We had never been to Dominican Republic before, so wanting to learn about the food and culture, we took a tasting and shopping tour into the nearby town of Puerto Plata. However, if you simply want a relaxing day ashore with a pool, bar, and waterslides, you can stay right in the port area to enjoy the well developed port area. There isn’t really a beach here, but you can rent water sports equipment. There are also some excursions that will take you a nearby resort.
We had mixed feelings about our tour as it was supposed to be curated by Food and Wine Magazine and feature food and cultural highlights. It was really a shopping trip with a mediocre buffet lunch. Our guide did a great job of sharing with us Dominican culture and the cigar making demonstration was interesting.
During the first part of the tour, we visited an area of Puerto Plata that must have been decorated with Instagram in mind. We also stopped right in the middle of town at a gift shop, where I am not sure what part of the food and wine experience was supposed to be feature, but we got a sales pitch for some local amber and blue stone silver jewelry. The price was pretty reasonable and wanting to support the local economy after the prolonged shutdown, I did buy a fun ring. We walked around some of the most picturesque parts of town, then went to cigar making experience with a humidor and an opportunity to buy cigars. We also visited the hero’s plaza in town where local school children were celebrating independence day.
We also had a brief tour of a chocolate factory, that of course exited from the gift ship. We then went to the rum factory where we were told we were going to be treated to samples of 8 different kinds of rum. While this was interesting, the samples were so small that I think the 8 different kinds might have added up to one shot. Our final stop on the tour was the garden estate with a gourmet lunch. While the estate did have lovely indoor/outdoor dining area and beautiful garden, the meal was nothing that you would have expected to be curated by Food and Wine Magazine. It was nacho chips, rice, chopped creole chicken and beans. While this is probably a typical Dominica meal, it certainly wasn’t a gourmet “Food and Wine” level experience. There was a quick coffee tasting, in guess where, the gift shop, also located on the property.
After the tour, I enjoyed some time walking around the Amber Cove facilities and enjoying the view from the lovely hill top bar.My Cruise History