A June 2002 trip
to Isla de Margarita by getawayguy
Quote: We chose this Caribbean island to use as a homebase from which to explore part of Venezuela and to see Angel Falls. We discovered much more than we expected. Isla Margarita truly is the "Pearl of the Caribbean".
Hotel | "Lagunamar Hotel Resort and Casino"
We were expecting a lot from this resort, based on the referral given by the RCI exchange agent, and were very pleased to find that it was even better than we hoped. The accommodations were very spacious for two adults and included two full bathrooms, a large bedroom with kingsized bed, a small dining area, and a large living room. The half high refrigerator was adequate for keeping sandwich makings, beverages, including milk, and ice cream novelties chilled. Without a stove or microwave, we ate our main meals either at the on-site restaurants or at places we came to during our travels.
On-site activities included swimming in any of the nine different pools, boating, fishing, kayaking, jet skiing or wind surfing in the man-made lagoon, playing tennis, gathering sea shells along the beach, gambling at the casino, and enjoying the live entertainment nightly.
Internet access for checking e-mail was available for a modest fee. Several small stores provided resort clothing, help with arranging tours, food, and souvenirs. Shuttle service to nearby Pampatar and Porlamar were reasonably priced.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 21, 2004
Lagunamar Hotel Resort Casino
Caserio Guerra Via Playa Guacuco
Isla de Margarita, Venezuela
At the delta we took a two-hour motorboat ride on the Mananao River to our camp. The accommodations were in hand-built thatched huts, each with two twin beds, shower, sink, toilet, and two chairs. The huts were built over the river on stilts and connected to each other and to the food service area by wooden walkways.
Our bilingual (English and German) guide and a native guide took us by boat deeper into the jungle, where we walked for about an hour. We followed a path cut through the jungle by machete. They showed us how to open a "water cacao", which contained many white liquid filled balls that looked like coccoons. We shared this fruit, which tasted similar to coconut. The native guide used his machete first to cut open a termite nest on the side of a tree, then to cut and peel the outer skin of a palm to expose the "heart", which we each sampled.
Back at our camp, we were entertained by the almost tame monkeys who would try to snatch and run with food or anything shiny or reflective they could get their hands on.
We also fed bananas to the beautiful red and green, and blue and yellow parrots. After dinner, we took another boat ride, this time to visit a native family's home in the jungle. They showed us their handmade artwork and crafts, including some beautiful baskets. On the way back to camp, we tried for our third time to fish for piranhas. When we finally reached camp again, we retired to our cabins for the night. About 10:30pm they turned off the generator and everything went dark until the sun came up the next morning.
After breakfast, we took the boat to the airport, where we boarded another Rutaca flight to Canaima. On the way, the pilot circled Angel Falls in two different directions, affording all passengers a chance to photograph the falls.
At Canaima we took small boats across the water to the base of the falls, hiked to the top of the falls for the view, then followed a trail down to a narrow ledge. The length of a football field, it enabled us to walk behind the falls from one side to the other and back, again.
We returned to the visitors center, where we were treated to a buffet lunch. Parrots, toucans and a coati, raised as a pet, tried to share our table and our food. After lunch, we flew back to Margarita Island and were driven back to our resort. We enjoyed the experience immensely.
Attraction | "A Visit to La Restinga National Park"
The embarkation pier, Embarcadero El Indio, is 350m from the road. At the pier’s entrance, you pay a park fee of $1. Scores of lanchas wait their turn here; note the name and number of yours. Each boat takes five or six passengers to the beach, via a longer or shorter tour through fascinating mangrove channels, some so narrow you can touch the trees on either side and see oysters clinging to tangled roots; the price per boat, ½ to 1 hour, is $14-$20, paid on return. At the far dock by the balneario, you set a time for the same boat to pick you up, or have the boatman wait an hour. There are clean restrooms; ask the waiter for the key. Souvenir stands sell crafts and open-sided restaurants sell food and shade, so that’s where most people go. Check prices, as the closest restaurants are reported to charge more.
Sweeping in a long crescent to either side of La Guardia Bay, the bar enclosing the lagoons forms an oceanic beach 10km long; the swimming is good. A layer of shells covers the beach and in calm season people scoop bucketfuls of guacucos at the water’s edge: good for seafood broth, as well as eating fresh oysters.
As the return trip goes straight to the Embarcadero, you might negotiate a price with your boat captain to see more mangrove channels or go out to sea via Boca de Rio (where most of the lancheros live).
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 24, 2004
Restinga National Park
Isla de Margarita, Venezuela
The rest of our tour of the city was much more pleasant. We discovered the Gasca Brothers Circus from Mexico was setting up for the next ten days. We found a department store with a giant supermarket. We were able to return there later to stock up for our two-week stay at the resort. They had everything we were used to at home, plus some Venezuelan novelties. We found three different shopping malls and many more clothing stores. We found a small cove out of which the local fishing fleet works. The nearby high-rise apartment owners are trying in court to get exclusive use of the cove for themselves. The fishermen are fighting back. We were referred to a place whose name I can't remember to celebrate my wife's birthday. The food was excellent, and the owner and his staff sang Happy Birthday to her. All in all, we had a lovely day exploring Porlamar on foot.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 7, 2005
Los Gatos, California