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San Felipe de Puerto Plata is a major port city located on Dominican Republic's north coast (Caribbean Sea). By population (around 290,000) the city is ranked the country's 9th-largest. It is also the capital of the Puerto Plata province. Puerto Plata to Amber Cove distance is approx 12 km (7,5 mi) or around 20 min drive (via Avenida Manolo Tavarez Justo). Amber Cove is a Carnival Corporation exclusive cruise port located to the west of Puerto Plata.
As cruise port, Puerto Plata is visited by liners of other than Carnival Corporation-owned major cruise shipping companies - including Royal Caribbean, NCL-Norwegian, MSC, Marella UK, Virgin Voyages. As call port, Puerto Plata is visited mainly as part of Eastern Caribbean itineraries with lengths 4-5-7-days.
Besides being an important cargo port, Puerto Plata is also a popular vacation travel destination famous for its premium hotels and all-inclusive spa resorts, including Grand Paradise Playa Dorada, Iberostar Costa Dorada, Senator Puerto Plata, Hodelpa Playa Dorada, Casa Colonial Beach, VH Gran Ventana Beach, VH Atmosphere, Be Live Collection Marien, Playabachata, Lifestyle Holidays, BlueBay Villas Doradas, Cofresi Palm Beach. In the city alone are available 100,000+ hotel beds. The city's aerial tramway (Caribbean's first) connects downtown to Mount Isabel de Torres - the peak of an 800-m (2625 ft) high mountain within the city.
The city is served by Gregorio Luperon Airport (approx 15 km / 9 mi east of Puerto Plata) with regularly scheduled international flights linking to Europe (Belgium), USA (NYC, Newark Liberty), Canada (Montreal, Toronto), Caribbean (Turks and Caicos). Seasonal flight link to Russia, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden. Puerto Plata's economy is mainly based on tourism, agricultural production and shipping trade (cargo port services), in addition to shipbuilding, commercial fishing, textiles.
Fortaleza San Felipe is a historic fortification (1577-built Spanish fortress, now museum housing military artifacts) located close to the cruise port. Another best-known tourist attraction is Museo Del Ambar (amber museum with country's biggest exhibition). Approx 42 km (26 mi) west of Puerto Plata is La Isabela - Spain's ever-first settlement in the Americas, established in 1493 by Christopher Columbus (Italian explorer and colonizer, 1451-1506). In 1496, due to a mutiny caused by hunger and diseases, La Isabela was abandoned. Columbus continued its expedition and soon established Santo Domingo de Guzman.
Puerto Plata cruise terminal
In December 2019, Puerto Plata Port Investment announced that the Cancun Mexico-based company ITM Group MX (that also manages Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico) is the winner of the tender for building a dedicated cruise ship terminal in Puerto Plata. The new facility (Taino Bay Cruise Terminal) will be operational by November 2020. The site for the new cruise terminal is a former cargo dock.
During its first year of operations (November 2020 through December 2021), the new Taino Bay Terminal plans to handle 650,000+ cruise tourists with 150+ ship calls.
Taino Bay Cruise Terminal (Puerto Plata)
Taino Bay Cruise Terminal (as development area) covers 20 acres (8 hectares) and is divided into 4 main areas. As facilities and amenities, Puerto Plata's cruise terminal has one pier (allowing simultaneous berthing of 2 world's largest cruise liners), Aldea de Los Tainos (tourist village themed on the pre-Columbian Indian culture), Jungla de Los Monos (interactive eco-park with botanical garden, aviary, reptile island, wildlife encounters/monkeys), Villa de Los Bucaneros (Buccaneers Village/entertainment complex with a lazy river), Port Cibao (theme park/water park with slides, separated kids and adults pool areas), Centro Colonial (shopping-dining complex/restaurants, bars, shops, live street entertainment). A zip line is planned to encircle the entire Taino Bay complex.
Direct access (via cruise line shuttle bus services) is provided to Fuerte San Felipe (fortress) and Santo Domingo de Guzman. In addition, from Puerto Plata will be developed and offered (via local companies) around 30 tours/shore excursions.
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