Caribbean Tourism

Venezuela

Excursions - Isla de Margarita

Excursions - Isla de Margarita The capital, La Asunción is a few kilometres inland from Porlamar. It has several colonial buildings, a cathedral, and the fort of Santa Rosa, with a famous bottle dungeon. Monday 0800-1500, other days 0800-1800. There is a museum in the Casa Capitular, and a local market, good for handicrafts. Nearby are the Cerro Matasiete historical site, where the...

Mochima

Mochima Puerto La Cruz: Venezuela’s second Caribbean coastal National Park is Mochima, 55 kilometres from the port of Puerto La Cruz. This city is 320 kilometres, five hours east of Caracas. It is the main commercial centre in this part of the country, especially for oil, but is also a popular holiday centre with good watersports and yachting facilities. The park...

Chichiriviche

A few kilometres beyond, towards Coro, is the favourite, and hence expensive, beach resort of Chichiriviche which gets very crowded at holidays and weekends.

Tucacas

Tucacas is a hot, busy, dirty and expensive town, with lots of new building in progress, where bananas and other fruit are loaded for Curaçao and Aruba.

Parque Nacional Morrocoy

The National Park of Morrocoy comprises hundreds of coral reefs, palm-studded islets, small cosy beaches and calm water for water-skiing, snorkelling, and skin-diving. The Park is reached from Tucacas in the S and Chichiriviche in the N. With appropriate footwear it is possible to walk between some of the islands. The largest, cleanest and most popular of...

Islas Los Testigos

Islas Los Testigos are the first islands approached by yachts coming from Grenada or Trinidad. No official clearance is given, the coastguard officer stands by VHF16 and can give temporary clearance, usually up to 48 hours. This is a protected area where spearfishing and scuba diving are forbidden. You can fish with a hand-line from a yacht or buy fish and...

Islas Los Roques

Islas Los Roques lie 150 km due N of Caracas; the atoll, of about 340 islets and reefs, constitutes one of Venezuela’s loveliest National Parks (225,153 ha). There are long stretches of white beaches and almost 20 km of coral reef with crystal-clear water ideal for snorkelling (best at the southern part of the archipelago) and diving. There are many bird...

Porlamar

Most of the hotels are at Porlamar, 20 kilometres from the airport and about 28 kilometres from Punta de Piedra, where most of the ferries dock. It has a magnificent cathedral. At Igualdad y Díaz is the Museo de Arte Francisco Narváez. The main, and most expensive, shopping area is Avenida Santiago Mariño; better bargains and a wider range of shops are to...

Isla de Margarita

Isla de Margarita is in fact one island whose two sections are tenuously linked by the 18 kilometres sandspit which separates the sea from the Restinga lagoon. At its largest, Margarita is about 32 kilometres from north to south and 67 kilometres from east to west. Most of its people live in the developed eastern part, which has some wooded areas and...

Shopping - Isla de Margarita

Besides all duty-free shops, Del Bellorín, Cedeno, near Santiago Marino. Good for handicrafts. Artisans display crafts in the evening on 4 de Mayo. Good selection of jewellery at Sonia Gems, on Cedeno. Many other places on the main street are overpriced. When purchasing jewellery, bargain hard, don’t pay by credit card (surcharges are imposed), get a...

Shopping

Besides all duty-free shops, Del Bellorín, Cedeño, near Santiago Mariño. Good for handicrafts. Artisans display crafts in the evening on 4 de Mayo. Good selection of jewellery at Sonia Gems, on Cedeño. Many other places on the main street are overpriced. When purchasing jewellery, bargain hard, don’t pay by credit card (surcharges are imposed), get a...

History

Christopher Columbus made landfall on the nearby Paria Peninsula in Aug 1498. Two years later, a settlement had been established at Santiago de Cubagua (later called Nueva Cádiz) to exploit the pearls which grew in its waters. Cubagua became a centre for pearling and for slavery, as the local Indians were used, under appalling duress, to dive into the...

Government & Economy

The island has enjoyed a boom since 1983, largely as a result of the fall in the value of the bolívar and the consequent tendency of Venezuelans to spend their holidays at home. Margarita’s status as a duty-free zone also helps. Venezuelan shoppers go in droves for clothing, electronic goods and other consumer items. Gold and gems are good value, but many...

Golf & Other Sports

Golf can be played at the Isla Bonita Golf and Beach Hotel, where there is an 18-hole, par 72 course in the Valle Pedro González, T657111, open to all. Horse riding is organized through the desert, mountains and beaches of the Peninsula de Macanao and the wilderness area of Cabatucán, beginners welcome, T819348.

Food & Drink

Food There is excellent local fish (pargo or red snapper), crayfish, small oysters and prawns. Of true Venezuelan food there is sancocho (a stew of vegetables, especially yuca, with meat, chicken or fish); arepas, a kind of white maize bread, very bland in flavour; toasted arepas served with a wide selection of relishes, fillings or the local somewhat salty...