creatures. They live and travel in large groups called pods. Holding dolphins captive at aquatic parks is torturous as it separates them from their pods.You might wonder how these dolphins are captured in the wild and come to live at marine theme parks. They are obtained by methods called “drive fisheries”. While the first purpose of drive fisheries is to slaughter toothed whales, another objective is to sell the most beautiful dolphins to aquariums and marine theme parks.Out of the captured dolphins that are spared, only 53% of them survive the first three months of captivity. This is one of the most inhumane slaughters in the world. By visiting dolphinariums, you’re contributing to it. Read more about the negative impacts of swimming with dolphins, and ethical choices for excursions that are fantastic alternatives.More Caribbean Cruise Port GuidesStopping at more ports of call along the way? Here are more of our Caribbean cruise guides:Find the Best Cruise DealsAre you looking to book a cruise? Cruise Critic is the leading authority and market leader for consumer cruise information. Since its beginnings in 1995, no other single resource covers the world of cruising as thoroughly as Cruise Critic. It’s the ultimate place to check out cruise reviews and find awesome deals on cruises, too.Lauren is the full-time travel blogger and content creator behind Justin Plus Lauren. She started Justin Plus Lauren in 2013 and has travelled to 45+ countries around the world. Lauren is an expert on vegan travel as one of the very first vegan travel bloggers. She also focuses on outdoor adventure travel, eco and sustainable travel, and creating amazing travel itineraries for cities and small towns.