Best Things to do at Amber Cove (Free + Low-Cost)

Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s newest cruise destinations and is owned by Carnival Corporation. There are plenty of things to do at Amber Cove including shopping, zip lining, swimming, relaxing by the pool, learning about nature and enjoying the local entertainment.

The good news is that many of the things available at Amber Cove are included for cruise passengers so you can enjoy your day here without spending loads of money! We’ve created this guide to free and low-cost options to enjoy your time.

things to do at Amber Cove map

About Amber Cove

Amber Cove is situated on the Bay of Maimón, 7 miles northwest of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. It first opened in 2015 and this 30-acre private resort was designed specifically for cruise passengers.

Amber Cove is named after the semi-precious stone that is found on the island. The amber gemstone is created from fossilised tree resin, which you may remember from Jurassic Park. Part of Jurassic Park was actually filmed near Amber Cove, in the Amber Museum in Purto Plata.

Amber Cove can accommodate two large cruise ships per day (8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members) and this was the case when we visited. Despite there being lots of cruise passengers, we thought that the resort handled the crowds quite well.

You can find the latest cruise port schedule for Amber Cove here, to check if there’s another ship in port during your visit.

As this private resort is created by Carnival Corporation ($85 million investment), many of the Carnival cruise line brands stop at this port.

We visited on a Princess cruise ship but other cruise lines making calls include: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Marella Cruises and Cunard.

Take a Rickshaw Ride from the Cruise Ship

As you leave your cruise ship, hop aboard a bicycle rickshaw to the resort.  This was a fun experience and helped us get ahead of some of the other cruise passengers.

The pier at Amber Cove is 1280 feet in total so if you choose walk it, it’s not very far.

The riders offer the short journeys to and from the cruise ship in exchange for tips.

Shopping at Amber Cove

Amber Cove is definitely set up for cruise passengers to go shopping.  You have to walk through a duty-free shop to get to the resort! 

Once you’ve made it through the duty-free shop, you can take a left towards the Marketplace and here is where the main shopping area is. You can definitely choose to browse and enjoy some window shopping without any obligation.

Shopping is a popular thing to do at Amber Cove. You will find lots of amber jewellery in the shops in Amber Cove.

If you’re looking for souvenirs, duty-free items or jewellery – it’s all here for you without having to leave the complex.

List of shops:

  • Diamonds Interational
  • Dominican Things
  • Elements Glass Jewellery
  • Pareo’s House – clothing and souvenirs
  • Island Treasures
  • Turquesa Gift Shop
  • Yofi Skin Care
  • Wild Play Clothes and Gifts
  • Pharmacy
  • Ocean World Gift Shop
  • Yvon International Art Gallery
  • Blu Mine Larimar and Amber
  • TI Watch and Design
  • Effy Jewellery
  • Arantza Beach Clothes and Gifts
  • Amber Coast Larimar
  • All Leather
  • Aurora Cigar Shop

You will find the usual cruise port shops like Diamonds International but we recommend taking a look in the local souvenir and gift shops to pick up something from the Dominican Republic.

Enjoy a Dominican Coffee with Free Wi-Fi

Café El Cibao provides an extra special coffee experience by welcoming you into the café, telling you about the providence of the coffee and the process from bean to cup.  This coffee shop and cafe is located in the Marketplace in the shopping area.

Coffee cultivation has deep historical roots in the Dominican Republic, dating back to the 18th century when it was introduced by French immigrants.

Café El Cibao coffee menu at amber cove

You should try the café con leche, a traditional Dominican coffee made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. You could also order the café cortado, which is a shot of espresso “cut” with a small amount of warm milk. The menu also includes hot chocolate, frozen coffee, tea, frappuccino, and smoothies.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a speciality coffee whilst watching fellow cruise passengers queue for shore excursions outside in the square. 

This café also offers free Wi-Fi so it’s a great opportunity to get in touch with friends and family back home without it costing the Earth. Amber Cove also offers WiFi for the day for $8.

We visited this cafe when we first arrived so we could get in touch with family (there is a four-hour time difference between the UK and the Dominican Republic).

Lounge by the pool at the Aqua Zone

One of the most popular things to do at Amber Cove is visit the Aqua Zone. Access to the pool, lazy river and water slides is complimentary for cruise passengers, so this is the perfect opportunity have a relaxing day by the pool and soak up the sunshine. Use of the sun loungers is also included.

This is also a great thing to do if you are cruising with children because this area will keep them happy and busy for the whole day. There’s even a kids pool complete with water bucket dump and slides.

We spent the afternoon around the pool and although it was a bit cloudy on the day we visited, it was still nice to do.

There is waiter service for food and drink but be aware that despite being an exclusive resort for cruise passengers, your drinks package will not work here!

Many of the cruise lines’ private islands and resorts allow passengers to use their drinks packages when visiting but this is not the case at Amber Cove.

Classic and frozen cocktails are around $8 each but you can view the full drinks and food list to see what is available.

Near the pool area you have the choice of Coco Cana Poolside Lounge and the Cabana Bar.

Don’t Miss the Impromptu Dance Performances

If you happen to be spending some time around the pool you may be treated to some spontaneous entertainment.

During our visit we enjoyed watching the staff put on a dance performance near the Cabana Bar and it certainly got people in the party mood. We can’t guarantee this will definitely happen during your visit but it’s worth keeping an eye out for it.

Amber Cove Zip Line

One of the coolest things to do at Amber Cove is the zip line. Located in the Aqua Zone pool area, are two 650-foot zip lines.

If you are a thrill-seeker, this is a great opportunity to zip line over the pool. For anyone who has never taken a zip wire ride, it’s also a great introduction. It’s not that long and is over pretty quickly.

Our friends gave this a try during our visit and had a lot of fun.

You can pay for individual rides ($12) or a day pass for unlimited rides ($20).

Be aware that the queue for the zip line can get quite long so the day pass may not be worth it, especially of there are two big cruise ships in port.

Because the zip line passes over the pool, flip flops and open heel shoes are not allowed. We’d recommend you bring sneakers or trainers with you, if you plan to use the zip line.

Have a drink at the Sky Bar

The Sky Bar overlooks the entire area. There is a short walk to the summit, but when you arrive you can enjoy a cold drink whilst taking in the breath-taking view of Amber Cove and your cruise ship.

Watch the local entertainment at Amber Cove

Take a stroll around the colonial-style marketplace square and pause to watch the performances from local musicians.

Have a photo taken by the giant ‘Amber Cove’ sign

Don’t miss this great photo opportunity to capture your visit to Amber Cove.  It’s also a perfect location to snap yourself with the cruise ship in the background.

This is completely free to do!

Amber Cove sign

Nature Cove

If you are short on time but want to learn more about the local history and geology, visit the Nature Cove.

This one of the most overlooked things to do at Amber Cove but it’s a beautiful area tucked away opposite the duty-free shop.

This area transports you to a Dominican Republic rainforest with waterfall. There are useful information boards through the walk through this area, which explain about the nature and natural resources found on the island.

Access to the Nature Cove is completely free of charge.

We’d recommend coming here if you want to escape Diamonds International and waterslides!

Water Sports at Amber Cove

During your day at Amber Cove you have the chance to hire:

  • paddle board
  • One or two-person kayak
  • ease board
  • hydrobike

The water sports hire is available right next to the Cabana Bar by the pool. Prices are $20 for 30 minutes and $35-45 for one hour.

You could also choose to hire four-person peddle boats ($25 / $45) – in the UK we call these pedalos. These peddle boats are propelled by pedalling and can be quite hard going if it’s a hot day.

A two-person solar catamaran is a bit more expensive ($40 / $60) but much more relaxing!

Get a Passport Stamp but NOT in your Passport

Before you leave, don’t miss out on getting a stamp to show you visited Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

Stop by the Information Centre to get this unofficial stamp but we would advise you NOT to get this in your passport. An unofficial stamp can invalidate your passport. Instead, get a postcard stamped as a souvenir.

Page 5 of a U.S. passport states, “Only authorized officials of the United States or of foreign countries may place stamps or make notations or additions to this passport.” There are also are several incidents where UK citizens have been denied entry into countries or onto flights because of unofficial stamps in their passports.

Summary – 12 top things to do at Amber Cove

We’ve highlighted the 12 top things to do at Amber Cove that are low-cost or free to enjoy.

This is a really easy cruise port to walk around and access everything on offer.

It’s worth being aware that to take an excursion from here, it must be with with your cruise line or via the taxi/hire car service. If you decide to stay within the resort complex there is plenty of things to do without having to spend a fortune.

Our top free things to do:

  • Pool, sunbeds, slides and lazy river
  • Have your photo taken by the Amber Cove sign
  • Street entertainment
  • Dance performances
  • Passport stamp
  • Access to Nature Cove

For a bit extra, we’d also recommend:

  • Getting an authentic Dominican coffee (with free WiFi)
  • Enjoying a drink at the Sky Bar
  • Zip lining
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Bicycle rickshaw ride (tip)
  • Water sports hire

Do you have any recommendations for things to do in Amber Cove? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.


Laura is a UK cruise blogger based in Cornwall, UK. She founded Cruise Lifestyle in 2016 to share useful advice about cruising, destinations and food.
Last port visited: Bridgetown, Barbados
Next port of call: unknown, but she can’t wait for cruising to resume safely!

Find me on: Twitter


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