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La Isla Margarita, referred to as "Gem from the Caribbean", is located about 38 km north east of the Venezuela landmass. Its location being an island within the Caribbean ocean offers plenty of beaches to understand more about, many of them virgin spots. Margarita Island is bifurcated into two sections. At its largest, Margarita Island measures 67 km from east to west and 32.4 kilometers.
The average temperatures are 27 levels Celsius and also the annual rain fall is about 27 inches leading to mostly arid landscapes with a few wooded areas and fertile valleys. Over 300,000 people survive Margarita Island the majority of who reside in the eastern part.
The western a part of Margarita Island is known as the Macanao Peninsula. It's sparsely populated and it has seen little tourist development because of the limited accessibility to water. Wild creatures roam the mountainous interior and also the sandy beaches are inhabited by local anglers.
Busy Porlamar may be the biggest city around the island and finest-noted for its shopping. It has lots of cultural points of interest, many of which are close to the sleepy and laidback Plaza Bolivar. The Museo p Arte Contemporaneo Francisco Narvaez includes a good array of functions by Venezuelan artists and concentrates on sculptures, works of art and seriagraphs by its Margarita-born namesake. The museum, that is at a corner of Calle Igualdad and Calle Fraternidad, is open daily. A vacation to the relaxed and beautiful Isla Margarita, a 363 square mile island in the Caribbean just twenty-three miles off the Venezuela coast, is a spectacular travel in to the past which supplies a glimpse in to the independent island nation.
Porlamar, the biggest city around the island, is really a lovely town filled with verdant greenery and great dining chocies. Regardless of the rampant tourism which has brought to heavy modernization in Porlamar, as well as on the area in general, Margarita has has still retained it old worldly charm and intriguing culture. Modernity and tradition appear hand in hand with each other to bring out the best of Margarita. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping complexes to help keep tourists happy for several days alongside some historic sites such as Ports Chapel and Castillo p San Carlos Borromeo.
This complex, fascinating amalgam lies against an attractive natural backdrop. The Parque Nacional Laguna p la Restinga, a protected habitat and bird sanctuary, is an especially great spot to experience this natural splendor close up. Using the average daytime temperature within the mid-to-high 80s all year round, Margarita is a perfect spot for a Caribbean escape.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships pier in the Puerto del Marly. Taxis can get visitors to Porlamar or even the surrounding parts of the picturesque island.
Bus service links the main town of Porlamar to the surrounding regions of Isla Margarita. Apart from this, the area features several taxi companies which take visitors to their destination.
Local Attractions
The Paris Chapel in La Pampatar, an impressive structure that stands tall among the lofty trees of the region, was erected during the 18th century.
The Parque Nacional Laguna p la Restinga, a lush bird habitat and national park, are nestled in Juangriego. People throughout the region converge at the park for fun on weekends to socialize and hostparties within the most breathtaking locations on Margarita. If you are an avid bird-watcher, you will notice that there are attractive cormorants, pelicans, and scarlet ibises in the park.
The most fascinating and intriguing site in Pampatar may be the 17th-century Castillo p San Carlos Borromeo, an awe-inspiring fort used by the the Spanish military to defend against sailing attacks around the island.
La Restinga National Park
This 10,700-hectare (26,429-acre) park encompasses a zone of mangroves, marshland, sandbar, and coral-sand beaches, making a natural land bridge between the two islands that today are Isla de Margarita. A visit to the park usually involves a boat tour through the mangroves, followed by some beach time on the 10km (6-mile) stretch of beach that forms the isthmus uniting the two sides of Margarita. You'll find some simple beachside restaurants and souvenir stands here. The bird-watching is excellent in the mangroves, and the park's beach is renowned for its supply of seashells. To reach La Restinga, take a taxi or the Línea La Restinga por puesto out of Porlamar. At the park entrance you'll have to pay a BsF1 entrance fee and then walk to the nearby pier, where scores of boats are waiting to take you on a tour. The boats charge BsF20 to BsF45 per person, depending on the size of your group. The trip through the mangroves usually lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour, at which point you will be left at the beach. Have the boatman wait, or arrange a firm pickup time and place for your return to the pier.
Islas Coche & Cubagua
The entire state of Nueva Esparta is made up of Isla de Margarita and two much smaller neighboring islands, Isla Coche and Isla Cubagua. The pearl beds off these two islands were major sources of wealth during the colonial period. Both islands are popular destinations for day cruises, which bring folks to their pristine and nearly deserted beaches. Isla Coche has some development and rolling hills, while Isla Cubagua is mostly barren, flat, and undeveloped. One of the only attractions here is the ruins of Nueva Cádiz. Founded on Isla Cubagua in 1528, this was the first Spanish town formally established in the Americas. However, its heyday was short-lived: An earthquake and tidal wave destroyed the town in 1541.
Day tours by small cruise ships and converted fishing boats are common. The full-day tour usually includes round-trip transportation from your hotel to the marina, continental breakfast, a buffet lunch, an open bar, beach chairs, umbrellas, and organized activities on the island. Prices range from BsF75 to BsF150 per person. Be forewarned: There's a real cattle-car feel to most of these tours.
There's also a daily Conferry vessel leaving at 6:30am from the Punta de Piedras pier for Isla Coche and returning at 4pm. The cost is BsF17 per person, BsF38 per car, each way
Porlamar is the largest city and the commercial hub of the island. Founded in 1536, Porlamar is not particularly attractive. The city center is a chaotic jumble of shops and small department stores. However, these days the majority of shoppers are heading to large, modern malls built on the outskirts of the city. Still, Porlamar has the highest concentration of shops, restaurants, bars, and dance clubs on Margarita.
Pampatar, about 10km (6 miles) northeast of Porlamar, is much more picturesque and calm. Founded in 1535 around the island's most protected deep-water harbor, Pampatar still retains much of its colonial-era flavor and architecture. The main attraction here is the Castillo de San Carlos Borromeo, a 17th-century fort that protected the town and harbor from foreign and pirate attacks. The fort's thick stone walls and bronze cannons still watch over the beach, harbor, and Caribbean Sea. The fort is open Monday through Saturday; admission is free. Across from the fort, you'll find the Iglesia de Santísimo Cristo del Buen Viaje, a church of great importance to the sailors and fishermen of Margarita. Legend has it that the crucifix here was left as a last resort, when the colonial-era vessel transporting it was unable, after repeated attempts, to leave the harbor. At the eastern end of the harbor are the ruins of the Fortín de la Caranta, which offers excellent views of the town and bay.
Located on a hillside, inland from Pampatar, La Asunción is the capital of the island and of the entire state of Nueva Esparta. The city's church, La Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, is said to be the oldest in Venezuela. A few minutes from the center of town is the Castillo de Santa Rosa, another of the island's historic and battle-worn forts.
In between Porlamar and Pampatar is the area known as Los Robles. Here, you'll find the colonial-era Iglesia El Pilar de Los Robles, whose statue of the Virgin Mary is reputed to be of solid gold.
On the road north of La Asunción is the town of Santa Ana. In 1816, Simón Bolívar signed the proclamation of the Third Republic in the small church here. It's now best known as the hub for a series of small artisan villages and roadside crafts shops.
Finally, on the northern coast of the island is the popular fishing village and bay of Juangriego. This spot is becoming increasingly popular, particularly for sunsets. The small Fortín La Galera, on a bluff on the northern end of the bay, is probably the most sought-after spot for sunsets on the island. Arrive early if you want a prime table and viewing spot at one of the small open-air restaurants and bars here.
Margarita Island features some incredible beach spots, and probably the most popular is Parguito. The sun's rays stands out virtually every day of the season, and there's more often than not a good enough breeze for fabulous windsurfing. El Yaque is called the very best windsurfing beach on Margarita Island. Another outstanding beach is Guacuco, that is well-liked by viewers due to the perfect wave conditions. The whitened sand and very blue water of El Agua attract vacationers from around the globe.
Isla de Margarita is ringed with dozens of white-sand beaches. Some have huge modern resorts and facilities, others are home to a handful of fishermen and locals, and some are entirely undeveloped and deserted. Perhaps the most popular beach on the island is Playa El Agua, a long, broad, straight stretch of white sand with moderate surf, backed by palm trees and a broad selection of restaurants and shops. Playa Parguito has begun to rival El Agua in terms of popularity. Both of these beaches can get packed on weekends and during peak periods. To the south and north of Playa El Agua, you'll find beaches such as Manzanillo, El Tirano, Cardón, and Guacuco. Manzanillo and El Tirano are my favorites, because they are the least developed and often quite deserted. Manzanillo is a great place to watch sunsets. Playas Parguito and El Tirano are the best surf breaks on the island. Close to Porlamar, folks head to Playa Bella Vista and Playa Morena, although I'm not particularly taken by the vibe or water quality at either.
On the northern coast of Margarita you will find a string of excellent and less developed beaches, including Playa Caribe, Playa Pedro González, and Playa Puerto Viejo. These are some of my favorite beaches on Margarita, and they are building up fast. Those looking for solitude should head to the still-undeveloped beaches that ring the Macanao Peninsula.
Although one of the least attractive beaches on the island, Playa Pampatar is nonetheless quite popular with locals. It is also lined with a string of simple restaurants set on the sand, just a few yards from the sea.
Dining and Night life
El Viejo Muelle in Juan Griego and serves outstanding The spanish language food. The servers are clothed in fantastic costumes, and also the enjoyable décor of El Viejo Muelle improves the great dining experience. The local people might not know your title, but Cheers on Avenue Santiago Mariño remains fun, nevertheless. The main courses are wonderful, and also the atmosphere is upbeat. If you're within the mood for outstanding Japanese food, visit Nikkei Sushi Bar Saemi hosts the very best sushi around the island, and also the specifically trained chefs are experts in their craft. Bug Coast, a wide open-air discotheque situated on Avenue Santiago Manño, is easily the most popular nightclub on Margarita. The very best bar is Señor Frogs, situated at Avenue Bolivar Costa Azul.
Despite the fact that most visitors to Isla de Margarita stay at all-inclusive resorts, there are a host of restaurants around the island. Many of the beaches have simple restaurants on or close to the sand; they're great options for a lunch of fresh fish, lobster, or pabellón, the Venezuelan national dish consisting of shredded beef, rice, beans, and fried plantains.
 El Rancho de Pablo, Avenida Raúl Leoni, Porlamar (tel. 0295/263-1121), and La Isla, Bulevard Turístico, Playa El Agua (tel. 0295/249-0035), are two excellent open-air waterfront restaurants specializing in fresh local seafood, while Il Positano, Calle Fermín and Calle Tubores, Porlamar (tel. 0295/264-1110), is a good choice for Italian. Both El Rancho de Pablo and Il Positano have sister restaurants in the Sambil Mall.
Given its status as a vacation getaway, Isla de Margarita has plenty of bars and nightclubs. Still, many visitors stick to their all-inclusive resort, which usually features a small collection of bars and a dance club and nightly entertainment revue. Others like to barhop sections of Avenida 4 de Mayo and Avenida Santiago Mariño.
The loudest and most happening scene can be found at Kamy Beach, on Playa Varadero, just outside Pampatar (tel. 0414/794-1188). For a similar vibe, you can try Beach Bar, on Calle El Cristo in the La Caranta section of Pampatar (tel. 0295/267-2392).
If you're looking for something somewhat familiar, Señor Frogs (tel. 0295/262-0451), the popular Mexican chain, has a lively restaurant and bar in the Centro Comercial Costa Azul which turns into a raging dance club most evenings after 11pm, while over in the Sambil Mall, there's a local branch of the Hard Rock Cafe (tel. 0295/260-2400).
For a mellower scene, with a lot more atmosphere, I recommend both Guayoyo Café (tel. 0295/262-4514) and Mykonos Lounge (tel. 0295/267-1850), two side-by-side joints set on a steep cliff overlooking the ocean in Pampatar. Casino gaming is an option on Margarita, with modern and well-fitted casinos at the Laguna Mar and Marina Bay hotels.
Venezuelans and visitors alike take advantage of the island's status as a duty-free port, although the fact is the deals and selection are not all that special. The downtown heart of Porlamar is a chaotic jumble of shops and small department stores selling everything from perfume to lingerie to electronics and appliances to liquor and foodstuffs. In 2002, the Puerto de la Mar pier was opened for cruise-ship traffic, allowing cruise passengers to disembark in downtown Porlamar, just blocks from the aforementioned jumble of shops and stores. However, as is the trend across Venezuela, large malls draw shoppers away from the downtown options. The biggest of the bunch is the Centro Sambil Margarita, Avenida Jovito Villalba, Pampatar. Other popular malls include the Centro Comercial Rattan Plaza, Avenida Jovito Villalba, Los Robles; and Centro Comercial Jumbo, Avenida 4 de Mayo.
At shops and roadside stands around the island, you will come across locally produced jewelry and ceramic wares of varying quality. Among the nicer and more readily available handicrafts for sale on Margarita are the local hammocks, or chinchorros, an intricate weave of thin strands of rough natural fibers. You'll also find woven baskets, hats, and handbags. The town of Santa Ana and the roads that form a triangle between Santa Ana, Pedro González, and Juangriego are prime hunting grounds for crafts shops and galleries.
Consumers may want to reserve each day for any duty-free shopping spree in Porlamar. Shopping is excellent along Marino and fourth of May Avenues and Guevara and Gomez Boulevards. Snag some unique handcrafts, the most recent styles, or authentic gem jewellery in the busy shopping shops of Porlamar. Vacationers also raid the marketplaces and shops on Larina and Aurora Roads, where you are certain to find discounted prices on clothes, jewellery, liquor, perfume, and footwear.Intergold CA, situated on Avenue 4 P Mayo, is an expert in fine gold. The pieces listed here are from sight, and a number of them will place your retirement from sight, so be ready.

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