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Margarita Island, a caribbean island in Venezuela
Isla MargaritaIsla Margarita is situated on the North-East coast of Venezuela (10 degrees North / 66 degrees West, see THIS MAP) in the Caribbean Sea. Margarita has an international airport and also a connection to the mainland by ferry boats. The Venezuelan state Nueva Esparta consists of Margarita, together with Isla Coche and Cubagua. To the north of Margarita you find La Blanquilla and a bit further east you’ll find Trinidad/Tobago and the West Indian islands. To the west, there are also several islands; Los Roques, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.

To see a full sized map, click HERE. Click HERE to see a tourist map or use our informative interactive maps over Isla Margarita by clicking HERE.

A short video introduction
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What differentiates Margarita from the rest of the Caribbean?
Margarita is known as a low cost alternative to the other relatively expensive islands further north. The island was discovered as a tourist place in the beginning of the seventies. Compared to the other islands in the Caribbean, Margarita still hasn’t become a typical island for the rich, but rather an island for people looking for a low cost alternative and authenticity.

However, you may find nice shopping centers, casinos and restaurants (Hilton, Cartier, Tiffany's, Benetton, MacDonald's, Hard Rock Café and others have precense in the island). In addition to a magnificent nature, the climate is nearly unbeatable!

There is less criminality on Margarita, compared to many other islands in this area (see own section below) and very little racism. Culturally, Margarita is different to many of the Latin American countries because of its vicinity to South America. Margarita is situated far south in the Caribbean, and is therefore seldom affected by the storms often present further north.

Margarita is a part of South America, so things tend to happen in a slower pace than most of us are used to. The tasks that you couldn’t do today, you can do tomorrow. Or another day. Therefore, if you’re constantly in a hurry, Margarita won’t be the best place to live for you. So try to lower your shoulders and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.

As an investment location and a place to live, Margarita is an attractive option. The property prices are still low, much lower than most of the other islands in the Caribbean. Also, Margarita is situated outside the hurricane belt, and the tourism business is curently growing. The island has 12 months of sunshine with an average temperature close to 30 degrees Celsius, a 315 km coastline with more than 70 beaches, tax-free area, low living costs and taxes, a lot of leisure activities and a marvelous nature.

SunsetMargarita has a magnificent nature with great diversity. High mountains, lots of beaches, fisherman villages, a great submarine life and many leisure activities. If you’re looking for night life, you may go to Pampatar area and Porlamar, the largest city on the island (around 300.000 inhabitants) Porlamar is a modern city with shops, shopping centers, restaurants and offices. The restaurants and shops offer food and wine from all over the world. That means that it’s possible to combine a traditional and relaxing life with comfort and a modern lifestyle.

People from most countries don’t need a visa, and you may stay for 90 days as a tourist. If you want to stay longer, you may apply for a 6 or 12 month tourist visa, or you may apply for a visa based on that you either own a property, run a business or have family relations on Margarita. You may also leave Margarita after the 90 days, be gone for a couple of hours, and return. You’ll then have 90 more days to stay. However, check with your embassy if you need a visa or not!

Venezuela is a very cheap country to live in. In addition Margarita has duty free status, therefore the prices on Margarita is even lower than in the rest of Venezuela. See THIS section for price examples and recommendations on favorable buys.

Also, read THIS section about the local currency and how to make your money last even longer by exchanging your US dollars to Bolivar.
You don’t need any special vaccines to go to Margarita. However, your doctor will probably tell you to get vaccines against diphtheria, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A and yellow fever, to be completely safe. In theory,
Malaria is present, but you will only find it close to the Amazon, on the mainland. Other diseases that might constitute a risk, are cholera, rabies and typhus.

The water on Margarita isn’t very clean, but you may use it for brushing your teeth, cooking etc. The water you drink should either be filtered or bought in bottles. Margarita and Coche receive water from two underwater pipes coming from the mainland. As for wastewater treatment, six plants have been constructed to treat water and use the output for irrigation purposes.

There are several public and private clinics on Margarita. If you need hospital services, most foreigners should use a private alternative to get an option closer to the one you’re used to.

  • Centro Médico La Fe (Tel: 622711-620090-622594)
  • Centro Clínica Margarita (Tel: 614611-61443)
  • Centro Médico Nueva Esparta (Tel: 420011-421711-421722)

When you use a private clinic you’ll pay directly to the clinic, unless you have valid travel insurance. Remember to bring your passport when you go to the clinic.

You do easily find farmacies that have most of the things that you may need.

Public transportation i.e. buses will bring you around the island at a very low cost, but be prepared to spend quite some time to get to the outskirts. The bus terminal at Plaza Bolivar in Porlamar will take you to Juan Griego, Macanao, the airport, Manzanillo, Playa el Agua and Pampatar. The drivers will usually stop wherever they or the passengers want.

Traveling by taxi is a good alternative. There are a lot of taxis available, and it’s quite cheap; less than USD 10 for a 30 minutes drive. The cars are identifies with a Taxi sign on the roof. It’s better to agree on the price before you go.

Car rental
You have to be 21 or older to rent a car on Margarita.
It’s possible to drive all around Margarita in a few hours if you don’t stop for too long. Renting cars is popular also on Margarita since you’re totally free to go wherever and whenever you want. Driving on Margarita isn’t too bad compared to the rest of Venezuela, however attention at all times is required. There are few rules, the big cars usually have the right of way. The traffic lights are there to guide you, but many cars ignore them. You’re allowed to turn right on a red light, as is the rule in the US.

The police seldom interfere, except if you do a u-turn in a crossing, for some reason. If the police stop you, the reason may be that they want to give you a ticket with no receipt. It’s not easy to get out of these situations if you don’t know the language, but normally they don’t bother tourists too much.

Still, it’s reasonable trouble free to drive a car on Margarita. The best advice would probably be to drive passively and pay attention.

To rent a car you’ll need a driver’s license and a passport. There are several car rentals:

Airport Porlamar   
ACO                        Tel 0295 269 1270
Budget                    Tel 0295 269 1047
City Car Rentals      Tel 0295 269 1286
Hertz                       Tel 0295 269 1237
Islamar                    Tel 0295 269 1452
Losan                     Tel 0295 269 1075
Miami Car                Tel 0295 269 1253
Margarita Rentals    Tel 0295 269 1285
Porlamar Rentals     Tel 0295 269 1317
Ramcar II                 Tel 0295 269 1482
Toyo Rentals          Tel 0295 269 1476
Budget                    Tel 0295 264 7539
City Car Rental        Tel 0295 263 2278
Losan                      Tel 0295 263 9420
Margarita Rentals    Tel 0295 263 9292
Miami Car                 Tel 0295 261 2490
Ramcar II                 Tel 0295 263 5425

 Urb. Costa Azul Playa el Agua   
Budget                    Tel 0295 262 5285
Excellency              Tel 0295 262 6503
Hertz                       Tel 0295 267 1659
Islamar                    Tel 0295 267 2644
Ramcar II                 Tel 0295 262 4584
Toyo Rentals           Tel 0295 262 9529
Budget                    Tel 0295 400 8138
Islamar                    Tel 0295 249 1470
Ramcar II                Tel 0295 249 0253

Pedro Gonzales
Budget                   Tel 0295 400 7168

The prices range from USD 30 to USD 70 per day for a “normal” car. The prices increases dramatically during Christmas, the Easter Holidays and in July/August.

You may also rent a scooter or a motor bike at around USD 30 per day. Excellency Rent a Car offers Scooters and Motorcycles. Porlamar: Hotel Dynasty Best Western - PB Costa Azul Tel: (0295) 262 6503 or 262 2955. Also they offer car leases for 6 months up to a year.

If you are looking for something special you may read the pages of Bakhos Rental that among others have Hummers and limousins for rent.

Converter 220-110 Volt
Converter 220-110V
The voltage in Venezuela is 110 Volt. In order to plug in European equpment that accepts 110V, you should buy a unit as you see on the picture.

Radio and Media
At Margarita you will find regional and national newspapers (El Sol de Margarita Diario, La hora Diario del Caribe and El Caribazo), 4 TV-channels in addition to the ones being received by satellite. The island also has 9 radio channels.

Telephones and Internet
Digitel GSMThere are several internet cafes in the touristy areas. You also find phone booths to call both nationally and internationally. If you have a fixed phone in your house, you may use a cash card.

If you have a cell phone it may or may not work, depending on your system and whether your mobile operator has a roaming agreement with the Venezuelan operator Digitel.

The mail system in Venezuela doesn’t function too well, and it may take weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic. However, you may buy stamps in some hotels and in the post office ) Ipostel)
If you need to send “important” mail, UPS or FedEx offers some of the best options.

Opening hours
  • Offices:     Monday - Friday 08:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 18:00
  • Shops:       Monday- Saturday 09:00 - 13:00 and 15:00 - 19:00  
  • Banks:       Monday - Friday 08:30 - 15:30

Margarita is part of South America where there is a big difference between the rich and the poor people. Foreigners, like us, usually have more money than the average Venezuelan, and therefore might constitute a tempting target for criminals. Because of this, there are certain simple rules you should follow:

  • Don’t bring valuables that you don’t need when you go out.
  • Put your valuables in the safein your hotel when you’re not there.
  • Spread the risk, do not keep all your money and credit cards in one place.
  • Keep some small change separate in a pocket, so you don’t have to show all your money every time you buy something.
  • Bring a copy of your passport, the police could ask you to show some identification.

Sist oppdatert ( Friday 26. February 2010 )

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