Navigating different cruise ports brings various levels of accessibility from your ship. Some ports pose a challenge due to shallow waters, requiring tender boats for access. On the flip side, there are ports where you can simply stroll off the ship. However, some of these may lack commercial development, requiring transportation to explore larger towns or embark on excursions. What if you crave a hassle-free experience, just stepping off the ship to soak in the local culture without the fuss of transportation or excursions? Fear not! In this article, we’re highlighting 5 walk-off ports that have transformed into vibrant ‘port cities’—a stone’s throw away from your ship, offering bustling shopping, delightful dining, and lively entertainment!
Taino Bay: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
The Taino Bay port is one of the newer ports in the Caribbean and offers some great amenities for cruise guests. There are plenty of shops offering both local souvenirs and luxury items, like jewelry. Sprinkled along the meandering pathway are aviaries, where you can enjoy a view of different birds and snap a photo!
The main attraction is the spacious pool, complete with a lazy river and plenty of lounge chairs either poolside or on the sand. There is no beach swimming, so if that is your desire, we recommend booking a beach excursion. There are several restaurants for you to try some local cuisine before returning to the ship.
Tortola Cruise Port: Road Town, British Virgin Islands
The Tortola cruise port is one of the smaller ports. Amenities include shops and dining, plus a small green space where you may hear some local music. The coffee shop offers outdoor seating to enjoy the Caribbean weather with your cup of joe.
There is a small boardwalk where you can watch local boats sail out of the inlet and if you choose to dine here, you can enjoy a snack or meal with a great view!
Port Zante: St Kitts
We found this port to offer a large variety of shops and restaurants. Take the time to meander down the paths and explore the interesting souvenirs, local jewelry and crafts.
We do want to share that as you head to the shopping district, you will find yourself a small area protected with metal railing. The salesmen who are offering tours and transportation cannot enter the gated area, but they will gather around the perimeter and ask for your business as soon as you pass through the gates. This area is where the cute St. Kitts marquis is available for that memorable family photo!
Old San Juan Port: San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan offers one of the largest cruise ports, with two terminals that can handle 9 ships. A relaxing walk along the pier can give you a view of different ships fairly up close. Enjoy views of the water among pretty monuments and statues.
If you are feeling more adventurous, head up the hill and visit the Castillo San Cristobal. This fort is part of the national park service. It is free to walk around the outer grounds. There is a fee to enter the mail structure. If you have a national park pass, you may be able to use it to enter.
Havensight Cruise port: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
The Havensight cruise port offers plenty of shopping and dining with the feel of a small town. The open air design of the Havensight Mall has many of the recognized brands found in cruise ports.
As you walk along the streets, enjoy choosing a souvenir from one of the local stores. Just a few minutes walk from the port you can find the Sky Ride if you would like to pay the small fee to ride up and enjoy amazing views of the port and the city.