Beautiful untouched Caribbean islands are still out there. Venezuela’s islands of Los Roques, Las Aves, Tortuga, and Margarita offer beachbums an off the beaten path experience in the Caribbean.
Venezuelans are enormously fond of Isla Margarita and have appropriately dubbed it the Perla del Caribe, or the “pearl of the Caribbean.” Its most popular beach is Playa El Agua where the four kilometer white sand beach is lined with restaurants and bars. Playa Parguito is a smaller version of El Agua and is popular with surfers. If you’re looking for a fun day trip, head to Macanao, the western portion of Margarita. In the Parque Nacional Laguna de la Restinga there is an unspoiled beach where you can rent lounge chairs, and there are several fishermen’s huts where you can buy the catch of the day.
Although Isla La Tortuga and Los Roques both have airstrips, the best way to see these outlying islands is by boat chartered either in Puerto La Cruz (on the mainland) or Porlamar (on Margarita). For those looking for complete serenity, Los Roques is where you should head. An archipelago of small coral islands, Los Roques offers deserted white, sandy beaches, snorkeling and scuba diving along numerous coral reefs, bird-watching and excellent fishing, including some of the world’s finest bonefishing. Within the archipelago of Los Roques, Gran Roque is the only island with a village on it and has a selection of small, brightly colored shacks on its sandy streets, many of which offer both lodging and dining.
For even more isolation, head to La Tortuga: a deserted island but for a few small fishing camps. The only overnight accommodation here is you, a tent, and a sleeping bag on any of its miles of pristine beach. La Tortuga is surrounded by scattered reefs teeming with fish and varieties of coral.
Los Aves is part of a group of islands that are farthest away from the mainland coast of Venezuela. The easiest way to get to there would be with your own boat, but you could also arrange a chartered ride from Los Roques or Margarita. Although more difficult to get to, Los Aves is very much worth the visit to experience world-class snorkeling and challenging deep-sea fishing en route with plenty of dolphins to lead the way.
Whether you desire the shopping, beaches, and mountains on Margarita or prefer the more remote islands for spectacular diving and fishing, Venezuela’s offshore islands have something for everyone. Many of these islands remain the unspoiled paradise that they were 100 years ago. It’s easy to argue that they are the best of the Caribbean.