VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 7 POSTED ON: 9/2/2011
Getting To Margarita Island To fulfill the high demand of American tourists that now visit , Aeropostal offers direct flights from Miami to Porlamar (Margarita) on Wednesdays and Saturdays. AMERICAN AIRLINES, UNITED AIRLINES, DELTA AIRLINES, AEROPOSTAL, AVENSA, CONTINENTAL, LANCHILE offer flights from Miami, Orlando, Houston, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Atlanta directly to Caracas. Then you can connect to Porlamar (Isla de Margarita ) the same day or the next day, depending on your arrival time British Airways offer scheduled flights from London Gatwick (LGW) in to Caracas international airport with the flight taking approx. 8-9 hours. You then need to get a connection to the Island. Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and others also offer the same, but you will have to check with them. Charter flights are available with many airlines, and can offer a cheaper and direct alternative. First Choice fly out of Gatwick & Manchester direct to the Island. A package deal is not necessary. Click on the link to take you to availabilty http://www.westernair.co.uk/charterporlamar.html Getting to Margarita Island is very easy. Del Caribe International is Margarita’s only airport. It is divided into two sections, the international and the national. The “national” airport is literally a 300 yard walk from the “international” airport, so the numerous “porters” that will approach you, are not necessarily needed……..unless of course you have a large amount of baggage. Fix a price with them first, otherwise they will try and over charge you, for a short walk. Air transat fly out of Montreal / Toronto, Royal from Toronto and Canada 3000 from Halifax. Condor as well as LTU flies from Düsseldorf. Nordic Nea flies out of Copenhagen. Air Europa flies out of Tenerife / Madrid. Surinam Airways fly out of Georgetown. Airplus fly out of Madrid. Martinair fly out of Amsterdam / Copenhagen. Important Information Check in / out, normally takes more time than in your home country and patience is needed especially when queues are long. Please remember to re-confirm flights 48 hours in advance, keep a record of your locator number and try to be at the airport one hour before your flight leaves for national flights and two hours for international flights. A passport and a tourist entry / exit card are always required when boarding a plane. Always make sure your baggage is well secured and that the baggage ticket received has the name of your destination printed on it. Margarita Island is one of the few places left, where the process of buying property as a “foreigner” is easy and without restrictions. As a “tourist” most nationalities are granted a 3 MONTH entry stamp, plenty of time to purchase. Just a few facts once you are there Porlamar is the largest city and the commercial hub of the island. Here you will find numerous shops, bars, restaurants and banks. Do expect to be “hassled” a little by money changers. IGNORE them, no matter how enticing the exchange rate offered. They are untrustworthy and normally have false money. If you do need to change $$ or Euros, just go in to any reputable shop, where you will find they will give you an honest rate. The main attraction now is the very impressive Sambil shopping complex (Mall). Here you can shop to your hearts content in designer shops, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Dexter, Dolce & Vita, plus many many more, and all, duty free. You will also find banks and restaurants offering all types of cuisine, as well as bars and a very modern cinema, offering all the latest “blockbusters”. Sambil has become the place to be seen in. La Asunción is the capital of the island and of the entire state of Nueva Esparta (Margarita Island). There is not too much in La Asunción considering it’s the capital, but the church of La Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, said to be the oldest in Venezuela, is worth a visit Porlamar is the largest city and the commercial hub of the island. Here you will find numerous shops, bars, restaurants and banks. Do expect to be “hassled” a little by money changers. IGNORE them, no matter how enticing the exchange rate offered. They are untrustworthy and normally have false money. If you do need to change $$ or Euros, just go in to any reputable shop, where you will find they will give you an honest rate. The main attraction now is the very impressive Sambil shopping complex (Mall). Here you can shop to your hearts content in designer shops, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Dexter, Dolce & Vita, plus many many more, and all, duty free. You will also find banks and restaurants offering all types of cuisine, as well as bars and a very modern cinema, offering all the latest “blockbusters”. Sambil has become the place to be seen in. Juangriego is located on the northern coast of the island and is a very popular fishing village becoming increasingly popular, particularly for sunsets. The sea food in this area is amazing, and the prices are too. It really is worth a visit, just for the “flaming red” sunsets, but go early if you want a prime table and viewing spot. Getting Around Renting a car is not essential, but it does make it easier to get around Margarita. You will need to bring your license with you. The main companies are, Budget, Hertz and Margarita rentals. The first 2 can be found at the airport, as well as opposite the Hotel Hilton. Rates vary from $30 - $70 a day. An alternative method, as some people may not wish the hassle of rental, or the hassle of driving, is to hire one of the many taxi drivers on the Island. You can negotiate a good daily rate with him, especially if you pay in $$. They all know the Island really well, and could take you to places that you may not have even heard of, so adding to your experience. If you are “adventurous” and time is not so important, you can always try the buses. There are numerous on the Island, and they will get you around for next to nothing. The only negative point is that they are not usually “air conditioned” and none too comfortable. However, it does give you that “local” feel. Taxis are also readily available. The Beaches Margarita Island boasts many beautiful beaches that cater for all types. If you want to surf, there are beaches that offer this or if you prefer a more gentile pace of life, and want to just relax and read, there are beaches for that also. Playa El Agua is by far the most popular. This is a 4.5 KM long stretch of white sand with moderate to rough surf, backed by palm trees and a broad selection of restaurants and shops. The current here is deceptive, so even the most accomplished swimmer should take care. Jet skis and ultra lights are available here. 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, Zaragoza and Guacuco, all very nice and less developed. Guacuco is a favorite, but the others are lovely also. 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. More popular beaches offer lounge chairs and beach umbrella for rental from $2 to $4 per day. A worthwhile investment, if you want some comfort, cool shade, and additional protection from the sun. National Parks 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. 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. At the park entrance you'll have to pay a $1 entrance fee and then walk to the nearby pier, where there are scores of boats waiting to take you on a tour. The boats charge $4 to $10 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. It’s a good idea to have your “ride” pre-arranged to take you back. The Island of 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 will take you to their pristine and nearly deserted beaches. Coche is very very hot, so be aware. Day tours by small cruise ships and converted fishing boats are common. Los Roques,Canaima and Angel Falls By far the most popular excursions from Margarita are to either Los Roques or Canaima and Angel Falls. There are many tour companies that provide trips to these destinations, most of which require overnight stays. Prices vary, so shop around. Biking Margarita is a good place to rent a bike for exploring, but do be careful of the sun. Distances between towns and beaches can quickly become more daunting than you might expect. Cruises & Sailboat Charters With the constant trade winds and translucent turquoise waters, Margarita is a great place to sail. A host of charter vessels anchor in the Pampatar harbor and other protected anchorages and bays around Margarita. The fleet fluctuates seasonally, but a sailboat is always available for a day cruise or multiday charter. Again, shop around for the best prices. Fishing The waters off Margarita Island offer excellent fishing grounds. A day's catch might include any combination of tuna, dorado, marlin, and sailfish. You can hire a guide and a boat for the day, with lunch and beverages, for between $300 and $1,200, depending on the size of the boat. Golf At the moment there is only one golf course operating on the Island. This is located at the Hesperia’s hotel called Isla Bonita. The course is poor by European standards and is in need of maintenance and water, and is also a journey of about 30 minutes from Porlamar. It is however a way of getting your golfing “fix”. There is a brand new golf course called Margarita Golf Country Club, located in the centre near the hotel Hilton. It is very impressive in comparison to the other and although not officially open until November, people are playing there. Casinos “Lady luck” maybe smiling on you, so try out the casinos at either the Laguna Mar resort, or at the Hotel Hilton. Bingo Bingo is “massive” here, with many places to play. All will be in Spanish however, so practice those numbers!!! Horseback Riding A great way to explore, and a few places do offer this. Jeep Tours These full day tours are very popular and usually involve being picked up and dropped at your hotel. Price includes food and drink and they are usually great fun. They do tend to “pack em in”, so comfort is not going to be top of the agenda. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling As this is the Caribbean, count on some good snorkeling and scuba diving on and around Margarita Island. Ultra light Flights Several pilots and companies offer ultra light flights over and around the island. Surfing Playa el Agua and Playa Parguito are probably the best beaches for this. Windsurfing Although you can rent a Windsurfer on many of the beaches on Margarita, Playa El Yaque, on the southern end of the island near the airport, is the Mecca for windsurfers. World champions come here, so it must be good. Shopping You can literally “shop till you drop” here. Numerous designer shops and boutiques will satisfy even the most professional shopper amongst you. With all this and sunshine as well, what more could you wish for !!!!
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