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“Stay away from Margarita Island”
Review of Margarita Island

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orlando fl
1 review
“Stay away from Margarita Island”
Reviewed 15 July 2010

My wife and I just got back from our honeymoon from Margarita Island. We stayed in Playa el Agua which is supposed to be the island's best and most well known beach. The water was always dirty, full of sea weed and just never looked pleasant. The surrounding beach areas were not very clean with lots of trash around. If you don't speak spanish, you will have a very hard time getting things or eating at restaurants. There were a lot of restaurants on the beach but only a few were any good. i would say of the nine dinners we had there, only two were satisfactory at best. The hotel we stayed at was nice. Clean and accommodating but definitely not more than 2 stars. Then there is the money situation. Bring cash and do not depend on ATM's or banks for any help. Credit cards are accepted at very few places but I wouldn't advise the use of them. We got a nice little surprise leaving the airport as well. Make sure and have cash left over for the departure taxes. I wish someone had told us about that before we left. WIsh we would have gone somewhere else for our honeymoon.

Helpful?
Thank babubhatt2090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Thomas, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
23 helpful votes
“Wonderful island, but getting to & from resort was torture”
Reviewed 18 April 2010

Went to Margarita Island in February, 2010. Picked it because the price was reasonable, the beach looked awesome and the temps were expected to be in the 30C range. The adventure started at 5:30 in the morning at the Toronto airport. Expected the journey to be long, but it was 5:30 in the evening before we finally arrived in our room at the Dunes Hotel & Beach resort. Tour was through Nolitours. Everyone was pleasant along the way, but I've never felt more like I was part of a herd of cattle in my life. If there was an opportunity to have us line up to do something, it was taken.
However, wonderful island. Laid back, warm with lovely breeze to keep you from overheating, great beach and swimming ok, if you're strong swimmer or comfortable in waves. Apparently the beach is always posted red or yellow. We were on north east corner and the breeze can turn into outright wind which picks up the sand and scrubs the tan right off you. Just one day like this and not a big deal unless, like us, you're beach vs. pool people. Food ok - keep in mind this is basically a desert island and nothing much grows except cacti, so everything is imported, including fruits and veggies. You might be disappointed in lack of variety.
Took a catamaran tour to Coche Island and I wish I could remember the boat we took. The captain & crew were awesome. Friendly, attentive, had lots of stories and politely made sure no one did anything silly on deck. Kept us refreshed with fruit, water or fruit drink. Great lunch at a local beach restaurant. Hilarious experience going to the salt flats and getting covered in goop that is decomposing under crystalized salt. Something only we tourists would do! Make sure you wear a swimsuit you're planning to throw away as you'll never get the black mud out of it.
Outside of this we just swam, sunned, walked the beach, climbed to the lighthouse and took in the evening shows which were put on by some talented dancers. Everything was relaxed, no stress getting meals or drinks or seats at the shows. And, it was even a busy week with Carnival going on.
Trip home was a 'unique' experience. We were warned that it would be a long process going through the airport with every piece of luggage being searched. That panned out as expected, but what wasn't expected was an additional search of all luggage as it was leaving the building and getting stowed. Sat for about an extra hour and half in the lounge as luggage was searched, owner of bag asked to go into a room to identify luggage & answer some questions. No one disappeared from the flight, but it made a long day even longer. All in all, the travel time definitely put Margarita Island on the won't return list, which is a shame cause it's a great island.

Helpful?
Thank kcTripping
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
1 review
“It was fun becasue of a few local people”
Reviewed 10 April 2010

My cousin and I visited Isla Margarita in March 2010. We live in Los Angeles and although we could fly to the Mexican beaches in less than a few hours, we decided to be adventurous and go to a different place, where we have not gone before!

Venezuela was definitely different than the luxurious and service-oriented Mexican resorts, beaches and hotels. However, some Venezuelans are definitely not as service-oriented, do not like to speak English as much, but they do the best they can under the tough economic and political situation they deal with everyday. The Margarita Island is nice and semi romantic, the food is okay and the people are mostly nice.

After a few hurdles upon arrival (mainly the lay-over for 8 hours at the Caracas airport to catch a flight to Margarita and dealing with annoying money exchangers), when we reached Margarita Island we were lucky enough to meet a wonderful, educated, honest and friendly person who quickly became our friend.

He went above and beyond to help us, guide us, protect our interest and make sure that we have a great time and experience while there. He took us everywhere in his taxi and charged us very reasonable rates I would highly recommend visiting tourists to email or call him ahead of time and secure his time while there, since he is one of very few who speaks perfect English. To make a long story short, mainly because of him, we had a great time and made a good friend there. His name is Nestor, his number is [--] and email is [--].

Unfortunately our trip back ended on a bad note because of Conviasa airline's flight to Caracas being 3 hours late, forcing us to miss our international flight. I absolutely do not recommend taking Conviasa flights to the island, try Laser or others. They were so rude and did not even lift a finger to apologize, pay for our hotel or offer a coupon to pay the penalty Avianca was charging us for missing the flight and re-scheduling. Because of them, we had to get a $150 hotel room, pay $500 each penalty to Avianca and get back to L.A. via Bogotá, 1 day later, which screwed up my other flight to San Francisco, costing me another $230!!

I do not think that tourism is generally valued very much in Venezuela compared to Columbia, Dominican, Chile and of course Mexico and if I ever go back there, it would mainly be to visit the friend we found there, Nestor :-)

Helpful?
Thank Medy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
1 review
1 helpful vote
“Flight from Margarita”
Reviewed 24 February 2010

Airport experience is terrible, the building is very hot inside, and there is a line-up to security (about 1.2 hrs). Four soldiers were checking every single piece of luggage, then a line-up to check-in, then a line-up to hand buggage X-Ray machine (only one working), and finaly a line-up to passport check. The flight was postponed for over two hours due to re-checking all checked-in baggage (previousely checked by soldiers). Before leaving Margarita, we spent 5 hours in small, hot airport. We do not reccomend this island. Go to Cuba, 100 times better experiance.

Helpful?
1 Thank Bolek2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
1 review
2 helpful votes
“Terrible Venezuela and Margarita Island”
Reviewed 9 October 2009

Well folks. I'll try to keep it brief. Caracas Vz is and was horrible. The imposed statutory FX rate of 2 Blv. to 1 USD is a law. Unfortunately for tourists, everything in the country has been priced at 7 Blv. to 1 USD. Its illegal to be carrying USD. The only way you can make this financially work for you is to carry USD with you when you arrive. Traveling from USD you must go through Caracas. This is a dangerous place. Do not take any Taxi unless your hotel has someone waiting for you.

Be prepared to pay a travel Tax in LOCAL CURRENCY when you leave for the island (absurd) and when you come back. Good luck trying to find a place to Exchange currency when your not supposed to have any foreign currency on you. Confusing? Good luck.

Whatever great hotel rate you though you got, think again. Your going to pay ridiculous rates for food and drink due to the outrageous hidden exchange rates that artificially boost the pricing. Hamburger ranges from $25 - $35 and we are talking Mc Donalds no kidding. You could exchange your USD for Blv. on the street. But that would make you a criminal. So if your lucky enough to have brought USD with you, you may get as much as 7 BLV to the USD. You'll need it because everything is already priced that high but you wont know that because they will only accept BLV and never seee the FX rate posted.

The beaches were beautiful but you take your life in your hands traveling around. The neighborhoods are poor and really effect your experience and make you think twice why you are spending money when the country is clearly in need of help more than you are in need of a vacation.

Whatever your motivation you have to go to Margarita Island, think again. Turn around and exchange your tickets for Disney World. Its a dangerous and expensive way to spend the time you have off.

Helpful?
2 Thank Venezuelasucks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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