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Informacion Turistica

Destination: Margarita Island
Language: Spanish
Poblacion: 400.000 people

MARGARITA ISLAND

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Nearby Islands

Cubagua Island, just south of Boca del Rio, is where the first Spanish explorers eventually found the source of the pearls worn by the local Indians, and thus named the main island Margarita, which means pearl in Greek. This discovery of pearls and the exploitation of the Indians, who were forced to dive for these pearls, ended abruptly on December 25, 1541 when an earthquake and tidal wave completely destroyed this first South American settlement called Nueva Cadiz. Due to the earth-quake, most of Nueva Cadiz sank several feet below the sea and its ruins and streets can be seen and explored during a boat excursion from Margarita.

Coche Island, just southwest of Porlamar, is famous for speed windsurfing, salt production and small fishing villages. San Pedro, the largest fishing village on Coche, hosts two major hotels with restaurants along the coastline. Both Coche and Cubagua have very few inhabitants, are surrounded by beaches without shade, fairly flat, semi-arid, and always have a constant breeze. Both hotels offer windsurfing equipment rentals and instruction.

Los Frailes is a small group of mostly uninhabited islands located off the northeastern coast of Margarita. They are about one hour by boat from El Tirano beach. These semi-arid mountainous islands have very few beaches, but are good for diving and snorkeling, since you can observe a number of spectacular animal and vegetal species.

National Parks

La Restinga Lagoon is located 22 mi or 36 km west of Porlamar, covering 26,429 acres or 10,700 hectares of mangroves, lagoons, semi-arid terrain, and a beach 18 miles or 29 km long. Small canvas-covered boats can take you through the calm channels lined with mangroves, where you can see many varieties of sea birds such as the great white heron, scarlet ibis, pelicans, and frigate birds.

Cerro El Copey is located next to La Asuncion, covering 17,611 acres or 7,130 hectares of semi-tropical mountains. To get to the highest point on the island, take the road that begins from the northeast corner of Plaza Santiago Marino in Asuncion and passes the Santa Rosa Fort. The road winds upward and has great views from the peak which is at 2,494 ft or 760mt above sea level. Observe the amount of clouds prior to going up to get the best views and enjoy the cool, semi-tropical climate.

Principal Towns and Cities

Porlamar, the largest and major city on the island, was founded on March 26, 1536. This once fishing town has been transformed into a city lined with duty-free shops, restaurants, night life centers and outdoor cafes. The city is located on a calm bay where typical fishing boats and sailing yachts moor just offshore. The Contemporary Art Museum of Francisco Narvaez is located at the Calle Igualdad, in downtown Porlamar. The city is filled with hotels, condos, and timeshares. Usually during weekends and major holidays, it's hard to find a place to park, so you might want to take a taxi or park on the outskirts a walk to your destination. The beach at Porlamar has very fine light brown sand, palm trees and waves.

La Asuncion is the capital of the State of Nueva Esparta. The city was founded in 1565 and has about 14,000 inhabitants. La Asuncion's one-way narrow streets are lined with colonial homes a surrounding the Plaza Bolivar are several buildings constructed during colonial times. One is t Cathedral of Nuestra Senora de La Asuncion built in 1568. Another is the Museum of Nueva Cadiz which has a scale model of the entire island, the Casa de la Cultura, exhibits pieces of pre- Hispanic pottery, the Casa de Juan Bautista Arismendi is the reconstructed home of this famous hero of the war for independence.

Juan Griego, the second largest city on the island, is located on a large bay filled with typical wooden fishing boats, plus several sport fishing and sailing yachts. Its shoreline which stretches about 2 mi or 4 km is lined with the homes of the local fishermen. The town has several small hotels, some seaside restaurants, and a few high-rise condominiums. Overlooking the bay north of the town is the Galera Fort, which was a small garrison with a few cannons that defended the harbor. It is a good spot to take photos of the town and experience the sunset.

El Valle del Espiritu Santo, or valley of the Holy Spirit, founded in 1529, was the first capital Margarita Island. It is the spiritual capital of Eastern Venezuela with a colonial church and religious museum. During Easter, Nativity day and other major religious holidays, it is truly nice to see the church with lots of flowers and the displays the locals arrange.

Pampatar is a small fishing port with a protected harbor where local fishing boats now share the bay with sailing yachts. It's about a 10-minute drive from Porlamar. Pampatar still has many colonial structures lining its narrow streets. Overlooking the bay lies the Castillo de San Carlos Borromeo, a Spanish fort constructed during the early 1600's. Across from the fort is the Santisimo Cristo del Buen Viaje church, built in 1748. Just west of the church is La Casa Amarilla (even though it's pink). An interesting building which was the headquarters of the local forces during the War of Independence and is now the headquarters of Fondene, a private fund for the development of Margarita.

Boca Del Rio is the largest town on the Macanao Peninsula, about 1 mi or 1.6 km from the bridge across the isthmus. It is an active fishing port with colonial houses and a few restaurants. The harbor has many boats that were built at the nearby shipyard in Chacachacare. Make sure you visit the new Museo Marino in Boca that has historical photos and exhibits of fish, pearls, shells, and ship building.

Beaches

El Agua - The most well known tourist development on the Island. It offers a wide selection of restaurants to choose from along this palm tree studded beach. Rough waters and 4.000 m. Long (2.5 miles).

Parguito - As the waves are quite strong. Parguito is popular among the surfers. Under its palm trees, you will find restaurants with complete public services. Rough waters and 900 meters long. (0.6 miles).

Guacuco - Popular among its local patrons, but has yet to be frequented by many foreign tourist. Shallow waves and 2.000 meters long. (1.3 miles).

Pampatar - The large picturesque bay of Pampatar serves as one of the most important ports for the local fishermen. Tranquil waters and 3.000 meters long. (1.7 miles).

La Caracola - This is the IN beach for the younger crowd, and is located in front of Costa Azul. Semi strong shallow waves and 1.000 meters long. (0.6 miles).

Bella Vista - Affectionately known as the beach of Porlamar, offering many fine restaurants among scattered palm trees. Calm waters and 1.000 meters long. (0.6 miles).

El Yaque - World famous among windsurfing enthusiasts. It is also ideal for children, as the waters are shallow and warm. 2.000 meters long. (1.3 miles).

Playa La Galera - Located beside Juangriego bay, just east of the town, this beach offers its patrons shade huts, jet ski rentals, and restaurants. Calm waters and 1.200 meters long. (0.8 miles).

Playa Caribe - It is becoming a favorite for many people. Here you will find many quality beach restaurants, palm trees, and your desired tranquility. Rough waters and 1.200 meters long. (0.8 miles).

Manzanillo - A picturesque bay positioned among the mountains in the most extreme north/eastern point of the Island. Calm waters and 900 meters long. (0.5 miles).

Puerto Cruz - The widest and windiest beach of the Island. You will encounter many palm trees, shade huts and public services. Rough waters and 1.000 meters long. (0.6 miles).

Puerto Viejo - Located beside Puerto Cruz, this beach is much calmer, hence inviting for children and less experienced swimmers. Calm waters and 700 meters long. (0.4 miles).

La Restinga - Located in a national park, 10 kilometers of beach unites the peninsula of Macanao to Margarita Island. Calm waters and 10 Km long. (6.2 miles).

Punta Arenas - Found in the most extreme western tip of the Island, this fine white sand beach is home for many of the local fishermen. Calm waters and 1.500 meters long. (0.9 miles).

La Pared - Magnificent sunsets and complete tranquility are guaranteed. No public services are available. Rough waters and 1.500 meters long.

 

 

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