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Los Roques

Travel Guide South America Venezuela Los Roques

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Introduction

A beautiful island archipelago, Los Roques is one of the main attractions of Venezuela. Almost all accommodation and services are concentrated on the main island, Gran Roque. There is (as yet) no large scale development or hotel complexes. That said, there are over 60 posadas (small hotels) on the island, blending in among the colourful, 1-2 storey buildings and streets of sand. There are no cars on the island.

Unless you have your own boat, all visitors arrive at the tiny Gran Roque airport (no facilities, just a runway and gate) where a park entrance fee applies (currently 55 BSF). Oscars Shop near the gate to the airpot organises all boat trips to nearby islands, day trips, and the hire of chairs, umbrellas, and snorkelling gear. Two dive shops in the town rent diving gear.

There is little shade on the islands and the sun is strong. You must take plenty of liquid and sun cream, or at least hire an umbrella.

At weekends, the islands are much busier (and in peak periods: July, August, Christmas, Easter). The quietest time to visit is Monday-Thursday.

There is reasonable snorkelling and diving off most islands. Oscars Shop will organise trips to the 'best' sites. The furthest islands take about 45 minutes to reach by high speed boat and usually require a minimum of 6 people to run.

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Getting There

By Plane

Aerotuy (or LTA tours) organise one day trips, all inclusive from Caracas. This includes return flight, a tour on a catamaran, all food etc (but not local taxes).

Chapiair runs flights only from Caracas to Gran Roque.

Flights and day trips also exist from Margarita Island.

All flights are considerably cheaper mid-week (Monday-Thursday).

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Eat

There are few options for eating out in Los Roques as most posadas cater only for their guests and most guests eat at their posada...

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Drink

There are a few pleasant bars on Gran Roque: all can be found by walking along the street which leads to the airport and Oscars Shop.

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Sleep

If you have not organised anything in advance, you will be approached on arrival with offers of accommodation. Outside high season there are more beds than there is demand and it should be possible to bargain. Most accommodation offers half board or at least bed and breakfast.

Camping is possible on most islands. You will need a permit from the office beside the airport. Be aware that you will need to take all provisions with you, and also that lizards on the islands can be pests.

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Cost

Los Roques is prohibitively expensive for most Venezuelans - which keeps it generally clean and relatively quiet outside high season (July, August - at this time you must book accommodation in advance). Unless you exchange black market bolivars, it will be moderately expensive for most visitors too.

There is only one bank on the island (Banesco), and most card machines on the island use the same bank. Sometimes these machines and cash points do not work, so take plenty of cash just in case.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 7:17 on Jul 16, 09 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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