Margarita Island Travel Guide

Photo of Margarita Island

Margarita Island Overview

Affectionately referred to by locals as the Pearl of the Caribbean, MargaritaIsland (Isla Margarita) is an extremely popular vacation destination off the northern coast of Venezuela. Encompassed by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, it is an island of pristine beaches, endless water sport activities, colonial towns and charming fishing communities. So far largely unvisited by North Americans, the island is felt to have all the benefits of the likes of Cancun and Punta Cana yet on a far more laidback and lower key scale. If spending hours on the beach and wandering the streets of the old towns is your thing then MargaritaIsland could well be for you.

 
The island itself is split into two main regions, the east side that is developed and home to the main towns and a good selection of beach resorts and the rugged west of Peninsula de Macanao, home to La Restinga National Park. MargaritaIsland is home to and beginning to be dominated by large all-inclusive resorts where visitors are happy to make use of the facilities and not stray far from the nearby beach and town. For those with a more adventure spirit, hiring a car can be a good way to see what else is on offer, from the traditional fishing villages to the unspoilt beach towns. With its own international airport flights are available from many European cities as well as a handful of places in the US and Canada. From mainland Venezuela ferries trundle cross the water from Puerto La Cruz and Cumana from where bus services connect to the capital Caracas.

Things to do in Margarita Island

Beaches of Margarita Island

Unsurprisingly Margarita Island is blessed with endless stretches of white sandy beaches, some with large resort complexes and a host of facilities and others remaining as simple fishing communities. Playa el Agau, a long alluring beach lined with swaying palms on the northern tip of the island is the most frequented, counting a wide choice of resorts, bars and restaurants. On the southeast coast, Playa Parguito with its decent waves is popular with a young surf crowd and home to regular parties. For water sports Playa El Yaque is the place to be due to excellent wind conditions. For some peace and tranquillity, the northern coast past Playa el Agua is sprinkled with a handful of underdeveloped bays.
 
Margarita Island Towns
As well as the beaches there are some interesting towns that provide an insight into the history and culture of the island. Take a walk around the sleepy colonial capital of La Asuncion, home to Venezuelas oldest church and the historic Castillo de Santa Rosa. The islands biggest city is Porlamar, founded in 1536 and today a vibrant collection of shops and restaurants and the main nightlife scene. For something more picturesque and traditional make a beeline for Pampatar, rich in colonial charm and home to a vibrant harbour.
 
La Restinga National Park
In the middle of the island is the most important national park made up of marshland, mangrove swamp, a lagoon and coral beaches. Boat trips are abundant and guide visitors through the mangroves, pausing for excellent bird-spotting opportunities. Longer boat tours include a stop at the beach where it is possible to dine at the basic beach cafés.
 
Margarita Island Water sports
With warm blue waters and near perfect wind conditions the island’s beaches are a hotbed for water sports, with everything from diving and snorkelling to wind and kite surfing to jet skiing and parasailing on offer. Whether an experienced rider or absolute beginner, the southern beach of El Yaque is the place for windsurfers and Vela Margarita is one of the best schools and windsurf centres. Those who want to see what lies beneath can take diving and snorkelling trips out to the site of Los Frailes and shipwreck off Isla Cubagua. Check out Enomis Divers at Playa el Agua for trips and PADI courses.
 
Margarita Island Nightlife
MargaritaIsland has a decent array of night time options, although many people are inclined to keep to the entertainment provided at the all-inclusive resorts. For those who do want to get out Porlamar has the highest concentration of bars and restaurants and at the weekend there are usually parties going on around the bigger beaches. Kamy Beach at Playa Varadero is good spot to mix and party with the wealthy Caraquenos.

Hotels in Margarita Island

Budget Hotels Margarita Island

Posada del Capitan - Small 10 room guesthouse 10 minutes from Porlamar. Tel (58) 295 253 4244.
Posada Casa Rosa - Cheap backpacker focused hostel at Playa el Agua. Tel (58) 295 249 0167.
Posada Ananda - Basic guesthouse in the heart of Pampatar. Tel (58) 295 416 3099.
 
Midrange Hotels Margarita Island
Casa Perla - Decent hotel at El Yaque. Rooms with private terrace and hammock. Tel (58) 295 414 9204.
Hesperia Playa el Agua - Huge all inclusive resort right on the beach. Tel (58) 295 400 7150.
Hotel Plaza Royal - Clean and comfortable hotel in the centre of Porlamar. Tel (58) 295 261 6666.
 
Luxury Hotels Margarita Island
Hotel Bella Vista - Large resort of restaurants, bars, pools and entertainment in the heart of Porlamar. Tel (58) 295 261 4157.
Laguna Mar Hotel & Resort - Luxury all-inclusive resort with its own casino. Tel (58) 295 400 4035.

Margarita Island Weather

Margarita Island Travel Resources

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