Today we are sharing our ultimate guide “What To Do In Puerto Plata Cruise Port & Taino Bay”. If you are heading the Dominican Republic on your Caribbean Cruise? You may be forgiven for thinking Puerto Plata Cruise Port & Taino Bay is the weak link in the cruise port itinerary.
A LOT has changed in the Dominican Republic and after tens of millions of pounds of investment! We have to tell you Puerto Plata Cruise Port may well be the destination jewel in the crown of your Caribbean Cruise. Amber Cove Cruise Port is Carnival Cruise Lines cruise terminal where Carnival, Princess and Cunard dock.
However cruising with NCL we were able to stop at Taino Bay in Puerto Plata. This is a vibrant buzzing cruise port with so much to do and see. Of course your cruise line will offer a choice of shore excursions. However if you want to get off and explore on your own it’s easy to do and all in walking distance.
What To Do In Puerto Plata Cruise Port & Taino Bay
Taino Bay opened in 2021 and reinvented the Dominican Republic Cruise port, Puerto Plata as the Caribbean Island Hideaway for cruise ships and cruise passengers, that has it all. Named Taino Bay after the Taino people who inhabited Puerto Plata centuries before Christopher Columbus arrived in the early 1500s.
Where Is Puerto Plata?
Puerto Plata is on the Northern Coast of The Dominican Republic. Best known for its glorious weather, white sandy beaches and mining of the the precious stone Amber.
What Currency Should I Use In Puerto Plata Cruise Port?
The currency in Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata is the Dominican peso. However we were able to us US dollars and the machine at the port takes most UK, US charge and credit cards.
How To Get To Taino Bay From The Cruise Terminal
It’s only a 5 minutes walk along the dock. But Taino Bay also offers the option of jumping on a free TukTuk down to port. Tipping is optional, and the TukTuks hold 4 adults, these are also available to return to the ship after your day in port.
When you arrive at the end of the dock you’re met by a vibrant buzzing gated Caribbean village. This has been create exclusively for cruisers who have arrived in the Dock or Tiano Bay. This gated entertainment community is staffed by locals who are friendly and vibrant people offering a warm welcome.
Which Cruise Lines Stop At Taino Bay, Puerto Plata Cruise Port?
What’s At Taino Bay, Puerto Plata Cruise Port
You will arrive at a Welcome Centre with bathrooms, a central fountain and an ATM. This leads you through to the resort where you will find all of the following amenities, many free to use, plus free WI-FI to use whilst you are spending time in the sun.
Make sure as you walk along towards the village you look back towards the ship to see the gargantuan Monkey art installation with the ship in the background. It really is a magnificent piece of art.
White Sand Beaches With Loungers
The beach reaches along the bay, it isn’t huge, but whilst we were there it wasn’t busy. There were loungers available if you want to chill on the beach but not go too far away. Tip, take towels from the towel cart as you leave the ship to use at the beach.
A Huge Pool
The pool at Taino Bay is huge and free to use, with a swim up pool bar, music playing and lots of comfy padded loungers with umbrellas offering shade and space to chill. There are also restaurants nearby for you to grab a spot of lunch. Additionally if you are traveling with children the pool has a walk in shallow area, so it’s safe for kiddies getting in and out of the pool.
Top tip, take a pool towel from the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line has a towel cart at the entrance to the ship in port for you to book towels in and out to use in Taino Bay and take to the beach.
Bars And Restaurants
There are many bars and restaurants within the complex. You can choose to sit in the middle of the buzz and take in the atmosphere, or indeed head to the other side of the complex where its a little more chilled.
The vibe in all the restaurants is cool, with a variety of seating including hammocks and hanging chairs. Food and drinks were inexpensive and the cocktails were delicious, try out the Mango Daiquiri.
Shops To Find Souvenirs
There are also lots of souvenir shops, selling local wares, t shirts, beach wear, duty free make-up, sunglasses, alcohol, jewellery and so much more. Many of the shops are owned or staffed by locals who are able to rent a unit on the property. Plus also the odd chain such as Piranha Jack’s.
Not for me! But you can book a Monkey experience on the Island and meet the Monkeys. They looked well looked after and happy in their environment. But this is an each to their own thing and I prefer to look at animals in their own environment.
Aviary Spots Around The Complex
There are open aviaries dotted around the complex with parrots, sat chilling. They again looked happy to interact with their keepers. But they are mainly left alone to chill in their botanical garden areas.
What To Do In Puerto Plata Cruise Port
You leave the gates of the complex and head into Puerto Plata, which I would definitely recommend you do. Of course you get the usual persistent chatter for taxis and tours. But we never had a problem when we politely said no. But you do have to be quite clear.
There is a lot to do in walking distance. If you want to head into town and see some of the local attractions such as the Umbrella Street, and Pink Street.
However there are also a lot of registered taxis outside. Registered drivers and also tour guides have government registration and wear it on a lanyard around their necks so look for this.
Get A Taxi To The Beach From Just Outside Puerto Plata Cruise Port
In our experience this doesn’t regulate the taxi fare price. Our friends were heading to Playa Dorada beach and wanted to get a taxi, directly outside the port. They were quoted $60, yet a little farther down the road they agreed a fare of $30 for a large taxi for 6. Plus the driver waited for them as they chilled on the beach and were ready to return to the ship.
Umbrella Street, also known as Calle de las Sombrillas is a 7-10 minute walk from the port. It is so worth the walk out to find this short put pretty colourful street, lined overhead with brightly coloured umbrellas. The shops and cafes that line the street are vibrant and colourful, and check out the street art at the end of the street.
To find the street pop C. San Felipe, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic into Google Maps and the app takes you straight there. There are two busy roads to cross, however there are policemen managing the traffic for anyone needing to cross at certain points along the way.
Paseo de Dona Blanca
Paseo de Dona Blanca also known as the pink street is a 2 minute walk from Umbrella Street, on the way to the Town Square. This gloriously colourful street is an alley of pink to commemorate Mrs. Bianca Franceschini. She was a pioneer in the development of the early tourism industry in Puerto Plata at the end of the 18th century.
This pink alley, painted in the brightest shades of pink and decorated with benches, flowers a bike and telephone. There is also a statue to remember Mrs. Bianca Franceschini who was also a mum of 9 as well as running a successful hotel.
The Town Square
The town square is another 3 minutes walk on from Paseo de Dona Blanca. The town square, is a pretty colonial styled square, with the San Felipe Cathedral at the head of the square. We got a local guide from the charge, local guides an employed by the government and again wear id. Our guide told us he was not allowed to charge us, but did accept a tip.
Here you can find out the history of the national stone of the Dominican Republic. You will also get the opportunity to see Amber with prehistoric fossils such as insects, plants, and animals encased inside.
Fortaleza San Felipe
Fort San Felipe historic 14th-century Spanish fortress overlooking the bay, commissioned by King Phillip II of Spain in the 16th Century. The Fortaleza San Felipe was built overlooking Taino Bay Cruise Port, then a cargo port, to protect the harbour from pirates.
Go Farther Afield To Damajagua Waterfalls
Damajagua Waterfalls are less than an hour from the port, but best booked as an arranged tour. Most trips offer a 3-hour trek that includes hiking, swimming and taking in the stunning waterfalls.
Take The Cable Cars On Mount Isabel De Torres
Head 800 meters above sea level as you take a 10-minute ride in a cable car up to the top of the Isabel de Torres Mountain. At the top, the reward is the joy of breathtaking panoramic views and photo opportunities of of Puerto Plata. You can book the Cable Cars as part of a tour, this seems the best option to avoid queues or get a taxi to take you the 30-40 minutes journey and pay $10 per person to ride the cable cars.
Is Taino Bay Worth Visiting?
Absolutely yes, this was our stand out favourite cruise port on our recent Caribbean Cruise. Taino Bay is vibrant, friendly and buzzing but not over crowded.
Puerto Plata Cruise Port, Out Thoughts
And that’s it our little Dominican Republic roundup. Whether you choose to jump off the ship and wander. Or indeed book a tour and go father afield, Taino Bay and Puerto Plata cruise port will not disappoint.