Amber Cove, Dominican Republic is a cruise port that’s truly a destination in itself. After spending a few days there myself, I’m going to show you all of the very best things to do in Amber Cove when your cruise ship is docked there.Although it’s always a good idea to get out and experience the country you’re visiting, you could easily spend a day right in port for a relaxing holiday. Amber Cove is great for couples, families, and friends and there’s always something to see and do.Posts may be sponsored. Post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you make a purchase using my link.Getting to Amber Cove, Dominican RepublicThings to Do in Amber Cove: Walk Around the PortGet Your Passport StampedGet Your Photo with the Amber Cove SignEl Cibao Cafe and Coffee TastingBest Things to Do in Amber Cove: Go ShoppingFree Things to Do in Amber CoveSwimming Pool, Lazy River and Water SlidesRelax in a HammockChildren’s Splash AreaMore Free Games and ActivitiesBest Things to Do in Amber Cove: Amber Cove Aqua ZoneTop Things to Do in Amber Cove: Rent a Private CabanaBest Things to Do in Amber Cove: Sky BarVolunteer Activities in Dominican RepublicWhere to find Wi-Fi in Amber CoveWant to see more photos of Amber Cove?Getting Out of Amber Cove to Puerto Plata (and Beyond)Renting a Car in Amber CoveHow to Go to the BeachAmber Cove ExcursionsDamajagua WaterfallsDune Buggy TourPuerto Plata Highlights and Cable Car TourWhat Not to Do in Amber Cove: Swim With DolphinsFind the Best Cruise DealsMore Caribbean Cruise Port GuidesGetting to Amber Cove, Dominican RepublicAmber Cove was an $85 million dollar investment by the Carnival Corporation that opened in 2015. It allows their cruise ships to dock near Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Two ships are able to dock at the Amber Cove cruise center at the same time. Your cruise ship will sail into the Bay of Maimon, located just northwest of Puerto Plata.To get to Amber Cove, you’ll need to book a cruise with Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic as a port of call. Amber Cove is a private cruise port destination owned by Carnival Corporation. Similar to Princess Cruises’ Princess Cays and Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay, only Carnival brand ships will sail here (the cruise lines are Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line). It’s similar to a cruise private island, except it isn’t an island and your cruise cards won’t work in port (bring cash or credit cards).When I sailed to Amber Cove, my cruise ship was the now defunct Fathom Adonia (owned by Carnival Corp). We docked at the Amber Cove cruise terminal for three days as we participated in volunteer activities to benefit communities in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, this volunteer cruise doesn’t exist anymore, but you can still get involved with some of the programs through Carnival and Princess cruise ships that sail to Amber Cove.It’s about a five minute walk from the cruise ship to the Amber Cove entrance. For those who have mobility issues, there are employees riding around on carts that can take you from point A to point B. It’s completely free to catch a ride. Otherwise, enjoy this short walk to the Amber Cove cruise port.The walk from the ship to Amber Cove is quite scenic. I’m sure you’ll be tempted to take many photos on this walk, just like we did. There are many beautiful views of the ocean, the little beach huts in Amber Cove and the cruise ships in port.Things to Do in Amber Cove: Walk Around the PortThere are a variety of things to do in Amber Cove, as well as activities for the whole family. There’s really something for everyone! Whether you love spending time by the pool, shopping, or stopping for a drink, you’ll have a great time in Amber Cove Dominican Republic.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. Carnival masks with descriptions surround the fountain. There are educational signs displayed around Amber Cove detailing the history of amber in Dominican Republic.Get Your Passport StampedWander down to the Information Center in Amber Cove. You can’t miss this building – it’s a replica of the gazebo that’s in downtown Puerto Plata. This is where you can get your passport stamped with an unofficial “Puerto Plata” stamp. This is one of the best things to do in Amber Cove for free.Be forewarned: the Department of State advises US citizens to avoid the use of novelty stamps in USA passports, as they deem that it causes damage to the passport. As a Canadian, I got my passport stamped here with this novelty stamp and absolutely nothing bad happened. So, it’s really up to you if you’d like to take the risk. If anything, you could get them to stamp a small piece of paper instead.Get Your Photo with the Amber Cove SignOn your walk, be sure to find the iconic Amber Cove sign by the waterfront. You can’t leave Amber Cove without posing for a picture in front of it! Since our cruise ship was docked here for three nights, we had opportunities to take photos with the sign at day and at night.Since your cruise will likely only stop in Amber Cove for the day, be sure to find it when you’re exploring the Amber Cove port for a great photo opportunity.El Cibao Cafe and Coffee TastingThere’s a small coffee shop called Cafe El Cibao with delicious caffeinated beverages and bags of locally grown and roasted coffee beans. It’s a good idea to order a rich cup of coffee to taste freshly roasted beans from the Dominican Republic. On a hot day, why not order an iced coffee?One day, there was a free coffee tasting in port where we learned about coffee production in the Dominican Republic. Of course, the best part was drinking the coffee. The owner and employees of the cafe were very helpful, pleasant and informative.Best Things to Do in Amber Cove: Go ShoppingThe shops at the Amber Cove cruise port are open when the ships are in port. If you’re looking to bring home some souvenirs, you’ve got to stop by the market. There are many small stalls with interesting and unique gifts made by local artisans.There are also booths showcasing the goods produced by companies affiliated with the Carnival and Princess volunteer activities, like Repapel (recycled paper products) and Chocal (locally made chocolate). By purchasing gifts from these stalls, you’ll be helping the local economy and helping small businesses succeed.There’s also a duty-free shop with liquor, chocolate, and souvenirs. Other shops around the port feature local specialties, jewelry, clothing, and more. You’ll also find all the usual port shops that you’ll see at every cruise port (Diamonds International, Del Sol, etc).Free Things to Do in Amber CoveThere’s fun for the whole family at Amber Cove. It’s similar to a little resort where there are a mix of paid and free activities. I’m going to show you some of the best free things to do in Amber Cove in addition to the activities I’ve already mentioned above.Swimming Pool, Lazy River and Water SlidesAt 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.There’s a swim-up pool bar for drinks. Of course, the drinks cost extra at the swim-up bar and everywhere in Amber Cove. Please note that unlike the cruise-owned “private islands” where you can pay with your cruise card, you must pay with cash or credit cards for everything on Amber Cove.The pool is available to every cruiser who visits Amber Cove at no additional charge. It’s almost like an Amber Cove excursion that you don’t need to book in advance and it’s available at no cost to everyone on the cruise ship.Relax in a HammockDon’t feel like laying in an ordinary pool lounger? Maybe a hammock is more your style! There are a number of hammocks around Amber Cove where you can sway with a view. You’ll be able to admire your ship in port from the hammock. These aren’t too far from the pool area.Children’s Splash AreaNear the swimming pool, there’s an area just for the kiddos: a Wet Zone and Splash Pad. There’s a tiny water slide and a splash bucket. The kids can stay cool and have a blast while you lounge in tropical Dominican Republic on your day in Amber Cove.More Free Games and ActivitiesLooking for even more things to do in Amber Cove? There’s also a volleyball court, basketball court and giant chess set near the splash pad and swimming pool. When you venture over to the Amber Cove Aqua Zone, there are so many fun and free things to do.Best Things to Do in Amber Cove: Amber Cove Aqua ZoneWhile 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.Please see the image below for water sports pricing when I visited in 2016. I’m sure the prices have gone up since 2016, but this will give you an idea of the costs. This is an Amber Cove Aqua Zone price list.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.You can rent lockers on site for a small fee that is refundable when you return the lock. You’ll want to rent a locker if you plan on doing the zip line. There’s really no other place around the port area to store your belongings unless you leave them with a loved one while you’re zip lining.Top Things to Do in Amber Cove: Rent a Private CabanaDo you remember at the beginning of this travel blog post when I mentioned the pretty little cabanas that you can see when you leave the cruise ship? You can rent those private cabanas for the day for you, your family and friends. You can choose from Ocean, Poolside, Hillside or Grand Cabanas.Cabanas come fully stocked with a fridge, water, pop, snacks, as well as showers, lounge chairs, free Wifi and staff members to serve you. Some of the upgraded cabanas have their own TVs, private hot tubs, dining areas and more. These do come at a cost, anywhere from $300 for a basic cabana to over $1000 a day for a Grand Cabana, but it’s an incredibly memorable way to spend the day at Amber Cove.Best Things to Do in Amber Cove: Sky BarDo you want to see one of the best views of Amber Cove? Head up to the Sky Bar! You can reach Sky Bar, a bar up high on the hill, by walking up an inclined path and series of steps. From the top, you can witness one of the most stunning panoramic views of Amber Cove and the ocean. It’s worth the uphill hike, trust me!When we visited Amber Cove, we didn’t go to the Sky Bar, but we did end up at the top of this hill. We participated in the “Turkey Trot” fun run as our cruise was around Thanksgiving. The 5km run took us all over the port, including a run up and down this hill a few times over.Volunteer Activities in Dominican RepublicBack in 2016, we sailed with Fathom Cruises on our Dominican Republic cruise, primarily because we wanted to participate in the impact activities. Sadly, Fathom Cruises is no longer. But, Carnival has kept the spirit of the impact activities alive.On many Princess and Carnival sailings, you can opt to participate in the social impact activities, like volunteering at RePapel, a Recycled Paper & Crafts initiative. Alternatively, you can have a hands on chocolate making experience at a women’s cooperative, Chocal.I participated in both of these activities during my Fathom sailing, and they’re both worth checking out. Plus, you can feel good about helping local communities and supporting local, woman-owned small businesses. You can find them on the shore excursions section of your cruise booking for both Princess and Carnival Cruises.Where to find Wi-Fi in Amber CoveAs you’ll be out to sea for many days, you might be without Internet for some time. There used to be free wifi at the Fathom Impact Center. I’m not sure if that exists anymore, so please don’t use that as a likely place to find wifi in Amber Cove. We found that it was fairly speedy, though my connection was slower during the day when many people were using it. You can ask for the password at the Impact Center. I recommend that you try to use the wifi from the coffee shop in Amber Cove, Cafe El Cibao. You’ll have to buy a coffee or a treat in order to receive the password from the employees. Their coffee is so delicious and they have a wide variety of selections for every taste. Getting Out of Amber Cove to Puerto Plata (and Beyond)When you depart the ship and enter Amber Cove, keep to the left. When you walk to the end of the shopping area, you’ll see a corridor to the right with taxis and buses. This is where you’ll depart on your shore excursions and activities away from the port.Renting a Car in Amber CoveThere is a car rental agency inside Amber Cove (Alamo / National), but it is temporarily closed. I’m not sure when it will open back up. Therefore, the best option for renting a car is by taking a taxi to downtown Puerto Plata to pick up your rental car. A one-way fare from Amber Cove to Puerto Plata downtown is $35.00 USD (25 minute drive).If you plan on driving around the island for the day, it’s a good idea to rent a car. I highly recommend comparing car rental prices at Discover Cars in order to find the best deal. However, if you are only going into Puerto Plata and staying there, I suggest taking a taxi both ways and skipping the rental car.How to Go to the BeachAre you wondering where the Amber Cove beach is? Well, there isn’t a beach at Amber Cove, unfortunately. This is a man-made cruise port at the northern side of Dominican Republic where there weren’t any beaches.It is possible to go to the beach by taking an Amber Cove shore excursion. Drive through the historic area of Puerto Plata to Golden Beach (Playa Dorada) where you’ll have a complimentary lounger, complimentary rum punch and two hours of beach time on this half day tour. Book this Playa Dorada excursion here.Amber Cove ExcursionsAside from the volunteering excursions that I mentioned above, you can also get outside of Amber Cove to see more of Puerto Plata and Dominican Republic. If you’re not into shopping or spending time by the pool, you may want to get out of Amber Cove to see the actual destination itself. Here are a few suggestions for the best things to do from Amber Cove.Damajagua WaterfallsThis Damajagua Waterfalls shore excursion will take you to the famous 27 waterfalls. You’ll travel from Amber Cove to this series of spectacular waterfalls, all transportation and national park fees included. Hike into the forest, and then slide down the waterfalls themselves. It’s an amazing adventure. On the way back, enjoy complimentary rum punch on the bus ride.Dune Buggy TourImmerse yourself in nature on this 2-person dune buggy adventure tour through Puerto Plata province. It’s great for beginners, so it’s no problem if you’ve never driven a dune buggy before. Drive off-road through muddy paths and picturesque coastlines. Stop at Playa Bergantin for a swimming and beach stop.Puerto Plata Highlights and Cable Car TourHere is a full day tour of Puerto Plata with all of the best that the city has to offer. You’ll ride the Puerto Plata cable car, discover the Saint Philip Fortress, go for a rum tasting, have a delicious Dominican lunch (vegetarian and vegan options available!), enjoy organic cacao and so much more. You’ll learn so much about the Dominican Republic from your local guide and have a fantastic day in Puerto Plata.What Not to Do in Amber Cove: Swim With DolphinsPlease, 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.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.More Caribbean Cruise Port GuidesStopping at more ports of call along the way? Here are more of our Caribbean cruise guides: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.