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 lobster in season from any of the 150 fishermen who live on the islands. There is a vast colony of frigate birds and large sand dunes can be found on the windward side of the major island. There is no airport or ferry.
Also worth mentioning are the Archipelago of Las Aves, west of Los Roques, where fishing and diving are good. There are no commercial enterprises and the islands are visited mostly by yachts travelling between Venezuela and Bonaire. La Tortuga is Venezuela’s second largest island, lying west of Margarita. It is a low, dry island with wonderful beaches, good snorkelling, gorgeous water and a week’s worth of anchorages. Visit Los Palaquemos by dinghy, an offshore reef with a few visible rocks. The small airstrip is used by small planes from Caracas at weekends.
Further out are La Blanquilla and La Orchila (a military installation, do not land), both with coral reefs. La Blanquilla can be reached as a day trip from Margarita with Línea Turística Aereotuy (LTA). It has a secluded white sand beach with crystal clear water and excellent snorkelling. While it lacks palm trees, shade can be found in caves along the shore. You can swim into underwater caverns while snorkelling. Most yachts anchor at Playa Yaque. Americano Bay is just north of Playa Yaque and has white sand beaches, clear water, good snorkelling and is a lovely spot to watch the sunset from the deck of a yacht. About 500 kilometres north of Margarita, at the same latitude as Dominica, is Isla de Aves, 65 square kilometres of seabirds (sooty and brown noddy tern, frigate birds, gulls) surrounded by crystal clear water. The island is also a nesting site of the endangered green turtle. There is a Venezuelan coast guard station.
Much closer to the mainland are two areas of reefs and islands which have been designated national parks. There is no way to get to them other than by spending time in Venezuela itself.