Christmas/Anniversary Cruise 2021: Day 3, Part 1, Christmas Day! Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
Christmas Day, December 25, 2021, we sailed into Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. The port is on the north side of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. The north side of the island is in the Atlantic Ocean and the south side is in the Caribbean Sea. The port at Amber Cove is owned and built by the Carnival Cruise line, Holland America is a Carnival company. The port has two areas, a shopping area and a resort type area. The shopping area has a dozen or so shops with all types of souvenirs. The resort side has a swimming pool with a swim up bar. The pool is free for cruise passengers to use. Pool cabanas are available to rent. There are also some cabanas in the cove for rent. All types of watercraft can be rented to use in the cove. The sky bar is perched on a hilltop with a great view of the cove. If you wanted to, you could just spend the day at Amber Cove. The historical town of Puerto Plata is about 6 miles from Amber Cove. We wanted to see more of the Dominican Republic, so we chose to book a shore excursion. We could have just grabbed a taxi into town, but in this case, the shore excursion was the better option. We booked the Mountain Views and City Sights shore excursion. We met our guide Rambo, AKA Sylvester Stallone, AKA Juan Mendoza, in Amber Cove.
Our first stop was the town of Puerto Plata (Silver Port). Our guide Rambo, said that when Christopher Columbus stopped here on his first voyage, the water in the port looked like silver. It has also been said that the mountain was covered in clouds and Columbus said it looked like silver. I think that would have made it Silver Mountain though. The day we were there both were true, so it could be either or both.
Our group of 14, stepped out of the minibus at Parque Central Independencia, a cute little park in the center of town. It was all decked out for Christmas! Rambo gave us small stickers to wear, he said they identified us as “The Rambo Family.” Adjacent to the park was St. Philip the Apostle Cathedral. We were there during a Christmas Mass. After telling us all about the cathedral, Rambo said it was OK to go inside and take some photos. It seemed a little awkward to me, but we all slipped into the back of the cathedral and took a few photos.
We walked across the street to the Island Treasures Gift shop. There, Rambo was telling us about Dominican amber. Amber is fossilized tree sap that can trap all kinds of things inside of it like insects and small animals. Along with the amber color there is also red, green, and the rare blue. Dominican amber is also the inspiration for the movie Jurassic Park. Another Dominican item he told us about was Mama Juana, a spiced rum/red wine drink, flavored with tree bark. There is actually tree bark in the bottle. It was tasty but very sweet! It’s supposed to be a strong aphrodisiac. There was a very light and brief rain shower as we finished up in the gift shop.
We walked to our next location as another cruise ship was sliding into the dock at the Puerto Plata Cruise Port. Passing another HAL tour group, we came to Paseo de Dona Blanca. An alleyway painted bright pink! It was very interesting to see and photograph.
Just down the street we came to Umbrella Street. A cobblestone pedestrian street decorated with colorful umbrellas. There are several small shops along the street. Rambo took us into a chocolate shop for a sample of some yummy hot chocolate. I was having fun photographing the umbrellas reflecting in the water puddles on the street. Back to the minibus to climb the mountain!