Margarita Island Overview

margarita islandMargarita is the largest island in Nueva Esparta (Venezuela), situated off the northeastern coast of the country, in the Caribbean Sea. Nueva Esparta State consists of three islands: Margarita Island, Coche Island and Cubagua Island. You will more than likely see the brighter side of Margarita first. The east end of Margarita island has considerable resort development. The west end of Margarita Island is the Macanao Peninsula. Isla Margarita is somewhat still not quite popular tourist destination but, the island is full of friendly people, amazing beaches and wonderful sunsets over the ocean. (more…)


Travel Tips

For those who love to be prepared, we’ve compiled a list with tips for them. Get a pen and paper and jot down the following (or simply print this page):

ELECTRICITY:

electricityA 60 Hz and 120 V power system are used on Margarita island. The power plugs are identical to those used in North America (A and B type power plugs).

WHAT TO SEE:

The Margarita Island is known as the Pearl of the Caribbean. There are literally dozens of beautiful beaches wait for you. There are isolated beaches on the west side of the island, and awesome tropical beaches full of locals and tourists of the east side. Bring a surf with you or hire one, the waves are awesome!

One of the things visitors enjoy most during the day is the duty-free shopping, and the most interesting things to do in the evening is to tap into the nightlife with beach bars and discos, salsa clubs and fine restaurants.

There are many other activities, you can enjoy on the island such as:

  • hiking in the mountains (bring a good pair of comfortable work boots with you!)
  • explore La Restinga National Park
  • visit Spanish Colonial historical sites
  • swimming with dolphins
  • horse riding

DRIVING

The maximum allowed speed in most Venezuelan roads is 80 kmph (55mph), but speed limits are not widely enforced. Although most highways are in good condition, roads in the countryside may have potholes which can be dangerous at high speeds.
Drive with caution: it is not unusual for farm animals and wildlife to cross the roads. Venezuelans are known to make their own rules when they get behind the wheel. Most drivers consider the symbolic references of traffic lights as mere suggestions – so be careful when crossing an intersection, even when your light is green!

IMPORTANT: Be extra cautious – do not accept rides from people in unmarked vehicles using their cars as taxis. Always use taxis belonging to a legitimate Taxi company.
When you get inside the car fasten your seat belts, and drive on the right-hand side of the road. The local rule of thumb is that the right-of-way belongs to whoever gets their vehicle’s out in the intersection first.

CAR RENTALS

car rentalAnother option is to rent a car for your vacation on Margarita. The roads are clean and clear and there are gas station everywhere. They have BP, PDV and Texco gas stations. All you have to do show them the grade of gas you want and point to the one you want and say full. The word for unleaded petrol is “sin plomo”. Using the gas station makes it easier, as you can see it on the pump and give the attendant the correct amount.

Few companies that I can recommend are Budget (tel. 0800/283-4381 ), Hertz, and Margarita Rentals (tel. 0295/263-2711) all have offices at the airport. Also Losan Motors (0295 263.9420) is a car dealership here on the island but also has car rentals. At the moment they are offering a small car for about bs 83,000 per day including insurance. You can get better offer if you rent the car for longer period of time.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Most of the island is served by ‘Por puesto buses’. They are a very inexpensive and reliable way to get around, although the going can be slow, as they often stop to pick up and discharge passengers at maddeningly short intervals. Typical service hours are daily from 6 am to 8 pm.

FARES:
Just for reference, as prices are subject to change.
Bus fares range from 15¢-63¢
Taxis: (some of the prices are negotiable, and you may even book the taxi for the whole day)

from the airport to Porlamar (island’s largest city) ~$6.25
from Porlamar to Pampatar ~$1.90
from Playa El Agua (the most popular beach destination) to Pampatar ~$1.90
from Playa El Agua to the airport ~$11

HOLIDAYS

National Holidays – Besides the patriotic holidays, like Independence Day (July 5th), the most popular holidays which most Venezuelans observe include: Christmas day, New Year’s day, Carnival, and Holy week.
National Holidays:
27-Feb Caracazo Remembrance Day (day 1)
28-Feb Caracazo Remembrance Day (day 2)
3-Mar Carnival
4-Mar Carnival/Shrove Tuesday
17-Apr Maundy Thursday
18-Apr Good Friday
19-Apr Declaration of Independence
1-May Labor Day / May Day
24-Jun Carabobo Battle
29-Jun Saint Peter and Saint Paul
5-Jul Independence Day
24-Jul Simón Bolívar´s Birthday
12-Oct Indigenous Resistance´s Day
2-Nov All Soul´s Day
24-Dec Christmas Eve
25-Dec Christmas Day
31-Dec New Year´s Eve

A lot of businesses and commercial establishments close from the December 24 to January 1, inclusive. Few may have prolonged holidays up to 10th of January, so make sure you check that before you commit to your holiday.

The worst periods to visit the island is during August and in December. Most Venezuelans come to the island at that period of the year, and it could be a real nightmare to book a decent room/condo if you don’t plan at least 2-3 months in advance. Be warned, try to book early!