We stayed at the Hisperia for 5 days, the rooms were clean and good size, staff very friendly and helpful. (possibly 3* - 3*+ than 4* but still very good) The food was quite nice, cooked fresh and not too a bad choice for vegetarians, although like most buffet style restaurants it becomes a little repetitive after a number of days at least for veggies, lots of fresh fish everyday and for meat eaters most days they had a fresh carvery as well as other dishes, also not chips every day, potato and rice options. There are a few small pools around by the bungalows which is nice for quiet sunbathe. Massage by the main pool a must and only about £7 for an hour, bliss! The entertainment was average, not nearly as bad as some hotels though! The only down side was that there really was only a small seating area around the pool bar and no other bar to sit during the evening, also all drinks are served in plastic glasses except in restaurant.
The beach at El Agua is pretty, clean and as described in the brochures but the sea is pretty cold and rough because of the side of the island it is on. There are a lot of beach sellers coming along in a steady stream but they are not pushy and a firm but friendly no and they did not bother you further. All of the people in Venezuela were very friendly and also very patient helping me try to speak Spanish with them!
A really good website we found was http://www.casatrudel.com www.playaelagua.info run by and updated by local people running a guest house in El Agua, they update the weather everyday, which if like us you have been checking on the weather sites they tend to say that Margarita is covered in clouds and thunder storms everyday, this is not the case, as the weather sites take the forecasts from the mainland jungle area! Take a look at their site for great info and links on trips, ferries and local airlines.
After looking at all the options for package tours and flight only we finally found a really good deal (lastminute.com) for flight only, which gives greater flexibility to move around and as you can see from the other write ups it is extremely recommended to do some of the trips, which means you haven’t paid for a hotel that you are not staying in! If you are looking to find hotels independently here are a couple of good websites (we booked directly with Hesperia and it cost about £25pppn AI in May) http://www.hesperiaplayaelagua.com/english/sites.html
http://www.islamargarita.com.ve/english/hotels.htm, for a range of hotels in all different areas of Margarita. We found a lovely quieter family run hotel around the corner from Hesperia, cant quite remember but I think it was about £18 - 20 per night for double room. http://www.hotelcostalinda.com
There wasn’t a lot going on along the beach front late into the evening but if its beach life a bit of culture and a meal and few drinks you are looking for it is a great place. (it may have been that we went in May and it might be busier at other times of the year) After five days of relaxing we went off to the mainland to go to Angel falls, after trying to book it all up by ourselves, flights and trips we found that on our time scale it was a bit difficult to get the flights we wanted etc and so I want to highly recommend the tour guide we finally trusted to sort things out for us! As you will see when you get there, there is no shortage of touts along the front and it is hard to know who to go with. We went with a guy call Julio De Momte, he was very helpful, speaks excellent English and Italian and arranged everything we wanted even though it was not a standard trip that we wanted to do. His number is 04168959468 or 04168991397, and he or Romalo are usually opposite cafÃ© margarita. He can arrange boat trips, flights and accommodation to the mainland and his knowledge of the area was very helpful and interesting. We handed over our money to him and got on a plane worried whether there would be anybody at the other end and indeed any trip arranged, we needn’t have worried, his colleagues on the mainland were all fantastic and everything went as planned. We went to Canaima and chose the 2 night option, the camp we stayed in was very basic, no electric just a bed and shower but that was fine, 2nd night we stayed in a hammock in a camp at the base of the falls, the whole area is really spectacular and our guide was an indigenous Indian from the Canaima area. One of the highlights for us was walking behind the waterfall and out the other side, really breath taking experience.
Back in Margarita we stayed in another part of the Island, El Yaque, this is a really lovely bay where you can sit and watch the wind and kite surfers all day, the water is lovely and warm here fine for swimming and snorkling, and hardly any beach sellers, very relaxed feel, personally we preferred it here. We stayed at casa rita about 5 mins from the beach, lovely clean rooms, buffet breakfast fridge, a/c and balcony in all rooms about £25 per night for double room. There are also quite a few hotels along the beach front (see previous web link). As with el agua if you are looking for buzzing nightlife this probably isn’t the place for you but the restaurants all over looking the sea have good food, friendly staff and are great for relaxing break.
If you have the time and the money I believe that Los Roques really is worthwhile but quite expensive to get there.
Take dollars or dollar t/cs you get a much better rate along the front or money chagers or even in the beach bars you will find people happy to change dollars for local currency than the official rate at the hotels or the rate that you would get using hole in the wall or credit cards.
Alchohol and cigarettes very cheap indeed, I bought 3 bottles of gordons gin for about £7 for 3!
All in all we loved Venezuela and Margarita the people were really welcoming which always makes for a pleasant trip. (Surrey)
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