Isla Margarita is an island located in the Caribbean sea, off the coast of the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta. The island has a long and rich history, and is a popular destination for Venezuelan tourists as well as foreigners. Isla Margarita was visited by Christopher Columbus in the fifteenth century, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was captured and held by conquistadors and pirates respectively. The revolutionary Simón Bolívar was declared leader of the Venezuelan Republic on Isla Margarita, and it was from there that he launched his campaign to free Latin America from the Spanish crown.
Isla Margarita is rich in natural beauty as well as history. It is a warm and sun-drenched island, with white beaches bordering a turquoise sea. The centre of the island is dominated by a series of hills and valleys, and features a central mountain range. The island is split into two parts, separated by a large lagoon. In low-lying areas, the lush vegetation of the hills gives way to a desert of cacti and prickly pears. Animals such as rabbits, lizards and snakes live in the undergrowth, and the sea around the island is full of lobsters, shrimp, tuna and snappers, making seafood one of its chief attractions.
What to See at Isla Margarita
One of Isla Margarita’s most vibrant cities is called Pampatar, and features the island’s best shopping. There is a beautiful old church, the Iglesia Santísimo Cristo, and a seventeenth century Spanish fortress. Pampatar is located on the coast of the island, and is close to several popular beaches.
The city of Porlamar is Isla Margarita’s largest urban centre, and is the location of the Del Caribe International General Santiago Marino Airport. The city used to be a quiet fishing village, but today is famous for its nightlife and restaurant scene. As well as the local seafood, be sure to try Pabellón criollo, a Venezuelan dish made with shredded beef, black beans, rice and plantains.
Isla Margarita’s beaches are perhaps its chief attraction. There are fifty beaches, constituting over one hundred miles of white sand and surf, which makes it easy to find a spot to call your own. Some of the beaches are popular with surfers and windsurfers, and all of them are great for swimming or soaking up the sun.
Adventurous tourists can take a trip into the Laguna de La Restinga National Park, and go hiking in the hills, or visit the lagoon. Those that prefer the city life can spend their time visiting the many bars, restaurants and casinos the island has to offer.
Where to Stay at Isla Margarita
Isla Margarita features several luxurious resorts for tourists looking to pamper themselves. Some of the most popular are the Lagunamar Resort and Casino, in Porlamar, the Hesperia Playa el Agua, located near the island’s most famous beach, and the Hesperia Isla Margarita, which features an eighteen hole golf course. Also very nice the Stevie wonder Guest House and the Hotel Kokobay.
Those looking for more value for their money can try La Posada del Capitan Henry, or the Hotel Patrick, which aren’t as expensive but offer quality service in a beautiful setting.
The Isla Margarita has something to offer for almost anyone, and is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.