There are so many places that I have traveled that I haven’t posted about yet. The most recent being Isla Margarita (Margarita Island) which I visited in December 2015. I’ve always kept travel journals and scrapbooks, so I am really looking forward to pouring over these old writings of mine so that I can post about them on the Fridays to come. For now, I wanted to share about the fabulous Venezuelan island that is just a short flight from Caracas: Isla Margarita.
At the beginning of December, my friends and I chose to go to Margarita in case there were any problems during the elections being held at that time. We were thinking that if there were any major protests that it would be easier to leave Venezuela from the island rather than mainland Venezuela. At least that is what my Venezuelan friend told me- I was just looking forward to going to the beach!
My friends and I were planning with very little notice so we only had a name of the town and no hotel reservations. We headed to El Yaque and hoped for the best.
Once we arrived we found a couple places already booked (the newer hotels that were right on the beach. However, a couple of my friends and I decided that a pool, larger cheaper rooms, and free breakfast were a good enough reason to stay at the hotel that was across the street from the beach rather than directly on the beach. I paid $12 USD to have a king size bed, tv, balcony, bathroom, AC, and free breakfast- all for myself. If you go there be sure to look up Hotel California (yes, we were singing the song the whole weekend).
We spent most of the weekend lounging on the beach that was just across the street, but one day we went to Isla Coche. We arranged a day trip the day before from one of the vendors that approached us on the beach for about $13 per person. The trip included a boat ride there and back (each way was 10 minutes or so), lunch, an umbrella & chairs, and unlimited Cuba Libres (there might have been one bottle of vodka but I didn’t try that). When we arrived we also did a snorkeling trip for $5 (not recommended).
The sand there seemed even more beautiful than that of mainland Margarita! The water was even clearer. I loved Coche so much. Just remember to bring your sunscreen because we all left slightly red.
Windsurfing and Kite Surfing
El Yaque is a breeding ground for Windsurfing and Kite Surfing. I saw people doing both of these sports all day long every day I was there. A couple of my friends decided to pay $10 for a short lesson on Windsurfing followed by about an hour and a half of actual time on the water. They said that their bodies were super tired after (both guys and girls agreed on this) but that it was a lot of fun. If we had stayed another day I would have done it (I wanted to make sure they survived first) haha.
Kite surfing is said to take a few hours of classes before you build up enough technique to actually get in the air. I met a guy who travels to Playa El Yaque from Sweden every year to kite surf for a couple of months. It sounds like a great way of life if you can make it work!
Here is a video someone made of someone windsurfing at El Yaque (accompanied by a popular reggaeton song):
A couple of my friends and I went to this fabulous restaurant to have dinner on the waterfront while watching the sun go down. I had something similar to a paella as well as a fresh fruit juice. It was amazing. My friends were also very happy with their food. I would highly recommend finding this place if you don’t mind paying about $6 for a taxi out to that end of the island.
Waterland: Swimming With Dolphins…Maybe
This place was the biggest let down that I’ve ever experienced in my travels, but many of my students have told me that they have successfully swum with dolphins there. If you want to give it a try just make sure to give yourself several hours and be ready to pay double the local price (even if you are an expat with a cedula). Even when my friends were ready to pay $25 to swim with dolphins despite being quoted half that amount over the phone an hour before hand, they learned that the dolphins were not swimming at the time we were there.
I feel like they should have communicated this to us when my Venezuelan friend who was with us tried to make an appointment to have us swim with the dolphins and they told us that no appointment was necessary.
I have heard from many people that Margarita has the best shopping in Venezuela because it is a duty-free spot all over the island and that stuff goes there before the mainland. I do not go to Caribbean beaches to go to a mall so I can’t give you my two cents. However, my friends assure me that if I return I can find great things at Sambil.
I would love to return to Margarita next year to explore more of the island. What should I see next time? Should I go to a new beach?