It was as if the sky’s jaw dropped, along with ours, as we approached Amber Cove port in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Puffy, gray clouds parted right when the mounting peaks started to pierce the horizon in front of us.
Bright green flora grew in front of our eyes as we sailed closer. Palm trees looked alive even, as the salty ocean breeze shook their fronds like a devout Christian on Palm Sunday. The bright blue Caribbean Sea crashed against a jagged coastline, wrapping the mountainside like a frame around a picture.
An observatory, akin a small Roman temple, served as centerpiece.
The cove, as it lushly enveloped us, reminded me of home.
Welcome to Puerto Plata: a destination in northern DR that remained out of cruise ship itineraries for decades. It has now reopened cruise passengers in the form of a multi-million-dollar development by Carnival Inc.
But…what does it look like?
When you think of a Caribbean cruise port, you probably imagine scores of souvenir shops, swarming touts, and haggling voices bouncing between buildings.
Not here. Not at Amber Cove.
Yes, there are souvenir shops–but take out the hassle. Sprinkle some chill. Add more flavor.
Better yet: Amber Cove employs LOCALS. It was refreshing to see beaming Dominican faces, thrilled to be working in this resort-style cruise port.
My Amber Cove cruise shots will make you want to book a Fathom cruise.
Picture the grounds of an all-inclusive resort: those that, as a cruise ship passenger, require you to buy an expensive day pass to enjoy.
Now picture this:
Views at the top of a flight of seemingly-melting asphalt stairs toward fun water slides:
Ahhh, water slides! One is predictable:
While the other is…weeeell…
They will shake the kid inside out of you. Like a bear out of hibernation.
Then, head the opposite direction + dip into the largest hot tub you’ve ever seen:
Thank goodness there’s a swim up bar:
Still: it feels like an all-inclusive resort. BUT IT’S FREE
(minus drinkies, of course. And USD $6-per-ride or $12-unlimited zip line)
Or splurge anyway: take a ride to Damajagua River and slide down 27 waterfalls:
Deep down, I always knew there was a better alternative to rum & souvenir shops