by Coach Bear
May 4, 2002
We quickly passed through the city of Porlamar on our way to La Asuncion and El Castillo de Santa Rosa. We spent 30-45 minutes at the Catsillo, built in 1677. There are several wonderful vistas from the fort. Then into, and through, the island's capital city of La Asuncion. Here we took a quick stop at the Cathedral of Our Lady of La Asuncion, a small cathedral built in 1571. I understand that it is the oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. What rich history!
Juan, our driver, had packed an ice cooler with two cases of Polar, the national beer. They went down real well as the heat of the day progressed. Some enjoyed the bottle of rum that he had brought along.
Now, on to El Valle del Espiritu Santo. In this town we were able to tour through another beautiful cathedral, built in 1780 or so. We also toured the house of General Santiago Marino, who was one of the leaders of the war for independence.
From there, we travelled to Laguna La Restinga, a National Park located on the island. This area offered a 40 minute boat ride through the lagoon. We saw many bird species, starfish, sea horses, and enjoyed the scenery of this area. It was quite a contrast to that of the main island.
Upon returning to the jeep, we were given a choice of meat, fish, or poultry for an entree during lunch. This was a welcomed treat and an opportunity to refresh before continuing our tour.
We immediately travelled to Punta Arenas, the westernmost point on the island. This, actually, is located on the western part of the island, known as Macanao.
We travelled to the Museum of the Sea in Boca de Pozo and spent one hour walking through this site. It was okay, but by this time my mind was set upon more outdoor activities.
Juan took us to four additional beaches, each with distinctive characteristics. We discovered that La Isla has 83 beaches. We were able to purchase several pearl neclaces and bracelets at great prices.
As the day was drawing to a close, we returned to one of the higher points of the island, where we could view the Caribbean sunset at its best. The red, yellow, and violet hues swirled around to make a painting in the sky as we ended our day and headed back to our resort.
From journal Margarita, The Pearl of the Caribbean